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. :-)
In a comment posted here earlier today, Matt Mullenweg says that they're working with Twitter on a way for WordPress blog posts to appear inside Twitter.
This really should be a protocol that anyone can hook into, on either side.
If that's the way it's going, I'd like to get a look at it before it's frozen, to help make sure we're not repeating mistakes of the past. It would be a good idea to let other people at least look at what you're doing.
Matt, your product has benefited from lots of open development. Here's a chance to put something back.
They're passing a law in Washington that the President will sign apparently, that allows indefinite detention of anyone, including American citizens, in America by the military, without charges.
It violates the Constitution in so many ways. You have to figure the courts will stand against it, but then again you have to wonder.
With the law on the books, it will be possible to arrest anyone for any reason without due process.
Now the thing that really bothers me is this. What do they think is going to happen that will make it necessary for them to control the population of the US with the army?
What are they thinking is going to happen?
If this were a movie it would might be an alien invasion.
Or it could be the plot of Seven Days in May.
I've been making proposals to developers to work together for a very long time. I do it very often. I know they don't think highly of people who make offers to work with them. I know this because they usually don't even bother to respond.
The ridiculousness of this came home to me in 1989 when I proposed adding a feature to MORE to the people at the company I founded. They asked me to explain how this would increase sales of the product. I groaned. Maybe it won't increase sales of the product. But as a user, I need it! Do I have to re-implement the whole app to get this one feature. Silence. Yes. And I did re-implement the whole product. All for the want of a single feature.
Zooming forward in time, it happened when I asked the WordPress guys to add a feature that would allow me to store the XML source text of a post alongside the HTML rendering. No. I don't think they thought about it much. I had to spend a half-year implementing a new blogging tool just so I could have this feature.
An editor of a great magazine envied my River. I said great, let's do one for you. I'll do the work for nothing, you just have to rent an EC2 server for $90 a month. This is a publication with a hundred employees, at least some of whom have expense accounts. One lunch for one of these people might cost $90 if they took someone with them. Okay maybe two lunches. But they would get a new editorial product and a chance to move the art of magazines on the web forward. They would at least get a few articles from it.
I keep making proposals, knowing that it's going to hurt a bit, in some ways to be turned down for such stupid reasons. I think the problem is that in most people's minds their support is meaningless. They need other people to recognize them in order for them to get ahead. But one sure-fire way to get someone to work with you is to say "Yes" when they ask if you want to work with them.
I'm not saying you can work with everyone. But in the cases above, I was hardly a random person off the street. I had a track record with each of them, a reputation. I thought I had their respect too (which means they would listen).
And these are just examples. I continue to do this, privately and publicly, knowing that the the hit rate is very low.
The few times people have said Yes when I've proposed working together have generally turned out pretty well. Some of them have turned out spectacularly well.
I read a tweet from Susie Wee, an exec at Cisco who is very much a Yes kind of person, that quoted hockey great Wayne Gretzky who said "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." I thought that was profound (and righteous).
Next time I knock on your door, please think about it before you blow it off. It might turn out to be a better idea than you think at first.
Imho we need to re-engineer the science of web writing. With the proliferation of social networks, in so many different flavors and sizes and shapes, we've created a problem re where our ideas live and how they flow between the possible viewing points. With a re-think, we can do much better. And the first step of a bootstrap is possible right now, today, in what remains of 2011.
Yesterday I got an email from Joe Addiego, a partner at Alsop Louie Partners. He sent a pointer to a portfolio company of theirs that's building a product based on the premise that in the future there will be "a million little stovepipes." I like that idea! A lot.
I've been working on this problem in various contexts for many years. I bet lots of the data flowing between the stovepipes are in formats I had a role in creating. But we're not finished yet. There are some missing protocols.
We know how pictures and other data flow, but how will our ideas flow between these different systems?
In programming terms, I hope we pass them by reference, not by value. Right now most of what we're doing is pass-by-value. So if something changes after you've taken a copy of it, too bad. The change doesn't go with the content. This is not good!
This is the problem that Google has with Google-Plus and Facebook and Twitter have it as well. They're sucking content in from other parts of the web and displaying it in their own context.
For example, it used to be when I linked to a Flickr picture on Twitter, it would get up to 1000 views. Nowadays, they're getting almost none, because Twitter scarfs up the picture, moves it into their own space, and shows that picture to the people are looking at my tweet. In return, they don't have to leave Twitter to see the picture.
What if they could do the same thing for a blog post? How would you make that work?
It's kind of obvious, you'd do the same thing HTML does with images. The reason Twitter can find the picture is that a link to it is in the HTML source for the page you're linking to.
What if there was a link to the "source text" of a page, the text of the article, embedded within the HTML? More of the author's intent would be transmitted because the destination has access to the pre-rendered copy. There would be more they could do with the text.
As with all these things, the ideas don't really start flowing until you take the first step.
That's why I have taken the first step.
Can you do a better job of rendering this story than I have done? I bet you can!
I've been waiting for the new Google Nexus phone to show up, and today's the day.
This is the one they were calling ice cream sandwich.
I went for the unlocked version that works with T-Mobile and AT&T. It's about $800 with tax on Amazon. Same day delivery in NYC. Woo hoo!
I no longer do contracts. Never should have -- what a ripoff, and they take advantage of the lock-in to make you wade through their menus and talk to clueless support people when you want to make a change. For some reason the service is much better when there's no contract.
If you do the math on the Verizon deal: $299 plus a 2-year contract. Assuming $50 per month, which is probably pretty low, that's $1499. Pretty high price to pay for a little financing.
Also, why do we call these things phones? Can't remember the last time I made a call. For that I use Google Voice on my desktop computer and email when I'm out and about.
Next tech purchase, coming soon: My first XBox. It's time.