I just posted a summary of the current data portability landscape to the Official DataPortability Blog.

From the post:

Closed platforms are like ice cubes in a glass of water. They will float for a while. They will change the temperature of the liquid
beneath. Ultimately, however, the ice cube must eventually melt into the wider web.

Facebook’s success with Facebook Connect can and will further drive innovation in the community to develop an open alternative.

Facebook’s success will (like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, AOL, Myspace, countless major media properties and countless small startups) to create alternatives. At least some of those participants will recognize (if they have not already) that the most open among them will earn both the respect and the market share of the next phase. Moving from Facebook Connect’s ‘data portability’ to Interoperable DataPortability.

A web of Data.

That’s a landscape where we can continue to innovate on a level playing field.

The web-wide social network

November 19, 2008

Ross Dawson has an excellent summary of a Gartner presentation on the Distributed Social Web by David Cearley. A web where each participant is their own central node on a web-wide social network.

It is the only natural conclusion of the vision of Data Portability.

It will be made possible by a series of futurists, technologists, philanthropists and engineers developing core building blocks like OpenID, oAuth, APML, PortableContacts, XMPP, RSS/ATOM, OPML, Microformats and more.

It will be commercialized by a series of entrepreneurial start ups with stars in their eyes running in and around the feet of the giants who are each fighting each other to keep up. Startups like JS-Kit.

It will be fueled by traditional and not so traditional media companies, steered by young, idealistic intrapraneurs, who are willing to take a bet in order to stake their claim on the next generation of social networking and human communication.

It will be monetized by a recognition that one can’t monetize word-of-mouth. Instead Attention will emerge as the ultimate way to measure, discover and interact with participants. See Faraday Media.

It will be popularized by bloggers, smart IT journalists and conference organizers who understand the importance of open over closed.

We have already started to see a preview of the world to come via the early attempts at rudimentary aggregators and proprietary data portability implementations. This is just the beginning of the beginning.

For a more details around the emerging trends, check out Ross’ post.

Speaking at Social Media

September 24, 2008

 

Speaking at Social Media

Speaking at Social Media

Join me there! Using the code “zaph” will get you half price off ($495).

When talking to people about Data Portability there is a couple of questions that always gets asked first.

 

Why would a vendor allow users to leave their service?

 

Why make it easy for users to take the preacious data you have about them and use it on other sites?

or…

What is the business justification for letting data walk out the door?

 

You spent a lot of time and energy to get users to sign up and give up their data right?

My answer always consists of a number of parts. There are a number of reasons why vendors should get involved in an open ecosystem of data interchange. User respect, reduced barrier to entry, reduced network fatigue and more.

Today, however, I’d like to focus on one particular reason why the value of Data Lockin is a myth.

Here is a diagram that represents the data you have about your user. 100%. Awesome right? You have a complete view of the proprietary data you have managed to collect about your user.

100% of your proprietary data

Have you ever considered, however, that your user’s data actually looks like this?

Your User's Data

Your User's Complete Data Set

Even if you are Google, and you know every search your users do, every document they write, every chat they have – you still don’t know their facebook social graph. You don’t know their tweet stream. You don’t know the books they bought on Amazon.

Your view of your user’s data pales in comparisson to their complete data set.

Not to mention the data you think you have is out-of-date weeks after you aquire it. Interests change, friends come and go, projects, assignments and jobs change and much, much more.

Rapid Expiration of Data

Rapid Expiration of Data

So, Data Portability is not about letting your users ‘walk out’ of your service. Data Portability is about enabling, empowering and encouraging your users to bring all their data with them, to connect your data to the rest of their data ecosystem and to continue to refresh and maintain the data on an ongoing basis.

The value of Data Lockin is a myth. Data Portability is an opportunity to have true visibility into a user’s friends, interests, content and comments.

Are you thinking about joining the data web?

Anthill is the leading entrepreneurial magazine in Australia. They have released a list of the top 30 entrepreneurs under 30. Somehow, someone hacked the list and added my name!

From the magazine:

They collectively turnover hundreds of millions of dollars each year, yet some are barely out of university. They are proud to be Australian but see their home-grown success as little more than a stepping stone. They have never known serious recession, political instability or significant global conflict, yet they are better educated and better informed than new business owners of any generation preceding them. Meet the future of business in Australia.

Chris Saad
Age: 26
Location: Queensland
Company/Role: Faraday Media

At 26, Chris Saad is one of Australia’s most impressive young web entrepreneurs. His theory and practice around web standards – specifically “DataPortability” and “Attention Management” – have gained significant traction and are set to have a profound impact on the evolution of media in the digital age. Saad has co-founded several web-related companies and organisations, most prominently Faraday Media in 2006, of which he is CEO. Faraday Media is developing Particls, a technology that learns user habit and taste and delivers relevant information to them via news crawler, SMS, email, flash visualisations, etc. He also co-founded the Media 2.0 Workgroup with 14 industry “commentators, agitators and innovators”. There’s no shortage of ideas or energy in this digitally-minded entrepreneur. One to watch in the years to come.

Make sure you click through to the Article, subscribe to the mag and read the other 29 profiles!

Of course, singling out 30 ‘front men’ does not really do justice to the real people who work tirelessly to make successful business happen. People like my business partner and co-founder who actually builds our Faraday Media products Ashley Angell. Like our investors, our team, our advisors and supporters who make everything possible.

To all of them and to our customers and partners – thank you for making this sort of thing possible.

I also look forward to clicking through to the other profiles and learning more about the other people listed – seems like a great group of Aussies!

How? Using Silverlight.

Here’s the strategy as I see it.

First, the underlying Silverlight technologies (XAML and .NET) are encouraging client-side Windows developers to think beyond boring forms apps and delve into the wonderful world of vector graphics with 3D, sliding reflective surfaces. In short, Microsoft is encouraging developers to use the power of the client-side to ensure that Windows apps to continue to make web-apps look like boring documents.

Second, having raised the bar on client-side user experiences, the Silverlight runtime enables developers to maintain that high bar of multimedia user experience in the browser. But Silverlight is not like flash. Developers can use the exact same development assets, metaphors and tools they know and love. Objects, Controls, Visual Studio and more. Users will come to expect web-based experiences that match their newly enhanced client-side ones.

Third, if Silverlight makes it possible to essentially deploy client-side style applications through the browser, which Microsoft product can now become truly web enabled?

You guessed it. Office.

Silverlight represents a way for Microsoft to not just complete in the online office space, but blow it out of the water with a product that is as good (or better) than its client-side counterpart. There was no way Microsoft was going to bet their web-based application strategy on Flash or try to hack together an Ajax word processor. Silverlight, and its true Object Orientated .NET foundation, are a perfect platform for the web-enablement of their traditionally client-side suite.

Fourth, Silverlight is positioned as the new application platform. It exists in places Microsoft has never existed before. On Nokia phones (the land of Symbian), Linux workstations and OSX. Even iPhone could conceivably run Silverlight since it runs the full fledged Safari browser. And now there is an announcement that Silverlight will be shipped with millions of HP computers.

With Silverlight now coming out on Nokia phones, delivered as part of the Olympics coverage and embedded throughout MS properties and content deals popping up everywhere, Microsoft is gaining enormous distribution potential. If they can somehow skirt the anti-trust issues, they could even bundle it with IE8.

Silverlight is a critical and masterful piece of technology and strategy from the Redmond giant. It allows them to leverage their tools and technologies from the client, raise the bar on web-based experiences, deploy their client-side apps through a browser and broaden their platform reach into every device and screen in a user’s life.

GSP East 2008

I am speaking at Graphing Social Patterns. Will you be there?

You can use this discount code for a 20% discount: gspe08fos

Follow me on Twitter to work out where I am – hopefully we can catch up face-to-face.