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Why did you start writing Joel on Software?

I was on the phone once with Dave Winer, and the conversation wound its way around to Joel Spolsky. This was back in 2000, the joel.editthispage.com days. "He's our star," he said.

I think by "our" he meant the world of independent Internet publishers, which would eventually become the world of webloggers. But those early essays were clearly something more thought out than the online diary entries and quick-shot rants we associate with blogging. They were distinct also from the DaveNet essays Dave has been writing. They were crafted, sort of like chapters in a book.

What was your goal in writing the Joel on Software essays? Did you attain it?

Ryan Tate
Friday, February 27, 2004

That's really hard to say. I can try to invent something and backfit it to match the reality, but the truth is, I just had a ton of memes bottled up inside me trying to get out. Dave Winer has said many wise things over the years, but if there is anyone I was trying to emulate it was Philip Greenspun. He had a way of putting information up on the web that he thought would be useful to other people, no matter the relevance... he would write an essay about what kind of mattress to buy, or the process of buying and renovating a condo, just because he felt others might benefit to learn from his experience. And, Philip never really spent much time justifying himself ... he just wrote as if it were natural that people would use the web to help other people learn the things they had just learned.

So, you'll notice articles on Joel on Software like "Finding an Office in New York City" that come up as #1 in Google on that topic, which I hope will prove useful to other small companies looking for office space, even if it doesn't match the demographics of the rest of the site.

Joel Spolsky
Fog Creek Software
Friday, February 27, 2004

Philip Greenspun is definitely an inspiring guy, and I would extend that beyond the web to his "Philp & Alex's Guide to Web Publishing" book as well. I have read it several times over.

Ryan Tate
Friday, February 27, 2004

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