On being a software developer : I can tell you, from personal experience, that there's nothing more satisfying as a professional software developer than to have a product resonate with the market, to have thousands of people tell you that they couldn't work without your software. To get there, you have to learn from them as you teach. Yes, your software is great, I believe you, but if no one uses it, it can't make the world a better place.
- Mitch Kapor says we're all spending our careers implementing Dave Winer's ideas. That's nice but I always implement my ideas first, and sometimes it takes an amazingly long time for the cloners to clone them, and they usually don't get it right, and that includes Mitch.*
Well that's hubris, but there's a kernel of truth. Winer didn't invent blogs (nor claims to). But no one else works harder to promote the chosen tech. (WebLogs, syndication, OutLiners etc. ) nor manages to combine :
- vision (Winer's conception of software as social revolution is spectacular, and always grounded in a democratic impulse to give everyone equal access and right to speak)
- development (Winer always turns the vision into working products, formats)
- and leadership (he really gets communities of developers to adopt standards. Even though they hate him for it later)
Now blacklisted from the conference circuit apparently : http://www.docuverse.com/blog/donpark/EntryViewPage.aspx?guid=81e6c567-fc29-4b97-a1a3-a8a39d0da678
Quora Answer : Is there any individual programmer who became successful like artists do?
He's basically been developing on a series of themes : outliners, news-feeds, blogging software, communication and collaboration software, for about 40 years.
In doing so, he's guided by a fairly deep "philosophy" that's both humanist and technological :
- the humanist part : everyone's voice is valuable and everyone should have a channel through which they can be heard. That such free communication benefits us all.
- the technological part : that the best way to ensure this is through standards and platforms that remain reliably open and non-coopted by commercial interest.
I would suggest that taking Winer's body of work as a whole, you ought to consider him the equivalent to any "novelist / public intellectual" on the scene today. Yes, his "art" is code. But just as an intellectual novelist is more than a compelling story teller, but someone who aims to capture the zeitgeist and transform people's lives through his or her writing, Winer's art of blogging / blogging software is also capturing the zeitgeist and aiming to transform people's lives. It's a consistent and individual vision, which has both inspired other social software developments (from Blogger to Twitter and Facebook) and yet continually remains apart and critical of them. Still aiming to go beyond them.
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