Dave Winer’s collaboration with Bit.ly didn’t last long:
As you may know I participated in the intial design and rollout of the bit.ly URL-shortener. It was one of the most instantly successful projects I’ve ever participated in, up there with the release of Radio 8 in 2002 and MORE 1.0 in 1986. Sometimes the time is right for a product, and the execution is great and the communication is crisp. Everyone gets it, and it takes off like a rocket. Bit.ly is one of those phenoms.
They’re getting ready to grow a real business around it, and I want to go on to do other things. So we worked out a deal that leaves me satisfied with how things turned out and am no longer a shareholder.
I wish the company and the team the very best.
Bit.ly launched only seven months ago, so the decision to part ways with Winer this early suggests the working relationship wasn’t going so hot. With Winer’s copiously documented inability to work with others, that’s definitely the safe bet. But the Bit.ly crew is making nice about his exit as well.
Here’s John Borthwick, the founder of the company that runs Bit.ly:
Dave is moving on from his day to day involvement with bit.ly — I want to thank him for his ideas, help and participation. It was an amazing experience working with Dave. Dave doesnt pull any punches — he requires you to think — his perspective is grounded in a deep appreciation for practice — the act of using products — understanding workflow and intuiting needs from that understanding. I learnt a lot. From bit.ly and from from me — thank you.
A pleasure and a privildege.
Here’s Andrew Kortina on the Bit.ly blog:
We had the pleasure and privilege of working with Dave at bit.ly — he helped design and create bit.ly and he worked with us during the first phases of its development. Thank you Dave for your help, ideas and your passion for making great, truly wonderful products. Best wishes and please look after your puffer fish.
Startups occasionally snuggle up to Winer, presumably to exploit his Scripting News audience, which is heavy with tech reporters and Web 2.0 bigshots. Mike Arrington cozied up to him when launching TechCrunch, as did Loic Le Meur with Seesmic and Adam Curry with PodShow (now known as Mevio). The smart play is to do what Borthwick has accomplished here, which is to get away from Winer after the initial hype fades and before the inevitable moment where he completely loses his shit and attacks his partners.