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 and NYU, 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.
scriptingnews2mail at gmail dot com.
My 40 most-recent links, ranked by number of clicks.
FYI: You're soaking in it. :-)
I just read a piece on Reuters with advice for new Facebook millionaires, that is for the most part, totally right on.
I have some of my own advice, based on experience.
1. First and foremost, remember who you were before the money truck hit you. You're still that person. The money didn't change you -- even if it did change your circumstances.
2. The most important difference in your circumstances is that you now own yourself. It's the most important thing you can own, in fact it's the only luxury that's really worth it. You can only sleep in one bed every night, drive one car, eat one dinner, etc. There's a limit to how much happiness consumption can buy you. After a while your posessions start owning you. A cliche, yes -- but also true.
3. Practically speaking, the lockup period probably won't prevent you from selling stock. A lot of reporters don't seem to understand the purpose of the lockup period is to enable the managers of the IPO to control the flow of stock to the market. That's important if there's limited demand for the stock, which often happens with smaller companies that aren't so famous. It almost certainly will not apply to Facebook. The underwriters can release you from the lockup if they have a buyer for the stock and they don't think it'll screw up the price for the other shareholders. They want to help you sell your stock because during the lockup they get all the commissions. After the lockup ends you can sell any way you want, and that can mean no commission for them.
3a. One of my investors said all the money he ever made was due to lockups. What he meant is that he would have sold all his stock on the IPO if he had been able to. Because of the lockup he didn't, and the stock appreciated significantly in the first six months. I guess his underwriters didn't like him or there wasn't much demand for the stock in the first six months? Doesn't make a lot of sense to me that all of a sudden, once the locked-up shareholders were free that demand would go up. Seems it would go down. (I think he was giving me a peptalk to not worry too much about being locked up. But I had completely divested before the lockup was over.)
4. Brokerage commissions are negotiable. That goes for buying and selling.
5. Have you ever seen The Graduate where the old guy tells Dustin Hoffman to go into plastics. I'm going to say something like that now, so listen up. Diversify. It makes no sense to have your entire net worth in Facebook stock. Look at it this way, if you had $10 million in cash, would you put it all into Facebook? Of course not, no matter how good the company is, it's too risky. The same goes if you got lucky and got all this Facebook stock just for coming into work for a few years. Sell that Facebook stock and get other stocks and bonds, and in this economy, keep quite a bit in US dollars.
6. A good approach to selling is to sell a certain percentage of your stock every quarter no matter whether the price is up or down. That takes the stress out of it, and gets you the average of the price over time. On the other hand, if the broker calls you up some day and says he can get you a hundred million for all of your stock, and you feel like taking it -- take it! There's nothing like trading a risky high tech stock for good old American dollars. They may have downgraded our debt but it's still the safest form of money out there. (And remember the importance of #2. If you can get transcendental about your money, it doesn't matter whether you have $100 million or $10 million. You'll still be able to buy anything you could want, as if being able to buy luxuries was what life was about, it's not.)
7. I remember learning that a friend, before I had my first windfall, was actually a rich guy who had sold a bunch of patents and was worth tens of millions. Yet he lived in a middle class home in a middle class neighborhood. He drove a modest car. He didn't act like a rich guy. That made a huge impression on me. Not enough to save me from the excesses of being a nouveau riche myself. I bought the 750IL and a mini-estate in Woodside. Later I learned to scale down my lifestyle, and I was happier! I was raised a middle-class guy and have middle-class values. Living like a rich guy is not so good, at least for me.
8. One of the things you don't anticipate when you choose to live rich is that you're going to end up spending a lot of your time with people who work for you. My friend from #7 had it right. Much better to spend time with friends. People who like you because of who you are not for what you have.
9. What is money good for? Distance. It buys you distance from everyone else. But normal human beings like to be near other human beings. We are a social species. So not only can't money buy you happiness, it can buy you a lot of isolation and that's not happy. You'll likely be happier living in the middle of the noisy messy world than all alone at the end of a long driveway in the middle of nowhere.
I agree with the theme of the Reuters piece. Don't expect the money to change you. To the extent that it does, you will probably have to unwind those changes later, so it's better overall not to make them in the first place.