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Who I am
By Dave Winer on Tuesday, August 02, 2011 at 2:46 PM.

People introduce me as the "inventor" of RSS, but that's not correct. #

I am a software developer. Many years ago I realized that computers are primarily useful as communication tools. That's what I've devoted my career to. Making great communication tools with computers. #

So that meant I worked on a lot of things, including RSS.  #

But I don't only develop the software, I bring it to people. To me software is a performing art. It's not like a painting that sits on the wall, it's more like a building, or a train station. If you're really good at software, you end up making a train station that a lot of people use. That's what success means to me. It's never been about making more money, although I've made enough money to be independent. But when I was a grad student I had that kind of money too. You can be independent by keeping your needs modest. I've learned that traveling light is more pleasant than putting down deep roots. I like to move around. :-) #

The software I've created: outliners, a scripting environment, content management systems, blogging tools, RSS aggregators, podcasting. Those are the major areas. I'd say my work in blogging, RSS and podcasting was seminal -- in that it created more than products, it created human activities. I'm better at that than I am at making products that everyone uses. Probably because I don't patent, and I'm very open about my development process.  #

I also just make tools for myself. I'm a web writer, so I have great web writing tools. I love to read news, so I have the best news reading software. I not only write and do an occasional podcast, but I have a dream of organizing huge structures of human-created and curated information. That's my current project, which I call the World Outline.  #

I didn't invent RSS. I don't believe in invention. But I did work hard, and smart and had great timing, and made the right connections to be the person who brought RSS into existence as a human activity. And for that, I'm extremely proud. #

I think of myself as a media hacker. #

I guess if you only have five words for a bio, "guy who gave us RSS" is okay. I think blogging was bigger, and RSS is part of blogging. I really did start blogging, from a software standpoint, and that's not chopped liver. (Although most of the people who write about this stuff aren't software developers, so they seem to take it for granted it was always there. It wasn't, it was a synthesis and required belief. Most people thought content management had to be hard. I absolutely did not think it had to be any harder than word processing. But people thought that was weird.) #

BTW, the President is wrong about patents. They don't help inventors.  #

PS: XML-RPC seems to be largely forgotten, but I think it's very cool, and when I build internal systems I always use it because it's deeply integrated in my programming environment. They really are remote procedure calls, no serializing or deserializing. That's all automatic. Even so it's my #2 site, after Scripting News. A bunch of other people still use it, obviously. The vision was to use the net as a web of applications. That of course has happened.  #

PPS: Favorite movies (off the top of my head, in no special order): Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction, The Departed, The Godfather, Chinatown, Casablanca, Beetlejuice, The Matrix, Dr Strangelove. #

PPPS: I also ride a bike, almost every day. Like today! Map. 1 hour 7 minutes. 11.62 miles. #

Christmas Tree
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