In the beginning, there was MovableType, and it was good. In a world with precious few (good) options for online publishing, it was a beacon of light in the dark days of relying only on FTP updates. People flocked to it, and huge business / magazine sites were built upon it, as well as the blogs / portfolios of quite a few talented designers - For instance: Dan, Dave and Doug. Then, their licensing changed. There's a whole history around that, which I won't get into, but suffice it to say people were a bit upset.
Nearly overnight, people migrated their data angrily from MT to various other solutions out there, creating a backlash of near Microsoft proportions. Six Apart went from being hero of the everyman to evil corporation out to steal everyone's wallet-filling. We as site designers started to look for other alternatives, complaining the whole time that someone actually wanted money for an established product. After all, this is the Internet, right?
Yes that's true, but here's the kicker - it's their product. Not only that, it's a dang good one. Without Six Apart, blogging would not be the phenomenon it is today. I have slowly come to realize this, after several years of basically branding them as untrustworthy, when really they're just people like you or me, trying to make a decent living with the talents they've been blessed with. Anyway, that's a long intro to what I'm about to say. I owe someone an apology. At this year's South by Southwest, I attended a panel on new web technologies. One of the speakers was Mena Trott, president and co-founder of Six Apart. Going into this panel, I was already decidedly biased. In the panel, the topic of LiveJournal came up. They had acquired LiveJournal some time ago, but it still lacks the polish of say, Typepad.
During the SXSW panel, Mena acknowledged this fact, and talked about where their priorities are currently focused. So, I'm sitting there thinking they're like any big company, buying out the competition, and just running 'em into the ground. This really is not the case, but I commented recently on Brian Bailey's blog with the same mindset. I'm not sure at what point in my life I went from being anonymous, to people actually caring what I have to say, but this brought about quite a refutation by Anil Dash, a VP at Six Apart. In short, he is right and I was wrong to say what I did, how I did.
I have since talked to Anil a few times, and lo and behold - he's a real person with feelings too. He was very gracious, and took my ranting in stride, handling it professionally and admirably. After several conversations with him, and of my own accord, I felt I should clear the air. So, while this doesn't take back what I said, hopefully it will help to soften my off the cuff remarks. Again, my apologies to Mena and the hard working people of Six Apart.