Tuesday, August 11, 1998 by Dave Winer.
It's been a coding week so far, doing lots of sweep-ups and beta releases of new gadgets. Inbetween, in spare moments, I do a bit of evaluating and thinking, looking around and figuring out.
As I move I'm doing it differently. Once it was about accumulating things and now it's about casting them off. Keeping the good stuff, accentuating, emphasizing, enhancing it.
Something changed, by chance I saw something that I had never seen before, I got a glimpse of another level of freedom. Now I think I know how to manufacture freedom, I have an algorithm, a way to use my intellect to spot the problems and then pick my feet up and step by step work around them.
I've said it's my philosophy many times. I believe that I can't win without you winning. If I try to make you lose, I don't win. I think this goes back to our primate roots, we are tribal by nature, and then we built a great civilization by extending the win-win principle. How could you make a freeway or skyscraper or the Internet without lots of win-wins?
If we can work it out so that the energy you put into something furthers my cause, then I have doubled my efforts; and if I do the same for you, you've doubled too. It's just like mathematics, but not really. In this game, in this dimension, growth is where 1 + 1 > 2.
I've said I only go for win-wins, but a lot of times I cast myself in a losing role. Of course I see it that way, but the people I deal with think they're losing, and don't spend much time thinking about whether I'm winning or losing.
Something big happened for me in May. I got lucky, pure chance assembled a set of people who behaved differently from the way I expected them to. I'm not being too dramatic when I say it shattered my assumptions. A lot of my beliefs broke.
So, since May I've been appraising and deciding, and I've been walking away from lose-lose situations. It's hard to do, it's against all my programming, I needed to develop another voice inside my head, one that's programmed to ask two questions when evaluating an activity. First, am I winning here? And second, if not, is there any way to win? If there's no way to win, off to the dumpster! But only if I have the courage. If not, I wait a bit, and then look at it again. The issue is guaranteed to come up again. Round and round. That's the way it works.
So, I have a friend who has a mission but doesn't have everything he needs to accomplish it. I have what he needs. Can we make a deal? So I get a little of what he has (which turns out to be what I need to win), and he gets a little of what I have.
When I wrote this I was thinking of a specific person. But as I re-read it, I realize that there are about a dozen people who it applies to! Maybe even more. This is interesting. That creates my objective -- to turn at least one of these potential win-wins into an actual win-win.