“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.

Titanic Collapse of Celebrity

We are in an age of mega celebrity. It is everywhere, records are being broken regularly, and the intensity required to be a “fan” feels like it is increasing all the time.

We are seeing an incredible growth of celebrity but we are also seeing the end of an era in many ways. The next 5 years is the Red Giant of its lifetime: Bigger, more colourful and harder to ignore than ever, but ultimately at the end of its life.

There could be no more real example than that of Psy. Gangnam Style is catchy, a bit weird and massively popular. Even with over a billion total views, Psy isn’t getting paid:

Psy’s 900 million video views and 1.3 billion youtube account visits have resulted in $870,000 worth of ad revenue sharing. From the 2.7 million iTunes downloads Psy has earned $2.4 million. His streaming revenues are relatively paltry, a mere $60,000.

There will be more Psy’s, but then there will be none.

The age of the intimate web

I spent most of the evening hanging out on turntable.fm tonight. It makes the music sharing experience incredibly intimate.

Then I started staring at Facebook. I can’t shake the sense that there is so much presence on the site, it is obvious that people are there, but there is no intimacy. We come to Facebook today to transact in information. We do not share, instead we distribute.

Intimacy on the web means that we are aware of the presence of others with us at that place and time and that we can benefit from that real-time presence in a unique way.

Our lives are so slowly becoming digital. The transition is one that takes decades, not years. The thing I hadn’t realized until recently was that I was mistaking the cataloging of my life online for the living of it.

It’s the leap that World of Warcraft made in gaming and I’m positive that it is coming to the web sometime very soon.

Enterprise Startups survey

I have created a short questionnaire that I am sending out to people who have built or are building enterprise focused software startups. This is not a formal survey, and I am not doing it for commercial purposes. What I want to do is collect the insights, advice and experience of people who have been-there-done-that, or who are in the thick of it right now.

Please take a look and fill it out if it applies to you

I am done whining about mobile service

I have to say, for all the moaning and complaining that we do here in Canada about our abnormally high cell data/voice rates (and the complaints about our lack of any sort of “unlimited” option), I can’t imagine what most Canadians would think if we had to live on a network as bad as AT&T or T-Mobile. The networks in Canada are rock solid and the idea that a provider might claim to work in a certain area, but then have things like call drops and poor throughput is unheard of here. You either have coverage or you don’t. When you do have coverage it is solid. There are always exceptions of course, but as a general rule a provider will never say “yes, we service your city” if their coverage in that area is not excellent.

At this point, and after having spent much of the last year in the US experiencing AT&Ts service, I am happy to pay ~10$ or ~20$ more a month to get rock solid service, whether it is from Bell, Telus or Rogers. (New entrants left out for obvious reasons) The hyper-competitive environment in the US seems to have led to a lower overall QoS. Perhaps that is what the market wants and demands there, but I am happy to have some choice here.

Dachis Group acquires XPlane

Today we announced the acquisition of XPlane. This is on the heels of our recent Hinchcliffe and Company and 2.0 Adoption Council acquisitions.

Joining forces with XPlane’s is an important step in developing our complete set of Social Business Design capabilities. XPlane’s skills and services fit directly in to a set of needs that we have seen emerge in our customer engagements.

Xplane’s process design and change management capabilities will be key parts of implementing real change in social business. How do processes look today? How do they need to change and how do we communicate and enable that change?

I feel more proud than ever of our team and all the hard work that has gone in to building this company to where it stands today. With this latest acquisition we have grown from 4 employees when I joined to over 100 today. The truth is that we feel like we are just getting our momentum and there is much yet to come.

More thoughts from Lee Bryant, Peter Kim and Dave Gray.