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Craigslist is progress

Sunday, July 19, 2009 by Dave Winer.

A picture named bonehead.gifI don't think I've ever written about Craigslist here.  Permalink to this paragraph

Probably because I don't spend much time thinking about it, or worrying about it. But I know that some people do, for example Terry Gross, the host of NPR's Fresh Air. It comes up when people talk about the Internet destroying things that matter, like the classified ads in newspapers. At one point in an interview with Wired editor Chris Anderson she asks, in a bewildered way, what happened. She was saying it was a shame that Craigslist comes along and does what the newspapers were doing, for a fraction of the cost, employing a small fraction of the people who used to support the classified ads in newspapers. Permalink to this paragraph

I'm not surprised, and if you think about it, it's very predictable. It's called productivity, and it's what new technology is supposed to do. We used to employ 20 percent of the workforce in agriculture, now it's just 2 percent. That's because of technology. You may say it's bad, but there's also less hunger in the US now than there was then. And there probably are far more classified ads today, now that they're mostly free, than there were when they cost money.  Permalink to this paragraph

It's productivity. It basically a good thing. And as long as we invest in progress it's inevitable. Permalink to this paragraph

Here's an MP3 of the segment quoted above. Permalink to this paragraph

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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 54, 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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