What have you done for me lately?

March 30, 2008

Often in the DataPortability project we get asked “What have you guys actually done?”

I often times find the question both amusing and confusing, while other times I can understand where the question comes from.

The DataPortability project received a lot of attention very quickly and very early in its life and it left some people asking ‘Why?’.

The answer, however, can be quite multifaceted and complicated.

The first thing I do is encourage people to look at the DataPortability Road Map.

It clearly maps out our plan and shows that we have actually successfully completed 2 out of the 5 planed phases.

  1. Foundation (done)
  2. Invitation (done)
  3. Investigation (underway)
  4. Design
  5. Evangelize

Foundation is self-explanatory – but invitation is a very interesting step along this long journey.

We have invited the industry to start a conversation about data portability. And I think we have been quite successful in doing just that. It is now one of the most visible topics at most industry conferences, dev groups and board meetings. The mere existence of the project and the phrase has given people a handle from which to drive the conversation.

The result has been actual and practical. It has resulted in an acceleration of every discussion and implementation around openness and standardization.

This is indeed a journey of a thousand steps, but by defining our destination (as DataPortability has begun to do) we have helped the community shift from a steady walk to a jog. Next comes the run.

But we can’t rest now – there is still a lot of work to do. We need to execute on the rest of our plan. We need to put aside our agendas, egos, doubts and fears and embrace this new, broader conversation.

Next, I remind people that, as a project, the DataPortability group is currently executing on Phase 3 – Research. During this phase we are speaking to each standard community about their relevant technologies and contributions to understand how they might fit into any future best practice document or documents. If we are not speaking to you yet, please drop me a line.
After that, comes the Documentation phase. But not before.

The journey is indeed long – there are indeed a thousand steps to come – maybe more. Some of us are focusing on making shoes, others have given us iPods to keep us entertained, and others still are drawing directions in the sand. It will take all kinds of efforts and all kinds of people to arrive at our destination.

Are you helping? Join a standards group, write some code, or join the DataPortability project!

Of course, there’s another, shorter answer. “Just you wait and see…”

One Response to “What have you done for me lately?”


  1. […] What have you done for me lately? by Chris Saad (dataportability.org founder) Disclosure: I am a recent participant on the DataPortability project. Chris addressed a question that often arises with DataPortability project, “What have you guys actually done?” For example, Scoble asked “Has the Dataportability.org actually shipped anything yet beyond PR?” Chris outlined the roadmap and stated that 2 of the 5 planned phases have been completed and that they are currently in research phase. The research phase is where they are speaking to each standard community about their relevant technologies and contributions to understand how they might fit into any future best practice document or documents. As someone who has worked in big companies before, the approach is reminiscent of the waterfall development lifecycle approach with a top-down, detailed upfront analysis to understand the comprehensive needs of everyone (social networks, healthcare, financial, government, etc) with regards to data portability and then putting a plan / blueprint / standards together. […]


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