The news today is that Microsoft intends to join the DataPortability Project.

So where’s the beef? Why are long-time influentials from all these large vendors joining the cause? What are we offering? What are we trying to do? What’s in it for them? What do they bring to the table?

Many of these questions are already answered in the Project Charter, on the FAQ page and in the excellent video by Michael Pick. but I thought that since I am getting much of the blame credit for this that I might put it all in context in my own words.

First, I’d like to clarify that DataPortability is not mine. It is an initiative that was co-founded by many people who all believed that something was missing from the existing Identity/Data/Standards landscape. Something very small, but very important.

A story…

A message. A simple rallying cry for the mainstream that would:

  1. Explain the problem in simple terms
  2. Help contextualize existing efforts to solve it
  3. Encourage inter operable adoption by users, vendors and developers

That’s exactly what DataPortability brings to the community. A neutral, community driven forum in which standards groups can champion their technology in the context of a solution, vendors can raise their concerns and get answers and end-users can get a easy, safe and secure experience.

So back to the original question. Where’s the value?

The value is in the exciting and critically important work that standards groups have been doing for years. It’s in the new conversations being encouraged between standards groups and vendors both inside the DataPortability Project and independently 1 on 1. It’s in the Action Groups that are bringing diverse people together. It’s in the Action Packs we are developing to help tell the story to Executives, Developers, Designers, Bloggers and Vendors. It’s in the Technical and Policy Blueprints we are designing to tell the story in a more detailed way and believe it or not, it’s in the PR hype of the announcements.

Each announcement – each new member – both large and small – means another voice, and another opportunity to broaden the conversation and apply the sort of grass-roots pressure we all know already exists to create a web of data we can Connect, Control, Share and Remix.

In regard to Microsoft specifically, I welcome their voice in the conversation. Their team has been one of the most transparent and accessible of all the vendors we have spoken to and their products and services touch the lives of almost everyone both online and off.

Please join us

Special thanks to Daniela Barbosa for finding the picture!

Jeremiah Owyang is one of those people with a sharp mind and a clear communication style that makes everyone stand up and listen. His input is always welcome and he has posted some great ideas for I thought I would respond to them here.

I will post his requirements and my comments after each.

1. Charter document: This lists the groups purpose, who’s held accountable, and what we expect to see and goals

We have started a Workgroup Roadmap to ensure that the right documents get created and ratified. So far we have an emerging decision making structure and a path for deliverables.

We also have an emerging ‘Agenda‘ which will be expanded into a Manifesto.

2. Needs: Problem definition document, what exactly is broken?

We are going to start defining Use Cases soon. We also have an emerging set of Design Goals for the DataPortability Technical Blueprint.

3. Plan: A strategy doc that outlines the next steps the group will take to fix the problem, dependencies, phases, and risks.

Again, we have the Roadmap

4. Calendar: Of regular meetings, and who’s assigned to each problem. Dates that indicate what will be done when.

The dates will be set by the Roadmap. Meetings, at the moment, are not planned. We are discussing things on the Workgroup Forum.

5. Meeting minutes: A regularly published list of notes after each meeting that indicate the progress done by each member

The discussion forum is actually open to the public. Watch the conversation in real-time. This is 2008 people!

6. Document: Body of standards, the rules, and the final output

The main DataPortability deliverables will be the DataPortability Technical Blueprint and a DataPortability Policy Blueprint. These will map out a way for vendors to implement the world’s open standards for maximum interoperability.

7. Openness: Public announcements of progress of major milestones

Again, the discussion is open and transparent and the public can watch in real time, and can also participate in the public group.

Members will obviously blog, tweet and shout results from the rooftops.

8. Actual results: our identity portable, safe, managed and controlled by the owners.

This will be up to vendors – and to bloggers, media and users who need to choose vendors who respect their DataPortability rights – once the Blueprints are ratified of course.

Can you suggest improvements? Comment here, or join the Public Discussion and start a thread!

Don’t forget to read the rest of his post.

It’s been a hectic few days. Our little project to create a reference design for Data Portability has been put at the center of a storm when Robert Scoble, video blogger to the stars, experienced his very own Data Portability use case – getting his personal information out of a closed system. In this case, Facebook.

The DataPortability project sort of happened by accident for me. The goal was simple. Having worked hard to create and champion the cause of APML, the FaradayMedia team and I tried to join the broader standards discussion. The problem, though, was that the same questions kept on getting asked over and over, and the answers -while slightly different each time – were always basically the same.

It usually went something like this…

“So how can we use [X format, standard, protocol, technique] to get data [Y] from silo [Z] for purpose [1, 2 and 3].”

“You could use [my personal format of choice] because [I am personally invested in community A].”

“But that only solves part of my problem, what about [B, C and D]”

“Oh we have not really solved that, probably check out community [E, F and G] for that part”.

The result, was very little standards integration work actually being done because while the standard file formats exist, there is no standard way of implementing them end-to-end.

So we started the DataPortability Workgroup with some friends to try and get the story straight in our own heads and share the results with the world.

The world, though, seems to have come knocking before we were quite ready for the attention. But that’s OK. It has only served to re-double our efforts and seems to prove that there was indeed a problem that needed to be solved.

I’d like to personally thank everyone involved and welcome all the new people who have come to join the conversation. It has been an adrenalin packed few days and I have enjoyed every second.

I really feel quite grateful to have connected with so many people who believe in the same things – including personal heroes who have made all this possible with their hard (and often thankless) work to create the standards that will make DataPortability possible. I’d particularly like to assure those people that DP is not about re-inventing what they have done, but rather shining a light on their work by putting it in context for those that need to see the big picture spelled out.

It seems that the web will dramaticlly evolve again this year. It used to be the Web of Pages, most recently it evolved into the Web of People… it seems in 2008 the Web of Data begins to take root.

Look forward to the fun…

Do you have a resume?

January 1, 2008

Happy new year to everyone!

Random thoughts for 1.1.08.

I got asked for my resume the other day and it occurred to me that I’ve never actually ever made one for myself. People usually just know who I am or come to me through word-of-mouth. More recently, I figured my LinkedIn profile provided plenty of resume style information for anyone who was interested.

So my question is, do you have a resume? What are your thoughts on resumes in a Media 2.0 world? Are our digital footprints and LinkedIn profile pages enough information for Resume 2.0?

I also deal with some of these questions in my book outline.

Here’s another post on the subject also.