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A source of inspiration: Jon Postel

Monday, April 20, 2009 by Dave Winer.

I love doing the weekly podcast with Jay, because he's so damned smart and he surprises me with his stories. Not many people do that as well as he does. Permalink to this paragraph

This week his surprise was the idea that we could tell stories of inspiration to help get over the hurdles the future is throwing in our path. His example of Max Headroom was brilliant and new to me, I didn't watch the show in the 80s, I was too busy running my always-on-the-brink startup.  Permalink to this paragraph

A picture named postel.jpgSo he's going to bring us inspiration from media, and I expect I'll do some of that too, but I think my first tale of inspiration should come from tech, and I think it's probably going to be Jon Postel and his great law that came from experience in guiding the Internet through its early days. In all of the layers we've built on top of Postel's work, we've never found a situation that wasn't covered by his law, and never really found another law to stand alongside it. Every time I think I've figured out something I want to pass on to future generations it's always turned out to be a variant of Postel's Law. That's the sign of something profound and deep, and it's simple. Permalink to this paragraph

"Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." Permalink to this paragraph

People keep trying to break the law, but when they do, it always ends badly. Maybe someday they'll stop trying.  Permalink to this paragraph

I suspect when the fullness of the new Land of Journos reveals itself it will also be an instance of Postel's Law. ;-> 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.

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