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Strategy (present and future) (was: Re: Google payment plans)

From: Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>
Date: Fri, 11 Apr 2014 01:01:13 -0400
Message-ID: <53477719.9000001@digitalbazaar.com>
To: Web Payments <public-webpayments@w3.org>
A previous post[1] outlined the problems we've attempted to overcome and
strategies we've utilized in an attempt to address those problems. This
post will outline the current problems facing the group and the proposed
strategies that we could employ to address those issues. Healthy debate
on the strategies put forward is necessary. Raise problems if you don't
see them identified below.


Problem: Chaotic, undirected focus in this community.

Goal: Narrow focus to problems raised in Web Payments Workshop.

Strategy: Coordinate volunteers to focus on crunching the data that we
have gathered over the past several months (payment use cases, workshop
use cases) and update the Web Payments Use Cases document in order to
provide it as input to the W3C Payments Interest Group. The short-term
focus should shift to providing a solid argument, backed by data, of why
we're working on what we're working on. This argument should be able to
be re-used by the W3C Payments IG (we should try to be aligned w/ that
group's goals).

Candidates: Brent Shambaugh, Andrew Mackie, Tim Holborn, Anders Rundgren

I've received a few notes of dismay related to the seemingly undirected
energies in the group. A bit of chaos is fine, this is a technology
incubator after all, if we all agreed with one another we'd be a pretty
terrible incubator. The sort of group that we have is supposed to be
mildly chaotic by design. That said, there's a fine balance between just
the right amount of chaos, and so much chaos that we push productive
members away.


Problem: The long-term strategy of the Web Payments CG is unclear.

Goal: Provide at least a 2 year vision of what and how the Web Payments
CG should accomplish.

Strategy: Gather the people that care about long-term strategy and put
up a simple wiki page outlining the 2 year vision for this group.

Candidates: Manu Sporny, Anders Rundgren, Chaals, Pindar Wong

The two year vision is pretty simple - filter information and
technologies so that the Payments IG doesn't have to do as much work as
they would have to do if this group didn't exist. We want to help the
Payments IG make decisions quickly, because the faster they make
decisions, the faster we get solid payment standards for the Web.


Problem: In order to scale, we need more community members working on
specific deliverables.

Goal: Add at least one editor to each specification/document that this
group has identified as "in scope".

Strategy: Ask community members to volunteer, if no volunteers come
forward the community should actively seek editors for the standards

The Web Payments Workshop is behind us. We have some pretty clear
mandates on what is in scope and what's out of scope. There are some
areas where it's not clear whether we have consensus or not. We do know
that we need a solid use cases document. We can feel fairly certain that
we're going to need the Identity Credentials spec (Identity on the Web),
Web Commerce API (payment initiation), and Web Commerce (Offers and
Digital Receipts) specs whipped into shape. In order to make all of this
happen in a timely manner, we need more people editing the documents.


Problem: Not enough input from public policy, government, financial,
consumer advocacy groups, or legal sector.

Goal: Build our network of contacts in the public policy, government,
consumer advocacy groups, and legal space to the point that we do not
think we're deficient in this area anymore.

Strategy: Go to the conferences and workshops that attract these sectors
and engage them there. Internet Governance Forum 2014 is the first such
event for this year.

Candidates: Pindar Wong, Joseph Potvin, Norbert Bollow, Manu Sporny, and
Louise Bennett

We've tried for the last 18 months to have folks from these sectors join
the work that we're doing. We've been somewhat successful, but not as
much as we'd like. Instead of requesting that non-technical/payments
people join us here, it might be better to go out to them and give them
updates on how things are progressing here. We'll need volunteers to do
that. General advocacy, everyone on this mailing list can help with that.


Problem: There isn't enough funding to support the desires of this

Goal: Raise enough money to hire 4-5 part-time engineers and
specification editors.

Strategy: Create a non-profit that would be a funding vehicle to hire
specification editors, open source implementers, and test suite engineers.

The non-profit would be tasked with hiring the appropriate people to
work on key deliverables for the Payments work. All output would have to
be open source / open standards work (released under a FreeBSD/MIT or
equivalent license, or a W3C license). We'd make the rounds to large
organizations that have a the will and the money, but not the technical
expertise to work on the output necessary to achieve what this group
would like to do (and there are quite a few of these organizations).


Problem: Alienating the long-term visionaries in the group (Bitcoin,
distributed ledgers, smart contracts, automated agents, RWW advocates, etc.)

Goal: Ensure that the CG remains a place for discussion about these

Strategy: Unknown.

How do we tell people to keep talking about and working on the "big
vision" stuff, but not to let it distract too much from the current
focus of the group? We don't want to turn these people away from the
group, because we have to know where we're headed in order to build
technologies today that can grow into that future. Suggestions on how to
frame this work would be very welcome.


Thoughts? What are the other big problems that we're missing?

-- manu

[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-webpayments/2014Apr/0066.html

Manu Sporny (skype: msporny, twitter: manusporny, G+: +Manu Sporny)
Founder/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc.
blog: The Worlds First Web Payments Workshop
Received on Friday, 11 April 2014 05:01:43 UTC

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