Everyone is wrong sometimes

Just a quick note on the newness of Web 2.0 and how little weight you should assign to the many opinions floating around, including mine. The web has exploded in the last few years. A lot of people are making a lot of great things. There are also many self-proclaimed pundits and people proclaiming others to be pundits. Whether labeled as pundits by themselves or others, these people aren’t infallible; they don’t know things for certain. They are writing their best guesses and educated opinions, and they can be and frequently are wrong.

One of the most highly-regarded voices in Web technology today is the online magazine A List Apart. I appreciate their great content as much as anyone, and I’m not here to cut them down. But the year is 2005, and I would like to draw your attention to something they wrote about Web standards in February 2001, in an article entitled To Hell With Bad Browsers:

In six months, a year, or two years at most, all sites will be designed with these standards.

They were wrong. Even today we are pitifully far from “all” sites; probably fewer than 1% of sites are reasonably standards-compliant. I want to use that to illustrate my point: Anyone can be wrong, so don’t put anyone on a pedestal. Anyone! Not even someone who writes for A List Apart. It’s a most uncomfortable place to be, because falling off is inevitable. And it’s not fair to yourself, either – by looking at others as beyond failure, you’re selling yourself short, not valuing highly enough your own abilities.

Above all, please don’t put me on a pedestal! Much appreciated.

I'm Baron Schwartz, the founder and CEO of VividCortex. I am the author of High Performance MySQL and many open-source tools for performance analysis, monitoring, and system administration. I contribute to various database communities such as Oracle, PostgreSQL, Redis and MongoDB.