From a rough transcript of an interview with Evan Williams:
“The idea won’t be to start a website. That will be dead. The individual website won’t matter. The Internet is not going to be about billions of people going to millions of websites. It will be about getting it from centralized websites.”
I’m concerned about this. Evan is reading into the current rise of centralized services and thinking it’s more than a short-term trend. But I believe strongly that the open web will bounce back.
Putting all of our writing in one place like Medium goes against our hope of permanence, because there’s no guarantee Medium will be around in 20 years, and so all of that content will disappear from the internet if it fails. At least with independent sites and custom domain names we have a chance. We have control, so it’s in our hands to succeed or fail, not left to the whims of Silicon Valley startups.
Today is the 9th anniversary of this blog. Once a year I dig through old posts, remembering what the industry was like and the topics I was interested in. This time I found a link to a post Evan Williams wrote in 2001 as Pyra Labs and Blogger were struggling:
“First of all, the company (Pyra) is not dead, and the service (Blogger) is not going away. However: We are out of money, and I have lost my team.”
“Yes, things would have been very, very different if the Internet Bubble wouldn’t have burst and we were still in that…that, Other World in which we started. In that world, things that seem dumb now (such as launching a product and letting it grow for so long without making revenue from it a priority) made sense.”
The full text is “available on the Wayback Machine”:http://replay.waybackmachine.org/200102040700/http://www.evhead.com/longer/2200706_essays.asp. I wish more CEOs blogged with even half the sincerity.
SXSW Interactive starts this weekend. When Evan wrote the above, the conference was a few rooms along a single hallway. Now it’s a monster conference, spread across multiple venues, with a speaker database so dense I don’t even know where to start. Still, I’ll be there and hope to catch up with any of y’all making it to Austin.