W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-credentials@w3.org > July 2021

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

From: Moses Ma <moses.ma@futurelabconsulting.com>
Date: Thu, 8 Jul 2021 11:47:05 -0700
To: Dave Longley <dlongley@digitalbazaar.com>, daniel.hardman@gmail.com, Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>
Cc: "public-credentials (public-credentials@w3.org)" <public-credentials@w3.org>
Message-ID: <48b3fcce-fcfd-eb73-5131-ceff61dcb632@futurelabconsulting.com>

I think there are three cynical views of the approaches to identity that 
may seem divergent:

 1. *Occupy Identity! */= we must build systems that overthrow the elite
    and defund institutional/governmental identity systems/
 2. *Selling out */= hey, let's kowtow (a little) to the funding sources
    and powers that be, or we're gonna starve/
 3. *If we build it */= let's be like Facebook/Google and amass users,
    and after the IPO we can decide how long we'll "Do No Evil"... so
    like, when do I get my lambo?/

Entrenched in our positions, we can only see others as wrongheaded and a 
bit like "the enemy". I believe this working group is doing the hard 
work transcending this dynamic and bringing changemakers together to 
work in unison. This requires that the /Occupy Identity/ revolutionaries 
see funding sources and institutional/governmental entities as people 
who actually want to do the right thing, but often don't know how. At 
the same time, it requires that the /Sell Out Kowtowers/ hold fast to 
core principles of equity, inclusion, true innovation and positive 
societal change.

This means we must learn how to better see each other's positions, in 
order to transcend our differences and build off each other's strengths. 
I think that we must all learn to cherish and enjoy these interactions 
toward a common goal, instead of thinking so and so is a sell out or a 
wild eyed revolutionary who will never get funded. Honestly, I think 
this group does a pretty good job of showing patience and empathy - the 
Adrians and Daves are in fact working together, to build a better world 

Anyway, personally, I think that Dave's primary point is key: /"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." /I can personally attest that it's really f**king hard to 
secure significant funding for revolutionary technologies that are aimed 
at social good. Much easier to get funding for stuff that "uses AI to 
intelligently aggregate and provide improved analytics for cross sales".

In closing, I think a great exercise would be for all of us in this 
thread to take a moment and praise those with opposing perspectives and 
thank them for their hard work... and for listening to your perspective.

With that, I thank all of you for making this working group happen, it's 
really a delight to see people resolve differing viewpoints and 
distilling into a standard that can literally change the world. We are 
the opposite of the U.S. Senate.


PS, of the three cynical views, I think I'm of the *If we build it 
*lineage... except instead of a lambo, I'd like an Embraer Praetor 600.*

On 7/8/21 10:39 AM, Dave Longley wrote:
> 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.
*Moses Ma | Managing Partner*
moses.ma@futurelabconsulting.com | moses@ngenven.com
v+1.415.568.1068 | skype mosesma | allmylinks.com/moses-ma
Learn more at www.futurelabconsulting.com. For calendar invites, please 
cc: mosesma@gmail.com
Received on Thursday, 8 July 2021 18:48:55 UTC

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