Soma’s post announcing Popfly got me thinking. He uses the word “evolution”. I say it’s a revolution.
Over 25 years ago I was part of a movement in the computer industry and didn’t even realize it. I was just a kid doing things on my Apple ][ I didn’t realize I had no business doing. I was a hobbyist developer.
A bit later, in college, I wrote some of the earliest freeware & shareware for Windows. I am not ashamed to say I became a complete Microsoft fanboy. By my sophomore year in college I knew I wanted to work at Microsoft. I had gotten sucked into this because of the amazing power Microsoft put into my hands with it’s products (primarily Codeview and the Windows SDK) and the fantastic support they provided the “community” (CompuServe forums). They let me help them and I thought that was cool.
My first 9 years at Microsoft was spent 100% focused on 3rd party developers. In 1991 it was my job to make sure WordPerfect was successful porting to Windows. I wrote something like 200 KB articles about the Windows SDK. I was one of the cultish Microsoft Developer Relations Group evangelists. I was “the COM guy”. I was in cahoots with dozens of great people who were amazingly passionate about enabling people to do great things with the platform.
And then we lost sight of the independent developer. What happened to DRG? Where was the strong community? Where where the cool products “for the little guys”?
I don’t know where they went, or why we lost sight of our roots.
But I do know we have regained our commitment to that community. To you. The enthusiast. The hobbyist. The maker. The dreamer. The kid who doesn’t really know that the things you are building are impossible to build.