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. :-)
The Romney "joke" about his birth certificate was no accident.
It got birtherism back into the conversation about the election. It had dropped out, and had been replaced with the abortion discussion around Congressman Akin. No doubt Romney felt it was unfair to tag him with that (arguable, he did pick Ryan as his VP). So he hit back with birtherism.
Democrats treat it as a moral issue. An appeal to Republican reasonableness, which does not exist. The best response is to not take the bait. Accept it as a joke. No more discussion. Change the subject.
I wonder if they recorded the talk I gave in Madison because I think it might make a good podcast.
A question came up -- what did I hope to accomplish with blogging. I gave an answer that I would like to amend.
I said Democracy. That by giving people their own platforms to speak on that there would be more listening and better government. By implication, I was saying that it had failed. But that's not all I hoped to accompish.
I wanted to disintermediate journalists. I had learned that the journalism system we had required intermediaries who I felt were not trustworthy. They created the stories based on their own filters, instead of finding out what was actually happening.
Of course this is an illusion. Because my view of what was actually happening was just as wrong as theirs.
What I really wanted, and knew it, was to arm creative people with tools to communicate with people who wanted to know what they think. I wanted to hear from the software developer what he wanted to accomplish with his software. I knew this was needed because I was having trouble communicating about my own software. I was reduced to the ideas that I could convince reporters to pass on. I learned lots of tricks, and as a result my products were successful. But I wanted to eliminate the trickery and talk directly to users.
And where I was a user, someone who read a book, or watched a movie, bought a car, went for a trip, needed medical care, I wanted to hear directly from people who knew what was going on.
However, I did not want to forgo what the journalists add. I want to emphasize that point. I just wanted to give them more sources and honestly, some competition from people who know what they're talking about, to encourage them to be better at learning and really listening.
Anyway, that's what I would like to have said when answering that question.
I started this thread called Scripting News back in the mid-90s with the theme of Respect. It wasn't the only topic, but it was at the core of everything. I had just been through a collapse of an industry because it didn't do enough listening. I wanted to share what I had learned in the hope that we wouldn't have to repeat the lessons again. Back then I tried to say what respect means to me. And I wanted to learn to practice it.
To me, respect means listening to what someone is really saying. It's hard to do. It requires you to quiet your mind, and accept that the world looks different from every point of view. You can do exercises in listening. Sit across from someone, they talk, you don't lean in, or tune out. No hugs, nods or head-shakes. No interruptions. Hear them out. Completely.
I find that when I get stuck it's because I don't listen.
There are lots of corollaries that fall out from this view. People don't listen to people who work at BigCo's any more than they listen to independent developers. People who have the guts to make their own software and put their name on it. This is a mistake a lot of entrepreneurs make. I've seen them do it over and over. A random guy at a big company has no more sway than you do. But you do what they tell you to do in the hope that their company will help you be successful. It does happen sometimes, but not very often. Only in special times.
Another one is that you can do much better at listening to others if you learn to listen to yourself. At all levels. First the gripes, then underneath that, what are you really trying to accomplish. What do you want to do with your time. Who do you want to co-create with, and on what terms?
That's why long trips by yourself are good for respect.
In software what I respect more than anything is this.
I respect people who ship software that's open to competition, and then write specs to show people how to compete with them.
It's just like the web. People come back to places that send them away.
The last decade has been one of people not pointing outward with their code. Or even worse, pointing out and then when people build on it, pulling the rug out from under them. From this must come a better appreciation for trust. Don't be blind with it. Don't give your trust without thinking it through, without really listening.
We're back in the mid-90s again. Will we do any better this time? I hope!
I spoke at a conference in Madison last week about venture capital, among other topics. The panel that was up before I spoke were talking about how to get VCs to love you and respect you and treat you well (by giving you money to begin with of course).
I thought most of it was bullshit, and said so (in a nicer way of course). People treat you well when you have power. Otherwise, don't count on it. It's a hard lesson to learn, but it's mostly true. When you have power, you can decide to change the rules. But my guess is that people won't like you or respect you for doing it. That's why the people who show people how to compete with them are so incredibly gutsy and special. It probably won't profit them immediately or directly. It might lead to their downfall. But it will make the world greater. And if that's what you're into, then I want to work with you, because I'm into it too.
These are not easy ideas to understand. I know that.