... and the proof is there for all to see in the comments to his announcement of newsRiver - his new 'river of news' style RSS aggregator. A mere few hours after posting and the 74 replies are peppered with gushing praise. At the dawn of 2006 users are partying like its 1999.
Of all the fortune-telling for the coming 12 months I've read this past week the only thing that hangs in my memory is the advice that - the best way to predict the future is to invent it. And that, clearly, is what Dave Winer does all the time. But why is it that his vision of the future wins out despite the "inferiority" of RSS and OPML against the likes of Atom and XOXO? Well, because, he's so much more than a technologist - he's a one-man brand, marketeer, evangelist and union leader all rolled up into one. His union is the union of users, the ordinary everyday internauts like me who are absorbing the messages about RSS and OPML while those about loftier technologies go right over our heads. That must be incredibly frustrating to those who snipe at Winer but if they could stop throwing mud for a while they might learn his secrets.
How lyrical it is that the father of blogging should use his own creation better than anyone else, as a pulpit to spread his gospel across the expanses of cyberspace. If you're a software entrepreneur forget all the soothsaying you've read this week and concentrate on the lessons to be learned from the Winer Movement: - developing great software isn't about impressing your geeky peers with the technical genius of your 'boil the ocean' vapourware. Rather, its about communicating clearly the benefits of software that does a little, does it well and does it now. A lot of littles can add up to a lot, especially when you have an ardent army of followers to embrace and extend your vision.
I find Winer's abrasiveness irritating and I wish he'd bury the hatchet with Adam Curry but personality flaws (and some would argue that they aren't) shouldn't blind us to genius.