Doc Searls transformed my life.
Before I met Doc, I was a lurker in the online world of reasoned and reasonable discourse. We met briefly in 2002 and started emailing and talking on the phone. Here’s a part of my first post, on 8/30/02, entitled Outted by the Doc:
Doc challenged me to go public with the stuff he and I have been discussing, so now I face the obligation to write daily once started. I mean, you’ve got to be reluctant to blog unless there’s something worth saying and, if there is, there’s probably something there every day. Failing to post something is the blogging equivalent of link rot.
My problem lies in having the persistence to dredge it out every day and, once exposed, face how shallow it is compared to the natural writers I enjoy, like Doc and Dave and David and all the rest. But it seems, well, lazy to sit on the sidelines. Lurking is shirking.
My current life is an artifact of what followed after Doc introduced me to his circle 59 months agoâ€”you good people:
Blogging a conversation
I’m on the phone with Britt Blaser, talking about what matters and doesn’t matter about copyright, source code and all that. We’re co-looking at a couple of old pieces on the Web (here’s one and here’s the other), and out of the blue Britt says this:
What’s valuable is your relationship with your customer, not whether you can lock up your code.
I want Britt to blog. That way I could point to more of the kind of stuff he talks about on the phone. Its good shit.
He says he will. Stay tuned.
Coincidence?::: Both Britt and John Robb are former C-130 pilots.
In every way that matters, I was reborn by Doc’s encouragement to blog, and the felt requirement to live up to his standards.
Doc is 60 today. About a half-decade younger than I, yet he’s my mentor and I the protÃ©gÃ©. He’s my ClueTrainer, which is totally the right metaphor. Being schooled by young people is my MO, because my life is a series of adventure camps that my fascination requires me to enter cold, attempt to fit in and, if lucky, sorta master over time.
After August 2002, Tamara met Howard Dean through a mutual friend, clueing me to his good sense around health care reform. Doc and his wife let go of their New York apartment which gave us a great excuse for him to hang here when on this coast, and vice versa. They, and “the kid” were visiting us in May, 2003 when the kid walked into our postage stamp kitchen, squinted through the filters of a Santa Barbara aficionado of granite-clad, appliance-filled great rooms and shared his child-truth with us:
Wow! This closet has everything a kitchen has!
Four adults laughed ’til our sides hurt. It was during that visit that I posted the notion that there should be a sort of Doctors’ Grand Rounds about online copyright reform from the perspective of a presidential candidate:
For about 24 hours I’ve been urging Doc Searls to get all over this. There are still nine candidates for the Democratic nomination, eight of whom are congress critters who have supported most of the measures that have gutted civil rights and fair use of published materials. Dean will wipe up the floor with them, but can’t yet be sure of it, so he and his growing team are probably willing to listen to the blogging world and to consider a blog-based administration.
Here’s my recommendation:
- Someone arranges a meeting with, at least, Dr. Lessig, Doc Searls, Dr. Weinberger, Dr. Dean, and Joe Trippi. The agenda is simple:
- Will you go to the mat to return fair use of published works to the people?
- Will you sponsor a blog-based, blog-responsive administration?
- Will you promote a fact-based judiciary?
- If those answers are public, unequivocal and satisfactory, Searls, Lessig, Weinberger and other Net thought leaders should pull out the stops and get behind Dean, our last best hope for an administration knowing that managerial capitalism is about to consume the seed corn that makes capitalism possible. The nutrients they’re snorting up are the major food groups of the American miracle:
- A free and informed electorate
- The freedom to oppose the majority opinion (which usually isn’t)
- Freedom of speech, and, implicitly, freedom from single-agenda broadcasting
- Freedom from unreasonable seizure and, implicitly, limits on fair use of purchased media
That was the beginning of the slippery slope Doc had inspired without knowing it. At every turn in the five years since Doc inspired me to start blogging, he has been my compass, my inspiration and counsel.
I feel required to point out that I’m not into his man-boobs. Just to set the record straight.
And that treacle-cutter is the core of what Doc and I share. We are so politically incorrect that we are barely allowed to go out in public without supervision. Doc once told me a Larry Miller one-liner: “If women knew what we were thinking, they’d never stop slappin’ us!”
If you knew what Doc and I are laughing at, you’d never stop slappin’ us.