I wonder what ever happened to debate? Or disagreement? Or even getting pissed at another person and coming out swinging — in writing that is.

Weblogging is a natural forum for debate: Person A says something that person B doesn’t like, Person B responds, Person A counter-responds, and the weblog readers add comments or sit on the sidelines, rooting for the champion of preference.

This type of communication isn’t bad. It isn’t evil. It isn’t even counterproductive, particularly if both participants care deeply about what they’re saying and it shows in the thrust and counter-thrust of exchange.

Yeah, I like to debate, and I like to argue, and occasionally, I even like to agree. Regardless, I find it stimulating to get into a written exchange with someone who will give as good as they get, who won’t back down, who will argue passionately about their beliefs or views or opinions. And even tell me to go to hell, as long as the “go to hell” is well written. If they’re a better writer or debater than I am, so much the better.

I search the weblogs seeking Rousseau and Descartes and instead I find Casper Milquetoast.


Bay area layoffs

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

SF Gate, one of my favorite daily reads (must add them to my list) had a week long series of articles on the past year from a San Francisco business perspective, including layoffs, dot-com failures, real estate hitting the skids in San Francisco and so on. It’s an excellent review — read the first entry “Bay Area Layoffs”.

As bad as it seems at times, only about 10% of existing dot coms have failed. I read that statistic somewhere this week and now can’t find the reference.

Doc Searls pointed out this Fortune list of dot coms that died this year. Look under S and you’ll see my old company —

Just Shelley

Car loan

Forecast for Northern California: rain, followed by rain, preceded by periods of rain, with occasional breaks of clouds that are just too tired or too wimpy to rain.

Found a loan for the car — Ouch! There goes my savings safety net. Must write more. Must sell more books. Must look for a new contract. Must not tell clients they’re idiots when they make the same old technology mistakes that are the equivalent to me of fingernails on a chalk board.

(Just foolin’ with that last one — honest. I never call clients idiots. Well, almost never. Not to their face. Not in print where I can get sued.)


Robb’s tops and flops for 2001

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

John Robb’s posted his Tops and Flops in Technology for 2001. Among the flops, he picked P2P, 3G, Portals, and Open Source. Among the tops he posted Tivo, Wifi, and digital cameras. As you can imagine, there is disagreement with his choices, such as Dive Into Mark.

I also take exception to John’s pick of Open Source and P2P as flops, regardless of his justification that they didn’t live up to their “hype” from 2000.

Yes, P2P did generate a lot of hype, primarily because of Napster. But P2P is not just Napster, or Groove, or any one application. P2P is a concept rather than a specific implementation. P2P is based on the concept of non-centralized Internet access; access that isn’t controlled by an one server or any one entity. If you apply this concept to Internet access today, it could cover email, weblogging, and even web services. It would even cover something like Userland’s Manila. Napster was only one aspect of P2P, and not a great one at that.

As for Open Source, well Mark has it right — John you missed the mark (sorry, pun unintended) with this one. Consider the premise behind open source: groups of people from throughout the world, working on source code for specific projects, in most cases without any expectation of remuneration or even acknowledgement. Now consider the products, as Mark did: Apache, Mozilla, Python, Ant, Linux, and the list goes on. Too much hype? We haven’t hyped these efforts enough! They represent the best of our industry; they represent the best of us. If we measure technology success purely by stock value and profit, then we’re in sad, sad shape. What was it Dave Winer talked about recently? Internet carpetbaggers?

However, I also realize that John is basically a Suit. He reads about trends, and he reads about approaches, and he writes about them, and he makes recommendations, and he manages — but John doesn’t get his hands dirty. He doesn’t get into the technology. He might be called a “technology expert”, but he’s not a techie. So he’s not going to look at Open Source, or even P2P from the ground level. He’ll look at it from a bottom line, or from a spreadsheet, or from the viewpoint of counted lines in publications, or from conversations with techies, but he’ll never have a techie perspective. So, I’m tempted to cut him some slack — he doesn’t really understand the technology. The industry, yes. The business, yes. But not the technology.

December 28th

Robb has pulled the entry with the following statement:

I am beginning to think there isn’t any real intellectual rigor behind the open source movement.



Seven wonders of the web world

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Hey, Blogger was listed as one of the seven wonders of the Web world, along with Amazon, Google, eBay, Yahoo, Project Gutenberg, and Multimap. I’m not into online auctions, and I’ve never heard of Multimap, but I’m a big user of Google, I use Blogger for this weblog (at this time), and I subscribe to several Yahoo groups. And I buy at Amazon (though I’ve been going to B & N lately).

Congrats Blogger!