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 have to weigh in on this.
You should learn enough about anything to find out if you love it.
I had no idea I was good at writing software until, on a lark, I enrolled in a Computer Science class at Tulane University in 1975. So I'd say, looking back, that was a good thing. If it worked out for me, why not give it a shot.
But programming is at one end of a spectrum. It's like mountain climbing or spelunking, not like bungee jumping or hiking in the Alps. Programming is hard. And it's definitely not for everyone.
I think the reason well-intentioned programmers get irritated by the sudden rush of people like Mike Bloomberg who breathlessly exclaim that they're going to learn to program, is that it's disrespectful. This is something programmers learn to live with. Because we know how the machine works, and most people don't, they don't like to listen to us. Even when we're saying sensible things that aren't very deep or technical. Just listen! thinks the programmer, knowing that it won't work.
The thought that anyone could do it and it would be a walk in the park is just one facet of disrespect. When a skilled guy like Jeff Atwood, who has created some great software, blows up over this, that's what's probably going on. I feel the same way, yet I am an advocate for demystifying technology, for removing techies from the clouds, bringing them back to earth to inhabit with the rest of the mortals.
We need to strike a balance. If you're going to learn to code, it's going to be hard. But if you're going to be a great programmer you have to start somewhere, and like home people relating to tourists, we should encourage it.
But it might be more useful if more people attempted the equivalent of the hike in the Alps instead of trying to scale Mount Everest or even McKinley.
And we should all learn to listen better, because there is very little of that going on these days. Working together too.
Quora just raised $50 million. Quora is a very nicely done piece of software. Almost everyone thinks so. But I also think they're too late. There are already plenty of corporate blogging silos for people to write into. And the demand for them never was that high. So I think it would be interesting, with all their money and nice software, if they tried a pivot.
Here's the idea...
1. Position relative to wordpress.com. A simpler more modern, better-designed version. Updated.
2. If possible release the back-end as open source, so you can complete the picture. If not, start work on that, and make it shine. Make it an app platform that will appeal to developers.
3. Create a very simple document-oriented API with pub-sub. I recommend OPML because my tools already work with that format.
4. People can use your web interface to create and edit public documents, with a twist. Users can also provide the URL of a document, and you provide me with an endpoint that I can ping when it updates.
5. Also support the flipside of the protocol as well. Provide a URL for the document, and are willing to ping a subscriber when it updates.
6. This is recursive. Documents can contain other documents each of which supports this protocol.
Congratulations, you've just participated in the bootstrap of a document-oriented Internet, one where links are rendered in place. No one captures or controls anyone's content. You don't have to export documents, because they never were imported. There are a lot of places we can go from here. And the fallback is Quora doing the same thing it was going to do anyway. Except you've opened the door to lots of developers. The same door, btw, that the big guys have closed.
This is just a quickie. It doesn't have to be Quora. It could even be Wordpress. But it is a different model from the usual 2012 business model. I think that's a good thing. It's time to develop new models, because the current one is oversubscribed.
I'm now four days into using Chrome as my primary browser, after switching from Firefox.
Top-line review: My work is better. Not just in the browser, everywhere. Having a strong competent tool in web browsing brings confidence to all my writing and programming work.
I started a thread about this yesterday.
A story. When I got angel funding for my first company, the lead investor arranged for the company to get me a car. I had been driving a rented Dodge Omni, month to month, a real piece of shit. I didn't have credit, or money for a down payment. So every month I scraped together the rent for it. They got me a lease for a new gray BMW 318i. It was an even worse piece of shit. BMW's misguided attempt to go downmarket. I didn't understand that at the time, because I had never driven a BMW before. All I knew is that I missed the piece of shit Omni.
My friend, Guy Kawasaki, who worked at Apple, had a white BMW 535 that I lusted after. So after we shipped our first product, a pretty big hit, I told the board I was dumping the 318 and got myself a 535. White. Just like Guy's. I loved that car. It was a total eye-opener. I didn't know cars could feel like that. You could feel the tires connect with the road through the steering wheel. It handled precisely. Did exactly what you wanted it to do. All my cars prior to that were blown around in the backflow created by trucks. This car cruised right through.
In case you haven't already figured it out, the 318 is Firefox, and the 535 is Chrome.
Now I hope I don't have to write a piece a few weeks from now explaining how Chrome is announcing every site I visit on Google-Plus or emailing it to ex-girlfriends or future employers. :-(
PS: I still to this day drive a BMW, though they're just another shit company treating its customers like scum. But their cars are lovely.