Alternatives to the W3C

Tyler Baker tyler at
Thu Jan 20 03:58:43 GMT 2000

Dave Winer wrote:

> > <disbelief>
> > + and - menus are so compelling that you'll exclude nearly half your
> audience?
> > </disbelief>
> Yes, I would play with new ideas even if only a dozen people could use them.
> I'm constantly trying to learn, to have new experiences, and I especially
> like it when someone like the author of the site I pointed you to, blows my
> mind with something I had never thought of but enjoy using. Basically I
> don't care that much about "half my audience." A couple of years ago we
> started building on the assumption that lots of people would have full-time
> net connections, at a time when almost no one did. I made a bet, I thought I
> knew how the market would develop. It takes a few years to make a new idea
> happen, so if I want to be in the market when it's happening I *have* to do
> things that only play on a limited number of systems.

Intuition is severely lacking on the internet these days as 99% of the software companies
out there just try and follow the hype and never try and do anything original.

If you think about the early days of the web browser, many people said it was too hard to
use for the average internet user and that the internet web browser was only for techies.
Well the web browser since the days of Mosaic really has not come along very far from what
it did then and what is does now, yet many millions of people learn how to "surf" the web
in only a few hours. The core technology and user interface did not change significantly,
but the mass perception of the technology and user interface changed from something that
only rocket scientists could understand to something as easy as using a remote control.

Of course when the VCR first came out, many people thought that using it was a complicated
task that only techie masters could ever understand, but somehow over the years even
though the same buttons are there, everyone including 4 year olds know how to use a VCR.

The idea of new types of user interfaces being "too" complicated is often a case of people
not having enough faith in people to learn new things. The entire world has been stuck in
WIMP land for over 20 years because firms and software companies are too afraid to go over
the head of their users.

Ann, I think Dave is just trying to be a rainmaker and there is nothing wrong with that,
especially since the internet has seemed to have hit a period of lameness over the past
two to three years where few original applications have hit the desktop. Right now you
have the web browser, instant messaging, email, and that is about it. Hopefully, more
software developers like Dave will choose to be rainmakers in the future.


P.S. - For the E-Commerce folks, if your users cannot afford to upgrade their 486 to a
modern 500 dollar computer so they can run the latest version of Navigator or IE, the
chances are they are not gonna spend a lot of money online anyways because the don't even
have enough money to upgrade their ancient computer.

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