I have started to love Dustin Curtis - I came to know for the first time about him, after he launched svbtle, I guess it was a post of MG Seigler (TC) that led me to svbtle for the first time couple of months back.
Like any other geek (OCD with design) i was blown away by the minimal design and its minimal markdown editor. But there is a catch. It's a invite-only pub of the 'elite' kids.
It was little annoying, I didn't bother to apply for a membership, because considering my status as a designer, I was upright disqualified to join the uber-elite club of writers. So what would you do, if are hell-bent to have a personal blog like this. Either you would give up the idea of having such a blog, or install wp-svbtle which I did.
It was quite easy for me to create a "two column" minimal layout myself. Heck, anyone can do that. But I knew, If I did something similar, people would whine that I stole "someone else" design. So I better stole the design (wp-svbtle) than building something similar from scratch. (Sent him email too, but he doesn't seem to care, because I am a tiny developer).
Another problem with his design is that, (I actually love that), that it's so simple and obvious, that If you get inspired by it, you would end up building almost same thing. And there is nothing in his design that is not trendy these days. Almost everyone is using those trendy "styles". Only thing unique about his design is that, he has taken the current design trends and packed it up in a tiny little minimal form. I see, rounded logo, and border-radius everywhere. don't you? And he certainly didn't invent two-column layout design?
I am not taking any credit away from Dustin. He is not only a great designer but also a smart marketer. But so far I can't figure. What actually is the purpose of svbtle. If he built it for himself, then he should have kept it to himself. (Like DaringFireball, who actually created Markdown). But when you decide in your right mind, that who is worthy of using it and who is not. It certainly leads to controversy. If all he wanted a massive attention out of it (as it appears), rather than building something which could be adopted by mainstream geeky community. Then he certainly pulled this trick pretty well.
He is little self-centric and pretty young. So I guess all he wanted is to bring his skills and himself to limelight. And here is the guy, if he is true in his intentions, that would bring, this form of "blogging" to mainstream. http://john.onolan.org/ghost/ (Project Ghost).