Accept & Respect
Friday, December 13, 1996 by Dave Winer.
Rain rain rain, yes! Lots of rain. The creek behind my house is so swollen. The earth is swollen too. Everything is wet. I sometimes get grouchy this time of year, but I also get excited. Doing many demos, learning a lot, tweaking and developing, re-exploring various technologies. Watching markets develop. People saying yes. Some people say no. Being frustrated and not. The usual mix.
To those who miss my DaveNet pieces, and tell me so, that's cooool. The energy flows in different directions sometimes. Last week five projects arrived on my plate, all of them were must-do, the kind of fire-drills that make things happen in the software business.
So, Bonnie is on the box, she wants to know how come the cry of love is so alarming! Me too.
We've got a hangover here in NetLand. I'm tired of back-stabbing deals. One week Pointcast is making love with Netscape (sort of) and the next week they're in bed with Microsoft. Can't we just make software and have fun and stop worrying so much about who's killing who?
The faceoff between Netscape and Microsoft is boring. I've asked Microsoft to accept Netscape, but I understand that Netscape has made that difficult. It seems like a lifetime ago (it was earlier this year!) that Netscape officials were predicting that someday people would ask "What was Windows?" the same way they ask "What was VisiCalc?" and "What was 1.2.3?" Microsoft heard that, and decided that a more interesting question would be "What was Netscape?"
They're irreverent at Microsoft, even if the rest of the world worshipped at the Netscape altar, they could prove them wrong. Meet the new boss isn't Microsoft's song. Microsoft is the company that wore T-shirts that said "Delete Philippe" and sure enough, a few years later, Philippe and company appear to be deleted. Live by the sword...
Java Java Java was the rallying cry of the anti-Microsoft rebellion. Wishful thinking on the part of the also-rans. It was too easy for Microsoft to run around them. We saw it coming here in DaveNet. There was no way around it. Microsoft makes good OS! Add a little Java to it, why not, says Microsoft. It works.
In the meantime Java says cross-platform and everyone says Yes! They like. Then you ask about the Mac version. Oooops. The Mac is dead, everyone knows that. Why should we make any special effort there? But...
If Java is cross-platform, what's the other platform? Solaris? Hello! Excuse me, but no one in my neighborhood runs Solaris. Yeah, they gave this market to Microsoft. They blame Bill, but they should accept the blame. They gave him the market by blowing off the other platform that lots of people use.
Nuf said on that one.
Microsoft has so many smart people, but there are more smart people that don't work at Microsoft than do. There's a bigger picture to the net that may be escaping the leaders at Microsoft. It isn't just about technology. The net is much bigger than Microsoft because it gives the power to connect all those smart people that don't work for Microsoft.
So far it hasn't happened. The visible leaders of the Microsoft opposition are behaving like little boys in denial -- they don't get that they can't replace Microsoft. But Bill, man, watch out when it dawns on the rest of the world that they don't really need you anymore, no matter what PC WEEK and Newsweek think.
Key point -- we never needed the kind of self-centered leadership that Microsoft offers. If we're smart and learn to depend on each other, to remain focused on what each of us does best, and learn to make friendships and build trust among ourselves, we can dig in for a bright future, with or without Microsoft's help.
Microsoft's strategy is Embrace & Extend. To win, everyone else's strategy has to be Accept & Respect.
Re-align your interests so that when others win, you win. Be compatible, don't try to be monolithic, or put yourself at the center. You can't do everything and the world doesn't revolve around you. Talk, but listen too. There are smart people who can help you, but only if you accept them and respect them.
To Microsoft, it's going to be difficult to embrace and extend here. To embrace our power? Hmmm. To extend it? We'll see! (No way...) The deals they're cutting these days are steeped in intrigue. According to Microsoft's real plan, will there be a Pointcast Network two years from now? No, of course not. Are they secretly wearing T-shirts that say Delete Java? Yes, I think they are.
If one day, the smart people didn't want to have their future determined by Microsoft, we could decide not to have our future determined by Microsoft. It's that simple. If you choose to view yourself as Microsoft-dominated, you will be. If you choose not to be, you won't.
I'm betting that the web developer market is a huge growth area. I'm betting on their independence, that if given a choice, they will go with someone other than Microsoft, as long as they get what they want. I'm committed to always having the best technology, and to being a place where great technologists love to bring their most creative ideas and energy.
If you run a technology company and you agree with the paragraph above, then we can work together. And further, I think you'll win. You will have my respect and the respect of others, because your approach empowers me and others. You can have healthy friendships. You won't need to let Microsoft have your market. No lawyers! Just one thing. Respect.
PS: My loop: http://www.scripting.com/frontier/news.html.