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Confusing the cause with the effect

Tuesday, April 07, 2009 by Dave Winer.

A picture named scoop.gifI guess I should be flattered that some professional reporters are mistaking my writing for the cause of the problems in their industry, when my work is a reaction to what's happening.  Permalink to this paragraph

They could also react to the changes, instead of waiting for the wave to roll over them. Don't brace yourself against the wave, that doesn't work -- it's better to be limber and be ready to surf.  Permalink to this paragraph

I once described the change as jumping out of a plane with no parachute. The chances of a safe landing are virtually nil. The challenge is to prolong the ride, and to have fun while rushing to your demise.  Permalink to this paragraph

I once wrote: "Fifteen years ago I was unhappy with the way journalism was practiced in the tech industry, so I took matters into my own hands. And then dozens of people did, and then hundreds followed, and now we get much better information about tech. It will happen everywhere, in politics, education, the military, health, science, you name it. The sources will fill in where we used to need journalists." Permalink to this paragraph

This didn't in any way put even one reporter out of a job. Permalink to this paragraph

The reporters were going to lose their jobs anyway, as people's attention moved to the net and away from papers, and the news organizations braced instead of surfed.  Permalink to this paragraph

A picture named obamaGoHome.jpgThere was an opening, and some of us rushed in to fill it. It meant our ride was more fun and rewarding, but it didn't change the outcome, for us or anyone else.  Permalink to this paragraph

Same thing happened in my industry, software development, when I was in the middle of my career. Most of the stuff people use now is either free or very inexpensive. I used to earn my living by selling packaged software that costs between $99 and $249 per copy. It was all less capable than the software I give away these days. I give it away because I am a software writer. I can't not write software and feel fulfilled. But I share the frustration of today's writers. I've lived it.  Permalink to this paragraph

Even so reporters look for scapegoats -- and increasingly I am one of those people. So be it. I started claiming the title of Most Hated Person on the Internets, and life got a lot easier. If hate makes you happy -- enjoy. ;-> Permalink to this paragraph

I've also put free ideas out there that might help with the aggregation or curation of news, which are now super-hot topics, but areas I have been active in for about 12 years. Maybe if instead of villifying me, you did more listening, we could fly together instead of falling faster? Just a thought. Permalink to this paragraph


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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.


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