Without Whom Not

So Cory Doctorow hates Facebook. I think that is too strong an emotion. But I like Doctorow and respect his judgement.

The value of a virtual network is ultimately based in real life experience. Websites like Xing, LinkedIn or Facebook mostly serve as reflections and reminders of real-life connections.

Yesterday on Xing I chanced to meet an old business acquaintance with whom I share a truly pivotal experience. Thomas Dahlmanns, then working for Pixelpark, had supported Georg Hessmann and me at a very decisive moment, in the year of 1998. Georg and I were working on the ultimate relaunch of Spiegel Online at that time, and Thomas generously helped us with the introduction of Vignette’s Story Server content management system. Two paid afternoons, no contract, no big deal. But, in retrospect, the very starting point of Spiegel Online’s success story. Nearly nobody else in Germany knew anything about professional content management, certainly nobody else knew about Story Server.

The late great american philosopher Donald Davidson dedicated one of his books to his mentor Willard V. O. Quine with the words “Without Whom Not”. This is my message to Matthias Müller von Blumencron: You owe Thomas Dahlmanns a dedication like that.