Remember that Star Trek episode where Captain Kirk and Spock went through some kind of rip in the space-time continuum and split into two personalities? There was good Kirk and bad Kirk, and you could tell the bad Kirk because he laughed maniacally and had a sash, and the bad Spock had a goatee. For some reason, I think of that episode sometimes when writing about Dave Winer, who helped develop RSS – which powers the newsfeed for this and other blogs – and was also involved in the genesis of podcasting.
As anyone who has read my previous posts on the subject knows, I have a fascination with Dave and his involvement in what is happening with RSS – not just because I’m interested in what happens in the syndication and feed/aggregator field, but because I find it incredible that after all this time one man’s personality is still getting in the way of so much. Whenever and wherever RSS is discussed, Dave Winer is the elephant at the table – a presence that dominates the discussion even if it isn’t mentioned.
Here’s good Dave, in a post on his blog that is aimed at newbies to the blogosphere:
“Someday, when you’re in the shower or lying in bed in the morning and get an idea that you wish you could tell everyone, remember that you have a blog, and go to the computer, and write it up and publish it. That actually feels pretty good, even if you think no one will read it, because you got it off your chest.
Kindly old Uncle Dave. You can almost picture him in a sweater by the fire. And then there’s bad Dave – the one with the sash and the goatee, who told Rogers Cadenhead that he was going to do everything he could to destroy the RSS Advisory Board because it was trying to mess with his creation:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“If anyone else decides to join up with [Rogers] on the terms of the old Ã¢â‚¬Å“advisory board” I will talk with each of them individually, until they see that it serves no purpose. This process will go on until Rogers gets the idea that it isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t go to work. I may at some time send him a bill for all of my time that he is wasting.”
The soap opera continues, as Dave has managed to convince David Sifry of Technorati.com to resign from the board, and now has inserted himself into a conversation between Brad Feld of Mobius Capital, who wrote to Rogers (see his comment on Dave’s post) because he has investments in RSS-based companies such as Technorati, Feedburner.com and Newsgator.com – all of whom Dave sees as enemies. He has decreed that RSS must remain as it is, he refuses to admit that it might be broken, and he will take on all comers who say otherwise.
One long-time observer of the tech scene recently described Dave’s behaviour to me this way: “Now he’s added Newsgator to his list of kills,” said this person, who has known Dave for a long time. “This is getting to be like a serial killer. There is a sick fascination in watching him stalk his prey.” Let’s all bow our heads and pray for Brad Feld, and Rogers Cadenhead for that matter – and for RSS.