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I stumbled on an old DaveNet piece from 1994 on developers and platforms, which caused me to go back and reread a number of his classic e-mails. I forgot how interesting they were.
These were the good old days of the Internet, where you could write about Microsoft, and Bill Gates would write back telling you why you were an idiot. (Well, he didn’t actually use that word, but how would you describe: “Nothing I said… could have been misinterpreted to suggest [the idiotic thing you wrote].”)
My favorite piece (so far) is an e-mail that Esther Dyson sent to Dave, which includes these highly prescient lines:
The new wave is not value-added; it’s garbage-subtracted. The job of the future is pr guy, not journalist. I’m too busy reading, so why should I pay for more things to read? Anything anyone didn’t pay to send to me… I’m not going to read.
Yes, in a world full of content and advertising and pr, I still want to know what your friends and mine are thinking, but I want only what they think is so good that they’ll pay to have me read it — because they honestly believe it will raise their stature in my eyes.
If that isn’t foreseeing the downfall of newspapers and the rise of Facebook and Twitter statuses and Google AdWords, nothing is.