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 read the piece written by the employee struggling with the decision about whether or not to sign on with Zynga after they acquired the company he wrote code for, OMGPOP. I absolutely understood his dilemma, and I could have predicted that Zynga would respond the way they did.
I spent enough years trying to be a person inside Silicon Valley companies, to see what happened there.
There's a lot of hands-off-ness, a lot of delegation. And humanity never entered into it. So when the guy at the bottom of the chain tried to raise a human issue to the guy one level closer to the top (probably a lawyer or a clerk), he got told there is no humanity here. Sign the papers. Period.
Wasn't much of an issue. The way the piece read, he understood who he was dealing with, and made the right call for himself. Case closed.
But then the CEO tweets something that previously would have been said at a board meeting, or maybe to a reporter. When I left Symantec, the boss of the company told Infoworld that all the programmers remained (I was a full-time programmer in addition to being CEO). They always kick your ass on the way out. But I left with a lot of money, so it didn't really hurt much.
But I've seen the way this process chews up ordinary trusting people. It's really awful and ugly, especially when the issues usually are nickels and dimes to the people who are deciding, and it's a life savings for people who need a little consideration. The problem is that the companies depend on these people to do the right thing without supervision when the company is struggling. But they can't get the time of day when the bet paid off and the company won.
It should be party time at OMGPOP. They just won the lottery. But the CEO is a stinker, kicks the little guy in the ass on the way out. Only these days there's Twitter, and this stuff leaks out to users. They're getting a little glimpse at what tech businesses are like. It's not fun.
I think the problem is that we force creativity to flow through corporatism. The two are fairly incompatible. The people who do the creative work look like total freaks to the operational people. And the operational people look like Stepford clones to the creative types. They really shouldn't have to work with each other, and depend on each other so much, because there's so little understanding between them. Whatever. Not my problem these days.
I'm flat-out seriously shocked (no April Fool) that there's this new trend of non-programmers wanting to learn to code. I have a feeling that when they find out what coding is like, it's going to turn out there's something else they're thinking of. I'd like to get a sense of what they're looking for? Are you trying to acquire a skill? Is there software you want to see made but can't get anyone to make it for you? Are you curious, do you want to know how computers work so you can have a better idea of where we're going? Are you seeing programmers get rich and you'd like to get some too? All of these are valid reasons to want to do anything, btw -- I'm not judging -- I just want to understand.
Something like this may have happened when blogging was catching on. I know a lot of people thought that when they started that they would be heard by lots of other people. And they had good reason to believe this, because people were telling them it was so.
As someone who has been programming for a long time, and who loves it -- I think this is an unusual thing. But if it turns out that programming is like driving a car, and everyone can do it, and lots of people actually do it -- I would be very pleased. Because people who are making software for themselves are hard to push around. And they will demand real computers, not the limited kind (i.e. iPads, iPhones) that are becoming popular (I use them myself, so this isn't judgment either).
However, I think people would be better off starting to get into it in a more gentle way. Start by running your own server. That could involve a little programming . And you'll be getting a solid basis in why you would want to program in the first place. Setting up systems that make your life easier. Automating things you do manually that a computer could do for you, perhaps better.
But this is a very interesting development no matter what.