As many of my best adventures do, the story behind Daystream starts with a simple question from my son:

"How does the whole sharing thing work, dad?"

He was nine and had grown curious about the time his mom and I spent on Facebook and Twitter. After I explained the wall and stream motifs, he responded with a simple "I don't get it" and then dropped it. I thought nothing more of his question until he finally asked a follow-up question as I tucked him into bed later that night:

"I don't get it. You've got this wall thing and this stream thing that you have to watch all the time. What if you want to know what one of your friends said on a specific day?"

I don't remember exactly, but I'm pretty sure I laughed at that one and told him what a pain in the neck it was to go through pages and pages of older posts to find a specific tweet or wall posting by a particular friend.

I didn't realize it then, but those two simple exchanges are the beginning of our story. Before I go any further, though, I've got to tell you a bit about my son. At the time, he had already read several O'Reilly titles on everything from php and MySQL to CSS and JavaScript. From cover to cover. He had just started teaching himself Ruby on Rails and was already deploying his own iOS applications to his iPod.

He's a bright kid.

He talked about programming constantly. It had become his passion. In the evenings, he'd proudly show me bits of code he had written and ask specific questions about particular challenges he was having. "How do you do this?" "Why isn't this working?" I'd try to research his questions late at night to help him, but he usually figured things out on his own before I could give him any answers.

But the follow-up question that he had asked me about sharing - the "what if" question - is the first time I remember him asking me a "big picture" technology question. This was a departure from the normal "nuts and bolts of programming" questions that had become normal topics of conversation for us. He wasn't asking about the technical details behind sharing, but rather why sharing worked the way it did. He noticed a flaw in the existing models and was brave enough to question them.

That got me thinking. Over the last several years, his mom and I have struggled to find things that challenge him. So I considered his question a bit in hopes of defining a project that he could tackle. As I thought about it more and more, I realized that sharing, as it currently existed, pretty much sucked and that his question was quite profound.

And that's when I went back to him with a question of my own:

"How should it work?"

That was over a year ago. He and I have brainstormed the heck out of that last question. We've asked a whole bunch of why questions about the current sharing models and, eventually, defined our own idea of how sharing should work.