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 was recently invited to discuss a topic of interest on a new service called Branch. What is Branch? I'm sure they think it's more than this, but to me it appears to be a simplified version of Disqus that can't be embedded in other sites. Discussions are invite-only. Like Twitter, it seems to be about what it doesn't do more than what it does.
I didn't respond to the invitation. Instead I pondered how I wanted to respond. I decided to write a blog post. More often than not that's how I respond, because I am a blogger.
If I used it I would be breaking a rule, one that keeps me from using services like Quora and Google-Plus. I'm not going to put my writing in spaces that I have no control over. I'm tired of playing the hamster. The business models of these companies, if they become successful, keep them from being part of the web. And it's not in my interest to support what they do, that's the broad reason I don't use them. Further, I am creating an archive of my writing, over many years. And if I scatter my writing all over the place, even if these services were part of the web, it would be against my interest to do that. Having it all in one place is value, to me at least.
But every time one of these services comes along, before they've become established, there's a chance to incentivize them to give me what I want, and thereby open their services up. To give us our cake, and view us not as hamsters in a nice fun and colorful and entertaining cage, instead as citizens of the web, sentient and powerful beings who create in a variety of ways that they can enhance by combining it with other people's writing. And if other people want to be hamsters, god bless. I don't.
The technical answer is to accept contributions in the form of URLs that point to content source, which can then be rendered in their space. To the reader there is no difference. To the writer, there's a world of difference.
My writing is already available in such a format. If they would rather use a different format, I'm open to suggestions. To see how it works just view-source on this page, and you'll see a link to an OPML document. It reflects the text of this piece, before it was rendered. That same text could be rendered in any context.
This is the only way I can participate in these discussions.
BTW, people ought to take a look at a system developed at Berkman Center called Harvard 2.0 or H20 for short. It's truly different from all the discussion systems I've seen elsewhere, and I believe it's likely to work better because the ideas are very good. It was designed, as far as I know, by Jon Zittrain and Charlie Nesson.
I see VCs and successful entrepreneurs promoting the JOBS Act, a bill with a confusing name. It doesn't seem to be about creating jobs, or that isn't the reason the investors like it. What it does is make it easy for startups to sell their stock to the public.
If you were a very trusting individual, you'd think -- what could be wrong with that? Everyone knows that investments are risky propositions. You could win big or lose everything, or somewhere inbetween. And if you could guarantee that every investment was legit, there would be nothing wrong with it.
But when you take all the regulations off public offerings, the same thing that happened in the unregulated financial services market in the lead-up to the crash of 2008, seems likely will happen in tech. Unscrupulous people posing as bankers ripped off a lot of ordinary people. People assumed that someone was covering their back, and no one was. And when the bottom dropped out, a lot of people were left bankrupt and homeless.
That whole mess was the result of the assumption that all the regulations established after the crash of 1929 were misguided, unnecessary, socialist, wimpy or whatever. In the lead-up to that crash everyone was betting on stocks, the same way they will be if this law passes. Everyone assumed stocks could do nothing but go up. Sound familiar? Yeah, that's what everyone thought about real estate, not that long ago.
I assume the investors of 2012 who are pushing for this law are well-intentioned people who are just unaware of history, or optimists about human nature. But we've been through this before, very recently. We should not have to go through it again.