Dave Winer Says We’re Full Of Sh**

Jan 11th, 2008 | By | Category: Corporate Podcasts, iPods & Portable Media Players, Making Money with Podcasts

It looks like podcasting pioneer Dave Winer took issue with Mashable’s rant about their inability to get advertisers interested in their podcast ideas.

Winer also took issue with our response. We said that if you want to podcast professionally, you have to start thinking like a professional podcaster.

“Both sides of this argument are full of shit wrong,” argues Winer.

Podcasts Are Like Porches….

“My phone doesn’t have a business model. Neither does my porch,” argues Winer. “I still like having a phone and a porch because they help me meet new people and communicate with people I know. Same with my blog and podcast.”

We’re not sure if we understand that stuff about phones and porches being like blogs and podcasts, but the gist of Winer’s argument seems to be that blogging and podcasting can’t be done professionally:

“Professional writers and broadcasters probably have a place, I don’t know, it’s not my problem. But let’s be clear – blogging and podcasting exist independent of a professional’s ability to eek out a living using the tools of blogging and podcasting.”

In other words, if you’re trying to do this professionally, Winer thinks you’re really not podcasting and blogging:

“A blogger is person who has an idea, expertise or opinion who wants to convey that to other people. The unedited voice of a person. What makes a blogger interesting is that they do something other than writing a blog. If all you do is write a blog, and if you want or need to make money from your blogging, it’s really hard to distinguish what you’re doing from what professionals who don’t use the web (are there any left?) do.

Same with podcasting.”

Podcasting Is A Technology, Not A World View

Like Winer, we’re big advocates for the idea that the most important thing about podcasting and other types of Internet media is that they make it possible for anyone to publish to a global audience.

Unlike Winer, though, we view podcasting as a technology – not a world view.

Here’s our definition of what a podcast is:

A podcast is a collection of files published to the Internet and made available as enclosures in an RSS 2.0 news feed.

That means a podcast can be:

  • the unedited voice of a guy, like Winer, offering his thoughts on the world;
  • an hour of great music, with little or no discussion, like the awesome dj mixes of DJ Steveboy. (I probably spend more time listening to free music podcasts than any other type of podcast);
  • Cali Lewis’s awesome GeekBrief TV;
  • a daily weather show, like Ed Roberts’ KC Weather Podcast;
  • a TV show, as TiVo embraces podcasting; or
  • something else that we haven’t imagined yet.

If you start saying that a podcast has to be “the unedited voice of a person,” you’re putting podcasting into a very tiny box and limiting people’s ability to imagine new ways to use the technology.

Some people are going to make personal podcasts. Some people are going to make commercial podcasts.

And some people are just going to make us freak out, by coming up with something completely new and original.

If You Want To Make A Commercial Podcast, Make It A Kick Ass One

It’s time for people to stop complaining that it’s hard to make money with podcasting.

If you don’t want to do the work to make a successful commercial podcast, make a kick ass podcast for yourself and your listeners.

If you want to be a pioneer in commercial podcasting, though, plan on it being hard work. Plan on doing the things that pioneers have to do. Plan on not having a roadmap. Plan on having to learn from earlier pioneers in order to survive.

Our advice for Mashable is this: if you want to make a commercial podcast, do it and make it kick ass.

But if you don’t want to think it through, take risks and work your ass off, maybe pioneering commercial podcasting isn’t for you.

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10 Responses to “Dave Winer Says We’re Full Of Sh**”

  1. podcastmama says:

    Podcasts are like porches, like Iowa caucus participants are lamps, chairs and sofas:

    Um, yeah. Sure.

  2. Eric says:

    I don’t agree with Winer’s premise at all. First of all, his phone does have a business model, and every month when he pays his phone bill he’s proving it. His porch also has a business model. Or does he think that mortgage payment for the house it’s attached to disappears into the sky somewhere?

    I also disagree with your premise that people should stop complaining about how hard it is to find advertisers. The fact is, there are frustrating practices (kickbacks anyone?), entrenched biases, and misinformation within the advertising world that work against independent producers on a daily basis. Much of the misinformation is propagated by old media afraid to lose it’s stranglehold on advertisers who are not bold enough to do a little independent research, or were burned in the dot com bust of the nineties.

    This is not to say you should fold up your tent at the first dry spell, or place blame on advertisers, but it is something to be very aware of.


  3. Scott Bourne says:

    If anyone is full of Sh?? it’s Winer. I am so sick and tired of this guy deciding for the rest of us who does and does not qualify as a podcaster or blogger. Who made him God? I’ve been delivering audio over the Internet as long as ANYONE – including Davie. And I DO make a living at it – a nice one thank you. And I don’t care if Winer approves. Not one bit. Nor should anyone else.

    As to the main issue – making money at this – to be clear – it is possible – in fact nearly easy – to make money podcasting or blogging. All you need is a good sized or valuable audience. If you have the right audience and you make a minimal effort to connect with advertisers you can get paid. I have a waiting list of advertisers wanting to sponsor some of my shows.

    But just because I make money at this, doesn’t mean I am not a real podcaster or blogger. In fact, even if you agree with Dave’s twisted view, it is possible to be unedited and still be commercial. You can be open and transparent and still attract advertisers. I am very opinionated on my shows. I don’t hold back for fear of offending my advertisers. Nor do I let them have any say in how I do my show.

    I think it’s time that our community stopped worrying about what Winer thinks. Instead, we need to get about the business of educating all sides – podcasters, audience, and advertisers – how this new way of publishing can benefit each group.

  4. Justin says:

    Great post! I can see both your argument and Dave’s, but I generally tend to agree more with yours: the technology of podcasting allows for a myriad of media to be distributed via a very convenient standard (RSS). But I can see why Dave is a bit stuck in 2004, because he was part of a new media crew of early podcasters who celebrated the birth of podcasting because they either a) had never made any audio/video media before (which is why anyone who had made TV or radio was saying, “what’s the big deal?”) or b) worked within the ‘oppressive’ TV and radio industries that wouldn’t allow them to speak their minds or make the media they really wanted to make. One thing the two camps shared was a disdain of traditional media (as a blogger Dave had been there for years) and they saw podcasting as a platform to express their newfound freedom as ‘new’ media creators and mavens, as outsiders who could force the winds of change to keep blowing. There was a close-knit community because no one knew how far podcasting would go, just like the early radio and TV creators, and early podcasters absorbed and commented on the media each other produced, even if it was poorly made or way too long, because it kept the community vibrant. It was refreshing to listen to these early podcasters at their moment of liberation, but even less astute outsiders knew their day in the sun couldn’t last.

    Unfortunately the good times have ended for many of the early podcasters, but certainly not for the podcasting industry, as more people with an expertise in creating quality and interesting media jumped aboard. It’s individuals and organizations and companies having no previous media experience learning how to do it themselves, and those media companies already making great content learning how to jump aboard. And it’s those people who have recognized how podcasting can grow into a vehicle for music, experiments in sound and vision, advertising, big budget productions for wide release, etc. It’s a whole new community, and it’s just as relevant as in 2004. It’s just different. Both are good for separate reasons, but now audiences have more options to be empowered in what they listen to and watch than in 2004. And that’s a good thing.

    Keep up the great work!


  5. […] Of which Podcasting News claims: “In other words, if you‚Äôre trying to do this professionally, Winer thinks you‚Äôre really not podcasting and blogging” […]

  6. info says:

    podcastmama – thanks. That Sam Donaldson link really cleared up the “podcasts are like porches” comment for me.

    Eric – I understand where you’re coming from.

    Commercial podcasting pioneers, though, need to take responsibility for their survival. Most will fail. They can either complain about it or they can regroup and try again.

    Justin – really good points. While a lot of us were thinking “Wow – we can put on a show!”, the general public was wondering why they should want to listen to a bad recording of amateurish content.

    I’m not sure if I agree that the good times are over for early podcasters – but some early podcasters are really disappointed at the way mainstream attention is now focusing on mainstream podcasts.

  7. Warren Kelly says:

    I’m not sure that Winer meant that if you’re doing it for money, you’re not a podcaster. I think he’s saying that if you are a “person who has an idea, expertise or opinion who wants to convey that to other people,” then you’re a blogger whether you get paid to do it or not, and if you aren’t someone who fits that description, you aren’t a blogger no matter what your website looks like.

  8. anonymous says:

    Why would we take business advice from a guy who hasn’t ever made any real money?

  9. […] Dave Winer said that I was “full of shit wrong” when it came to podcasting being in any way a business proposition. Paul Colligan told me to stop advertising and make money other ways (echoing Leesa Barnes’ statement). The folks at Podcasting News were so incensed over the whole deal, they put out a hit piece on Mashable in general (calling our news coverage essentially dry and frivolous), and disparaging me in particular as a podcaster without a track record. They eventually dialed back the fervor a little bit and published a piece that addressed Dave Winer’s points directly, and then agrees with my original piece (although, I’d definitely categorize it as “acrimonious agreement”) with the conclusion that “podcasting is a technology, not a world view.” […]

  10. I’m not sure what Dave Winer is actually saying this time. Every week it seems to be a new rant with him–when he falls out of the spotlight for a few days he cooks up a new scheme to get people talking about him. I want to see Adam Curry and Dave Winer take it all out in the ring at Wrestlemania 78 in a “Loser Leave The Internet” match. Get real, Dave. Go have a sandwich and take a cool-down walk around the lawn or something.

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