On Demand

At an ETech some years ago (three I think) I was standing behind Anil Dash in a Birds of Feather discussion about blogs. Doc Searls was "on stage" as I recall, with a few others in a semicircle, and a matching semicircle opposite composed of many of the blogerati.

At an ETech some years ago (three I think) I was standing behind Anil Dash in a Birds of Feather discussion about blogs. Doc Searls was "on stage" as I recall, with a few others in a semicircle, and a matching semicircle opposite composed of many of the blogerati. Sitting against the wall was Tim O'Reilly, who pointed out (as best I remember it) that he didn't have a blog because he could only post about half of what he might because the rest was strategic to his company.

At the time this struck me as an telling analysis of the double edge of transparency from one who has contributed so much to open source, and of course, profited from it. It also struck me as an effective way to be transparent about the lack of transparency. Since that day, I always view Tim's writings on O'Reilly Network and, lately, on O'Reilly Radar, through a filter based on his comment. Often, I glean more from the silence.

There was a lot of silence at JavaOne this year. Part of that was my own fault--I missed Jonathan Schwartz' keynote and press conference, save for a sliver of the audio call on the way to Half Moon Bay. Seth Goldstein's Majestic Research held a day-long deconstruction of Google where I wrapped things up with a conversation around RSS and attention. One fellow I chatted with at the evening cocktail party and dinner runs a fund holding some 5 billion of Google's stock.

Coming as I had from the Gnomedex unwrapping of Microsoft's RSS play, Dave Winer's OPML app, and Adam Curry's beautiful closing keynote, Google's momentum play seemed curiously out of step with the converging trend lines of Pirillo's conference. As if to underscore the sour note, Google closed the day above $300 for the first time. The next morning, Apple rolled out iTunes + RSS and brought the podosphere to its knees.

I was scheduled to record a Gillmor Gang with Jonathan after McNealy's keynote, so I watched Scott's talk on video before heading for Moscone only to find the session cancelled. Just as well, because I wasn't looking forward to asking Jonathan whether he and Scott had swapped jobs in the dark of night. Scott has shifted to the Agnew role, doing the weddings and the funerals, while Jonathan does the Going to China thing with Steve Mills in a cigar-filled back room.

Just as well because I haven't been able to upload the last two Gangs to the Podshow servers, due to a combination of demand and reluctance to do anything other than listen to Live 8 over and over again. Sorry, Adam, but U2 was f cking brilliant. AOL tore MTV a new one, as Rafat and Om so accurately reported in REAL TIME. Even Coldplay of all godawful acts shone with Richard somebody on a pretty ballad. Pink Floyd was superb. The Who put the past to rest with a pickup bass and drummer from Paul Weller's band. Did I say AOL rocked enough yet?

As a friend so presciently put it this July 4th, there's a hole so big you could drive a truck through it. He was talking about the trade publishing space, but he could (and probably was) talking about radio, television, movies, music, politics, technology, and any of a thousand enterprises that are essaying this remarkable human transformation we're rocking through. Lucky to be alive, we are. On demand--no kidding.