« December 2002 | Main | February 2003 »

January 2003 Archives

January 3, 2003

Rethinking Mail - COMsumer POST

I've been listening to Tom's search for heritics recently and was reminded about the stamp story and the origins of the postage invented in Britain in 1840. Postage created new industries, including advertising and rapidly accelerated literacy rates. The parallels are important today, for e-mail, spam, and digital identity.

The printing and publishing industry of the time was caught up in the 'Industrial Revolution', benefiting from changes in manufacturing and exploiting developments in other network technologies - railways and telegraph.

Stamps were a reformers idea. Rowland Hill wrote"Postal Reform; its Importance and Practibilitiy" in 1837. The plan introduced stamps and uniform low rates, which made it universally affordable. It also dramatically cut the accounting costs of the Royal Mail who up and till then logged each individual letter. Let's be clear. Up until 1840 the "receiver" paid. After 1840 the "sender" paid. Until 1840 the system was high cost, with frauds on it common.

Within a few years the stamp revolution spread around the world. For additional statistics see The Economic and Social Background to Victorian Print Culture

Post packets.gif

Today 163 years (May 2003) later the postal revolution has peaked. The efficiencies driven to a point where AOL can create metal non-recyclable CD sign-up trash and still make a business case for putting it in my mailbox. An with e-mail yep we have improved the immediacy of the delivery and reduced the costs. And behold.... just like pre 1840 the receiver pays, the system is increasingly spamed and fraud is more rampant.

What was the platform they launched the penny post on? "Mothers and fathers who wish to have news of your absent children; Friends who are separated and wish to write to each other; Emigrants who do not want to forget your motherland; Farmers who want to know the best place to sell your produce; Workers and labourers who want to find the best work and the highest wages" to support their postal reform measure."

It went beyond their wildest dreams. The rapid rise in literacy; an unexpected consequence. The passion to learn played a great role. With the internet we have the greatest learning and productivity tool so far.

The case and outcomes for a digital COMsumer Post will go way beyond our thinking today. The final comments here introduce an idea, that creates markets for digital identity by moving the postal system from an industrial paradigm to today's knowledge paradigm.

Should we look at POST another way? At issue is the value of access to our personal mailbox. We think about e-mail without thinking about the history and purpose of the postal system. Today the post box in front of my house is public and I receive 98% ineffective direct mail offers. Some put up no solicitation signs etc. The telephone directory is public and I suffer more abuse from telemarketers. However e-mail is completely free. Get my address get spam! Put an e-mail on a website, get more spam.

Is it possible that what we have is the postal system before the stamp revolution? Stamps put a price on sending. However they also drove efficiencies that enabled lower tarriffs, and accelerated more profitable exchages, be they personal or business. (Can anyone tell me where bills and checks fit into this story and early timeline?) Have you looked recently at the value spent dumping trash in your mailbox? Postage plus printing costs?

Our digital mail system is currently free, and increasingly suffering from receiver based inefficiencies. Could the price of free acceptance be too high? It seems the few are spoiling it for the many. It's also costing senders. It's harder than ever to look up an e-mail address. Why can't I just look it up and link it with a phone number? We give our phone numbers away almost without thinking. With e-mail there are reservations. Many have multiple addresses, separating public, business and private, with different levels of profiling information (and honesty) attached to each.

Perhaps it's time to re-think mail. How can we keep it free for the public, our preferred business suppliers etc. while putting a price on spam, that turns it back into information we want to eat.

At the same time we can return the stamp value of "post" to the people. It's no longer efficient to get your power bill via the post or pay it using the postal system. Done correctly, it's USPS that will have a problem. Perhaps literally we only need one physical delivery per week.

Let's start thinking out a solution. I'll call it COMsumer Post - after The COMsumer Manifesto. This is a world in which we all are paid to receive mail. It's a world where different levels of transparency surround our profiles. COMsumer Post is the system that enables the market for consumer information to arise.

Let me say this is not choice mail! Both Kevin Werbach and Jon Udell made recent posts on that subject. This piece on the impact of choice mail Jon's Radiois a great illustration. Choice mail assumes all incoming mail is spam unless it's mails from a buddy - approved source.

More to come.... Tying Smart Mobs to Post and Digital Identity.

Identity, Reputations

<a title="Eric Norlin's Blog" href="http://www.unchartedshores.com/blogger/blogger3.html"><b>Eric Norlin's Blog</b></a> <i>"Mitch brings up the idea of individuals being able to manage access to their Digital ID (in exchange for money) as the killer app. I agree -- it is. However, I think we're 8to10 years from that happening, and there are a lot of intermediate steps in between." </i>

My comment.<b>We (CONSUMERS) can't wait 10 years! </b>We need a better solution.

<a title="RatcliffeBlog: Business, Technology & Investing" href="http://www.ratcliffe.com/bizblog/2003/01/02.html"><b>RatcliffeBlog</b>: Business, Technology & Investing</a> Not marketing, legalese (for lack of a better word)

<a title="Escapable Logic" href="http://www.blaserco.com/blogs/2003/01/02.html#a72"><b>Escapable Logic</b></a> Brett Blazer on "When Meatspace isn't Marketspace" .... digesting... identities... reputations...

Also reading the <b><a href="http://www.pingid.com/misc/Whitepaper_Identity_Federation.pdf">PingID</a></b> whitepaper.

January 6, 2003

Blogrolling & Ryze

Access to hotlists like Napster and Kazaa accelerate my learning about music. When downloading one track I often check the users hotlist. It stands to reason, if they have one song I like they will likely have others that interest me. The same thing is happening with blogrolling, and as a result I am making new connections seeing new sources for material and meeting new friends. Though the strategy with blogging connections is not always the same. Where in music... I would just highlight all the tracks and let them flow onto my disk drive --- when looking at anothers blogroll list I'm interested in those that are different to mine. (Except I would like to be able to share my Kazaa index! like an Amazon wishlist)

And this is where the blog is different to RYZE a community for business networking. In Ryze (see below) I can join tribes and list friends. Makes me wonder... Is there a point where the numbers, content, reputations, and readers suggest that S & J & B should blog together? The semi-smart mob blog is already here. Be neat to know where new conversations are being sparked.

Do I need an interactive blogrolling list? One that presents and learns from interactions with visitors and my visits to other sites. When I add someone to my blogroll, it means I'm learning from them, want to stay current with their thinking. My current list is small. I can currently only sort it on those that are recently updated. If we use the Tipping Point (book insights) then I should expect to have a list of about 150. Most of us would say that's too long to be useful at least at a glance. May as well be random without some metrics and linking suggestions to make it more useful. Focused list options and personalised matching would prove interesting. If Ryze is worth $10 per month then so is this.

I took a complementary step today by finally joining Ryze and surfing around in this emerging community for business networking. My page, and the initial tribe Blogs & Bloggers that via Ross Mayfield provided the incentive to go the extra step. I really would like to see the statistics, just like they show on Live Journal

For some additional KM links see The KMconnection Knowledge Management Product Guide - REV 1.6, December 11, 2002. KM Forums Collecting and 'annealing' the important KM watering holes. This page is part of KmWiki. Started by DenhamGrey

GPS Direction Sense

Tom blogs today about Geocachingis an entertaining adventure game for gps users with a device and a hunger for adventure. There are caches in 156 countries.

While Euanprovides a link to Geourl a location-to-URL reverse directory. This will allow you to find URLs by their proximity to a given location. Find your neighbor's blog, perhaps, or the web page of the restaurants near you.

Do I need a new sense of direction?

January 7, 2003


Do we want spammers to think before sending? Would there be value in incorporating a postage system for e-mail? What opportunities for commerce may arise? What are the benefits for the people?

Suspend your disbelief! Let's imagine a simple scenario where all electronic mail carries a postage stamp equivalent. We would have a rate card... A personal, home, business and government package would be provided. And then levels. Let's just introduce it first for it can begin simply.

Like Paypal provided a verification system for linking e-mails with physical names and addresses, the same can be done for our digital mail box. A PayPal POST type system would enable "franked" mail only to go though. Franking can be determined by the rate card and other features, like contact list updates.

By setting a fee for a "registered" mailbox.... direct mailers, billers etc can quickly move expensive inefficient mailing to more effective online formats. It works virally. Imagine I open an e-mail box for everyone in the whitepages and enable direct marketers to send mail to these accounts. They will pay me a portion of the fee for mail handling (just like Visa) and the balance of the fee will be handled like an unclaimed PayPal account. When the unclaimed digital post value reaches $10.00 then a traditional physical postcard is electronically printed and sent to the physical address. It says... you have digital post, sign your account and collect $10.00. The recipient then opens the account and receives payment for each "letter" opened. This is now an active account. Legal obligations can be contracted, eg collection daily or levels of frequency.

This would be made rapidly smarter with different levels of profile access. In the beginning 25 cents may almost represent a drop box. However, additional levels will use mail profiles to create additional value. Eg accept mail from Sears, Wallmart, Target.... rejects from Nordstroms, Macy's etc. may enable another retailer to more appropriately search paying a higher value to obtain a more targeted distribution. This might pay the consumer a dollar for looking! I can see agents emerging manipulating this info trying to find markets. Now consumers may also be prepared to sell additional profile information. Eg age, favorite brands, plenty of possibilities, these could be bundled as well. A few simply research questions would create a system vastly more sophisticated than the current one quickly. The more partiticipation the greater the definitions and the larger the market for segmenting data. I might even tie it to my TIVO account!

In a world like this.... a few consumers may enable / invent new directional mailbox tags. Each tag can be approved just like each new Visa Bank.... Each tag will get a percentage of the revenue. Tag holders will also work to bundle their assets. By bundling they will make certain "info nodes" more valuable. These might become super agencies.

Senders will know where and to whom mail was delivered. They will with each drop improve targeting and performance. For example when mail is opened... if it recieves a click though additional postage may be due (a return receipt posted).

COMsumer Post participants can speed their participation by collecting money for changing their bills over to electronic systems. AT&T would love me to give up my paper bill -- but I refuse, an electronic or e-mail bill does not result in a discount. Imagine.... the screen option to select all your bill providers... and collect the postage from the invoicing companies. PG&E doesn't bill another company does it. Imagine millions of customers saying.... redirect my bills electronically.... the reduction in paper waste, the legal transfer simplified, and then being paid for putting efficiencies into the system. I'm green and better off!

This will create new efficiencies and are the first steps to creating market aggregators. Super agents for consuming communities. There was much written on meta-markets over the last few years. In this scenario they can become reality. Using your post box to register guarantees etc can link you to other consumers. Only one consumer needs to code a guarantee for each product for everyone to participate. See the CD song id. Similarly consumer complaints can be handled by this mail system. I wrote anti-port some time ago.

What are the core concepts here.

The majority of postage is payed to consumers. There is an incentive to enable certain levels of public information. It is built off of current mail and profiling systems. We work first to eliminate waste paper of direct mail.

It will create a more efficient postal system, which no longer penalizes the receiver with spam, for the sender will now pay for access, just like our current postal system. By definition corporate mail boxes will be different to personal mail boxes. Rates and exchanges for business post may also be different. Licensing opportunities are also available. Eg post approved for children.

By moving all post into digital space, we have made post mobile, so new options will become available. Eg paying for gps link and timed delivery to a consumer. If the consumer doesn't collect it within an allotted time then it is simply void and disappears. Under the right set of circumstances... informercials might take on a different pricing structure. Ah...new learning on the run.

There is also an important social issue here. By enabling the payment for post, we are endeavoring to make Internet access free for everyone. Not everyone may move over. Still if we are smart enough to create a social - community - postal system that incents business and pays enough to cover the costs of access and equipment then we have done good. It may be easier than we think. WiFi PDAs may just collect your mail as you walk around.

Lastly this is not a posting that suggests we should raise the rates between friends. In fact there are many ways round that. Though even at the simplest level if I mail you 25 cents and you mail me back... except for the "VISA" percentage we are even. So to make it better... You can join... become a COMsumer for $35 per year we will enable you to exchange mail freely with your friends and close contacts.

Who could set this up? It's a mighty attactive proposition for some banks. PayPal may have a head start. Then again hotmail, or yahoo, AOL (help us!) or Earthlink? Quicken maybe? Banks are closet to providing the trust and security over data. They are important to the linking aspects and perhaps more so when we begin aggregating this info to enhance consumer purchasing power.

Ultimately, this is more like Visa. It is chaordic in nature. It must also be consumer owned. Afterall it is our consumer info we are talking about. The majority of the assets our personal info at the edge of the Network. Just like in David Isenbergs's Stupid Networks. We are close to the point where consumer can have a STUPID POST OFFICE. I'd like to think it was more open source... a postal bazaar, than a new cathedral.

Idea? Thoughts?

January 9, 2003


Suggestion. Use TDMA an open source protocol along with a postal charging mechanism to control and incent the development of inbound digital mail and eliminate SPAM. Putting a cost on digital mail will make marketers more efficient and selective. It will also create a market when you pay consumers for more detailed information.

After my COMsumer POST blog on Tuesday; Mitch Radcliffe blogged a segment of my post (ah for an editor!) and the discussion that followed was very helpful to me. His objections my para-phrasing was one I have heard before. People won't give up their current e-mail addresses to do this. There are a great many problems with ISP's and you can't fiddle with how it currently works.

The discussion led to looking at TDMA. TDMA works on the basis of whitelists.

" The way TMDA thwarts incoming junk-mail is simple yet extremely effective. You maintain a "whitelist" of trusted contacts which are allowed directly into your mailbox. Messages from unknown senders are held in a pending queue until they respond to a confirmation request sent by TMDA. Once they respond to the confirmation, their original message is deemed legitimate and is delivered to you. Updating your whitelist insures they won't have to confirm future messages. TMDA can even be configured to automatically whitelist confirmed senders. To see what the confirmation process looks like, send me a test message, and then reply to the confirmation request.

This methodology has the advantage of being very selective about what it allows in, while at the same time permitting legitimate, but previously unknown senders to reach you......"

TDMA is not alone in developing a whitelist approach. See Bruce Simpson's September thougths. Kevin Werbach also wrote "Death by Spam" in November. TDMA may be the only open source choice however.

So consider. Is it possible to use TDMA as part of a spam-killing postal system? You know add a postal metering / franking system link it to my paypal account, which means I'm verified to get my digital post. Then if you can also insure that everything is encrypted as it goes each way? I'm assuming it is P2P, and that I will adopt a standardised or recommended rate card.

Then I'm not only getting money for receiving post and making the planet a better place, I also know the commission I pay to the service (like VISA) is adding to the security and integrity of the overall system.

This solution alone doesn't answer the pressing business issue. How can I improve my returns on direct mail beyond just going digital? For marketers require profiles -- data. TDMA with a payment system can improve inbound effiencies with verified accounts - addresses. The same system can work in the reverse, when consumers create profiles of real value.

The very same consumers can enable whitelist profile sharing in exchange for postal access.

Reputation Genio

I've been looking at Genio and again PINGID. I've read the Genio Protocol mission statement, an element I repeat here.

"Reputation >> shall mean any collection of information about your Digital Identity, whether positive or negative, which shall serve to inform others of their opinions about your Digital Identities. Reputation shall serve as a foundation for trusted interactions between Digital Identities.

Then under a section called rights:

"RIGHT TO AN ACCURATE REPUTATION >> You have the right to have an accurate Reputation. You agree that your Reputation is a result of your actions and communications and of others vouching for those actions and communications. As a consequence of the right to an accurate Reputation, You agree that our Reputation may become either positive or negative. You have the right to carry aspects of your Reputation with your Digital Identity or to refuse to carry aspects of your Reputation with your Digital Identity. However, as a consequence of refusing to carry all or part of your Reputation with your Digital Identity, others have the right to not interact with You or your Digital Identities, or to do so in a limited or restricted manner without being considered discriminatory."

This approach to "Reputation" and the words used personally make my skin crawl. I have a sense that this conversation --- is not one taking place in human voices. This is closer to an accounting discussion. These types of reputation measures may well destroy creativity and the ability to speak out.

If you don't believe me a quick example from eBay learnings. My observation is most sellers wait until the buyer has left positive feedback. The words above that relate to positive or negative reputations... Are we implying it is no longer safe to have an opinion? No longer safe to be on the edge of conformity? Because +ve -ve is too black and white. The very words illustrate that there is only one ranking. As humans... we have to believe there is some good in everyone somewhere. This statement above fails to protects us.

At the same time feedback dimensions enable us to learn and that's important. Really, think about it. If I hold a transaction with a company and they want to add reputation / servicing statictics to it. I have no problem with that. What I want is the record. If the record is extended to me then it goes in my file. If I want to share that with another I can. Afterall It's my record too. To one company it may represent danger, to another opportunity. The companies and Genio suggest that if something is missing it is incomplete or the info provider (the customer) in this case is intending to deceive. It isn't black or white.

There will be both our data profiles... added to what we know about ourselves (human profiles) and their knowledge profiles... what they think they know about me. Just like the credit report... their profile might not be correct. Somehow I doubt a lawyer wrote this. Neither did a PR mavrick. Both would use different words.

It's in words like these that concepts are stuck. Frankly the Genio Protocol, sounds like a Ludlum or Clancy thriller. I just hope the bad guys don't win. I am also sure some smart guys wrestled with this.

I think the problem is they favor structured - data driven profiles. My challenge is for them to think similarly about creating environment for emergent, chaotic, complex profiles to emerge. Profiles that accelerate the learning of both parties. The transaction accumulator model for profiles is dead, unworkable, and unlikely to scale

Human Profiles RYZE UP

The emergence of RZYE is more important than it may seem at first glance. It is not just another networking - community.

It's much more... it is the early emergence of an outpouring of human profiles. Ryze is a demonstration of social capital building in action. These distinctly human identities are emergent, chaotic, and uncontrolled. And there are good sound business and personal reasons for being there.

This is a sharp contrast to "structured" standards based profiling in the crm - digital id discussion. At RYZE we see the beginnings of a human outpouring --- people increasingly willing to share. Here individuals are building their profiles, searching, learning, revamping and adding to their profiles. It is another SMART MOB, and still just a baby.

RYZE is a step beyon Match - HotorNot etc.. the dating sites are relatively structured, however key words are effectively open. RYZE demonstrates this to me even more clearly. Search on "Digital Identity", search on "Identity". Then try "donuts". I added both of these to my interests this morning. If you are a gold member you can search that way too. I suggest you join even if it is only to have the experience. Thus a new interest provides new touch points new avenues for contact, both inbound and outbound.

It feels right thinking about these as "human profiles" not "digital machine profiles". They have a voice, emotions, and their owners interpretation. Just writing this... I know I have more to do on mine! Over time our RYZE profiles may be augmented by "knowledge profiles" (explicit capture of transactions) they may also have "time profiles" effectively element are "lifestream profiles" (borrowing from Gelerntner). It is the "tacit piece" that makes them so attractive to us as individuals. What we don't know about ourselves we can hope to learn though others. Crashing profiles together releases tacit knowledge, leads to creativity.

RYZE is breaking data boundaries. Members are currently giving away information freely about themselves and yet retain ownership. You can't reach me without my contact details. Problems, report to the community, simply block the sender. I don't know the total number on RYZE, did try to estimate and factor it. Search on USA, see the number returned... etc. What I know is the community can use that info to become smarter. better at using categories... eg most popular etc... The metrics on RYZE need to be more transparent.

As RYZE grows the capabilty to provide useful community information will grow exponentially. Events may come to include research, results are posted by the research leader, Network-tribes form.Monitoring RYZE even seeding interests (like donuts) if you are a member may result in learnings. At a minimum one person had that interest at a moment in time. Similarly social Action groups are possible. Or Buying groups. Some may want to buy a new Honda Element by recording it as an interest which becomes seachable.... As a car dealer you still can't market to them as a group. Yet we know there may be value in creating offers against such research. This becomes the subject of another post.

At the moment these human profiles are given away free and broad access is denied. A marketer can't spam on RZYE. Individual approaches only. Just like the postal service before the advent of stamps and marketing.

In a RYZE world, we can e-mail, chat, make new connections, personalize our businees connections more transparently and comfortably than we do today. That's attractive and it needs nurturing.

That's where RYZE is breaking new boundaries. Introducing business networking in an environment and context that appears safer and protected. Not only does it enable the linking to friends of friends it provides the opportunity to constantly play with your profile. That gaming is clearly interesting in the Personals, I bet it is addictive in business networking too. It will also highlight new areas of demand!

Continue reading "Human Profiles RYZE UP" »


RYZE illustrates that human profiles are built on learning, with chaotic connections, that are constantly changing.

When you become a Ryze member the profiles are free to search. Just like many other matching sites. The profiles provide many ways to improve your message, obtain feedback and simply learn by watching others. It a site for business networking.

Imagine now RYZE as a community in the hundred of millions, with a postal system --- franked e-mail for all those not in my contact list. Like COMsumer POST you pay me to send me e-mail. At the individual level the cost is negligible -- just like a few postage stamps. What's more if those members get a return message they are reimbursed for their interest... even if it is just courtesy to say thanks.

Now you are a business who may want to reach millions. You search on RYZE, find great profile matches, but you will not know their e-mails. So you experiment with different levels of postage (how granular the profile for success?) paying for access to the mailboxes. The mailer is also identified by the TDMA protocol and qualified that it has the postage to go though.

That would be the traditional marketers view. The meta-mediariary would make it their business to seed / search out interests, then based on search - research results know how to aggregate demand. Demand aggregation within this cooperative community could be both consumer led, perhaps even with digital agents. My guess is consumers will express an interest... buying a specific type of car and then an aggregation agent system will emerge.

I'd note this may not happen on RYZE. It appears commercial, it's not open source - yet and the founder / directors may have ideas about what is appropriate? Making them the post office innovators is probably not yet on their agenda.

January 10, 2003


In The Obvious? today Euan blogs a snail mail spamming story which reminds me to reinforce that building trust is central to any solution.

"I am disinclined to trust an organisation that, for the first time, puts together my job with my home address - presumably having gleaned them from different databases - and then ties this in with the an assumed understanding of the nature of my job to spam me."

We get sensitive when we see organizations aggegating data about us and using it inappropriately, sending us offers that rub us the wrong way. Frankly for most of us telemarketing calls (at least in the US) are far more bothersome than miss-directed snail mail, most of which gets dropped in the trash straight from the mailbox.

The University let him down (trust) and the mailer is accountable for a % return. It is a shame that these two aren't linked to achieve high trust and high return. Still mailers like this don't change our trust point of view on with the post office. However, letter bombs do!

Still, most of us remain open to offers, generally willing to do some culling for those that appeal or reward us in some way. We prefer to receive them from 'names' - brands we recognize, they are safer. The tone, print, words, layout also influence trust.

Trust around e-mails is even more important! Most of us don't want to entirely block out the world around us. We want unsolicited useful information, from trusted reputable sources. We just don't want too much of it and without viruses.

Could a program similar to Cloudmark Spamnet enable the quick elimination of these types of errors. Clouldmark may also report on the percentage of messages filtered for rejection. With registered mailers.... they could demand a certain approval rating. The approval rating tied to a whitelist might provide consumers with spam function that enables a % of offers to get though while controlling volume and quality (culled) in their inbox.

Again if digital mailers had to pay a stamping price to access consumers the economics and interest for both parties would change. When the returns from digital solicitations exceed the home mail box, the traditional approaches will change.

FOAF Files

Guardian Unlimited | Online | Click to the clique Good overview by Ben Hammersley of emerging social networks.

Note to self. Must check out FOAF files.

Clipped straight from the Guardian.

"A new technology, however, is being developed that will allow you to stay away from such commercial operations as Friendster and Ryze. FOAF, or "friend of a friend", is a special computer language that can be used to describe ourselves, our work and our friends."

"You can create your own FOAF file using one of many online tools and then register it with any of the many growing FOAF online applications. These are growing in number and popularity, and despite the technical aspects being, well, technical, FOAF is simple enough for the bold to join in with the development."

"FOAF files are more technical, but luckily one of the FOAF community, Leigh Dodds, has built a great little application for building them. The FOAF-o-Matic comes in two flavours. The older JavaScript version, is good, but simple.

The newer version, is more complex but not entirely polished yet. Either version asks questions and produces a file you can then place online and register at other FOAF applications, such as Jim Ley's FOAFNaut at http://jibbering.com/foaf.

January 13, 2003

Network Socializing

I’m finding myself identifying with the “human”and “social” networking aspects as I've tracked recent discussions. I feel a cause that is worthwhile. emergent and world changing. It's becoming clear that the web isn’t just evolving because of economics, it’s beginning to accelerate again as the “intangible human web” is discovered or perhaps redefined. That's why I'm excited and thinking through context-framing questions… “How will the human web evolve?” What sort of scenarios should we consider? I’m working on some.

Jan Hauser posed this context questioning an interview:

"The big question is: will whatever tips in for individual identity primarily serve commercial interests or will it also serve public and community interests?"

The following two articles via Cynthia Typaldos on THERE also caught my attention today.
From CNET and in the New York Times socializing online is becoming a more engaging experience.

January 15, 2003

Chaordic Wi-Fi Networks?

Trepia is a new networking application that lets you instantly discover other Wi-Fi users in your vicinity. It apparently analyses base-station access patterns and then creates a contact list of who's near you.

Thus in an airport I can identify other similarly enhanced Trepia users and send them IM's and potentially meet them. Will there be a barrier to begin... unless yahoo, messenger or aim buys them... how will Trepia reach critical mass? Plus it's not entirely clear to me what their business model is.

What are the implications? First, in principle I think it is a great idea. Brings networking with strangers one step closer. I've forgotten the Japaneese story about the beeping gigapet type gadget looking for matches in a crowd, possible this may provide something similar. Many other applications may emerge... people in the same area week by week. It also raises a number of issues.

First in their profile example see how it works. It's too simple for me to make contact to create comfort. I'm not prepared to expose my picture - face, link to statistics and data in a close crowd for anyone that I haven't put though some form of vetting - exchange process. I'd be happier with a RYZE profile where my photo - images are not put though in the initial listing. There may be other criteria - qualifiers that I may want prior to broadcasting. Currently I believe that what looks like a plausible IM enhancement will fail because the real details that create the interest or broach the introduction simply aren't there. To work Trepia has to make people interesting. If Ryze contained millions of profiles and WiFi was everywhere it may fuel high utilization in examples similar to Trepia proposes. Short-term with modifications perhaps on campus?

There is no data on proximity (to me) and yet as I understand their example as I move from node to node... their system tracks me and tells me who is nearby even if linked to a different WiFi node. I presume this application could also act to sniff out new nodes as Trepia carriers move about..

This also raises a further set of personal security issues. For example I have Trepia on my laptop and it is on my home wireless network. Does this give driveby snoopers access to pictures and profiles of who is active in the house? Or worse... a poor celebrity decides to use the system providing a new game for stalkers.

Trepia illustrates, the emerging power of WiFi everywhere and how it may help us connect. It also creates another system, logging individuals, with yet more profiles and possibly selling the information about where they coalesce. Each of us needs to retain this information. It should not be in central servers. If a P2P application can provide this functionality in Ryze then perhaps the real-time networks… or RYZERS in proximity to x can collectively sell their info to marketers. Marketers, pay an access fee to the collective data. Using the franked digital post system you may get paid for even just sharing your profile even if only one person in that proximity accepts the message and decides to read. As a marketer you are then making an offer to a potential Swarm leader. Eg come to X and have dinner. Y others in your vicinity may be interested. Now the people retain the info and can potentially increase the value.

Why did I select Chaordic Networks for the title? What could be more chaotic than looking for common interests in a moving crowd? Plus this requires real organization with profiles, the application etc. It too must be decentralized and yet there must be a return for all participants. Adding an economic one may fuel a social revolution.

January 18, 2003

Peace March

Sign of change. I joined the 10's of thousands (my estimate about 75000+) marching for peace in San Francisco today. We came from all walks of life, many like me had never protested before.

It was worthwhile! Yet no words emerged from the crowd or from the speakers that were easy to take home. The crowd values represented an outpouring of uncomfort with America's current path in the world. Time to change course and take responsibility to make the world a better place.

As we rode home in jamm packed BART cars, it was silent, all with many thoughts. We all knew we were not alone. While the factions on the podium could not speak for us, and Martin Luther King's quotes out of time, on his birthday there was a place for them.

"One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means." MLK

Peace March SF 011803 005[1]

Peace March SF 011803 013.jpg

Peace March SF 011803 019.jpg

Virtual Stats

More on Live Journal stats and posted by Ross Mayfield. Seem to remember blogging these a month ago should have used fancy grapics and made it more memorable.

On the statistics front. Can anyone give me the current total on RYZE, ecademy, and Buddynetwork in beta, oh and Friendster too?

January 21, 2003

Serious Play Network

When is play serious? And when should play remain "just curious"? We know the expression "curiosity killed the cat". Well curiosity certainly captured this one.

I've been checking out all the new online communities from Ryze to Ecademy stopping at Buddynet and Friendster in beta. You know playing... what if I do this. At Ryze early in the piece I checked out tribes - now networks. Guess what, you go one page too far and there is no going back. The title alone "Serious Play" secured some members. Today I had to start defining what it is all about. One day maybe the group will write it properly. I'm hoping this group can bring innovative challenges to the Ryze community.

As a brief comment comparing the various approaches. At the moment IMHO Ryze wins hands down, it's simply more human, more personal, and easier to get started. There are important lessons here for organizations, IM systems, Digital Idenities etc. Think about joining.

Info Trading Momentum

It's hard to keep up with the "connective web" at the moment much less the allconsuming.net. This post illustrates a "revolution in progress. These initiative may soon spill over into Ryze type applications as well. Simply listing a book you are currently reading may introduce you to others.

Here's what Ben had to say via Euan:

"While allconsuming.net can send you book reading recommendations (by email) based on what your friends are reading and commenting about, I thought it might be useful to be able to read any comments that were made on books that you had in your collection. "I’ve got book X. Let me know when someone says something about book X". So I whipped up a little script, booktalk, which indeed uses allconsuming.net’s hooks to build a new service. What booktalk does, crontabbed on an hourly basis, is to grab a user’s currently reading and favourite books lists and then look at the hourly list of latest books mentioned. Any intersections are pushed onto the top of a list of items in an RSS file, which represents a sort of 'commentary alert' feed for that user and his books. It goes without saying that the point of this is so that the user can easily monitor new comments on books in his collection by subscribing to that feed, which, aggregated by Blagg and rendered by Blosxom, would look something like this."

There is more to this story. If you read DJ Adams posting and missed Jon Udells postings on local library searches and "the disruptive web then follow the last links to pick up on them.

More on RSS feeds: From The Shifted Librarian; Jenny's perspective:

"Yeah, what he said! I used to read the Chicago Tribune online, but now I read the Sun-Times in my aggregator because someone is scraping it. I rarely had time to check the NY Times technology section every day, but now I get the headlines as soon as they're posted. Something happening in world events? I see it in my aggregator before I ever make it to my car to hear it on the radio (which I don't listen to anymore anyway) or make it home to catch the news (which I don't watch much of anymore since I get far more in-depth information online). I also don't have to keep flitting back to online news sites. Instead I get all of my news on one web page that updates automatically for me."

So do I!


Britt Blaser introduces a nice post on forging a federation today to make a difference with:

"Now consider that we are helping in the birth of a ubiquitous global network, for it's not the "frozen" Internet Infrastructure that matters, it's the connecting of most humans who wish to be, using words and gestures that seem natural to them (not yet, but real soon). We all know this is what we're about, but it's good to pause and wonder at our good luck to be at this place at this time."

As always a few with an impossible dream can shape the future.

Emerging Collaborative Filters

How we share and exchange information is accelerating rapidly. From music to digital photos to more recently how we are obtaining and reading our news. Similarly new forms of spam control are emerging. Here's another slant on how we are filtering out the chaff.

Clay Shirky's latest piece:" is on distributed systems and collaborative filtering. In particular, it concerns what sort of system would have to exist to alter the ecosystem of music in the way earlier forms of internet publishing have altered the ecosystem of the written word."

then later in the article:

"This is all part of the Big Flip in publishing generally, where the old notion of "filter, then publish" is giving way to "publish, then filter." There is no need for Slashdot's or Kuro5hin's owners to sort the good posts from the bad in advance, no need for Blogdex or Daypop to pressure people not to post drivel, because lightweight filters applied after the fact work better at large scale than paying editors to enforce minimum quality in advance. A side-effect of the Big Flip is that the division between amateur and professional turns into a spectrum, giving us a world where unpaid writers are discussed side-by-side with New York Times columnists."

January 22, 2003

Photo Sharing

PHOTO-SHARING SITES PROVE POPULAR 13 million Americans visited photo-sharing Websites during November 2002.

Latest studies reveal that Yahoo Photos is the most popular photo-sharing community among home, work and university Net users with 5.2 million visitors. Three other photo-sharing website had at least a million visitors each during November 2002. MSN Photos attracted two million unique visitors while Ofoto and Picturetrail.com drew 1.3 million and 1.2 million respectively. The findings also indicate that broadband users accounted for 47 percent of visitors to photo-sharing websites during the month of November.

Online Retail

AMR Research surveyed US net users about their 2002 holiday purchases and found that 28% of their budget was spent online whereas just 4% was allotted to print catalogs

AMR finds that just 4% of net users' holiday shopping budgets went to catalogs, which means that 20% of the retail channel's share in 2001 went to the internet in 2002.

Overall 20% of retail spending was online in 2002.

Retail Channels 2002.gif

Digital ID and eGovernement

Useful read "Digital ID and eGovernement"

"Summary: Governments are vitally concerned with identity and yet, paradoxically, most governments have been largely unwilling to take a leadership role in the digital identity arena. This article explores what government's relationship to identity is, and should be..."

ID Scenarios

The objective of this posting is to stimulate a conversation around Digital Identity some 5-10 years into the future exploring the following questions.

“Will whatever tips in for individual identity primarily serve commercial interests or will it also serve public and community interests?"

This scenario matrix is intended to stimulate a discussions of plausible alternate environments in which “digital identity” evolves. Individually or as a group we sometimes use a matrix to stimulate slice of life stories five to ten years into the future. This document is a sketch. It provides a starting point for creating the stories.

Note: I'm breaking my usual rules for scenarios, for sharing without context and providing a draft document unfinished. However, without group action and context; it's really not worth doing in more detail. I did it because my sense is the "technologists" tend to think about single point futures. I did it because papers like Andre Durand's (is current and illustrative to the structured world view) are authoritative, and yet I never see in them the type of adaptive profile exchanges that I see on Ryze or as a result of allconsuming.net. To really think though digital identity the net should be cast wide. Anyone one of these futures could be right. Similarly all of them could be wrong.

Please check out the detail and explanation of logic and send me comments.

Continue reading "ID Scenarios" »

January 23, 2003

Mobile Post

Picked this link up via Doc Searls. See David's one line bio.

In his latest posting Doc is using Radar as a metaphor.

"What we DON'T want from Digital Identity is a system where vendors can constantly but silently follow us with passive sonar, or where they ping us when we don't want to be pinged."

The issue here is how to change the game. The game currently is premised on CRM, relationship management, companies holding files, etc. Thus so is everyone's perspective. The one prize companies want more than anything is my e-mail, tied to my address, and phone number. That seems pretty simple and we accept for most business transactions it would make it easier. No more paper receipts... just an eceipt... etc.

Rather than trying to mine my e-mail, nab it etc.... they can have it. They will just have to pay me a small fee. This eliminates business without "economics" in the exchange. It creates power for consumer to set markets for access. It also means that passing information between companies becomes less attractive, because it may not make it cheaper to get to potential customers and customers may have more valuable profiles available.

Consider receiver based communication. In a highly federated world... all the mega companies become agents in a system that is trying to co-ordinate behavior, let other agents know what is happening to them. The receivers of this information use it to decide what they are going to do. The receivers base their decisions on some overall specification of "team goals" (borrowed from Kauffman)

In sports teams we see this as constant chatter. Xerox used always on headsets for repairmen... good practices spread faster.

As consumers we have to increase the cost of commercial access to our information. I cannot afford to walk into the store and have the prices go up! Franked Digital Post still feels like a pretty good first step. (Mobile post boxes -- my phone-- can receive if on... timed postings for a franked fee payable to me. This cost would be higher.) More importantly it will change the perspective of every business and send a message. If nothing else that is a reason to try it. I'm beginning to think there may also be an unintended consequence. Like the original postal revolution fueled literacy.... this time it could fuel digital connectivity.

Last night I was trying to catch up on a threaded discussion on Smart Mobs at www.groupjazz.com chataqua just before dinner. Some interesting threads are starting to emerge. I'll note for fun part of a Howard quote:

"And I think we're seeing the beginning of the demise of email as we know it. I am just about ready to go to a system that charges people to send me email, unless they are on my whitelist. Spam is a scourge." HR (my bold)

I'm thinking again about the scenario matrix Iyesterday. How would smart mobs evolve though each? How would the technology be applied? For example. How would sms evolve combined with GPS location data in a Federated Servant / closed system world controlled by ancient telecoms? Alternatively, how would it evolve in open chaordic communities, where sms is like a verbal contract? perhaps the slate is auto cleared amongst friends using some encrypted function.

Doc this sounds a lot like your example.

Aggregating Consumer Radar

Further thought on Doc Searls latest post. Let's not forget the power in this scenario that customers can aggregate their radars! It only takes one consumer to be monitoring for a deal for all in the vicinity to be notified. Similarly consumer radars can be tuned to each other. Perhaps this is what you envisage.

"What we DO want from both identity and relationship management, as customers, is control over passive and active sonar on both sides of our relationships: who we're willing to have following us around, for example, and who we're not. Also who we're willing to follow as well."

and finishes with:

"This prospect must scare the crap out of companies that are highly attached to such Tier 3 activities as market surveillance (excuse me, research), advertising, direct mail and various forms of nonrelationships with customers."

Look at the online retail sales vs catalogs over this last Christmas. Direct Mail needs a digital solution and quick!

NYTimes 2016

Britt Blaser posts on "Ident Therefore I Am". Excellent! I'm not quite sure where the following came from. Well done short scenaric prod. How does one keep up on all the threads? This should be run as a scenaric exercise... Scenarios to strategy. New solutions would emerge.

"NYTimes.com, January 21, 2016

Congress today passed the Carbon Life Form Digital Identity Act (CLFDIA) by an overwhelming vote, prohibiting any entity recording or archiving information of any kind about any carbon-based human persona. This is seen as a strategic win for President William Sterling who had made the legislation the centerpiece of his Sociolibertarian/Independent agenda, and will sign it using his digital signature at a ceremony at Davos.

Experts agreed that all the technical requirements are in place to support the bill's implementation. It's estimated that 78% of AmeriEuro adults now control their own web-based Digital IDs, as do a staggering 94% of people between 13 and 21. The bill requires anyone who wishes to transact over the internet, through the mail or within the EuroDollar Community to maintain a web-based DigID site supporting biometric validation.

Economists downplayed the significance of the legislation, calling it largely symbolic, since the bill does not affect transactions among Algorithm-Based Personas (ABPs), which comprise 86.3% of the GDP. These self-perpetuating digital entities will continue to transact with each other, exchanging digital services for digital money, even though their creators, whether human or corporate, are no longer involved in maintaining the entities' algorithms.

It is believed that the first ABP was the No Iraq, No Way meme, started in 2003 and which still is collecting donations from the many pacifist ABPs still active. The ancient precursor to the NINW meme, the Stop-the-Taliban-Now meme, functioned briefly in the early 1990s but failed because there was no mechanism at that time to automatically fund meme support infrastructure."

January 24, 2003

XML Profile?

LJ/DJ provide useful functionality that is not available in blogger, Radio, or Moveable type. In particular, the profiling capability and the community of friends listings. It's the profiling that provides the statistics. Possibly a profile system added to blogroll could enable improved statistics access for all who participate. You could spread it virally.

Saw David Galbraith also suggesting an XML profile. Broadcasting.... consumer profiles. I don't think that is what is intended, an unintended consequence?

Am I watching the Napster - (Ryze) vs Kazaa (broader blogging) aspects at play here?

January 27, 2003


Hearing from a friend that Huminities was a recent discussion item in the Well.

Huminity is a free software that enables people to share, create, modify and navigate a global map of connections via highly graphical animated maps.

Sounds okay until you give it your Outlook address book. Beware! Another that seems to duplicate mistakes already made. See Plaxo....

Real-time Identity Prototyping

Interesting realtime prototyping process linking realtime identities to blogs happening now.

"using some cool thinking, a post can relate the FOAF data that is attached to it, and start thinking about how to make connections between various identities (ie you could have a FOAF comment rule that says "if any of my friends post here, alert me about it" or something of the like)"

January 28, 2003

Unbuckled Strategy

There is a nice discussion emerging on RYZE "Serious Play" around improv and storytelling. Reminded me of work with the unbuckled strategy group, otherwise known as Fratelli Bologna. Be some challenges making this space work. You can see why I started the Serious Play experiment here.


January 31, 2003

Gray Matter Update

Awesome summary post on Ross Mayfields blog --- Blogmap: Friendship/Time

"The January sample of Blogmap.net, the first project to map and analyze the social network of an online community over time, is here -- revealing signs of creeping decentralization.

The maps below are of the Friendships of core of the Blog Network as measured by confirmed relationships within Ryze. Pete Kaminski helped with the data collection. Here is Valids Krebs' analysis:"

They can also be found on RYZE; see blogs and bloggers

Towards the end of this post they draw a parallel between RYZE and FOAF (friend of a friend) Both approaches are really redefining profiles. Human Profiles! Ones we personally touch. This new gray matter will create new social structures. I used this term in an e-mail and have thought about it since. Seems appropriate to think about this form of collaborative sharing as "Gray Matter". Will this emerging thread encourage new forms of human collaboration vs the economic competition for information?

I've literally spent two days pretty much round RYZE. From invites to outlining articles. The blog space cross-over provide many opportunities.

See my updated RYZE page


In parallel with experimenting on RYZE I've been exploring PlaNetwork. I suggest reading the Vision and Principles and similarly looking at the IDCommons.

About January 2003

This page contains all entries posted to Unbound Spiral in January 2003. They are listed from oldest to newest.

December 2002 is the previous archive.

February 2003 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Powered by
Movable Type 3.32