Jeff Kramer on Personal Clouds

A Personal CloudYou know a meme’s time has come when it starts appearing independently across multiple points in the industry. Such is the case with personal clouds. Just last week, while attending a Respect Network planning meeting at Kynetx in Utah, Jeff Kramer published a blog post entitled The Personal Cloud Computer which shares his vision for personal clouds — and he’d never heard of the Respect Network or read our paper on personal clouds.

Meanwhile has this article about “datamyning”, a new term to describe “data back to the people” that might just catch on (in the UK it goes by the name midata and in France it’s mes infos, but a meme by any other name is still a meme).

Posted in Personal Cloud, Personal Data Service, Personal Data Store, Respect Network | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Silver Linings Playbook

When you have a cast bringing together Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, and Jacki Weaver, you can’t help but start out skeptical that they can reach the full potential of what all that enormous talent is capable of delivering.

I am ecstatically happy to report (having just returned and still drying my eyes) that on this occasion, in the finely skilled hands of David O. Russell, the result is so good that I haven’t been as crazy about a film since Crazy Stupid Love.

This is why I go to the movies (especially with my wife that I’m equally crazy about because she loves them just as much and cries right beside me).

Movies may be just a spice in the drink of life, but the very best ones can make it taste so sweet that your thirst for everything is redoubled. Silver Linings Playbook is that kind of film. Grace your holiday with it.

Posted in Movies | 1 Comment

Markus Sabadello’s XDI Personal Cloud Demo

I sure wish I had more time to blog, but with about 110% of my time is going into building the Respect Network these days, most of my posts are on the Respect Network and Connect.Me blogs.

But if you’ve been using this blog to keep track of progress on the XDI standard, then I owe it to you to point out this wonderful demo that Markus Sabadello, leader of the XDI2 open source project, created for the Internet Identity Workshop #15 week before last. It explains so much about XDI and how it works — and particularly its relevance to the emergence of personal clouds — that many of us there urged Markus to turn it into a screencast.

And now he has. It runs about 20 minutes, but that’s how much good content it covers. And it still only touches the tip of the iceburg of what’s going on with XDI. Hopefully as we enter the holidays I’ll have time to do some more posts about that.

Posted in Connect.Me, Personal Cloud, Respect Network, XDI | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Want to See a Company That Really Listens to its Customers?

This is the second rave I’ve posted about Smile Software and it’s killer  typing utility, TextExpander, which auto-expands “snippets” that you type. For example, I only need to type =D and press the spacebar to have it automatically expanded into =Drummond.

I shine this spotlight not just because I love the product, but because it illustrates the fundamental dynamic behind the entire VRM (Vendor Relationship Management) movement: companies and customers that develop deep bi-directional trust relationships can create value that neither can produce alone. That’s the magic we’re trying to enable with the Respect Network.

Here’s the response I got back verbatim from Bob at Smile Software (the top part) after I sent in a simple feature suggestion to their support email address yesterday (the bottom part).

AUG 18, 2012  |  09:21AM PDT


That’s a super smart idea, and a clear, well-articulated, and very reasonable feature request. We’ll seriously, seriously consider it, and I’ve passed it on to our engineers.

Thanks so much for your suggestion. It’s really nice having great customers who help us make our stuff better.


Smile Support
Smile. Software that’s just right.

AUG 17, 2012  |  10:15AM PDT

Original message


I love TE so much I never want to use a Mac without it. It’s deeply ingrained into my daily computer usage.

I’m using 4.0.1 and I have a simple suggestion: that the hotkey-invoked “quick add” interface box, which I use all the time to create a new snippet, be revised to include a set of radio buttons to set what is the Abbreviation drop-down list option in the full TE interface box.

Here’s why:

  1. For most people, the default Abbreviation setting will be Ignore Case because this way all Proper Noun snippets will be First Letter Caps regardless of how you type the snippet.
  2. But for most generic noun snippets, you actually want the Abbreviation setting to be Adapt to Case of Abbreviation so that the expansion will be capitalized at the start of a sentence and lowercase otherwise.

Currently, there is no way to change the default in the quick add interface box to change this Abbreviation setting. And if you click the “Open TextExpander” button, it throws you into the full TE interface box and forgets the snippet that you are trying to create. All you need to do to fix this is add three radio buttons to the quick add interface box and set the default to the person’s Abbreviation default. Then the user could change this setting for a particular snippet with one click.


…you could make TE smart about which of these three radio buttons would be the default:

  1. It should default to Ignore Case when the snippet being created starts with a capital letter.
  2. It should default to Adapt to Case when the snipped being created is all lowercase.

Thanks for listening,


Posted in Customer Service, Reputation, VRM | Leave a comment

United: Are You Listening?

I was stunned not only by the story United Airlines Lost My Friend’s 10 Year Old Daughter And Didn’t Care, but mostly by the number and antipathy of the comments.

Honestly, after reading it you will wonder if you ever want to fly United again.

The truth be told, my only nightmare customer experience with an airline in the last few years was with United as well, but I have tended to treat it as an anomaly.

After the equally sad but hilarious United Breaks Guitars episode in 2009, you sorta have to wonder if United is listening at all. Or is it so hard to change the culture of a company that it takes social media disasters of this scale to get their attention?

Posted in Customer Service | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Difference Between a Personal Cloud and a Personal Data Store

I’ve written  about personal clouds and personal data stores (PDS – also called personal data vaults or lockers) for several years now, but in a conversation with Craig Burton last week the distinction between the two snapped into sharp focus. See this illustration:

In short, if a personal cloud is a virtual personal computer in the cloud, then a PDS is its virtual file system. Note that this does NOT mean the PDS stores all its data in the cloud. In fact, one of the most salient features of a full-featured PDS is that it will provide controlled access and sharing of data stored in native data stores anywhere on the wired or wireless Web. These native data stores become a virtual part of the personal cloud by virtue of a secure semantic data sharing protocol like XDI.

So, while every personal cloud has a PDS, what makes it a personal cloud is “the rest of the story” — the virtual machine running on top of that PDS. This virtual machine, running a personal cloud OS, lets the user run his/her choice of apps that can access and share data via its PDS just like apps on your PC can access and share data via its file system.

Phil Windley just did a blog post detailing how the layers and components of a cloud OS work. And the premise of the Respect Network is that these apps — apps like the Connect.Me social business card that operate across a network of personal clouds — are what will drive large scale adoption of personal clouds (and the PDS underlying each one).

Posted in Personal Cloud, Personal Data Ecosystem, Personal Data Store, Respect Network | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

It’s This Simple: Vote for Kaliya on August 15

You may never have heard of NSTIC (the U.S. National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace) or the personal data ecosystem (but then, you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog). But it matters not — if you care at all about the future of security, privacy, and personal data protection online, you want to register as an NSTIC participant and vote for Kaliya to join the Steering Committee.

The instructions are all right here on the wonderfully themed “Kaliya for Mayor” site.

Don’t hesitate. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t watch yet another commercial on the Olympics.




Posted in Data Portability, Identity Rights Agreements, Personal Data Ecosystem, Social Web | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Social, Local, Mobile, Personal

“The gleam has come off the word ‘social’,” said Internet analyst Ben Schachter in today’s NYTimes article about the recent slide in the stock prices of Facebook, Zynga, and Groupon. “The ground is now shifting underneath these companies feet at a speed that we didn’t see even in the late 1990’s.”

You don’t have to look any further than the following grid to see why.

The Social Mobile Local Personal Grid

The pot of gold at the end of the current Internet growth rainbow is not social — or mobile — or local — but personal. Personal is to social what local is to mobile. Personal is not a wall of information from all your social connections, but just the most relevant information from the most trusted connections.

But don’t mistake personal for just “filtered social”. It is much, much more than that. It is a paradigm shift in computing as big as the emergence of the personal computer in the early 1980’s. It’s about the emergence of personal clouds and personal channels. It’s about a new generation of applications that can deliver new value propositions based on a level of trust and intimacy with their users that cannot be achieved with just social, mobile, or local.

Personal is where Connect.Me and Respect Network and many other participants in the personal data ecosystem are going. To explore this subject in depth, see these two papers:

  1. From Personal Computers to Personal Clouds: The Advent of a Cloud OS.
  2. The Personal Channel: The Extraordinary Benefits of Communicating Via Personal Clouds.
Posted in Connect.Me, Personal Cloud, Personal Data Ecosystem, Respect Network, Respect Trust Framework, Social Web | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Jennifer Cobb on the Promise of Personal Clouds

On my last post, I said one of my five key takeaways from the last IIW was that “personal clouds have arrived”. One of the IIW attendees I quoted in that post was Jennifer Cobb of Spruce Advisors. She’s now shared her own rational for why personal clouds are going to start sprouting rainbows (<wince>, sorry, maybe I just love Wizard of Oz too much).

In any case, I think Jennifer’s provided a wonderful articulation of the promise of personal clouds and also of the pitfalls to watch for as this new market segment takes off.

Posted in Personal Cloud | Leave a comment

My Five Key Takeaways from the Best IIW Yet

I’ve done very few blog posts this year due to the speed at which I’ve been running with Connect.Me and Respect Network (more about that at the end of this post). But three weeks after it ended, I’m doing a writeup on the last Internet Identity Workshop because, out of all 14 IIWs to date, this one gave the strongest signals the industry is breaking out.

Here were my five key takeaways:

#1: Personal Clouds Have Arrived

Once a decade comes on of those moments when you know that a corner has been turned and a new market is going to happen. For example, when I first saw a personal computer in 1976 and realized I could use it for writing, I knew I had to have one. And so did millions of other people.

Another was the first time I tried a mouse-driven graphical user interface.

A third was the first time I held an iPhone in my hand. As I played with the touch screen and launched apps. I knew right then and there that it was going to be a monster. All the power of a computer in your pocket and always on the network to boot.

Now it’s happened again—but this time with a product you can’t see or touch. Phil Windley’s white paper From Personal Computers to Personal Clouds summarizes the premise in one sentence: the next major advance in personal computing and communications is the personal computer in the cloud. There were at least four personal cloud sessions at IIW, including one led by Johannes Ernst in which a set of architects debated the precise meaning of the term like a set of lions sparring over a pride.

There’s no doubt in my mind: personal clouds are coming like a giant gathering storm, together with personal channels (more on those soon). They will be the central organizing construct of the personal data revolution just like PCs were the central organizing construct of the personal computing revolution.

#2: The VRM Wave is Breaking

Although it started a good five or six years offshore, the VRM wave led by Doc Searls is starting to strike the coastline. It isn’t just the publication of Doc’s book, The Intention Economy—although like tsunami warning siren, it does provide a very loud wakeup call to the residents of the sleepy coastal villages of e-commerceland.

And it’s not just because this was the first time there was a continuous string of VRM sessions playing throughout IIW like a Labor Day Weekend marathon of Grateful Dead songs.

For me, the strongest evidence was packed house the final morning of IIW in the “VRM: How Will It Break Through?” session led by Mydex chairman William Heath. In this session there were three major insights:

  1. First, William talked about the midata initiative in the UK and Jennifer Cobb talked about the SmartDisclosure initiative in the US. In both cases, the government is taking the first step in spurring industry to “do the right thing” in giving back personal data to the citizens so they can reuse it to their and everyone’s benefit. I pointed out that the trend is not just with the government; in France the Mes Infos project is doing the same thing in the private sector. As I heard from the leaders of Mes Infos directly during a meeting last month in London, they want to beat the government to the punch.
  2. Secondly, David Blumberg, Managing Partner of Blumberg Capital (and an investor in one of the companies in the space, Trulioo) articulated a core VRM value proposition for vendors: “Companies who really care about the lifetime value of the customer will be the biggest beneficiaries of VRM.” As Doc has said for years, those companies will embrace VRM as the next major step for CRM. CRM vendors: are you listening?
  3. Lastly, at the conclusion of the session, William shared his own analysis. He drew a simple four square matrix on the board in which the two columns were People and Organizations and the two rows were Money and Do the Right Thing. He then asked the question: in which quadrant is the VRM breakthrough likely to come? Will it be people doing it for money? Organizations doing it for money? People asking for it because it is the right thing? Or organizations doing it because it is the right thing? After sharing a story about the BBC deciding a major new web product should have all its visitors store their media preferences in a Mydex PDS, William concluded that it will be Door #4. The breakthrough will be organizations who share personal data back with individuals—who start storing data in the individual’s personal cloud rather than their silo—simply because it is the right thing. Because it will ultimately produce the greatest benefit for everyone.

By the end everyone in this session was positively vibrating with excitement. Ironically, I don’t know how many who attended it knew that William was the founder and CEO of Kable, the leading government IT analyst company in the UK, which he subsequently sold to The Guardian several years ago before taking on the job of building Mydex as a Community Interest Company. So this was the insight of a highly experience professional analyst who has been living and breathing this space for the last four years.

Personally, I think William nailed it, and I told him so afterwards. Companies choosing to do the right thing because they know it is in their customer’s best interests—and thus ultimately in their own best interests—will be where the dam breaks.

And when the water starts pouring through, watch out.

#3: OpenID Connect Is Connecting

As one of the founding board members of the OpenID Foundation—and subsequently of the Information Card Foundation—and then helping birth their lovechild the Open Identity Exchange, I have been close to the OpenID drama since it started in 2005. And frankly I was one of those who all but left it for dead two years ago when even the OpenID board admitted that Facebook Connect—at the time being installed on more than 10,000 websites a day—was kicking OpenID’s butt.

I had become convinced that social logins—as the precursor to trust frameworks (see below)—were unstoppable. So I was as skeptical as anyone about the proposed metamorphosis of OpenID  into OpenID Connect (which Kuppinger Cole analyst Dave Kearns has accurately characterized as being so different than the original OpenID  that it is “OpenID in name only”).

I was wrong. By going back to the drawing board and putting together the best of OpenID, SAML, Information Cards (and even a touch of XDI—see below), OpenID Connect is out-Facebooking Facebook. And because it is now built on top of the industry standard OAuth, which as Kuppinger Cole analyst Craig Burton says is becoming the key to the API Economy, OpenID Connect suddenly looks like it could become the open, multi-provider, interoperable version of social login that can work Web-wide.

A special shout out to John Bradley, Mike Jones, and OpenID Foundation Chair Nat Sakimura for their persistence in making this happen.

#4: XDI is Coming in from the Cold

OpenID Connect is only the first step. While it could finally standardize and democratize social logins, it doesn’t tackle the harder problem of semantic data management, including portable data, portable permissions, and interoperable data dictionaries.

That would be a job for XDI. It has long been the dark horse in this race. 8 years in gestation at OASIS, it barely survived losing the ardor of two waves of early proponents. But its slavish adherence to developing a simple, globally-addressable graph model for data is finally starting to pay off.

At the same time the market has “grown into” the XDI problem space, particularly the very hard problems of creating an interoperable personal data ecosystem where app developers can gain permissioned access to personal data without needing to know its specific location or native format, and individuals can switch accounts between personal cloud providers the same way they can switch banks or switch mobile carriers today.

This explains why there were more XDI sessions at this last IIW than ever before, and they went deeper into the real problems XDI can solve.

Make no mistake, as co-chair of the OASIS  XDI Technical Committee, I can assure you there’s still an enormous amount of work to be done—a complete set of XDI 1.0 specifications are still at least six months away. But we’ve turned a corner and momentum is increasing. I predict that within a year there will be the same non-stop track of XDI sessions at IIW that there was for VRM this time around.

#5: Trust Frameworks are the New Network

Two years after the establishment of Open Identity Exchange, the first international non-profit home for open identity trust frameworks, there are still only two operational trust frameworks listed (the U.S. FICAM trust framework and the Respect Trust Framework).

What happened? Where are all these promised trust frameworks? Did someone miss the train?

In fact, “train” is an appropriate analogy. A trust framework is a lot like a large locomotive. It takes a good long time not just to build one, but to get it on the tracks, load the train, and get up a head of steam.

And yet, just like it was obvious that it would take railroads to civilize the American Wild West, it was taken as a given at this IIW that trust frameworks would be necessary to civilize the Internet Wild West. Nearly every IIW session I attended presumed the use of a trust framework.

Why? Trust frameworks are the new network. That was the assumption underlying my co-founding Respect Network Corporation with Joe Johnston and Marc Coluccio in late 2010. We felt a trust framework for personal data and relationships—in which the trust model was based on p2p reputation—was the key to unlocking decentralized data sharing on an open standard relationship network. Connect.Me is that reputation system and Respect Network is that relationship network.

Only time will tell if we were right. But if the current focus on giant centralized social networks continues on the natural Internet progression towards standardization and decentralization—as brilliantly articulated in two blog posts from Phil Windley (Facebook Domination Isn’t Essential—It’s Not Even Likely and Moving Toward a Relationship Network), then indeed trust frameworks will be the new network.

All I can say is: don’t miss the next IIW.

Posted in Connect.Me, Identity Commons, Open Identity Exchange, OpenID, Personal Cloud, Personal Data Ecosystem, Respect Trust Framework, Social Web, XDI | 2 Comments

Support Standard Information Sharing Labels

One more a tip o’ the hat to Phil Windley for saving me a thousand words. He’s wonderfully articulated the reasons you should support Joe Andrieu’s Kickstarter project for the Standard Information Sharing Label.

Phil sums it up perfectly:

Just like we have a standard label for drugs so that people can more easily understand how to take a drug and what it does, we should have a standard label for sites that want you to share your personal information.

It won’t get us everything that the Respect Network will, but it’s a good step in the right direction. Move your cursor right on over to the project and show you care about seeing what’s really happening with your personal data.

(And what better time to show your support for the standard label than during Privacy/Identity/Innovation 2012 going on right now in my home city of Seattle. Hats off to Natalie Fonseca and Marc Licciardi for an outstanding set of talks on the first day.)

Posted in Digital rights, Identity Rights Agreements, Personal Data Ecosystem, Privacy, Respect Trust Framework | 2 Comments

PLOA – Just What You Need to Know

On Friday I had a demo of PLOA – Personal Levels of Assurance — from it’s architect, Jay Glasgow at AT&T. I’ve known Jay since he attended an XDI retreat hosted by Scott David at Whistler two years ago, and at that retreat I learned just how deeply Jay was thinking about the problems of federated identity and user-centric identity. Which is to say, plenty.

PLOA is the outcome of Jay’s analysis about how a large identity provider (IdP) like AT&T should go about providing not just a user-centric identity system, but a developer-friendly and relying party-friendly system (relying parties being the sites that actually need the identity assurance). There’s an entire white paper about it on the Open Identity Exchange site, of which AT&T is an executive member.

But the biggest challenge with PLOA has been that it’s a worldview shift about how identity assurance really needs to work. As such, it solves so many related problems together that it’s hard to sum it up in a nutshell the same way you can for OpenID (“lets you use one username and password across all OpenID-enabled sites”) or OAuth (“lets you give access to your private stuff online without giving out your password”).

After seeing Jay’s demo, the lightbulb finally hit for me: PLOA is Need to know for assurance. It’s a clear way for any relying party to find out just what they need to know about any particular user — for any particular interaction/transaction in any particular context — in as lightweight and user-friendly a way as possible. It does this by:

  1. Decoupling assurance — what a relying party needs to know ABOUT you — from authentication — the act of proving you have a valid identity credential.
  2. Standardizing how a relying party can ask a third party (the IdP) for just what it needs to know about you to give you the service you are requesting – nothing more.
  3. Standardizing how the IdP — and the application developer creating the user experience — can obtain the necessary assurance data needed from you if it doesn’t already have it.
  4. Giving you complete control over this process, so you can revoke the assurance data and permissions you have given to IdPs if you want to.

By breaking down assurance into small, discrete, bite-size chunks, each of which is transparent and subject to user permission, PLOA makes identity assurance lightweight, modular, contextual, and privacy-friendly.

That’s a good thing. Now what PLOA needs is:

  1. Binding to a standard wire protocol, e.g., JSON over HTTP/S.
  2. Publishing by a standards body.
  3. Adoption adoption adoption.

Jay knows I believe PLOA is a great fit for the XDI protocol, since the main XDI binding is JSON over HTTP/S, and sending/receiving XDI triples in JSON is about as lightweight and modular as it gets. But that’s just one of many options for a PLOA protocol.

From my perspective, what’s exciting about PLOA is that it’s a perfect fit for where we are headed with the Respect Network (more about that coming soon — for now just see the Respect Trust Framework). So keep an eye on it – for identity assurance, it’s just what you need to know.

UPDATE: Jay advises me that he will be giving demos of PLOA at two upcoming AT&T meetings in NYC on April 19 and NOLA on May 7.

Posted in Digital rights, Open Identity Exchange, PLOA, Privacy, Respect Trust Framework | Tagged , | 3 Comments

This is What a Hole in Your Digital Life Looks Like

10:15PM Tuesday March 27, San Francisco, across the street from Alexander’s Restaurant at 4th & Brennan. I slipped into the driver’s seat of my rental car after dinner with Phil Windley and Doc Searls, took one look in the rear view mirror, and instantly knew the hole that had been blasted into my digital life.

Yes, both bags were gone. And with them my MacBook Pro, my iPad 2 (new at Christmas), all my digital road warrior gear, and all my clothes and toiletries.

The physical loss is bad enough – it’s already been days of work restoring all the equipment, with more to go. But the worst part is the digital loss. Some of the files and pictures (no, not everything was backed up, and yes, now I finally DO have Time Machine installed) are gone forever.

What kept it from being completely devestating is the amount of my digital stuff that is already in the cloud – Dropbox, iCloud, Gmail, and assorted other mail servers. While I was already a huge advocate of the cloud — see my series on the personal cloud — now I’m going to be an absolute raving lunatic about it. I want the same protection for my digital life as I have for my house and home and possessions in my physical life. And I want a personal cloud infrastructure (and trust framework) that will give it to me — and ensure that I can maintain control over it.

The irony is that I was talking with Iain Henderson of The Customer’s Voice about the theft and he pointed out that if I’d had a personal cloud, actually filing the insurance claim  (and proving that I had ownership of the different assets stolen) would be almost trivial. He even sent me these example screen shots from The Customer’s Voice to illustrate.

Thanks, Iain – now I’m REALLY determined to bring personal cloud infrastructure to life. (More about that coming soon from my talks at the European Identity Conference starting April 17.)

Posted in General, Personal Cloud, Respect Trust Framework | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Drummond’s Ten for Trust – Round One

Today marks the start of full Trust Anchor vouching on Connect.Me. This means Connect.Me users who have become Trust Anchors will have a lifetime allotment of 150 special vouches they can give to others as a special signal of trust — specifically, how much they trust another person to abide by the principles of the Respect Trust Framework to help build a global trust network.

To help explain what a Trust Anchor vouch really means, Connect.Me is inviting the first Trust Anchors (667 at this count) to do a Ten for Trust post: a list of the first ten (or more) people that we are giving a Trust Anchor vouch to, and why.

Here’s mine (yes, it’s 11 – I can’t count). One note: I’m disqualifying family (I’m saving my wife’s thank-you for the Oscars — I just hope I can be as eloquent as Meryl Streep thanking her husband) and also my Connect.Me co-founders Joe Johnston and Marc Coluccio.

Steve Wilmart. This is the guy I credit for my mental model of a Trust Anchor: a human being that I would simply trust to do the right thing anytime anywhere anyhow. Steve was the very first employee at my previous company, and worked steadfastly through thick and thin, up and down, never wavering from doing the right thing and best thing for the team — and for the customer.

Bill Griffin. My closest childhood and lifelong friend. I see at most annually because he lives in Jakarta. But every time we reunite it is as if we’d just left off the last conversation. Bonds like that take a lifetime to form and are stronger than steel. I would trust Bill with my life.

Bob Martin. Bob and I became good friends in Alaska, and given that he still lives there, I haven’t seen him in a decade. But he is a frequent visitor to my email inbox, and it always makes me smile (he has a broad but very discriminating sense of humor). Bob treats everyone he knows with fairness and generosity, and I would do any favor he asks at the drop of a hat.

Kaliya. Identitywoman. Say no more. As her friends like to say, Kaliya is a force of nature, and by that I mean specifically Mother Nature, i.e., she will only do what’s good for this world. She will brook no other option. When I co-founded Connect.Me and Respect Network, she was the #1 person I had to convince that you could actually do good in the world and make money at the same time.

Scott David. When we had the idea for the Respect Trust Framework, Scott was the reason we believed it could become legal reality. He sees the law not as constraint but as sculpture. When he hosted an XDI retreat on his own dime in his own condo with a group of techies he barely knew, I knew he was “all in” when it came to what it would take to build a real global trust network.

Doc Searls. The concept of VRM exists in the world the way it does because of Doc. And it will stay true to that vision because of him (his book The Intention Economy comes out this spring). It’s not just his thinking, it’s his personal insistence on meaning, independence, and authenticity not just in commerce but in life. (As another testament, Doc didn’t “level up” to trust anchor until I pointed out to him that he’d vouched for 3 people and been vouched for by 82.)

Phil Windley. As co-founder of Internet Identity Workshop, author of Digital Identity and The Live Web, and developer of his own rules language, Phil has educated me more than anyone about the power of reputation systems done right. But it is his tremendous personal character and warmth that will win anyone over. He’d bike 100 miles for you — and then serve you toast with warm honey from his own bees.

Steve Fulling. Phil’s partner-in-crime could never be a criminal. He simply wouldn’t know what to do. He runs a right ship with right folks who will figure out how to do the right thing. If he says he’s going to do something, you can trust he’ll do it. Period.

Craig Burton. I don’t know anyone who has undergone more adversity in his life yet stayed true to his vision of building the network humanity really needs. Craig is lighter fluid for imagination; a piledriver for innovation; and a bulldozer for timidity. And he has a heart as big as the Utah mountains.

William Heath. William’s in London so I get to see him only rarely, but each time is a treat. His blog, Ideal Government, says it all — he really believes in the ideals that governments, civil servants, citizens, and businesses should all aspire too. His deep belief in digital rights led him to join Iain Henderson, Alan Mitchell, and David Alexander in fashioning Mydex based on the Community Interest Corporation model. Nobody has the community interest more in mind than William.

Iain Henderson. Iain has had the VRM bug in his blood since he realized that CRM would forever be broken if it didn’t truly connect to the customer. That was 12 years ago, and he has never looked back. He won’t compromise on the principle that the customer comes first – he wants to give The Customer’s Voice. And he won’t stop until they have it.

P.S. More to come – once you start dwelling on who you have built trust with and why, it starts to snowball. So I’ll be doing several more rounds of Ten for Trust.

Posted in Connect.Me, Respect Trust Framework, Trust Anchors | 1 Comment

Kim Cameron on Google’s New Privacy Policy

When he first introduced them in 2004, Kim Cameron’s Laws of Identity changed the landscape of the Internet identity industry almost overnight. Though Kim has since stepped down as Chief Identity Architect at Microsoft, he still packs a helluva punch when he weighs in on important global identity, privacy, and security issues.

So he’s weighed in (hint: along with the Attorney Generals of the United States) on Google’s new privacy policy.

Read it. It’s even more important than you think.

Posted in Blogging, Digital rights, Privacy | Leave a comment

The Fundamental Flaw in SOPA and PIPPA

After all the raging debate about SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act), the fundamental flaw in both is captured succinctly in this public letter to Senator Orrin Hatch from Phil WindleyKynetx CTO and author of The Live Web, on his Technometria blog.

Thanks for summarizing the problem so nicely, Phil. And a tip ‘o the hat too to Cory Doctorow, whose talk on the subject Phil credits as well.

Incidentally, Phil’s point that we don’t need new laws governing technology, we need to enforce existing laws about harmful behaviour, explains why Connect.Me created the Respect Trust Framework. It is the legal fabric of a “purposeful network” where the incentives are so strong not to violate the trust of others that we will not have the kinds of rights violations that SOPA and PIPA are trying, misguidedly, to address.

Posted in Digital rights, Personal Data Ecosystem, Privacy, Respect Trust Framework | 3 Comments

AT&T Are You Reading Your Own Emails???

When I upgraded to the iPhone 4S the day after Christmas (it was really an Apple Christmas in my household this year), I made the difficult decision to stick with AT&T.

My experience with routinely dropped calls has been just as bad as anyone else’s, so ever since Verizon got the iPhone I was convinced I’d switch when I upgraded (the rest of my family has been on Verizon for years).

But in the end, my grandfathered data plan plus the convenience of being able to use voice and data at the same time plus the investment AT&T is making in 4G made me decide to stick it out another 2 years.

So I really, really wanted to believe AT&T is at last getting its act together.

And then I receive this post-sale email from AT&T with the subject line Let’s Talk about your new iPhone. In the body they offered links to a host of helpful tools:

Thinking it would be wise to watch a tutorial (just to see if there’s anything else I should know about my new 4S that my 16-year-old son — or the wonderful Siri — hasn’t already showed me), I clicked the first link.

The result was not the iPhone tutorial I expected, but a generic web page titled Cell Phone and Interactive Device Tutorials. I think to myself, “That’s dumb – why not just link directly to the iPhone tutorial like the link said?” But what the hell, maybe AT&T’s websites are so poorly designed that they didn’t allow internal linking. So I dutifully clicked the Manufacturer drop down to choose Apple, and…

…WTF??? NO APPLE!!!!!!!

Poof. There went the tiny puff of faith I had left in the AT&T turnaround.


Please tell me what happened here. I invite anyone from AT&T to reply as a comment to this post so I and anyone else reading this will have some clue what’s going on with you.


— A Customer Who Really Wants to Believe He Didn’t Just Throw Away 2 More Years of Service

Posted in Customer Service, Social CRM | Tagged , | Leave a comment

XDI Art from Mike Schwartz

Mike Schwartz, CEO of Gluu and one of the hardest working members of the OASIS XDI Technical Committee, has started a series about XDI art on the Gluu blog. It lends gentle and beautiful insight into this new semantic data format and protocol.

Posted in Blogging, XDI | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Dan Marovitz Shows his Zeal

The more I get to know Dan, the more I like his zeal. Not just his entrepreneurial zeal — which is fantastic by itself — but his zeal for life. Both are reflected in his new post on the buzzumi blog, The Startup Pathogen.

It’s a must-read for any founder who wonders what it’s really going to be like running a startup.

It’s a wild ride. Bring your zeal.

Posted in Entrepreneurs, General | Leave a comment

Buzzumi + Twitter = World Wide Video Chat Service

In the history of this blog I don’t think I’ve ever published a press release — from anyone. Why make an exception now? Because this isn’t an ordinary press release.

I first met Dan Marovitz when we were speakers together in the Innotribe track at Sibos, the worldwide banking conference, in Toronto in September. Dan gave a talk on the essence of money that was an immediate hit — it instantly became known as the “mackerel talk”.

The next day was the first time he’d seen a demo of Connect.Me, and he could not wait to dive into it with me. The reason was he saw a perfect fit with buzzumi, his new Internet video/audio/text chat service that — get this — requires NO client and NO signup.

That’s right. Free video/audio/text chat from any modern browser – all it requires is a link.

And his business model is equally clean: the host of any buzzumi session can charge, by the session or by the minute, and for paid sessions, buzzumi gets a 10% fee.

It’s knowledge commerce, stripped down to its essence: pure pay-per-thought.

Which is why there’s such an obvious fit with Connect.Me: helping people know the reputation in advance of who they want to buzzumi with, whether free or paid.

What’s really cool is what he’s announcing today: a Twitter bot that lets you start a buzzumi session with as many attendees as you can fit Twitter names in a tweet (right now buzzumi can do video chat for up to 6 people).

Details of the buzzumibot are in the release below, which is why I’m passing it on wholesale rather than retyping it. But the bottom line is: buzzumi rocks — I’ve used it a half dozen times now and it’s as addictive as Skype but less hassle and more flexible.

Go Dan! Let’s make this knowledge commerce thing happen!


London, England December 6, 2011

buzzumi announces the ability for Twitter users to launch real-time video, audio, and text chat with their friends and followers, straight from Twitter.

This innovation has been created by, the recently launched London-based video chat and webinar start-up. Entering a public beta in November this year, offers users extremely light-weight yet powerful video chat rooms and large-scale webinars. The company was founded by Daniel Marovitz, a former senior executive of Deutsche Bank in London, and previously, in New York.  The company is about to close its first outside round of funding. buzzumi can be used for debates, chats, interviews, or webinars.  Hosts can start a chat for free or decide to charge for a session or a webinar using the integrated payments capability. If users decide to charge for a webinar or online consultation, buzzumi takes a 10% commission on the ticket price.

How it works: Twitter users simply send a public tweet to @buzzumibot, and include the Twitter handles of the individuals with whom they would like to chat in the tweet. @buzzumibot will immediately respond with a link to an instantly created video chat room. No additional log-ins or sign-ups are required. The users can get chatting with audio, video, and lightning-fast text in seconds, all in a platform and browser-agnostic chat room.

“The functionality to launch a video chat directly from Twitter is significant, as buzzumi allows users to extend Twitter discussions and debates into a more interactive environment, while staying in the “Twitterverse,” says CEO, Marovitz. buzzumi brings a whole new world to Twitter, allowing a range of highly interactive discussions that were never possible in the text-only service.

The buzzumi chat technology is 100% browser-based and requires no additional software downloads or installations.  The Twitter video chat platform is a direct result of buzzumi’s commitment to making online video chat easier, hassle-free and quicker to set-up than ever before. Frictionless communication.

To find out more about buzzumi, please visit For press enquiries please send an email to

Posted in Connect.Me, Knowledge Commerce | Leave a comment