Dave Winer has done more laps around the programming track than most of us. He’s seen the same code recreated again and again on each new platform, as the next generation of developers thinks they can start from a clean sheet of paper and not make the same mistakes as everyone else.
I won’t say they’re completely wrong … they manage to add some new mistakes every time.
It’s not just the code; they keep reinventing the same business models, too. For example: Create an open platform, get independent developers to target your platform, then shut off the API once you’ve reached critical mass.
Older guys see this play coming a mile away, but younger guys always seem to think this time is different, no matter how many times you warn them. But you have to keep warning them anyway, don’t you?
I think so, and I thought Dave did, too. That’s why I was so surprised by his response to a comment I left on his blog.
Dave was writing about why investors seem to want Dick Costolo out as head of Twitter. Marshall Greer wrote:
I like the idea of Twitter going back to its roots with developers. It plays to its strength as a platform. The challenge here is due to how many have been burned. On the flip side, there aren’t a lot of obvious alternatives.
The cynic in me says that’s not a challenge at all. There’s always a fresh pool of developers who haven’t been burned yet. And they never listen to the “old guys” who have seen it happen again and again.