“To create stuff you have to take a stand. You have to say “This is the way to do it.” That pisses almost everyone off. “

“To create stuff you have to take a stand. You have to say “This is the way to do it.” That pisses almost everyone off. ”


I have been a reluctant disciple of Dave Winer for 17 years now, he even came to visit on Prince Edward Island once and hung out a conference in Cavendish.

In 2003 I made a pilgrimage of sorts to Cambridge for BloggerCon, which was an unconference that Dave was putting on.

On the evening I arrived I set out on a walk to see the town.

I got about 3 blocks and as I looked inside some sort of tiled-floored pizza joint, there was Dave eating a slice of pizza. I wasn’t hungry but I got one too and sat down with him. I remember that he ordered another piece of pizza after the first one, I had never seen someone do that before.

Dave had to get some printouts from Kinkos so we walked a few blocks and got those. I remember there were a lot of them and I helped him carry them. We seemed to walk all over town.

At some point we came across some memorial or statue or something and Dave had to put money in the parking meter, so we put money in the parking meter and he looked at the statue and said “it’s pretty neat, so much of it started here in this town. A lot of America’s history began here really.”

I said ‘I’m Canadian but that’s really cool’.

I doubt Dave remembers any of this, or me even, but for a kid from a small town, it was incredible to spend a day with someone who was an idol.

We had dinner that week with people like Betsy Devine, Christopher Lydonand Dan Bricklin. I mean, it was surreal. I had bread pudding for dessert! I had never had bread pudding that good in my life.

Even better than the bread pudding was the conversation. We talked about ideas. Big ideas. There was this kid at Harvard who was building a Friendster for college students. His name was Mark, but nobody knew much about him. A few folks were going to try to see if we could check out his software. Not kidding.

I remember Joey playing his Accordian, a lot. I think he was in the midst of falling in love with a girl that week. Ross Rader was there with him too, they were repping TuCows.

The ideas that week were all big. Blogging was literally going to change the world. I had my first product-startup called BlogTrack, which I had started in 2001/2002 .. It ran on an old computer hidden in a closet. I was really proud of it.

On that trip I also made another pilgrimage. I took a bus and a streetcar and another streetcar and made it all the way to the outskirts of town to the Apple store. I didn’t have enough money to buy much of anything, so I got an extra power adaptor for my laptop. The Apple Store seemed pretty awesome.

Anyway, reading Dave’s post about 20 years of blogging really got my mind going. Less about Dave and his blogging specifically, more about all the mentors who are out there and how much the best ones just give and give and give. They put big ideas out there and they challenge you to understand them and then they challenge you to do something about them.

It’s an amazing feeling to learn something you didn’t know, but it’s even better when you find out the world is completely different than you ever expected it to be.

That short week in Cambridge was that for me. A different world. I left and all I wanted was more.

2 thoughts on ““To create stuff you have to take a stand. You have to say “This is the way to do it.” That pisses almost everyone off. “

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