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. :-)
Occupy Wall Street is not part of any party. It's not left or right, although many of the people that are part of it look left. But if you look at the groups that are forming around the country, you'll see that it looks more like America than it does any single political discipline. If it works, it should be equally comfortable for a Republican who yearns for real representative government in the United States as it is for a labor union member, student or retiree. It should be the thing that we all agree on. The principle that Lincoln spoke of in the Gettysburg Address. A government of the people, by the people and for the people. Whether it perishes from the earth is the question. Imho.
The 99 percent message is brilliant, but it's problematic. What if I were a member of the 1 percent (I might be). Would my participation be welcome?
Is it measured by net worth or income? What are the actual numbers?
Here's a test. Would Warren Buffett be welcome if he wanted to march? I don't think there's any doubt the Buffett is already part of the movement. But he's also part of the one percent.
Is this movement against success? If so, we have a problem. Because the self-reliance of Emerson is a core American value. And the ideal of opportunity for all. But the playing field must be level, and we must extend help to each generation as it was extended to previous generations. If you study the history of this country you'll see those are also core values.
I've heard some borderline ageist things. Not surprising. When I was young and we were marching in the streets, some people said Don't trust anyone over 30. I wasn't one of them, and I didn't believe it. But it was said. Ageism is the one "ism" that seems to be tolerated. I personally am not tolerant of it, and I call it out when I see it. On Twitter today, after I changed my icon to a tribute to the young Steve Jobs, a correspondent excused himself as being old (I'm guessing he thought I was younger than I am). I asked how old. He said he was born in 1958. I said he was the same age as my kid brother. I especially don't like ageism when it's accepted by people who are victimized by it. It reeks of segregation. It's unacceptable. It breeds fear. It's anti-inclusive.
Another idea that people have picked up from the 60s is The Whole World is Watching. That one is good. Let's make sure that remains true. In the 60s that was about TV. Things have gotten better, the media is more distributed now. You definitely can't trust TV. But hopefully we can trust each other.
Again, the only movement worth supporting is one whose sole principle is inclusion. Of representative government. Of a society built for the benefit of everyone, not just a few.
So far the Occupy movement has been very disciplined. And that's good. I'm watching and listening carefully before deciding whether to support it. I imagine others are as well.
I would suggest clarifying the 99 percent position. Since that is one of the few platforms that has emerged, they should say exactly what that means.
Now, I think it's totally okay to call out the people who accepted a bailout from the American taxpayers and feel no obligation to listen to the people who bailed them out. They should never have been bailed out in the first place, but once it happened, we are entitled to make sure it doesn't happen again. Once we bailed them out we owned their ass. That's how bankruptcy works, financially, morally and legally. It's the ultimate of chutzpah to act superior to your rescuers. That too is unacceptable.
And that value is one that is shared by the Tea Party people. I know to some they're not welcome, but they should be. I think they started with similar idealism but were usurped by people with an ugly agenda. At the core, if you take them at face value, and why shouldn't we -- their ideas are very similar. Let's give them the benefit of the doubt. Again, inclusion is the right way to go. Building walls is what we're opposed to. Yes?
In 1983, my little software company was lucky to be invited to work on Apple's new computer in development, the Macintosh. Back then Apple wasn't as secretive as it is today. Everyone knew something was coming. We knew what it was called, but no one was saying what it was.
I gladly signed the agreement, and to this day I remember my first glimpse of the Mac. I arrived at a building on Bandley Drive in Cupertino some time in August 1983, and was met by Mike Boich and Guy Kawasaki from the Mac team. As we walked to the conference room, I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a beige plastic box that was small and upright. And personal. How it said that to me, in just a glimpse, I have no idea. Is that a computer? Another thought popped into my head: It said "I'm new." And that was something because back in those days everything was new. And it was personal, for me. All this from a fraction of a second look.
Before that I had been an Apple II developer for a number of years, and was a devotee of Apple's products, though I also loved IBM's PC. There was a sense that we were all creating a new world, we all loved our work -- and Jobs and the people he nurtured at Apple, were leaders. I was on stage during the rollout of the Mac at Flint Center on January 24, 1984. We shipped our product later that year and went on to have one of the first hits for the Mac.
But I want to tell a different story. Not a personal one, because I did not have a personal relationship with Steve Jobs. However, I built products that made it to market through his platforms. And in doing so, my vision was shaped by his. And later, with podcasting and RSS, I got to influence the direction of his products.
I wish Jobs had been a blogger, had written about his design process, so I could quote something. But he was the opposite of a blogger. Jobs was a mass communicator. No one in my generation has mastered the art as Jobs did. Today, with the outpouring of feeling on the net, are people mourning the man, or the phenomena he could unleash, just by saying "One more thing."
And he was a designer, even though people seem to be overlooking that in their remembrances, calling him more of a visionary. He got down in there and made small but very important design decisions about his products. Ones that had wide impact, for better, or worse. And often they weren't things his products did, rather things his products didn't do that defined them.
The Mac was full of them. No cursor keys, so you had to use the mouse to navigate. I doubt if money was the reason, though leaving out the cursor keys probably saved a bit, and allowed the other keys to be bigger. It also meant Apple had to design its own keyboard, because they all had cursor keys.
No hard drive. No expansion slots. No fan.
A standardized user interface. This was very controversial with software developers such as myself. We felt what we did was user interface design. What would we do if the UI was already designed. New ideas sometimes don't get accepted right away by everyone.
And there were the almost-great ideas, like having networking built into every Mac starting with the Mac Plus. At the time networking wasn't even an option on IBM PCs. The networking, while a bold and great idea, didn't have the impact it should have had because the programming APIs were impossibly difficult. Had they been easy the Mac would have been the web, and we could have saved 20 years of incremental upgrades to turn the web into what the Mac was in 1984.
And at times Steve forgot where his ideas came from, or seemed to. He tormented Bill Gates, probably in jest, that he was stealing his ideas from Apple, when they both stole from Xerox.
I had some personal interactions with Jobs, but they weren't very special. I doubt if he knew who I was. He called me once, out of the blue -- to rant about the stupidity of people at Apple. This was in 1997 just after coming back. Even today, after all these years, I have a hard time saying I agreed with him, and I didn't say so in the conversation, I just stayed silent. He doesn't suffer fools quietly, that's for sure. Ooops, he didn't. Hard to think of him in the past tense. Why did he call me then? I have no clue.
In the first rush of memorials, people are comparing Jobs to Henry Ford (industrialist), Thomas Edison (inventor) or Walt Disney (media). But there's also a lot of Frank Lloyd Wright in there. All these men had imperfections, and greatness. But Wright's were, imho, more Jobsian than the others.
"He's so wonderfully prickly and famous for bursting into any house he built un-announced - just come in with a troop of people and show them the house, rearrange the furniture. He would even sneak into the houses to rearrange the furniture when the owners were away," T.C. Boyle wrote of FLW, but it also describes how early Mac developers felt after demoing their products for Steve.
To both Jobs and Wright the people who used their products were not as important as the computer or the building. More than the thing itself, what mattered to Wright, and I think what mattered to Jobs is the integrity of his vision. In a way it was a shame that the vision had to be instantiated.
Of course that's what made their ideas so great and influential. Among the many Jobs quotes worth remembering, and quoting -- Artists ship. I agree. And when you ship, along with the vision, comes reality. And then you learn and ship again.
There might still be Jobs shipments to come. We don't know what's in Apple's pipeline. But his thinking and vision, his person, will influence others and drive them to greatness, for generations to come.