Developing the perfect paragraph

Apr 25, 2013

Dave Winer wrote a blog post yesterday. He writes a lot of blog posts. Nearly every one is a home run (sometimes he’ll write about the Knicks, and I’m not just that interested in pro basketball — used to be, when the Bulls were on top — but even those posts are great to read). As the first and longest-running blogger, Dave is someone you want to be following.

His post yesterday was on the technical side: How to create an ‘include’ node. It’s about how to make one outline show up inside a second outline using the new Fargo outliner that he and Kyle Shank are developing.

I’ve reread the first paragraph of that post a dozen times, at least, and not just because Dave says some very nice things about me — that I’m smart, earnest and don’t give up. This public affirmation feels good. But even better than seeing that compliment is watching as he builds that paragraph to move beyond me, the individual, to make a very important point about what he and other software developers do in making products for users.

Fargo is a fantastic tool. I’m using it daily. And as you can surmise from Dave’s post, I’m sharing my user’s experience and non-developer’s feedback so that I can learn how best to use the tool, and so that my learning can help the developers make it even better. When I read Dave’s post, I thought, It’s that awareness and responsiveness in Dave that has attracted me to read his blog, try his products, engage in the community he’s building. And, That’s a pretty perfect paragraph, in my humble opinion.

Coda: Dave says it’s good that I break things. But earlier this week, in the kitchen, I brushed against the dishes drying on the counter, and one of the precious bone-white-and-silver china coffee cups that my parents received for their wedding more than 44 years ago crashed down and cracked in half. Bummer. Sorry, mom!

Anton Zuiker

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