A new beginning
Friday, July 19, 2002 by Dave Winer.
Good afternoon and welcome to a mid-summer, pre-weekend DaveNet.
It's been a while since I've written. There's no simple or easy way to say this, so I'm just going to say it. I had heart surgery in mid-June. It's been quite a process. I'm getting better, and should make a full recovery, and be back up to speed by mid-late August. Whether I go back to work in the same way I did before, or choose to chart a new course, remains to be seen.
Also, I've taken this opportunity to quit smoking. It's been thirty-five days since I had a cigarette. I miss it sometimes, but I know I'll live longer, maybe a lot longer, as a non-smoker.
I started updating my weblog almost as soon as I was discharged from the hospital in late June. So if you want the details, you can read about it on the Web. Otherwise I'm content to stick to technology here, on DaveNet, at least for the immediate future. Thanks.
The stock market is having heart surgey too, it seems. We're back to pre-dotcom-boom levels, in a sense it's as if none of the mania ever happened -- if only we could be so lucky. It would be the equivalent of my never having smoked. It doesn't work that way, unfortunately.
From this point we'll get much better information about how companies are doing. Stock options as we knew them, are over. Salaries and benefits matter. Transparent management. Time to ride the Cluetrain, for real. Companies must make identifiable products for real people that they communicate with honestly, directly and openly. You can't view your customers, shareholders or readers as fat, dumb and happy; or they'll take you down the Enron-WorldCom road. It's time for the philosophy of the Web to become the philosophy of business. View your constituents as people with minds, and treat them accordingly.
Somehow the information technology industry, which is still riding Moore's curve, should be able to make some lemonade out of this. We're learning about the pitiful information technology at the SEC and the FBI, and that's just the beginning. They desperately need the combo of weblogs and search engines. Their legacy systems are horribly out of date.
Meanwhile the general stagnation in the software industry, which is the core of the western economy now, is a huge problem, and people aren't even talking about it. We're stuck behind a horribly inefficient system for trying out new ideas. A random Hollywood movie gets much more funding than a breakthrough software idea. That seems out of whack to me. The venture capital industry doesn't get money into the hands of the unemployed technologists in Silicon Valley. We could do so much better than we are doing. There are so many people who now would appreciate a good job with a steady salary and a health plan. OK, the VCs don't want to make that kind of investment. Who does??
These are just some thoughts to rekindle the discussion. There may be a lot of work to do, or nothing at all From my point of view, and maybe yours, it's a time for a new beginning. Let's have fun!