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The sustainable web (and why sustainability is a kind of independence) #indieweb #iiw

In his excellent newsletter Things That Have Caught My Attention, Dan Hon writes:

So my thing is this: not an indie web, but a sustainable one. One that is kind of adjacent to the indie web, but that builds long-lasting, reliable services, not ones that disappear. This adjacency comes from the answers to the question of: what kind of attributes are required for a sustainable web? Do you need easily exportable data? Sure. Do you need some element of user control? Sure. Are those the *defining* characteristics? Not really. But I think we might be verging on a sort of turning point where applications and services can, at the outset, say: "you know what, here's our plan for being around for a while so you can *trust* us and invest time in us". [...] A web where we build for the long-term, and perhaps pulling back from explosive, burn bright and short products and services.

You should read the whole newsletter here, and subscribe over here.

I buy into this completely.

I also believe, strongly, that sustainability is a kind of independence, and therefore something that should go hand-in-hand with the . If you're going to own your site and your own presence, you should be able to do so in a way that you're going to keep up: if you're writing your own platform or handcoding your own site (as a small minority will), you've got to make sure you'll keep writing your own platform or site, because otherwise what's the point? If you're building a startup that aims to solve a problem for real people, shouldn't you ensure that the product or service you're building can continue to exist? Otherwise the point is simply to make a lot of money. I'm not knocking that as a goal in itself - I am very interested in making my project a financial success - but if you're not continuing to solve the problem for your users, or if you're simply taking away a tool they have come to depend on, you're treating them as collateral damage. I don't believe that's an ethical way to build software.

If you're not building in sustainability, you're naturally going to be beholden to outside entities: either to acquire what you've built (if you're building a startup), which may result in your project shutting down, or to use someone else's service. As in life, you lose independence by not planning for the future.

All of this came about because Andy Baio is resurrecting, which I'm delighted by - at least until there's a viable, mass-market indieweb event tool.

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