“The air quality is great, we have some of the world’s most prime real estate in development, the arts and restaurant scene is thriving, the natural scenery is captivating and Whistler, host of the 2010 Olympic Games is only a few hours away.”
I wasn't going to go, but at the last minute I decided that attending the Vancouver OpenID 2.0 Mashpit would give me the opportunity to see Sxip's downtown Vancouver office and also run into people I knew, not to mention meet some others and learn a little about digital identity. (I was rewarded with a free hotdog and snacks. And a t-shirt.) I need to know this stuff, at the very least cursorily, so that I can support it when the time comes. The two days after the event, which featured a brief presentation by Dick Hardt—and a demo that didn't go so well (Simon Willison's OpenID screencast is a great visual introduction to the emerging standard)—and some "lightning talks" by Sxip and Bryght employees on what they've been working on. Heavily developer-centric, much of the discussion, especially with regards to trust, went over my head.
Dick did not say at this event the phrase "trust is social" like I'd hoped, but he did at least suggest trust was in part a business problem, not only computer science problem. If I'm understanding what he was trying to get at correctly, Boris was trying to suggest that we need a way to measure trust empirically, i.e. a way to store the concept in a database and represent it onscreen. The ensuing discussion sounded a lot like yak-shaving, and that's not a criticism, as I'm inclined to agree much about identity is a multi-layered problem.
In short, I wasn't the target audience of the mashpit, and I'm still left with lingering doubt about a) this is a problem in the first place: we need this when identity is, for many, disposable and b) how to explain to my friends that usernames and passwords are the past and that in the future you will use your URL to login everywhere. To say nothing about the fact that, almost necessarily because it was developer-centric, the event had no women speakers.
Here are the recaps of the Vancouver event I came across.
- Boris on his weblog and on his Bryght weblog recaps the evening
- Bryght developer James Walker summarizes OpenID integration in Drupal (adorning his recap with my photo of him enumerating something) (Bryght mirror)
- Sxip (no byline) also recapped the event, also linking to my set
- did I mention I took photos? I posted a set on Flickr, with the white balance set wrong. Still learning.
There's gotta be more. If you posted about the mashpit, please add a link in the comments.
Boris Mann points to Jeff Griffiths who writes about Caterina Fake's widely-linked essay explaining why she thinks 2006 is a bad time to start a company. John Gruber sort of misquotes David Heinemeier Hansson (also widely-linked), who says it's a great time to start a business: “You know, the kind that develops a product or service and asks money for it.” Also: “You don't need to live in San Francisco to make it big.” That's Boris' point: ActiveState, eBusiness Applications, Sxip and even EZ Systems are relatively successful Vancouver-based businesses or businesses with a Vancouver presence (hi Zak!). I don't claim to know how to start a business, but the ones around me seem to be keen on filling unmet needs, or at least creating products that have the semblance of a business modelâ€”and a business planâ€”behind them.
(In fairness to John, he did correctly title his link. But his comment places the emphasis on 'company', where David placed the emphasis on 'business'.)