Season for Interop?

Every tech company, large or small, seems to be playing for world domination. That’s okay I guess, if they have any hope of achieving it. But even the biggest most monster-like companies fall down when that’s their goal, so what hope do you have? And what kind of adolescent dream is it that you would be the last man standing? What’s wrong with playing nice with others?

I mention it because it’s one month after RSS was set free by the entity that did actually achieve world domination (only to realize they didn’t want it), and I don’t see any evidence that any of the vendors are doing anything but thinking about what they can do to better hold on to their users, and perhaps capture the other guys’ users. Maybe this is the right thing to do in a stagnant market with no growth possible, but a much better approach, imho, for RSS in 2013, would be to put our heads together and figure out how, quickly, we could make RSS more competitive with its competition — Twitter and Facebook. Grow the market, as quickly as possible. Strike while the iron is hot. Make hay while the sun shines. Etc.

When you’ve chosen to be independent, not part of a big world-domination-bound entity, the Amazons, Apples, Googles, Intels, etc. then you have, it seems to me, bet your company on interop. You can’t do it all. Your users will want to use your product with other peoples’ products. They will appreciate it, if it’s well-communicated, that you acted in the interest of their power and freedom, rather than in the interest of owning them.

People have minds. They read the news, they’re aware of how tech is letting them down, aligning with the government, using their love of technology to undermine their freedom. Maybe not everyone believes this, but I think if you’re seriously paying attention, you do.

So I choose to invest in user freedom. This leads me to interop and independence, not world domination. I want to have fun building hugely powerful communication systems, by working with others.


About Dave Winer

Dave 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.
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