Just on Dave’s Scripting News site, which is probably the only site I read as a tech journalist that I still read as a prole.
It just seems amazing to me that he is a polarizing figure to some (many?). I mean, sure he’s opinionated, thinks there is a right way and a wrong way to do something, but that’s because he’s run his own companies. Who wants a CEO that gets mired in nuance and grey areas?
I was writing about blogging, XML, RSS and such right when he was doing things, so to me, he was definitely on the scene and leading the pack.
It reminds me of Christoher Columbus and, most especially an essay about him written by Teller (of Penn & Teller fame). In it he talks about all of the things that Columbus did, and the times in which, he did them. But most important to me, and where I see the Dave Winer connection is in the end:
Today “enlightened” history teachers pooh-pooh Columbus’s role because he was a European. They point out that Incas and Aztecs and Cherokees and Cheyennes had lived in America for centuries before 1492; they credit the Viking oaf Leif Erikson, for stumbling upon a piece of North America, running away, and doing nothing with his “discovery.”
Such teachers misunderstand what the word “discover” means. There is a difference between blundering onto something, and discovering its nature, grasping its order and significance. Farmers in ancient fields had experienced mass and momentum. But we don’t say they discovered Newtonian physics. To discover is not merely to encounter, but to comprehend and reveal, to apprehend something new and true and deliver it to the world.
I’m not saying Dave is the Columbus of the Web or anything, but as far as being a champion of technology and comprehending it, that part I can definitely see. But so much of the blogosphere wants to give the spotlight to the Leif Ericksons.