ActiveX or Java?
Friday, September 6, 1996 by Dave Winer.
From Steve Wozniak, firstname.lastname@example.org: "I always thought of the Apple community as a family, and wish that Apple operated more that way."
Steve is one of the founders of Apple Computer. He was responding to my request that Apple share the flow thru www.apple.com.
Families of computer users? Sure. Of course!
No one has yet launched a platform with the intent of being kind to its community. Let's imagine a new platform vendor acting as an open distributor, instead of as an exclusive innovator. A financial entity that flows investment into the community instead of concentrating investment in its R&D labs. A platform that's loyal and fair to its users and developers could have a unique place in the world of interconnected people.
It's communication, not technology, that matters. ActiveX and Java and cascading style sheets aren't the issues. What really matters -- fostering healthy communities of human beings using computers to communicate more effectively. Everything else is secondary. I think this is the big idea, and people who see it as Microsoft vs Apple or Microsoft vs Netscape miss the big picture.
There are two sides to this argument, those that say "Let's Be Predictable!" and those that say Let's Have Fun! Apple seems to have been founded on the latter principle and has drifted into the former.
A new technology company founded on the principles of openness, one that built on the competitive efforts of hundreds of independent entrepreneurs, one that implemented a simple policy, every employee with their own web site, edited by them, saying what they have to say. One that allows power to flow thru the world, instead of just inside itself. Such a company would be in agreement with the world, going with the flow, participating in evolution instead of trying to stall it.
Such a company would have a chance competing with Microsoft.
Don't look to the "New Media" companies to bring you the future. They're still vested in editorial policies, control of opinion, the sanitizing of people, the lie that the future is knowable or that any single human being can take control.
The nature of computers is a chaotic cacaphony of humanity. When it all looks too neat, too sewn up, it's a lie -- because human evolution isn't really that neat. Familiarity and predictability are best-sellers. But the truth is that we don't know. Where are we headed? We have hope!
We also have many important things to do. It's time to understand how our planet works. It's time to visit other planets. Let's learn how to listen to each other and ourselves. It's time to evolve.
When we let go of the old corporate architectures, not just at a technology level, but at a human level, we'll be able to build more powerful connections between people. The old way of doing things, exec staff meetings, budget reviews; the introspective nature of corporations; is obsolete. This idea has run its course. It will eventually fail at every company, even new ones. We expected greater things from Apple. In the end, they are just another company. We'll get it elsewhere.
Just like there was a position for New Media, there's a position for New Technology. Leaving behind the Fear Uncertainty and Doubt and Embrace and Extend tactics of the past, welcoming chaos and embracing, without extending.
Steve, it isn't about ActiveX or Java. It's not about technology. It's about people!
The winner is a software company driven by the hopes and wants of people.
Who is it?