Posts tagged “john gruber”.

Just a blowhard

December 7th, 2010

Seth Godin on claim chowder:

While I wouldn’t encourage anyone to go as far as Ballmer in this endeavor, it turns out that no one ever got a terminal illness from claim chowder. While it might be frightening to imagine, it’s not so bad in practice. Try it.

Have an opinion. Defend it. It will make you smarter.

I truly hope it makes some opinionated people smarter, because they sure don’t sound smarter.

Godin references John Gruber’s (with some credit going to the guys at Panic) “claim chowder” label – where writers make predictions that turn out to be catastrophically wrong. Godin’s points is that fear of being wrong shouldn’t prevent you from making predictions.

But “having an opinion” isn’t good enough. Everyone can have an opinion, and anyone can throw it up on the web and defend it. But who wants to listen to just anyone with an opinion?

It’s the wisdom to post good opinions that makes the difference.

Wisdom comes from experience and research and paying your dues, along with some keen insight on whatever you’re predicting. Without insight or wisdom, you’re just another loud mouth who’s proved wrong after a few months.

Gruber does this with Apple products because his track record points to his particular wisdom and insight. He also has inside information that lend greater weight to his opinions. Plus Gruber thinks about these things deeper than just about anyone, and that gives him the vision to see baffoons when they appear. Sure, he’s wrong sometimes. But his record speaks for itself.

These yahoos that spout off opinions about products, sight-unseen? Defend those opinions all you want, you still look like a yahoo – unless, of course, being wrong comes as an exception and not a rule.

It’s not enough to have an opinion and defend it. You have to have brains enough to look at the situation and come up with a reasoned, insightful opinion based on experience and knowledge. You have to be right most of the time. Then you’re worth reading.

I’m much more careful at making predictions these days, and I think that’s a good thing. If I don’t have anything but an opinion to offer, I’m not a compelling read. I’m just a blowhard.

Newton quote of the week: the original

January 15th, 2010

“If Apple had shipped a Newton OS device the size of a Palm Pilot for $400 by 1995, the world might be a very different place today.”

- John Gruber, in a great Daring Fireball piece. A must-read for any Newton fan.

Newton quote of the week – 60,000 units sold

April 16th, 2009

“If Apple had sold even close to 30 million Newton OS devices in its first 18 months, Apple would not have been ‘beleaguered’, they would not have bought NeXT, and Steve Jobs never would have been brought back. Instead, IDG reported that Apple sold a grand total of only 60,000 Newton units in all of 1996, the Newton’s third year on the market. That’s about how many iPhone OS devices Apple sold per day — per day! — for the first 18 months after the iPhone went on sale.”

- John Gruber at Daring Fireball, on Apple’s too-intent focus on the Next Big Thing during the 1990s.

On using ‘we’ vs. ‘me’ when blogging

November 6th, 2008

I like to go back and read famous Mac-oriented bloggers’ first posts. Maybe it’s a glimpse back into how things used to be, before they got all famous on us, but it’s neat to see the earliest thoughts and ideas of people I read everyday.

While reading John Gruber’s early work on Daring Fireball, I noticed his earliest posts referred to “The Daring Fireball” as a blog, as a self-referential moniker, and as a body of people (“we here at Daring Fireball”). I’ve done the same thing.

So which is it? Do you call your blog by the multi-person “we,” even though – in the case of both Daring Fireball and Newton Poetry – only one person is responsible for all the content?

[And that's another thing: Maybe it's my journalism background, and its obsession with style guides, but what is the proper style for mentioning blogs? Do you italicize them, like magazines? Or do you leave them in standard text? Direct links every time you mention them? What say you, reader?]

Since I’m the only one developing copy for Newton Poetry (and yes, I’ve asked for help before), it only makes sense to refer to the blog and myself separately. If I do or discover something, I’ll call it “me.” When something is featured on Newton Poetry, I’ll mention the blog. No more, “We here at Newton Poetry” nonsense. It’s just me. “I found this,” or “A few months ago, Newton Poetry featured…”

Even referring to the blog seems distant and cold – like I’m referencing myself and my work from far away. It’s hard for an abstraction to be paired with a verb (“Newton Poetry did this” is like saying “The number seven ate nine”), especially when it really is me doing all the doing.

John Gruber eventually fell away from “The” and “we,” and now everyone knows it’s his show. That’s what makes it so good: his personality comes across. The “me” is dominant.

Good, one-person blogs are acts of ownership and passion, and I guess I feel there’s no need to step around who’s doing the doing. It isn’t the blog. It’s me. And it’s you, in the comments section.

Together, we make Newton Poetry.