Aaron Swartz, boy genius
September 10, 2002
Aaron Swartz is teenage writer, programmer and hacker. He's the Metadata Advisor to the Creative Commons project led by Larry Lessig. As a Semantic Web developer, he's a member of the RDF Core W3C's Working Group, the DCMI's Architecture Working Group and the independent RSS-DEV Working Group. He founded and runs the web.resource.org project and is co-author of RSS 1.0. His latest project is the Plesh, a decentralized network that will provide the platform for the next generation of network applications.
I met Aaron very briefly this morning. He's boyish, of course. And personable. And now I finally get why, when I got my first computer-related job when I was 16, everyone kept harping on The Age Thing. "Doogie Howser". Fucking Doogie Howser. If I got called that one more time, I swear...
Now I get it. I'm almost twice Aaron's age, which is strange to say when I've just barely begun to concede that I'm aging at all. I can finally see why it was the first, biggest thing my clients would see about me. Well, that and the terrible skater haircut I was not-so-wisely balancing on top of my mostly-empty head.
The most surprising thing about seeing a true boy genius wunderkind like that is that I didn't envy him. I thought I would want to be that young again, to be just getting to my driving permit and my first kiss (I was a late bloomer, okay? Screw you.) and my own writing style. But I was really, really glad to realize that I've learned a few small things since then. Not much in the way of technology, alas, as that is constantly never changing. But I've made a good run on the rest of the stuff I knew nothing about.
But still, damn. Aaron wasn't even two years old when Doogie Howser debuted. That punk.