We're All Newbies
Thursday, November 25, 1999 by Dave Winer.
And Happy Thanksgiving.
It's been a long-standing tradition here, no matter what else is going on, I spend a couple of hours writing on Thanksgiving morning.
To begin, a recital, a few things that I am thankful for.
And then the thing I'm most thankful for, newness.
First, thanks to The Motley Fool for setting a shining example of the power of not taking oneself too seriously. Truth be told, our motto for Manila, "We're all newbies!" was inspired by the Fools.
Thanks to all the new Manila webmasters, including but not limited to Dan Gillmor, Doc Searls, Luke Tymowski, Lance Knobel, Alex Cohen, Andrew Wooldridge, Leigh Dodds, Lawrence Lee, Dale Dougherty, Karl Martino, Scott Loftesness, Steven Ivy, Susan Victor and Jeff Shelton; and of course Dan Gillmor's 30+ Hong Kong University students. Together, I think we're on the ground floor of one of the biggest opportunities to improve communication, ever.
Thanks to the weblog community for embracing the Weblog Monitor site, and for working with UserLand, even though some think we're the Microsoft of this little corner of the Internet. (One weblogger calls me the equivalent of Bill Gates, without the power, money or looks!)
Hey, now that I think of it, thanks to the weblog community for existing! How many new logs were started this year? How many will be started next year?
Thanks to the UserLand Support Associates for their patience, knowledge, professionalism, battle scars, love for the technology, and putting up with our nonsense. Our system works thanks to their passion and committment.
Thanks to Silicon Valley venture capitalists with a twinkle in their eye. I've actually met a group of financiers who love what we're doing. That's what makes the world go round! (At least my world.)
Thanks to Microsoft for partnering with us on SOAP, and thanks to Netscape for working on RSS with us. Both efforts prove that there's more to XML than drafts and proposals and debates.
Thanks to all the developers who implemented XML-RPC this year, and thanks to the publishers who syndicated their content in XML for My.UserLand.
Thanks to Craig Cline for inviting me to keynote Seybold/Boston in February and to Lance Knobel for inviting me to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos in January. I am looking forward to both the events, a lot!
Thanks to all the people I knocked heads with this year. Every time that happens I work thru more of my own stuff, get more free, happier, and worry less about what's coming next. I survive all these experiences, often to my own amazement.
Thanks to Brent Simmons, Andre Radke and Bob Bierman, my development team at UserLand for Frontier 6.1, which is the best release of Frontier, ever, hands-down, by far, no question about it. You guys are the best!
And finally, thanks to all the people who have stepped up and bought subscriptions to Frontier in the last year and half since we've been commercial. With all the hype about open source, it's great to know that there are enough webmasters with vision to keep the team going. Our customers are the smartest people on the planet, because they were smart enough to sort thru all the hype and buy the best web content management system. ;->
And further, thanks to our customers for giving us enough cash to buy new servers! I have three shiny new NT honkers waiting for apps to run on them. When I look at these machines I think how great our customers are, for giving us the money to buy these machines.
One more thanks to the people who taught me how wonderful it feels to be thankful! That's the biggest gift in life.
On Monday we'll release Frontier 6.1. In this release setting up a web server is browser-based. And maintaining and developing websites happens in the browser too. This is Manila. It's a new way to write for the web. It's content management scaled down, packaged, made easy to use. But when you lift the hood there's a powerful engine in there humming away, and totally subject to a creative programmer's imagination.
Next week we'll bring a few hundred new Manila developers up the curve. In the coming weeks they'll teach their users, writers, designers, photographers, how to create in the new environment. Thinking about all that makes my mind go whooosh. How will we do this? But I know that we will do it. All those newbies makes me nervous, until I realize that I am a newbie too. I've never done this before.
In Internet lingo the term newbie is roughly equivalent to "pest". I've never really liked the word, and didn't fully understand why until I came across a community that had only been in existence since the summer, and was amazed to see a newbie-defensive attitude. Then I started thinking.
What's the opposite of a newbie? An oldbie. Now, who in their right mind, would want to be one of those? If you spin it positive, newbies are people who are trying something new. So it seems pretty clear, if you have a choice, why not be a newbie?
That led me to an old jingle, the happy Dr Pepper song that goes like this. I'm a newbie, he's a newbie, she's a newbie, we're all newbies, wouldn't you like to be a newbie too?
Don't look now, but it's later than you think!
All of us, young and old, get to be newbies, in just 36 days.