Blurring Identity to Clear It Up

“What if there was an agreed upon microformat…that would telegraph to others our capabilities, experience, strengths, knowledge and, especially, our availability to be hired?” – Steve Borsch

Must be something in the warm Janurary in MN air. A lunch earlier this week – unfortunately without Steve (need to remedy that) – was all about the need and value in increasing the visibility of expertise, availability, and reputation.

In a very primitive, rudimentary, and analog form – the barometer Steve asks about already exists; participation in peer communities like forums, professional organizations, and generally impressing people with how hard your rock – are all reputation builders and indicators. Primitive, because it’s still pretty hard to find people that can vouch for you. Google, LinkedIn, eBay, and the comments on your own blog, are all ways to others gauge your status.

For better or worse – all the measurement systems listed thus far are isolated and non-portable (pointing your eBay rating at a potential consulting client means little). Maybe I should dust off my Identity XML thinking. Managing access to a bunch of Identity.xml files sounds far more useful than YAIS (Yet Another Identity Silo).

Many of the attributes Steve lists in his question above are most accurately declared by others – verses self. The world…er…marketplace…creates my identity as much as I do.

So, Steve, I’ll declare what I know of you, if you declare what you know of me. 🙂

Re-reading this, I think RSS is the microformat in question.


“It took a few years, but it’s great to see software actually being built around the identities that aren’t vendor controlled.” – Dave Winer

I need to poke around MyOpenID.

2 thoughts on “Blurring Identity to Clear It Up

  1. What I’m thinking about is more along the lines of Rent a Coder ( but the leap I’m wrestling with is this:

    a) Having a very specific task or project to be coded in mind means that it’s relatively easy to scope something and thus “let” a request for bid and somewhat easy for coders to respond

    b) The tough part is knowledge work that’s more amorphous. Let’s say that you have a business solely focused on telephony services (this is a real-world example I know of personally). You understand that VoIP and Asterisk type software are huge disruptors of your business.

    You need to build a strategy and contact Accenture, Telecom Consultants, Inc., Joe’s Pretty Good Tech Consulting and hope you get the right strategy built…but the bids are $500k down to $10k since the measures of quality, scope, skills, and knowledge are HUGELY different

    c) Another real-world example: you need to build a living magazine and are exploring WordPress, Movable Type and Joomla. Bids come in from $5k (for the WP) to $50k (for Joomla) until someone points out the $49.94 iJoomla magazine plug-in. Blogs make more sense as an engine, but the Joomla CMS is more powerful.

    A small organization wrestles with what to do (strategically), get it built and deployed (tactically), and figure out how to maintain it long term. This is tough stuff.

    I know I’m comparing apples-n-oranges, but it’s the “Rent a Strategist-or-Idea Jockey-or-knowledge worker” that’s really needed and to which reputation, identity and a value exchange marketplace applies.

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