Friday, September 22, 1995 by Dave Winer.
Sorry for the hiatus -- I've been making love -- with my compiler. Workin away on a new version of Clay Basket, which has suddenly become a network hit! I was at a party last Saturday and word started going around that the author of Clay Basket was there. A group gathered asking questions. How are you going to make money? What's it like working with Netscape? It was kind of fun, but it wasn't what I came for. There were dateable women at this party! Cooool. Who wants to nerd out, talking about software, when beautiful women are present? Not *this* software author.
I also don't want to talk about features yet because I'm still divided on the direction for this software. I have two routes I want to pursue. And it's turning into a competitive market. Clay Basket is an online outliner. So is Ceneca's SiteMill (still unshipped) which was acquired by Adobe Systems last week for an undisclosed amount. Then yesterday, another online outliner from Collabra was acquired by Netscape for the staggering sum of $90 million. This ain't Kansas anymore.
The online outliner category certainly is heating up. We have a few unique ideas. There's another software motto -- along with You Can't Hurry Love and We Make Shitty Software. It goes like this -- Loose Lips Sink Ships. An old World War II poster. Uncle Sam looks at you sternly. He's thinking about the letter you got from your boyfriend. He's coming home next week. Don't kiss and tell. He could get killed. Don't tell anyone! Loose lips and sunken ships. Not cooool.
So we keep our lips tight and hope for the best.
From yesterday's Wall Street Journal, Apple is toast. They quote Eric Nee, the editor of Upside, www.upside.com, saying there's nothing left at Apple. The company is a miserable failure. Spindler should go. What's the board doing? John Doerr, the famous venture capitalist, is quoted in the San Jose Mercury-News saying a war crimes trial should be convened for Apple management.
I think everyone is reacting too hastily. Their lips are too loose. This ship ain't sunk. Don't sign Apple's epitaph. Sure there are problems, you've been reading your DaveNets, haven't you? But, shit, it ain't as bad as everyone says it is!
They can't make enough computers to keep up with demand. That's not the end of the world. Want to go to the World Series? Get in line. Want to buy a new Mac? Sorry, you might have to wait. In normal times, with no reality distortion, this would be good news. But starting with Steve Jobs there's always been a reality distortion field inside of and outside of Apple Computer Inc. To Spindler's credit, he's been trying to tone down the hype, but the reality around Apple isn't quite up to normal standards.
Apple *is* overheating and under siege. Then came the exploding PowerBooks. We can't help but laugh. Sorry Mike but it's funny! The exploding PowerBooks are just a karmic answer -- what goes around comes around, Apple. Don't clean up the mess in your back yard, and sooner or later your PowerBooks start exploding.
Apple has done everything in their power to delete the Macintosh. Takes a licking keeps on ticking. Platforms with 20 million users don't just disappear. Big momentum. Proof: look at all the ways Apple has screwed the market, and the damned things are still selling!
Apple's beautiful six-color logo is the sixth most recognized symbol in the world. When people think of Apple they think of Jobs and Wozniak in the garage. The six-color Apple means love. It's a friend. That's what sells Macintoshes. Kirk and Scotty. The brash young American entrepreneur and his teddy bear friend. Kirk and Scotty.
The real Apple is exactly the opposite, totally driven by fear. That's what the world is finally tuning into and they don't like it. The market isn't disappearing. But reality is sinking in. The distortion field is flickering on and off.
Strategically, Apple *is* dead. They continue to think they're hogging the fast lane, but they aren't even on the highway anymore. But the machine is still running, so there's still time for a new strategy.
Once again -- an oft-repeated mantra by this columnist -- Apple should withdraw from key software technologies and allow other developers to lead in the newly competitive markets.
I checked with my friend at Netscape last week. The 2.0 browser implements menu sharing, a common protocol that allows script writers to add commands to compatible menu bars.
This is a big opening in the Netscape environment, but it isn't getting as much attention as it deserves. Macintosh script writers should take note -- web browsing on the Mac is considerably more powerful and open than on Windows. This will make a difference in the content development market. It means I can add smart commands to Netscape's menu bar. You can too.
I've been working on a day-to-day basis with Marc Canter for the last couple of weeks.
I've learned that I often pitch ideas at people with the assumption that they disagree with me. Negative energy. I've got to prove something to you, and I treat you like a hostile witness. It's a feedback loop. People react negatively to my pitch, only confirming my belief that they disagree with me. It's a subtle thing, but as I look at my relationships, especially those within my family, I see this presumption of disagreement making these relationships unhappy and ungratifying.
Then I saw Marc doing the same thing! That's how I spotted it in myself. I took a look at what was going on. I said to him -- Marc, man, chances are actually 50-50 that any random person you pick off the street is going to agree with you. Why not be an optimist and assume they do agree? And consider this, we're business partners, we have basically the same view of the world. So the chance that I agree with you is actually closer to 90 percent. And I've agreed to always consider your point of view, so basically I've guaranteed to you that we agree.
It was a revelation for me! A way to be happy with your friends and also have opinions. Another reason that being positive works for you and being negative doesn't. I call this Getting Into Agreement, and I'm sure I didn't invent it, but I just learned the lesson.
Sometimes the ratio is reversed. Joe and Jane have fundamentally different views of the world. Joe can listen positively to Jane, and still find that they virtually never agree. A win-win deal is possible -- they can make their products work together.
Competitors are in agreement with each other. They share the same view of the world. Competitors can be best friends. They can also make their products work together.
Another observation. Never marry someone who doesn't share your basic view of the world. If you can't get into agreement with your spouse, you'll both be miserable. This goes for business relationships too.
I find that, as a person who was ahead of the times in his twenties, I'm really in synch with them in my forties. Basically, much of the world is in agreement with me. So why not assume that instead of assuming the opposite?
I'd like to introduce yet another concept -- zooooming.
I started talking about zooming a few months ago, and now a bunch of my friends are using the term. Zooming is when you overcome your fears and trust the universe to make things right.
You fly and float and hum and weave and sing.
Opportunity knocks. Hello!
I like playing with people who zoom. Win-win deals all the time. It's cooool.
How am I doing?
PS: In the 9/11/95 issue of PC Letter, www.pcletter.com, David Coursey writes about free software. It's a new thread for the PC software industry. Blown away by the success of Netscape. Now the idea of giving away a whole suite of applications is out there. It's floating around the space. Someone will probably do it. This issue of PC Letter is worth reading.
PPS: Marc Canter's website is at www.mediaband.com. Clay Basket is at www.hotwired.com/userland/clay/.
PPPS: How to spell zoooming? You can use as many "o"s as you like. On really cool days I zoom. On realllllllly coooooooool days I zoooooooooom.