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RE: VC-HTTP-API - A follow up on the RAR presentation

From: Michael Herman (Trusted Digital Web) <mwherman@parallelspace.net>
Date: Thu, 8 Jul 2021 18:23:57 +0000
To: Dave Longley <dlongley@digitalbazaar.com>, "daniel.hardman@gmail.com" <daniel.hardman@gmail.com>, Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>
CC: "public-credentials (public-credentials@w3.org)" <public-credentials@w3.org>
Message-ID: <MWHPR1301MB2094A8992406DDC09E3BC141C3199@MWHPR1301MB2094.namprd13.prod.outlook.com>
RE: 2. I believe we are more likely to see success when we work to evolve existing ecosystems rather than try to invent separate ones that must be adopted wholesale ("build it and they will come"). We must make the on-ramp slope flat enough to ensure newer, more equitable technologies are adopted by existing companies and users.

I disagree. I find these community-based standards efforts painfully slow (e.g. DID spec, DID Resolution spec, EDV spec, Hub spec, etc.) - topics that I care deeply about as a systems architect and developer. 

"Once upon a time", technologies would be created and tested over time and only then, standardized for the greater good (TCP-IP, Windows, Android, UNIX/Linux, HTTP, HTML, ...).  In current times, I feel we're often trying to invent the standards first before there's a tried and true tested technology base that, only then, needs to be documented, proposed, and accepted as a standard.

It's a pendulum.  I hope it swings back to the left.  I'm starting with my own "build it and they will come" platform - maybe they will, maybe they won't.  It's a lot easier to pick up and use something that simply works - end-to-end.

Best regards,
Michael Herman
Far Left Self-Sovereignist

Self-Sovereign Blockchain Architect
Trusted Digital Web
Hyperonomy Digital Identity Lab
Parallelspace Corporation

TDW: https://hyperonomy.com/2021/06/28/trusted-digital-web-8-layer-architecture-reference-model-tdw-arm/





-----Original Message-----
From: Dave Longley <dlongley@digitalbazaar.com> 
Sent: July 8, 2021 11:40 AM
To: daniel.hardman@gmail.com; Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>
Cc: public-credentials (public-credentials@w3.org) <public-credentials@w3.org>
Subject: Re: VC-HTTP-API - A follow up on the RAR presentation


On 7/8/21 6:55 AM, Daniel Hardman wrote:
> Indeed, the way I received Dave Longley's response to my concern was 
> essentially, "I don't care about those problems because they're not 
> use cases of my customers. If somebody besides online institutions 
> wants a standard for credential exchange, let them find their own 
> money and write their own standard." (Note my careful language "the 
> way I received" -- I may have received it wrong. I'm not claiming my 
> perception is objective reality--only that I received it that way.)

You did receive it wrong and I'm sorry for miscommunicating my point.
Unfortunately, it was at the end of the call so there was no time for clarification. We all want a more equitable future. I do ask for more assumption of good intentions on the behalf of others here. This future is important to all of us -- despite your comment that made it seem like I did not care. I just think my approach is more likely to see success than how I perceive what you presented as an alternative.

My point was:

1. Funding sources for new technology will go elsewhere if you put too much of a burden in front of them. Then no progress toward our common goals will be made.

2. I believe we are more likely to see success when we work to evolve existing ecosystems rather than try to invent separate ones that must be adopted wholesale ("build it and they will come"). We must make the on-ramp slope flat enough to ensure newer, more equitable technologies are adopted by existing companies and users.

3. People are asking others to do free work and/or take on very high risk for them -- and they seem to be unaware of it ("*you* build it and they will come"). Telling those people that they *only* care about money and/or "institutional customer" use cases comes across to me as cheap virtue signalling and, I'm sure to others, as offensive.

Every little piece of SSI technology that is adopted by existing companies helps change the culture to support more SSI technology. To me, that means we need to have an architecture that allows that sort of adoption.

If "SSI technology" is just a giant stack that you have to embrace all at once -- I think we will fail. I *do* say to people who rigidly believe that's the only way forward -- to find their own funding and create their own standard. That part of what I said you may have received correctly, but the above context wasn't fully there. Hopefully it is clearer now. I, for one, will not work on an approach that I think ultimately harms our shared cause. That does not mean that I question the motives of those taking that approach.

Slow progress is not failure. In fact, it is often the only alternative to no progress at all. I believe that it's easy to create barriers in software design that are high enough to cause entire projects to collapse on their own weight, resulting in no progress. It is especially easy to do this when there is insufficient focus on creating near term value. This is how I view some of the technological offerings I've seen in this space.

It isn't that I think their end goal isn't laudable -- it's that I think those approaches are more likely to be *barriers* to achieving those goals rather than catalysts.

In short, the way you received my comment was the opposite from how I intended it -- and for my poor choice of words, I apologize.


--
Dave Longley
CTO
Digital Bazaar, Inc.

Received on Thursday, 8 July 2021 18:24:46 UTC

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