Dave Winer, 56, is a visiting scholar at NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and editor of the Scripting News weblog. He pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in New York City.
"The protoblogger." - NY Times.
"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.
"Dave was in a hurry. He had big ideas." -- Harvard.
"Dave Winer is one of the most important figures in the evolution of online media." -- Nieman Journalism Lab.
10 inventors of Internet technologies you may not have heard of. -- Royal Pingdom.
One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.
"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.
"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.
"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.
8/2/11: Who I Am.
My 40 most-recent links, ranked by number of clicks.
FYI: You're soaking in it. :-)
Exec summary: I'm looking for legal help to get McAfee to stop blocking this site.
Yesterday I got a tweet from Kiran Patchigolla asking if I knew that McAfee is blocking my site.
I responded that I knew, and when I was reminded of it, I had a different feeling about it this time than I did about it the last dozen or so times I've had readers tell me about this. I felt like it's time to do something about it.
First, here's their report.
Yes, it's a problem -- because this software apparently ships with Windows. I've received the warning myself from their software on one of my own machines running Windows.
I thoroughly investigated their concerns in November of last year.
The files they claim are trojans are actually archives of back-issues of this site. Snapshots taken on the 10th anniverary, in 2007. They're lying when they say they looked inside these files. They couldn't possibly have. All they contain are text files.
The other file, one that they give a green light to, FrontierPsapiInstaller.zip, is the only one that actually contains executable code. You need it to get certain features to work with Frontier on Windows.
I suppose their defense is that their claim that "some people" consider these adware, spyware or potentially unwanted programs. I wonder who those people are and what their opinion is based on? (Obviously that's legalese to cover their ass in case anyone wants to sue them for libel or defamation, or whatever.)
Meanwhile they're lying about my site and keeping people out who want to read it.
This is unacceptable.
Any lawyers out there with some advice for this simple blogger?
Quotes are welcome as long as they accurately reflect what was said.
I had an off the record phone conversation with their editor, so I can't tell you what she said. But I can say it wasn't satisfying.
Maybe this will make an interesting case study for our J-school students. How many elipses can you use, and when, and still claim to have a quote?
I've been round this loop now three times, at least. If you count the big ones. There were small ones too.
The big ones:
When IBM hit the wall, it was with a revolution they called the Micro-Channel Architecture. It was touted as a way to take back the PC industry from the cloners. But it was also a way to reign in the power of Microsoft, who was IBM's upstart. Didn't work, it only cemented Microsoft's position, though it took Microsoft a few years to realize it.
With Microsoft it was the great call to arms in late 1994, when Bill Gates rallied his team and told each of them to maneuver their battleships and aircraft carriers into position. He thought he had met his own Microsoft (he had been waiting for it) and its name was Netscape. Not realizing that the problem wasn't Netscape, it was a sea-change in the tech business analogous to the one that IBM had failed to overcome. His upstart was the web, not Netscape.
Now it's Google's turn.
When IBM hit the wall, I had an idea for them. It was, interestingly, the one that launched my career as a blogger, back before we knew it was called blogging. I wanted IBM to pick up Mac OS, which was then languishing. These were the years that Steve Jobs was out of Apple, starting NeXT. I felt Mac was the right product, but Apple lacked the management and resources, the gravitas to compete with Microsoft. I thought Mac was IBM's ticket to get out from under Bill's thumb.
When it was Microsoft's turn, I had a better idea of what would happen to them, and urged them to kick back and find ways to profit from the growth of the web. I felt they could get the largest share of the growth by just being the background, making investments and providing services. They didn't agree but I didn't think they had a choice. And that turned out to be correct.
Similarly, I don't think Google has a choice. Their "social" offerings have been rebuffed repeatedly, and they will continue to be rejected by users, no matter how promising they are, no matter what they are, different from Facebook, a Facebook clone, doesn't matter. Why?
1. You can't make revolution with employees.
Can't be done. They don't know how to do it. And if they did, there's another problem:
2. Everyone's watching.
So on Day One your service pretty much has to be feature-complete, and ready for hundreds of millions of users. Forget about corner-turns. Forget about dipping your big toe in to get a sense of the temperature. These are the advantages of the upstart, when they're starting. People have responded to yesterday's piece by saying basically that Facebook can't rip up the pavement any more than Google can. True. But their innovation is done. Now they're reaping the rewards. But when they face their upstart, they'll be in the same place Google is in now.
The crazy thing about #1 is that you'd think that Page, like Gates before him, would know that his employees don't know how to make products that overturn the status quo. Why? Because these guys do know (or did once) what it takes, because they did it. What they need is to find people, who, like themselves, are good at iterating and bad at taking no for an answer and determined to make their place in the world. It's too late for Larry, he's already made his place. It has to be someone new.
But if you were to, by luck, find such a person -- if you hired them, then #1 kicks in. Because the guy who can turn it around isn't good at fighting internal BigCo political battles. He or she has no patience for it, and it's not what they do well. It's very easy for the Gundotra's or Horowitz's (who are the best at BigCo politics) to push them aside as trouble-makers or incompetent, one who doesn't play well with others.
Aside from that, there's no test you can give someone that determines the probability of him or her being the next Gates or Page. We don't understand the qualities of such a person well enough. And since luck matters too, you really need to launch a thousand ships and let the best one win. Or maybe none. You can't be sure how this experiment will turn out.
Google should take an inventory of its skills and figure out which ones could help the new Bill, Larry or Zuck be successful. And be the one to provide it. My guess is that Google has a huge lead re Facebook in infrastructure and ability to deploy. I bet it'll be hard for Facebook to overcome that lead (just as it was impractical for Microsoft to get into the PC-making business). So if I were Larry, I'd make the cloud to end all clouds and price it really cheap for any entrepreneur who's willing to stake their future on being the next Big One. And when one or more emerge from the pack, buy them lunch and ask if you can invest. Bring flowers, and candy too.
Funny, it is, that there is someone doing exactly this.