History of Podcasting or On the Shoulders of Giants
Let me start with me saying, “If I had to put two names to the success of Podcasting it’d have to be Dave Winer and Adam Curry.” But this story is a little more about Adam. This is not really a “history” it’s an offshoot of my previous post on memory but it got too long to stick in as part of that post (it started as a just few sentences).
To me, Adam has been one of the biggest proponents of podcasting and moving items onto iPod-like players. He’s not the creator of podcasting or even the word “podcasting”, he’s not the creator of attaching files to RSS feeds (though I think he suggested it to Dave Winer who did do it), he’s said he couldn’t even get people to do some of the work he needed to make this work, I’ve heard him say “I couldn’t get people to ‘do my homework’ for me”. He makes it sound as if the original program for receiving podcasts was parts that he found and cobbled together and had to learn applescript to do it (I may not be giving AC enough credit here).
Adam Green editing parts of Adam Curry and Dave Winer podcasts into a 35 minute history (I haven’t listened to it yet, I found it after I posted this and just added it).
A podcast that he and Dave Winer did (Trade Secrets, I think?) often gets credit as the first podcast and he denies it (although says they did earlier shows). So it seems to me it’s not like he’s just trying to get credit (he’s getting it for that item, but still denying it), it really seems as if he’s just trying to get some of it straight. During some of this the rival to RSS, RDF, already supported audio attachments but no one really utilized it.
He’s certainly one of the biggest proponents of podcasting out there and he’s always said he wants to somehow figure out how to make money off it. He’s not going to make money off of the actual concept, that’s done and gone and that’s where the history so it really doesn’t matter that much from a monetary standpoint. It seems like it’s just a history thing. Apple’s stuck it in iTunes and there are a million other pieces of software out there. His money is probably going to be from selling tools, space, advertisements and maybe his own shows (I’m guessing). I don’t know if you can really make money off the talk show network? and interviews? Oh and he does a great show and is very entertaining! This is probably key in the whole process.
It’s possible I’m getting some of this wrong (especially the RDF part, I’ve only seen that written once and maybe heard it once). But AC comes off as pretty charismatic and people who generally disagree with him seem to come off more like grunters/complainers (at least the stuff I read) and that’s always going to make things fall in his favor. Without Adam podcasting would have happened (no doubt in my mind), but he had a big part in it and people like him since he’s the old Mtv face. I’m not aware of any of the other “big names” out there trying to make money on the scale that he is and a lot of the “big names” out there have jumped on board of what he’s trying to do. In an alternate universe where Adam had nothing to do with podcasting I think he’d still have jumped on the bandwagon and be doing stuff awfully similar to what he’s doing now; he’s got the connections, history, money(?) and motivation to do this kind of project.
As I said, if I had to put two names to the success of Podcasting it’d have to be Dave Winer and Adam Curry. I’m not saying others weren’t there but those two seem to be the big push no matter where you look.
All this “stuff” just builds on previous technology. Web browsers were after Gopher browsers (I don’t think University of Minnesota ever gets credit for that) which was after WAIS, FTP and any other processes that it used and tapped into. All most of it was doing was putting a nice front end on “stuff” that was already out there. It’s possible that Gopher was concurrent with the original web stuff, but the web certainly wasn’t more popular until images was added and NCSA Mosaic was out (although no one remembers Mosaic, they remember Netscape).
Another way to look at market and getting credit: Apple didn’t create music files or create music players. They just took a idea and built on it on it and ended up with a huge percentage of the market of the MP3 players and a great on-line store. Now iPod is synonymous with music player.