Dave Winer, 56, is a software developer 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. :-)
I've transferred 35 domains out of GoDaddy in the last few weeks. I started the process long before the SOPA thing blew up. What finally got me to move was a $4.99 charge for a service I never wanted. I must have ordered it accidentally when reserving a domain. Something GoDaddy goes out of its way to make difficult and error-prone. We all know this. It could be a lot simpler. We all know that, I'm sure they do too.
It wasn't so much that I had the charge, but that it was almost impossible to get them to remove it. I got in contact with their support people and they said I had to do it myself, they couldn't do it "for" me. On what planet is a customer, expressing a very clear wish, asking you to do something for them. That's what you get paid for. To do things on my behalf. Hopefully you make enough money. If not, you should just charge more, not do these horrible ripoffs.
Even worse, the page they told me to go to, to get rid of the feature, didn't have the command they told me to look for. I used the search command in Firefox. The text wasn't there. I tried looking for text like it on the page. Nope. I tried viewing the source code of the page. Nope. I think they were actually lying about this. Unbelievable. All for $4.99.
Finally, I said I was going to send them a certified letter asking for the service to be removed from my account. When that wasn't enough, I decided to let them have the money and I'd just move off their service. And of course write up the experience here as a warning to any would-be future customer.
Of course there are a huge number of blog posts like that. GoDaddy didn't care. Fresh hamsters keep rolling up to the front door, ready to go through the same process they put me through. And all their other dissatisfied customers.
They like to say they have great support, and in some ways they do. But there is no way to have a line within a company that a customer respects. On one side of the line are the "nice" people, and over there are the assholes. If you, as a structural part of your business, defraud customers (and I believe what they do is fraud) then you don't have a "nice" part of your business. The whole thing is scum and deserves to die.
So, GoDaddy is backing off support of SOPA. But if they want to recover from this the way Johnson & Johnson handled the Tylenol poisoning scare, a textbook example of how a company should deal with a crisis, they must do more than back off SOPA. They must reconstitute the way they do business. Clean that site up. Streamline the domain registration and renewal process so you don't get page after page of boxes you have to check the right way to avoid getting ripped off.
They must change their company so that their support of SOPA could not have happened. Any company that takes sides against their customer's interest is a dead company. Every decision the company makes must be judged on how it effects their relationship with customers. Supporting SOPA was a bone-headed move. But this is a company that fights with customers over $4.99 charges for services they clearly say they do not want and have never used.
I can make them this offer because I still have 45 domains there. I am, as of right now, still a customer. I'm not talking about "progress" -- I want them to redesign their customer interface from top to bottom, and get the bullshit out of there. And teach your people that without customers you have no business, so their needs come first.
PS: Maybe it's time for Consumer Reports to rate Registrars.
If you have five minutes, read this item at FastCompany.
FastCompany: Using Empathic Listening to Collaborate.
I've had the same experience, on both sides. I grew up in a family where everyone was struggling to be heard. So you held the floor for a moment, before someone used something you said to go right into what they wanted to be heard about. There was probably almost no actual listening going on. As a result we all had a very poor idea of who the other people were, what motivated them, what they were trying to be heard on.
There's so much to say about this -- but hearing other people is all part of hearing yourself. And healing yourself.
When I was in my forties I made a concerted effort, with help, to go through as much of this as I could. And I was lucky that my parents were still alive so I could make a point of listening to them, to really understand -- whatever it is they wanted me to understand.
Real listening is a secret technique for being friends with children. No one listens to them, even though they are complete emotional people after age four or so, with aspirations, ideas, interests, and a thirst for knowledge and desire for understanding. Showing a child that you respect her or him is a way to help that new person feel respect for themselves. In a very important way you are making the world a better place. In a human-sized way.
If you want, try an exercise. With a close friend or family member, or a complete stranger (probably the same thing), sit at a table, or on the floor, facing each other. In a quiet place. Then take turns talking, five minutes at a time. When the other person is talking, don't say anything. Don't nod your head. Don't smile or give them a hug. Look straight ahead. Don't look up or down, to the side, behind you. Don't cry, show sympathy or fear. You may have all these feelings, but you may not demonstrate them. You are here for one purpose only -- to listen to the other person.
You'll find it's very hard to do, on both sides. To really hold the floor talking about yourself for five minutes, knowing the other person is hearing every word you're saying, and really absorbing it. For some people just this experience can be transformative. Listen to the actual words the other person is saying, and struggle to take them at face value, to really understand what they're saying.
That's why when I say "Thanks for listening" I"m giving you my deepest form of gratitude. Because life, in a sense, is all about being heard. Once you've been heard, it's then time to find new meaning for your existence.
This week might be the best time of year to do it. It's dark, the weather is probably not that great, what else do you have to do. And we're spending time with people we're close to. All the buttons are being pressed. Try getting through it by doing a little listening.