What Dave said

What Dave said: Amen, Dave Winer:

Nowadays
it’s gotten to the height of ridiculousness. There isn’t even a boom,
just a bunch of insiders who think it’s cool they’re inside. No one has
made one cent off podcasting and already the NY Times says there’s a
business model and tries to give the market to their friends (who
haven’t shipped anything), and people at TED are ooohing and ahhing,
and wondering how they can get in on the IPO. These are the exact same
people that got so many to think they were the brains behind the last
booms. No wonder they want to do it again. It’s really profitable, for
some.

As for me, I’ll keep blogging about podcasting as I’m a
podcast listener and a user of podcasting tools. More than anything,
I’m a concerned (and sometimes amused) observer of something that is
really cool that will be screwed up and delayed if VCs (and those they
fund) and corporate executives (and the bloggers & media who hang on their actions) attempt to dictate who the winners and
losers will be. As those who fly first class between technology conferences take over the podcasting story,
the focus will be more about
the business of podcasting (and, thus, the inevitable boom and bust)
and not on the more important issue: the transformational nature of
what happens when everyone who
has an internet connection can truly add their literal voice to a
worldwide conversation.

Don’t get me wrong: Podcasting (specifically, the potential of
easy-to-create audio files that can be easily syndicated to the
listeners who have easy-to-use tools to manage them in any way they
want) is a big story for business. Really big.

But this “business of podcasting” hype will lead to an insufferably
predictable
cycle of investments, product launches and business-tech stories. And,
if
you really want to know what’s really happening (and not merely who has
the clout or skills to garner buzz), don’t read any of that crap
and just create and subscribe to and listen to podcasts.

So, come to think of it, maybe I won’t be blogging about podcasting much anymore.

Update: Let me clarify that
I am not criticizing those who fly first class and who may have the
fortune of having a fortune. And I’m not suggesting all those who
attend conferences don’t get something beneficial from them: I’ve
blogged enough of my positive and negative takes from conferences in
the past seven days to show that. I had hoped to use that bit of
attempted wit as a reference to my earlier comment within this post
that VCs and corporate executives can screw up podcasting by throwing
money at it, and, thus diverting attention from the real story.

  • Anil

    “As those who fly first class between technology conferences take over the podcasting story”

    Who are these people? Do they exist?

  • Doc Searls

    I love industry conferences, or at least most of the ones I attend. I also think most are flawed for all the reasons Dave and others (including myself) have been talking about for some time. Same with daily newspapers. I think the newspaper model is fucked in a lot of ways, yet I read papers every day and appreciate what they’re still good for. Also that they’re the only way to do what only they still do.

    We need more conferences like BloggerCon, wtf and Jerry Michalski’s retreats. Those will, in time, change the formats of traditional conferences as well.

    Focusing on “insiders” ignores how easy it is to become one, in an age when anybody with an incendiary idea and a blog can become a notorious arsonist.

    FWIW,I drove a bottom-price rental car to eTech. I flew coach to PC Forum. My car is still an ’88 Subaru, currently under a tarp held down by bungi cords because the roof leaks in the rain. I may be an “insider” by some measures, but I doubt most attendees of most tech conferences would want to trade their salary for mine. That’s not a complaint. Just a call for a bit of perspective and sobriety.

  • Bruce DeBoer

    Regardless of how those “first class flyers” feel about your comment, I thought your point was well made.

    “The transformational nature of what happens when everyone who has an internet connection can truly add their literal voice to a worldwide conversation”

    I’ve been involved in many conversations with philosophical types about “what does all this mean to me, the everyday non-blogging Luddite?” [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luddite] People’s eyes glaze over when web-opinion leaders start talking about life changing stuff. I think it would be awfully generous of us to talk about that topic more often.

    Thanks for the post.