Dave and Tim

I can’t hold it in any more…

I’ve battled it out with Dave Winer, that’s well documented.

However, deep down inside I always knew that he’s a really a good guy and that he’s brilliant on many levels. I’ve spent more and more time one-on-one, or in small groups, with Dave over the past year and I’ve grown more and more fond of his brutal honesty, insights, and sensitivity. That last part is key, he’s a sensitive guy. People are constantly hitting him up and getting very personal with him. One time I was at an event (Gnomdex), and this guy interrupts a conversation the two of us were having and gets within three inches of Dave’s face and he starts to really give it to Dave. The guy is busy telling Dave what he thinks and what he needs to do. It was really aggressive and obnoxious, and Dave had to ask the guy to step back and we both had to explain to him that he was barging in on the discussion. I realized that’s Dave’s life a large part of the time. Folks just getting up in his face and he doesn’t like–he’s a sensitive guy. Of course, Dave doesn’t have a filter and he calls b.s. by default–that’s his DNA. It’s what’s great about him, but it’s also created this massive stand off where Dave is hitting Tim O’Reilly up every day on his blog.

Now, I’ve battled it out with Tim O’Reilly as well, but not in a public fashion. Tim’s partner in crime John Battelle and I have been competitive on some level for 10 years, and I’m sort of an outsider like Dave is when it comes to the Battelle/O’Reilly Web 2.0 circle. Unlike Dave I’m not gonna ride them about it. Every year I offer to speak at Web 2.0, every year “it’s not a match” and that’s the way it goes in my mind. It’s not my conference, and some day maybe it will be a match, who knows. Every year my name comes up on multiple panels so I just smile from the audience knowing on some level I’m part of the event. Some day John might give me the nod, til then I’ll listen and learn.

At the end of the day I know Tim and John are both brilliant guys. They both add a lot to the conversation.

Tim suffers from folks hitting him up constantly just like Dave does. Take the Web 2.0 trademark controversy. Tim was guilty and beaten to pulp while he’s on vacation for just trying to protect the conference that he started. He has a right to defend the use of the term in a conference, and sure the lawyers were heavy handed, but give the guy a chance to respond! It seems to me that Tim’s way of dealing with people hitting him up and the noise is to ignore them. Dave fights, Tim ignores–both strategies work, but they don’t work well together.

Two different styles from two very smart guys. You don’t like the way Tim runs his events that’s your issue and he’s not going to engage you in beyond saying “do your own event.” You get blacklisted like Dave feels he’s been an you never let it go.

It’s sad that these two brilliant guys keep this fight going.

Both of them are brilliant and influential in our industry and they can’t bury the hatchet. Life’s too short guys–and that’s coming from the guy who’s been fighting in this industry for over 10 years (I know you guys have been in this industry for 25-30… so, consider that humble advice).

Tim, why not invite Dave to an event and give him the credit and kudos he deserves for doing so much for our industry. That’s all Dave wants at the end of the day: recognition and affiliation. He deserves it, and that’s all any of us want right? Take a chance, bring and let him into the tent. Be the bigger man if you have to.

Dave, if Tim does invite you into the O’Reilly tent accept the invite graciously and stop with the non-stop blog posts about Tim. Don’t use the stage time and platform he gives you as a chance to rip on Tim, web 2.0, etc. Take one of your many brilliant ideas and expand upon it for all of us to learn from. No one wants to hear about the inside baseball stuff frankly. We want to hear about the technology from you… you’re one of our greatest thinkers and do-ers. Teach us something brilliant about opml, “rivers,” rss, podcasting, syndication… anything but inside the industry stuff.

The world’s better with the two of you guys in it, and I know many of us would love to see the two of you on a panel together discussing and debating the issue in our industry. I want my Dave and Tim in the same place please–not two different conferences.

If not for me do it for the web 2.0 kids… 🙂

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