LeWeb13: Kevin Marks, The Web We Found [en]

The Web that Kevin found 10 years ago and how it is changing now. Left Apple in 2003 selling stock for $10 and joined Technorati, switched to LAMP. The browser war was over, IE6 had won, XML was replacing HTML.

LeWeb'13, Kevin Marks

Was everything over? Not really.

Webkit. The hegemony was not really there. Mobile: Sidekick. steph-note: I used to chat with Kevin at the time while he was on his sidekick commuting to work.

Did we have a social web 10 years ago? We did. Friendster. Realtime? Not really. Google updated their index once a month in the Google Dance.

They way you got to things on the web were portals.

What changed? Blogging. A parallel social web overlaid on the web we were all using. Personal publishing pages connected to each other and updated in minutes. Technorati was indexing that. Minutes rather than once a month.

The key thing were interoperable open specs. Over the next 10 years new devices came along. The Sidekick was ahead of its time, but these new devices all started out with a good web browser, and the apps came later.

Blogging was absorbed into social silos: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc. More streamlined but more constrained.

Mobile has now displaced desktop. Biggest OS = Android. IE is now irrelevant.

In 2013, social is consolidated silos. Links spread rapidly, hashtags bridge them.


– Apps will replace the web
– Facebook is your website — you still should have your website
– Mobile is some special different thing than the web that we had before

The App is just a browser that only works on one site. steph-note: I’ve always seen them like that.

Facebook is the new portal. Starting to feel like Yahoo a few years ago. We work around it.

Mobile screen resolution has caught up (more pixels than your laptop at times). Distinction of small and large screens is not as binary.

Long-term view:

– open outlasts companies: we’ve seen companies come and go, but open protocols are still there
– open protects people, they aren’t trapped in the destiny of a company; an open flow of data between sites protects you; open protocols is also why we now have all these devices (Webkit lay the seeds for Chrome and the iOS browser)
– open saves effort

IndieWeb: your own website, developers making tools, using silos to connect. Connecting across silos and becoming resilient against any one of those going away.


– you should own your own data, have a website which is not a Facebook page or a Google Plus page
– you should have visible data; what made Google and Technorati possible was that web pages were visible and indexable and shareable. Social silos going up are taking this away. You can’t crawl Twitter anymore. Bits of Google Plus you can’t crawl either.
– POSSE: publish own site syndicate share elsewhere steph-note: what us bloggers are doing

Make tools for you, not tools you think somebody else will use. If you don’t use it nobody else will. Cf. Odeo.

Document. Say what works. Open Source what you make.

If you’re a company an hire a developer to work on an Open Source project, and they leave the company, they might continue to work on the OS project and contribute code. A project in a company is only going to last as long as the management chain understands the roadmap — fragile.

Design and UX are most important. Protocols come later.

Be modular. Don’t try and build everything. Use silos and swap pieces out.

The Long Web. Are you making something to last or to disappear? Expect it to last. Don’t destroy history. Spread copies elsewhere. steph-note: blogging again

Bet on the Web: open outlasts closed. Make infrastructure.

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