O'Reilly investment in Pyra disclosed
August 23, 2000 6:26 AM   Subscribe

O'Reilly investment in Pyra disclosed by Dave Winer on the FoRK mailing list. Was this a secret?
posted by rafeco (15 comments total)
Congratulations to the Pyra guys on having such a high class investor. It speaks well of you!
posted by rafeco at 6:27 AM on August 23, 2000

OT: please, what is the FoRK mailing list?
posted by piefke3000 at 6:53 AM on August 23, 2000

Can someone fluent in Winerese explain why Dave appears to consider this some kind of "betrayal"?
posted by harmful at 7:37 AM on August 23, 2000

explain why Dave appears to consider this some kind of "betrayal"?

At first I thought it was because Userland has apparently helped O'Reilly out a lot, or given them software or something, for free. IIRC, the O'Reilly Network was a Manila-powered site where Tim O'Reilly and several other O'Reilly heavyweights ran weblogs. The site seems to be down for me right now.

But having read Dave's later comments in the FoRK archive: "I wish people would realize that we have more to accomplish by working with each other instead of trying to 'beat' someone else." It seems he thinks everyone should work together. Well, isn't that what's going on? He also says he supports Pyra and wants them to succeed. Well, obviously they need outside funding more than Userland does (Dave's a multi-millionaire). I think he was just mad because no one told him about the investment.
posted by daveadams at 7:53 AM on August 23, 2000

this manila stuff any good? I was just looking through some sites...
posted by tiaka at 8:54 AM on August 23, 2000

Manila -- or rather, EditThisPage.com -- has, in some circles, been cast as the Geocities of the weblog nation. This is wrong-headed and often stems from a sense that Pyra/Blogger is inherently "cooler" than Userland/Frontier/Manila because it's run by "ver kids".

Personally, I think that the core products of Pyra and Userland are sufficiently different to allow them to co-exist. And if there's room in the market for half a dozen variants on the same dull portal venture (healthcare sites come to mind) there's certainly a place for the two firms, given that they're both well possessed of clue.

Of course, there's some irony in the fact that a company such as O'Reilly which trades on its open-source credentials is investing and collaborating in two proprietary ventures...
posted by holgate at 9:19 AM on August 23, 2000

Winer went off on O'Reilly for several paragraphs last night about this on Scripting News. He's steamed because he has met with O'Reilly, helped them set up and use Manila sites, and discussed the future direction of Manila at meetings with them -- only to learn later that they were an investor in one of the main companies competing with him.

I like bashing Dave as much as the next guy, but in this case I have to agree with him. O'Reilly should have disclosed its financial stake in Pyra before meeting with Winer and discussing his future plans for Manila.

As for Manila, my impression after fooling around with it for around 10-20 hours is that it is good software for programmers who want to publish weblogs but tough for general users if they want to greatly customize how it operates. UserLand is so focused on adding new features and exploring new areas that they don't always document features well or make them novice-friendly. You can do more with a Manila weblog than you can with a Pyra weblog, but beginners can get up to speed with Blogger much more quickly. Blogger also integrates with existing hosting and HTML much better.

posted by rcade at 9:23 AM on August 23, 2000

Of course, there's some irony in the fact that a company such as O'Reilly which trades on its open-source credentials is investing and collaborating in two proprietary ventures...

O'Reilly has been producing its own proprietary software for at least five years. They're not just an open source company; they're just really good at documenting open source technology.
posted by rcade at 9:24 AM on August 23, 2000

O'Reilly has their fingers in many pies. There is nothign wrong with this approach. It works very well for Microsoft.

Dave is probably upset because he feels left out. I'm sure that his disagreements with Tim O'Reilly, Brian Behlendorf, and others were a major decision point in why Dave was left out of the loop regarding the Pyra investment.

The bottom line is that what O'Reilly does regarding their business strategies has nothing to do with Userland or what Dave wants. I mean, if Dave had it his way he'd want every company to run their business splans by him before they did anything. It's silly for Dave to be upset about what another company is doing regarding strategic investments. Dave should worry more about focusing on his own company, fixing the flaws in his existing software and worry less about what everyone thinks of him, his company, or what other companies might be doing.
posted by camworld at 9:39 AM on August 23, 2000

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Pyra's still a privately help company, and after a quck glance around Oreilly.com, I can't see any mention of stock symbols (especially on the bottom of the Press Releases, the most likely spot to see them).

Therefore, two privately held companies doing business with each other. There's pretty much nothing that would require O'Reilly to release their investments to the public, or Pyra their investors.
posted by cCranium at 11:46 AM on August 23, 2000

Tim O'Reilly published his response to Dave Winer's complaint on his weblog (which is powered by Manila, ironically).
posted by rafeco at 10:50 AM on August 24, 2000

I remember there was a discussion somewheres (one of the weblogger mailing lists? or one of the fights here with efader et al. over the "business model"?), where something about an investment was mentioned, and O'Reilly was brought up as a potential candidate. To me it looks completely natural, and I'm actually glad to hear of it, since it means that Pyra/Blogger have an assured future -- at least near-term. (pace Deepleap.)

Dave can be such a ... sometimes. [fill in ... as you like]
posted by dhartung at 12:00 PM on August 24, 2000


No; I like schlemiel better.
posted by baylink at 1:22 PM on August 24, 2000

I love the way O'Reilly quotes all three versions of Dave's comments. He tends to write something, calm down, edit it, calm down some more, edit it again, ad infinitum. This is one of the disadvantages of being able to easily edit a Web page from the browser.
posted by rcade at 5:33 AM on August 25, 2000

Who says it's a disadvantage? :-)

This way, we get to *see* how much of a schlemiel he is.

(By way of background, I sent Dave mail about 2 years back, suggesting that he ought to look into doing a port of Frontier to Linux. Over about 4 messages, he called me every kind of motherfucker there is... and then, 18 months later, started a port to Linux.)
posted by baylink at 3:28 PM on August 25, 2000

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