Archive for December, 2010

This post is a third in a series on personal digital identity. Part-1 “The unpolished diamond was published here in August 2010 and Part-2 ‘The Digital Identity Tuner” was published here in September 2010.

Today’s post is not reporting about the tour we did in June 2010, but rather some reflections based on a number of serendipitous encounters during the last two months.


I am a strong believer in serendipity or the power of encounters by accident and the resulting idea shifts that can be generated during such meeting of different expertise.

My first encounter was with Azeem Azhar, CEO of Peerindex.

One day I was at a conference, and one of the speakers asked the audience “I would like to know what sort of application you guys want me to built”. It was one of those conferences where folks twitter a lot during the sessions, and I posted a tweet saying: “I would like you to develop my Digital Identity Tuner”.

It got re-tweeted, and in the end got picked-up by Sean Park from Nauiokaspark (he was one of the Innotribe Leaders at Sibos Amsterdam, and he is also an investor in Peerindex), who introduced me to Azeem.

Peerindex helps you understand and benefit from your social and reputation capital online. How much is your online reputation worth ? PeerIndex is a web technology company that is algorithmically mapping out the social web.

The way we see it, the social web now allows everyone endless possibilities in discovering new information on people, places, and subjects. We believe that the traditional established authorities and experts – journalists, academics, are now joined by a range of interested and capable amateurs and professionals. As this locus of authority shifts, many new authorities emerge. PeerIndex wants to become the standard that identifies, ranks, and scores these authorities — and help them benefit from the social capital they have built up

Btw, my Peerindex is 60. That’s based on my digital footprint on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and my blogging activities. It is obvious to see that this number “60” may one day translate into some virtual social currency.


There are similar services like this: Klout is well known. Same principle. Some trend toward social currency of your personal platform. It’s also obvious that this capital will become very important for recruiters to find the people who have real on-line influence and reputation.


Like Peerindex, Klout also offers some more drill-down features, showing you influence “style” for example:


As you start drilling down in these data, this starts to smell quite a lot like some of the zooming in/out ideas I elaborated on in “Digital Identity Tuner”.

Azeem and I will continue talking about this. What Azeem liked in the “Tuner” were the ideas of control of what pieces of my profile I want to share with whom in what context.


My dream is that we have a prototype/mockup

ready by Sibos Toronto in September 2011,

where we probably will have

an Innotribe theme on Digital Identity

My second encounter was with Phil Windley, CTO and Co-Founder of Kynetx

One day – it was a day after a conference has ended – I was going to have breakfast just before checking out from the hotel and flying back home. At the table next to me, I see a guy working on his PC. I see a big sticker “Kynetx” on the PC. I had heard the name of the company several times before, so I said “good morning” and quickly introduced myself. It happened to be Phil Windley.




Kynetx is a private company that provides the first Context Automation Development Platform. This platform, powered by Kynetx Network Services (KNS), provides easy-to-use development tools to create context-sensitive, cross-platform apps that help build relationships between app owners and users.

I would describe it as

an event based integration engine

in the cloud


So we made contact, and once back home we arranged a Webex demo session.

Boy! What I saw really blew me away from my socks ! I saw a demo with a credit card vendor who used Kynetx to establish a new direct channel with the credit card holder, completely disintermediating the banks. I saw another demo with really very deep integration of DBS360 into Salesforce.com

I knew he had something to do with identity, and back home I found out that Phil Windley also co-founded and co-produces the Internet Identity Workshop with “identity woman” Kaliya & VRM-guru Doc Searls.

Phil has a great blog called Technometria


He has a great perspective on the key differentiator between today’s social networks and Personal Data Ecosystem the emergence of the personal data store where individuals control their own data.

This is of course very relevant to our eMe winner project of Sibos 2009. As I mentioned already many times before, with hindsight the eMe premise of a single or even distributed Personal Data “Store” or “Locker” is flawed. On Windley’s blog I finally found a good discourse on why it is flowed.

Check out the following two posts:

Like always, there is nothing such convincing like a demo.

The video below shows a conceptual demo illustrating the opportunities that are available for automating the contextual activities that people undertake every day. At the heart of the demo is a personal data store and Kynetx. The interactions are all done using real Kynetx applications that are plumbed in a realistic manner. The scenario uses 5 different APIs and a dozen individual rulesets in the Kynetx system.

In the scenario, Scott Phillips gets bad news from his radiologist: he needs surgery. You’ll see that a personal data store and a collection of loosely coupled Kynetx apps automate the frustratingly disjointed activities associated with Scott’s bad news and focused his attention so he can complete the tasks with the least amount of effort.


Kynetx and Personal Data Services from Phil Windley on Vimeo.


My third encounter was with nobody less than Esther Dyson.

She was talking at the last Defrag conference. She was doing a fantastic talk “On Exploration”. It was about “exploring yourself”, “discovering yourself”. With my Leading by Being background, I was super concentrated.

As part of her talk, she showed her personal DNA generated by 23andMe, one of the companies she is investing in.


Btw, one of the other investors in 23andMe is Anne Wojcicki, who is married to Sergey Brin of Google. She has an active interest in health information, and together she and Brin are developing new ways to improve access to it. As part of their efforts, they have brainstormed with leading researchers about the human genome project. "Brin instinctively regards genetics as a database and computing problem. In a recent announcement at Google’s Zeitgeist conference, Sergey Brin said he hoped that some day everyone would learn their genetic code in order to help doctors, patients, and researchers analyze the data and try to repair bugs.

23andMe indeed offers a genetic testing service that provides information and tools to understand your DNA. With a simple saliva sample they’ll help you gain insight into your traits, from baldness to muscle performance. Discover risk factors for 92 diseases. Know your predicted response to drugs, from blood thinners to coffee. And uncover your ancestral origins. These days the promotional rate for such service is 99 USD !

Here is how it works:



The system generates personalized reports on your health status, your disease carrier status, your disease risk, your drug response and your traits. In other words,


there is no place to hide anymore


You see the impact of your lifestyle on your DNA. You can change something to your lifestyle, or you can continue to live in a state of denial. As Esther was explaining “its all about motivation” albeit a different motivation than the one meant in Daniel Pink’s latest book “Drive”.

What Esther Dyson was describing was a DNA-version of the Quantified Self, a movement of people who measure all sorts of things about themselves such as heartbeat, blood pressure, time usage, sleep patterns, etc and who put all that information in the cloud.


Obviously, it would be great if also these folks would have a Digital Identity Tuner so that they could control in a more granular what what aspect of their identity/footprint they want to share with whom in what context.

For example, you may want to share your heartbeat with your insurance company to get better insurance policy and rates, but maybe you do not want to share this with your bank.

At the end of Esther’s talk, I observed that what she was describing were actually body listeners, sensors about your human “engine”, “machine”. I wonder if there are no similar implementations about the other side of “me”, namely about my mind, my consciousness, my feelings.

I asked Esther Dyson if she was aware of any such consciousness-as-a-service in the cloud thing. She thought it was an interesting question, but that she did not feel ready yet to share all that with the world.

I love the “Know Yourself” theme:

  • From the one hand it takes quantified measurements from the human body, the “engine”
  • On the other hand, it could take quantified (?) measurements from the human mind, the “capabilities” such as social cognition, or capability to be happy, etc


Both will drive status

Both in place and time


Status is all what it is about these days. And being able to share it. And participate to it. And engage with it. What Clay Shirky called “Cognitive Surplus”. What Stowe Boyd calls “Social Cognition”.

So many reasons to start thinking of a Digital Identity Tuner that lets you control status.

Digital Identity, Digital Status, and Digital Footprint start to converge into a personal data “something”. Some started calling the “something” a “store” or a “locker”. Others think more of a “service”.

Others are aware that our vocabulary is very real-world inspired, often based on physical concepts like “storing”, or “location”, or “posting”, etc… They prefer to wait until an appropriate terms pops up and call it “Personal Digital x” with the “x” standing for “something”. I called it Digital Identity Tuner.




It is clear that this sort of identity is much more than a card, token or PKI certificate.

There is a role for a

neutral, non-for-profit, trustworthy

organization to offer

an identity and trust service

for the financial industry

Who could that be ?


Sean Park’s presentation at next week’s SOFE (SWIFT Operational Forum EMEA) will introduce you to a financial services framework, with trust and identity as foundational services. That’s on 14 December 2010 at 9am in Conference Centre Dolce, close to Brussels.

A number of the above ideas should be part of a Digital Identity Research incubation project that we will probably kick-off at SWIFT in the second half of 2011.

Let the comments flow.

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Have you also noticed ? How many people you see dragging themselves through the office, through their lives ? They seem to have lost sense of engagement.


It makes me so sad. Such a shame not to enjoy life.

Sad in the sense of empathy, and the feeling there is little I can do about it. Maybe just write a blog and hope that some of my readers will get inspired and re-find that spark that makes yourself worthy.

We all know what caused this feeling of uncompleted, not being worthy, being imperfect.

It’s caused by the disconnect between the soft/hardware of your company and the world outside there.

  • The software is what is between your ears. But  even more so about the fine sensors you have in your whole body. This is not about “mind”, this is about “heart” and “feeling”. Deep feeling.
  • The hardware is about how your company is structured. The hierarchies. The power games. The team dynamics. The motivational models. The focus on the optimization engine with efficiency programs like Lean and SixSigma that such the soul out of great companies. At the end there is only efficiency and no soul.

That’s why people are “dragging” their feet. They just FEEL its not right. And they have lost the energy to fight. The hope to regain their souls.

But of course there is something you, we, all of us can do about it.


We can start a movement


From within. Find the peers who care about people, about life, about soul.

And of course we can ask help. Outside help if needed.

Check out the site of TeamPelgrims:


The NEW ECONOMY demands speed, creativity, dynamism, perseverance, courage, knowledge and the ability to work with others on a multicultural basis.

The NEW SOCIETY, prompted by the Human Interest movement, demands respect for individuality, freedom, mobility and quality of life

The last thing a fish can see is the water he is in… It’s very difficult to understand the “cultural mechanisms” in which we live and breath. Leaders should be made aware that they are “trapped” in cultural viruses. We see in too many occasions that cultural viruses are multiplying and contaminating substantial parts of the organization or company. Be accountable to manage and master this non-transparent but very present dimension in the engine of the organization.

It brings me to the topic of team dynamics.


I am very lucky to be part of a great team.

But due to the stress of the last months, we seem to regress a bit as a team. Just a little bit. In the sense that we start to grow more individualistic.

Luckily some of us have good “consciousness” antennas, and the team is strong enough to 1) bring this to the table and 2) openly discuss them.

My alarm-bell went off when a new team member joined, and I witnessed myself not 100% caring for the newcomer. I said something like “Throw him in the water, and he will learn to swim”. That’s not fair. Because there are so many new things to learn, so many unwritten conventions, rules, habits, cultures.


The problem was

that I did not have any time left

to give quality time to each other


  • Luckily our team is great, and we are working on great inspirational topics.
  • Luckily the newcomer is outspoken and has the courage to send invitations for feedback.

But I can imagine if you are not in such a team, if your have not this courage, if you have lost some of your closest colleagues is the latest restructuring, and you can’t work with your new boss and the new efficiency rules, that you get dragged.

We should not let this happen. We have to redefine, revive the company culture from within. Push it to the next level. Be viral. Infect he company, as it will not work by a top down approach or rolling out a big program.

Live the spark, the energy, the enthusiasm. And hope – be sure – that it will have a rippling effect – no, an unstoppable wave – within your team, spreading out to other teams, to other departments, to other regions, to other companies, to everybody you meet everyday.


Enthusiasm is contagious.

And don’t be afraid to ask for help. And to offer help. Probably one of the best ways I can offer help is by transferring authority to others. To hold the bike saddle and then let go. But WITH transfer of authority.

Be not afraid to show vulnerability. Create safe harbors for vulnerability. These harbors become like the womb for the fetus.


Your team could be a womb.

And especially:

be nice to yourself


It’s ok to be imperfect.

I am excelling in being imperfect by NOT being nice to myself. It has to do with the word “mildness”. Be “mild” for yourself. For yourself first. I used to say to others: “apply mildness to the 3rd degree”. But it did not come across as authentic. As I was not able to be nice for myself. People, human beings just “feel” when you’re not authentic.

Brené Brown has written a whole book about this.

Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. Brené spent the first five years of her decade-long study focusing on shame and empathy, and is now using that work to explore a concept that she calls Wholeheartedness.

Ordinary Courage

Have a look at the “look” of her website. The illustrations have something “round”. The site creates some feeling of safety. Of roundness. Of “womb”-ness. It has a feminine softness/roundness that we seem to have lost in our company hard- and software.

I was very touched and moved by her TEDxHouston talk of June 2010.

The video is a 20 min summary of her book: The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

The video has subtitles, so the words have more impact. Without trying to make a transcript of her talk, here are some lines that resonated very strong with me:

  • Shame as the fear of disconnection
  • Don’t try to outsmart vulnerability
  • Do you believe YOU are worthy of love and belonging ?
  • Courage, compassion, connection.. who you are with all your heart
  • The courage to be imperfect
  • Be kind to yourself first
  • Connection as the result of authenticity
  • Let go who you think you should be
  • What makes me vulnerable makes me beautiful
  • Do something where there are no guarantees
  • Research is about control and predict
  • You know who you are when you think you need help
  • See a therapist who sees therapists: no family, no childhood shit, I just need some strategies
  • Vulnerability is the care of shame and fear and your struggle for worthiness
  • But also source and birthplace of joy, creativity, belonging, love
  • Vulnerability and tenderness are important
  • We “numb” the vulnerability. We “numb” everything
  • Blame is a way to discharge pain and discomfort
  • But then there is no conversation, discourse
  • We try to perfect our children, but babies are hardwired for struggle
  • We pretend that what we do does not have an effect on people
  • Let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen
  • “I am enough”

Suddenly it became clear to me:

The difference is in

the (lack of) indifference

It’s about the capability

to be able

to relate to this


I am playing with the idea of building into Innotribe at Sibos 2011 in Toronto a topic on “New Corporate Culture” or “Towards a new corporate culture of difference”. Where we would invite people like Brené Brown, Vineet Nayar, Andre Pelgrims, Keith Yamashita, Marc Dowds and others ?

Something else than technology. Something else than payments. Something that touches our lives everyday. Probably more hours at work than at home. To feel happy, fulfilled, and worthy should resonate with all of us, no ? Or are you not afraid of becoming one of these “dragging” people ?

Let’s put back the “juice” in our companies.

What do you think ? Sibos ? About new corporate culture ? You really don’t have to suffer alone !

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