Grand Larseny

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The Daring Fireball Wanes

Daring Fireball is losing its edge.

For those who may read this who don’t know, there’s a website that’s become very popular with folks who love technology called Daring Fireball. It’s been available for readers since 2002; I’ve been a regular reader since about 2004. It is authored by one man, John Gruber. I doubt he’ll ever read this.

I have loved reading his site mainly because he states what I’m feeling about technology in good, concrete terms, and elaborates on what subtle movements by companies can mean in the long term. He is seldom wrong in his predictions. I don’t think he can handle not being the underdog, though.

Over the past few months I’ve been following along with both is writing at Daring Fireball and his regular talk show, appropriately titled The Talk Show and there is a greater undercurrent of carelessness than usual. I’ve found his writing to always be brave and honest; part of being honest is stating things as directly as possible and part of being brave is only caring about the listener you have in mind. John seems to be exceptional at this part; only caring about being honest for his intended listener.

My problem is that he seems to be caring about less and less these days. Either that or I don’t care about what he writes as much. To me, it’s an interesting case of being a victim of good fortune.

Everything John does revolves to some extent around Apple. Apple has become the largest corporation in history. Apple is now the incumbant. When you are the incumbant you are treated differently; rebels take on a different shape when they assume power. John has been a very successful rebel online, writing honestly and bravely about the up-and-coming Apple. Now that Apple has the power, the shape of John’s writing is changing in my mind.

Windows and Intel are shrinking dramatically. Yep. And?

RIM is history. About right to me; this is old news.

And then there’s the Claim Chowder1 that just keeps rolling in. Very, very old. People say stupid things, this is not news.

So now that I’ve sufficiently buried the lede, let me tell you what I think should happen. John should do what I think all successful entities should try to do: be honest and brave and open about the future. Where does he see Apple going and why is Apple going to be the best? The pieces that still resonate with me are future oriented; subtle stings at ailing companies don’t make me laugh anymore.

Psychologically speaking there are different positions you have to take when you are the majority versus when you are the minority in order to resonate with people. The minority states its case as loudly as possible and never acknowledges the opposition’s points as even potentially valid. The majority acts magnanomous in victory and emphasizes its plan. I believe in the past John’s posts followed the minority position very well.

Daring Fireball is no longer a minority blog, it’s time for it to accept success.

  1. An idea Cabel had of keeping track of outlandish predictions against Apple. The idea being a play on the phrase Clam Chowder that would be served back to the predictor once the future proves them wrong.

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