Recent Activity Pt 2: Canada & Boston

Immediately following IIW (post here). I headed to Canada to speak at the International Women in Digital Media Summit.

The iWDMS brings together professionals from traditional and digital media communities, as well as educational/research institutions from around the world.  With high level keynotes, cross-sector dialogue, expert panelists, controversial debates and structured networking, the Summit will promote knowledge-sharing, and will explore innovation, skills gaps, policy and research in digital media–including gaming, mobile, and social media–and the impacts on and advancements by women globally. 

I gave an “Ideas and Inspiration”  talk for 20 min about the Personal Data Ecosystem called The Old Cookies are Crumbling: How Context & Persona aware personal data servcies change everything and will transform the world and was also on a panel about New Media Literacies.

There are a few things I took away from this event:

1) Countries like Canada are very small with just 30 million people and the center of commercial/intellectual life in Toronto an event like this really brings together a core group of high profile women in the media production business that represents much of the industry.

2) Both the government of Canada, provinces like Ontario and universities like Ryerson  are very serious about attracting and retaining top technology and media talent with a variety of tax and investment incentives.

3) See point (1) because of that …one must think internationally about appeal and distribution of any media across the whole world not just one market.

4) The way they talk about diversity used lang had language I never heard before the term “designated groups” included folks with disabilities, first nations people (in the US they would be “American Indians”), women, and ethnic minorities.

5) The idea that people shouldn’t be stalked around the web to “monetize” them was new and provoked some thinking amongst those who made their living developing metrics.

It was great to connect to Canada again and I hope that with the IIW coming up in Toronto in February some of the women who I met there can attend and consider how media can change with new tools for people to manage their identity and data.

I got to meet up with Aran Hamilton  (@Aranh) who coordinated efforts around the NSTIC of Canada in Toronto. We outlined the possibility of a Satellite IIW in Toronto and I learned more about what is going on there.  Basically up to point  (1) above…Canada is small.  95% of people have a bank account and of that something like 85% have accounts with one of 5 banks (Bank of Montreal, Toronto Dominion Bank/Canada Trust, CIBC, Royal Bank of Canada, Scotia Bank) and there are 3 telco’s. So it seems like getting an NSTIC like system in place in Canada could involves meetings with a few dozen people.  They have the added advantage that Canadians have a higher trust in their government and institutions like banks and telco’s and have fewer “privacy rights” organizations.  So our IIW should be interesting and I hope that we can get some good cross over between the January 17th event in DC and this one.

After Toronto headed to the 4th MassTLC Innovation Unconference.  It was great to be joined by Briana Cavanaugh who is working with me now at  The community was thriving and it was the biggest ever unconference that I have run at 800 people and lots of sessions.  Jason Calacanis who apparently has relocated to Boston was there.  Jeff Taylor was there and had a rocking “un-official” after party that he DJ’ed.   The most notable costume was a guy in a suit with a 99% on his forehead. Yes Occupy Wall Street became a halloween costume.




Gender Matters in CS & Tech & The World

I don’t need to say much. This graphic from the New York Times explains it simply  Computer Science and Engineering are getting worse for women and have been for 10 years. These industries are where law and medicine were in the 50’s and 60’s.  I share this fact with people from other industries and they look at me funny and say “really” – YES really. They have believed the myth that technology is a a meritocracy and really progressive.

[Read more…]

Google+ and my “real” name: Yes, I’m Identity Woman

When Google+ launched, I went with my handle as my last name.  This makes a ton of sense to me. If you asked most people what my last name is, they wouldn’t know. It isn’t “common” for me.  Many people don’t even seem to know my first name. I can’t tell you how many times I have found myself talking with folks at conferences this past year and seeing ZERO lighbulbs going off when I say my name “Kaliya”, but when I say I have the handle or blog “Identity Woman” they are like “Oh wow! You’re Identity Woman… cool!” with a tone of recognition – because they know my work by that name.

One theory I have about why this works is because it is not obvious how you pronounce my name when you read it.  And conversely, it isn’t obvious how you write my name when you hear it.  So the handle that is a bit longer but everyone can say spell “Identity Woman” really serves me well professionally.  It isn’t like some “easy to say and spell” google guy name like Chris Messina or Joseph Smarr or Eric Sachs or Andrew Nash. I don’t have the privilege of a name like that so I have this way around it.

So today…I get this

I have “violated” community standards when using a name I choose to express my identity – an identity that is known by almost all who meet me. I, until last October, had a business card for 5 years that just had Identity Woman across the top.

Display Name – To help fight spam and prevent fake profiles, use the name your friends, family, or co-workers usually call you. For example, if your full legal name is Charles Jones Jr. but you normally use Chuck Jones or Junior Jones, either of these would be acceptable. Learn more about your name and Google Profiles.

[Read more…]

The Trouble with Trust, & the case for Accountability Frameworks for NSTIC

There are many definitions of trust, and all people have their own internal perspective on what THEY trust.

As I outline in this next section, there is a lot of meaning packed into the word “trust” and it varies on context and scale. Given that the word trust is found 97 times in the NSTIC document and that the NSTIC governing body is going to be in charge of administering “trust marks” to “trust frameworks” it is important to review its meaning.

I can get behind this statement: There is an emergent property called trust, and if NSTIC is successful, trust on the web would go up, worldwide.

However, the way the word “trust” is used within the NSTIC document, it often includes far to broad a swath of meaning.

When spoken of in every day conversation trust is most often social trust.

[Read more…]

On Identity and Centralization

I was asked for a quote today to comment on F8 developments and the continuing apparent “centralization” of identity on that platform. It is not new for me to say these things but perhaps more crystallized…..

The turning point of the web becoming more social was mentioned several times today.

The issue at hand is fundamentally about FREEDOM: the freedom to choose who hosts your identity online (with the freedom to set up and host your own), the freedom to choose your persona – how you present yourself, what your gender is, your age, your race, your sex, where you are in the world. A prime example of WHY these freedoms are vital is the story of James Chartrand – you can read for yourself her story of being a “him” online as a single mother seeking work as a copy editor. Having a male identity was the way she succeeded.

We did a whole session at She’s Geeky the women’s technology unconference about women, identity and privacy online. ALL the women in that session had between 3-5 personas for different aspects of life and purposes. Many of those personas were ‘ungendered’ or male. I have not talked to many people of color about their online lives and persona management but should. I imagine that like women they choose for some of their persona not to identify racially.

Your “friends” shouldn’t be locked into a particular commercial context. This is where the work on client-side applications for identity management and social coordination for individuals are key. The browser was never designed to do these kinds of functions and I don’t think trying to make it do them is wise.

We need open “friend” standards where people are autonomous, without their identity tied to a commercial silo – like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft, AOL, or any company. This is a vision of a web where I can “peer friend” my friends, and then no entity has power over our relationship. This requires people to be first-class objects on the web. Not easy to do, but essential for us to figure out.

She’s Geeky – January 29-31


She’s Geeky: Connecting Women in Tech
Returning to the Bay Area January 29, 30 & 31, 2010
@ the Computer History Museum in Mountain View
She’s Geeky is just 7 weeks away!   Early Bird Tickets are available for just 2 more weeks until December 20th.
This event is for:
Women Working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic Fields.
Women into their gadgets and SciFi Fan’s.
Women students of the sciences, those training to be engineers, aspiring mathematicians and technology professions.
Women who are kernel hackers and all those who aspire to deepen their geekiness by learning how to code the php on their blogs.
Daughters, Nieces and mentees of all of the above
Women who are retired used to work in tech related fields.
What happens?
All the women who attend are invited to create the agenda live the day of the event.
Women can present/share about their area of professional expertise.
Women learn from one another.
Women discuss critical issues affecting them in the digital age.
Women talk about work place and community issues they face.
Women are inspired to follow their passion and believe in their own abilities.
Women find connections and support for their work and vision.
About The Format
She’s Geeky is an unConference ( where the agenda is created by all participants live the day the event happens.  This format supports peer to peer learning, dialogue about the issues that are top of mind and networking.  In this women’s only environment attendees have the opportunity to see their contribution to their field in a new light and gain confidence to step forward in their lives and careers.
Click here ( for a dip into the Twitter Stream from the November 13 & 14, 2009, sold out, Washington, DC She’s Geeky Event to get a sense of the experience from those who attended!  Or to read answers to the end of day question: ‘As a result of today…’ click here. (
About She’s Geeky
She’s Geeky convenes to inspire women for the future, providing a gathering space to create enduring communities that foster collaboration and innovation, while promoting initiative and leadership among women tech professionals. Beginning with its resoundingly successful 2007 unConference in Silicon Valley, She’s Geeky attracts women from a broad spectrum of technological specialties, diverse social groups, generations, and levels of expertise. The inclusive quality of She’s Geeky events promotes discussion, furthers cooperation, and encourages learning. She’s Geeky advances systemic change in tech culture by disseminating effective practices to address the challenges of women working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
She’s Geeky isn’t a “women in tech group” and we don’t have chapters around the country. We are an unConference event that works to connect and promote existing tech groups. Currently  we work with DevChix, LinuxChix, Women 2.0, Girls in Tech, Women Who Tech, Digital Sistas, Girl Geek Dinners, Gaming Angels, the Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology.

She’s Geeky: THE UNCONFERENCE Connecting Women in Tech is  returning to the Bay Area January 29, 30 & 31, 2010  @ the Computer History Museum in Mountain View

Early Bird Tickets are available until Friday December 20th.

This event is for:

  • Women Working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic Fields.
  • Women into their gadgets and SciFi Fan’s.
  • Women students of the sciences, those training to be engineers, aspiring mathematicians and technology professions.
  • Women who are kernel hackers and all those who aspire to deepen their geekiness by learning how to code the php on their blogs.
  • Daughters, Nieces and mentees of all of the above
  • Women who are retired used to work in tech related fields.

What happens?

  • All the women who attend are invited to create the agenda live the day of the event.
  • Women can present/share about their area of professional expertise.
  • Women learn from one another.
  • Women discuss critical issues affecting them in the digital age.
  • Women talk about work place and community issues they face.
  • Women are inspired to follow their passion and believe in their own abilities.
  • Women find connections and support for their work and vision.

About The Format:

She’s Geeky is an unConference where the agenda is created by all participants live the day the event happens.  This format supports peer to peer learning, dialogue about the issues that are top of mind and networking.  In this women’s only environment attendees have the opportunity to see their contribution to their field in a new light and gain confidence to step forward in their lives and careers.  You can see proposed topics on our wiki.

See a dip into the Twitter Stream from the November 13 & 14, 2009, sold out, Washington, DC  event to get a sense of the experience from those who attended!  Or to read answers to the end of day question: ‘As a result of today…’ click here.

About She’s Geeky:

She’s Geeky convenes to inspire women for the future, providing a gathering space to create enduring communities that foster collaboration and innovation, while promoting initiative and leadership among women tech professionals. Beginning with its resoundingly successful 2007 unConference in Silicon Valley, She’s Geeky attracts women from a broad spectrum of technological specialties, diverse social groups, generations, and levels of expertise. The inclusive quality of She’s Geeky events promotes discussion, furthers cooperation, and encourages learning. She’s Geeky advances systemic change in tech culture by disseminating effective practices to address the challenges of women working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

If you are a guy please let your women colleagues know about the event. The event is for women only – we have thought a lot about this choice and why we made it – it is decidedly not about be being “anti-male” rather much of it is focused on creating a safe space for women who are geeky who have been shy to express themselves. If this makes you feel uncomfortable you can read more about this nuance and what we are about here.

We have sponsorships available at the community level, individuals and small companies and corporate levels.

We have some cool banners up on our website too.

You can find us on twitter @shesgeeky

You can contact us –

its that SXSW picking time of year


This year there are 2200 panels submitted for 300 slots. It is great they are going with community generated ideas for the conference. It is also hard to tell what will be happening in our fast moving industry 7 months from now. PLEASE go to SXSW create an account and then vote for these two :)

I put a lot of thought in to what to put forward this year knowing it would be 9 months out. One of the trends that is just starting to emerge is identity verification – my hunch is that by March this will be a topic getting a lot of attention and worth exploring at SXSW.

Who are you? Identity trends on the Social Web.

“On the Internet Nobody Knows You’re a Dog” Is this famous New Yorker cartoon still true? Twitter is doing verified accounts. Facebook claims everyone using their “real name” gives strong social validation ‘proof’. Equifax is validating age with information cards (digital tokens). We will explore the current trends and their implications for the future.

  1. What is identity?
  2. Why are people doing identity validation?
  3. Who is doing identity validation?
  4. Why are websites seeking people who have had their identities validated?
  5. Is identity validation improving the web?
  6. What are the current open standards in this space?
  7. Are approaches by men and women different about idnetity presentation and validation?
  8. What kinds of businesses are requiring online identity validation for customers?
  9. Is identity validation going to squish “free speech”?
  10. How is this trend changing the web?

With my She’s Geeky hat on: What Guys are Doing to Get More Girls in Tech!

The point of this is to get beyond the women say there are issues in the field and guys say there isn’t – to have guys who know there is an issue and are proactively doing constructive stuff to address it.

Many tech fields have a low percentage of women. If you are a guy do you wonder what you can do about it? Learn about successful strategies and proactive approaches for supporting women you work with and participate in community with. We will even cover some well-intentioned efforts that have gone awry.

  1. How many women by percentage participate in different technical fields?
  2. Why does it matter that they are underrepresented in these fields?
  3. What are the cultural norms that men and women have about performance and self-promotion?
  4. What is Male Programmer Privilege?
  5. What can a guy do who has a sister that is math/science inclined but being steered away from the field?
  6. How have the men on the panel improved things in their workplaces?
  7. How have the men on the panel addressed the challenges that arise in open communities? (that is where you don’t have a boss that fires people for inappropriate behavior/comments)
  8. What are the qualities of a workplace that is friendly for women?
  9. How to go beyond tokenism in workplaces, communities and conferences?
  10. How to encourage women more?

Other interesting Preso/panels covering Identity topics:

The Politics & Economics of Identity Put forward by my friend Liza Sabature of Culture Kitchen and the Daily Gotham Identity Politics” has always been left to the realm of feminist, civil rights activists, aka “minority politics”. This panel will explore the social and political ramifications of the business of identity and reputation. We will talk about the good, the bad and the ugly and what social entrepreneurs, businesses and digital activists are doing to impact this new economy.

  1. What is identity?
  2. What is reputation?
  3. What is privacy?
  4. How have big business historical monetized privacy?
  5. How social media works on identity and reputation?
  6. Online surveillance in the US : DMCA, FISA, Patriot Act
  7. Facebook BEACON : a study on how not to spy on people for fun and profit
  8. Google Adsense or Spysense?
  9. What are Vendor-Relationship Management systems?
  10. Will we need “Identity Management Systems” instead of VRMs?

Distributed Identity: API’s of the Semantic Web Without much conscious thought, most of us have built identities across the web. We fill in profiles, upload photos, videos, reviews and bookmarks. This session will explore the practical use of Social Graph API and YQL to build new types of user experience combining identity discovery and data portability.

Online Gatekeeping: Who Died and Made You King? by Liz Burr As the web becomes more open via social networks, we’re adopting new rules of communication. But who creates these rules? How much does class, race and gender figure into social media policing? We’ll discuss how identity affects social networks, as well as look at how online communities police themselves as participation expands.

  1. Which groups are in control of what is worth sharing via social media?
  2. Are the under-25 community using social media differently?
  3. How do we recognize and confront social media ‘gatekeepers’?
  4. Is our behavior in online communities merely a reflection of offline stereotypes and experiences?
  5. What is the impact of the amplification of social stereotypes online on under-represented groups?
  6. How do we integrate previously, under-represented groups into this more social world?
  7. Is there really such a thing as a “digital ghetto”? If so, is it our responsiblity to combat it?

OpenID: Identity is the platform is put forward by Chis Messina.
I have to say it is really great to have this be put forward so plainly and simply – to “get religion” about user-centric tdentity and its central role in shaping the fugure the social web.

Ignore the hype over social networking platforms and web OS’s! The platform of the social web is identity. Facebook and Twitter Connect are just the beginning of the era of user-centric identity. I’ll go beyond the basics of OpenID and learn how to effectively incorporate internet identity into your apps.

Your Online Identity After Death and Digital Wills

If you died tomorrow, would someone take care of your internet accounts? How do you tell subscribers the blogger has died? Every day people die and no one can access their email. Let’s explore what can be done to manage your online identity after you pass on.

  1. What usually happens to email accounts when a person dies? Policies for Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and AOL
  2. What about and Blogger for digital policies concerning the death of a blogger?
  3. Do You have a digital will setup?
  4. Products and services to manage digital wills, electronic correspondence after death and auto replies.
  5. Grief, “You Have Mail” and online memorial services.
  6. Who owns blog content after the death of a blogger?
  7. How to calculate the worth of your website or blog.
  8. How can you manage your online accounts and passwords for easy access after you pass?
  9. What are some recent legal examples of online account ownership disagreements?
  10. How to keep your passwords safe?

How to Benefit from 1-Click Identity Providers by Luke Shepard from Facebook.

Sites across the Web are opening up to support open identity platforms, such as OpenID. How can companies at scale and those with large user bases successfully work with open standards including OpenID, Activity Streams and new social markup language specs? Can companies survive the challenges of incorporating OpenID into their websites?

  1. Are there any success stories with OpenID?
  2. What does the OpenID user experience look like?
  3. Who has implemented OpenID?
  4. What have been some of the failures of OpenID?
  5. What is OpenID?
  6. What are the user benefits of OpenID?
  7. How can websites educate users about open protocols?
  8. What are the privacy concerns around OpenID?
  9. What kind of user data is made available to sites when they implement OpenID?
  10. What will it take for OpenID to become mainstream?

Crime Scene: Digital Identity Theft

At the Ideas Project apparently women don’t have any ideas.

As some of you may or may not know, I founded a women’s-only technology conference, She’s Geeky. There has been a bunch of conversation in this past week about the lack of women speakers at tech events (in fields like web 2.0, social media, government where there is significant female participation).

It got started with this top 10 list put out by the Speakers Group that included NO women. Then O’Reilly published its first round of speakers for Web 2.0 Summit that was only 20% women. Allyson Kapin called him out, started a petition, and a whole discussion got going in Twitter. It continued with the inc500 conference.

This morning via a link I ended up on this website: The IDEAS Project. This is a site talking about the big ideas of the social web and the future of identity, collaboration, standards development, and norms on the digital web. The pictures speak for themselves.






For those of you counting:

  • 5 women out of 50
  • racial diversity by my observation 2 asian people and 2 black people
  • No one under the age of 30 and not that many under the age of 40.

Monitor Talent is behind the site and it is sponsored by Nokia and powered by Xigi.

Many of the men here have written books or have academic credentials.

Of course it is a social media site, so any one can contribute. I just don’t want to contribute to a place that is so skewed in one direction in terms of the starting point. This is not a hard core IT subject, this is social media and use of the web and the network in a forward looking way. Looking along the side, all the contributed ideas so far come from handles with male names.

It all makes me wonder:

  • Who is a real “authority” on a subject?
  • If you have a title and a position at an institution this means you must know, right?
  • If you have written a book you must have it right?

Some friends are in this “talent pool” like Jerry Michalski, Clay Shirky, Doc Searls, Laura Fitton, Christine Heron, Esther Dyson, Bob Fankston, David Hornick, Robert Scoble, Kevin Werbach, Andreas Weigend, Ross Mayfield, Charlene Li, Jeff Clavier.

I am curious if they asked about the gender balance reflected in this project up front?

Have they worked to recommend that Monitor Talent pick up more women talent? or even proactively suggested monitor seek to develop women talent?

The web offers a huge opportunity to change who is seen and referenced as having authority and we need to take advantage of this change the web offers.

I know this… I I have never had a formal position at any company, yet IdM leaders at major companies like Microsoft, SUN, Novell, Burton Group, PayPal, Google, Yahoo!, etc. point at my blog, and I have, at least within that world, a lot of authority as a community leader – I have led 15+ events on the topic of user-centric identity in the past 5 years and and spoken about 3 times a year at other events. I am very very comfortable talking about the topics in my industry, this is what I DO – I am an evangelist, a communicator, but this alone didn’t translate into being able to speak without training, practice or support. (I currently don’t proactively seek to speak because I had a bad experience and it rattled me.)

I think we need to work on moving beyond just taking at face value “old” positional authority like having a title at a university and proclaiming expertise – it doesn’t mean those people participate in the communities that are actually driving the innovation they speak about.

There is a systemic issue here. I hope that it can be addressed by the whole community.

Here are some talented women in identity if you ware wondering who they are.

Women I admire

Today is Ada Lovelace Day – over at She’s Geeky we blogged about the pledge for today succeeding a few months ago.

Mary Hodder is a good friend and someone I admire a lot for her courage in doing a video startup Dabble as a lone woman founder. She has taught me a lot about technology and has been a good friend for many years.

In the Identity World I am grateful for the other women who have contributed to the field and have been good friends while at conferences – Mary Ruddy and Pam Dingle also both have their own consultancies now.

Eve Maler is a big inspiration for me – I actually found her blog Pushing String and told Drummond who I was working with at the time he had to meet her. I loved the weaving of cross stitch with XML on that blog – the title says it all. It would be a year or two before we finally met – her URL is also cool – XMLGrrl – another “identity super hero”

I love women who work in tech – one of the reasons I founded She’s Geeky. We are looking ahead to our next conference April 18th in Northern Virginia (DC Area) that I won’t be facilitating because of an invite to an even here in California that has to do with identity.

Congradulations Pam!

Pam has officially announced launching her new company – Bonsai Identity.

I remember when I first met Pam at the very end of the first DIDW that I went to in the fall of 2004. I really got to know her when we were attending the Burton Group catalyst conference in 2005.

She has been a great friend to me in the community and now when we go to conferences we are often roomies.

Congratulations Pam!

Long Trip & Three Identity Dinners

On Wednesday I got home from a 20 day road trip that included hosting three identity dinners along the way.

In Boston, Doc Searls, Mary Ruddy, Paul Trevithick and I called a dinner on February 8th and about 12 folks came out. It was great to connect and some new people joined us. We didn’t take any pictures at that event though :( Attendees includedTrent Adams, Charles Andres, Gerald Beuchelt, Laura (Pistachio) Fitton, Jon Garfunkel, Chris Reynolds, Halley Suitt, Martin Sandren.

Identity Dinner

In New York City dinner was at Katz’s Deli (this was Dean’s Recommendation) on February 12th and it was a great group – including one infant. Isabell was there – who I met at OSCON in 2004 when she was working for SXIP. Other attendees included Sean Bohan, Eric Draghi, Adam Fields, Cem P, and Nicholas Givotovsky.

Identity Dinner

In Seattle a great cast of characters showed up from MSFT – Mark Wahl, Pete Rowley, Kim Cameron, Vittoria Bertocci, and Mike Jones. Andrew Nelson (a founder of IC(1)) came and shared a bit about the cool stuff he is implementing for LLLI,. Drummond Reed was there and invited Kevin Fink, Jason Jerome, Jeremy McKenzie also joined us. My friend Sarah Schacht arrived late and her presence meant that i was not the only woman there. She is working on a project Knowledge as Power that supports citizens being more effectively in their communication with legislators (this means they legislators need to know they live in their districts).

Other activities along the way included work on Identity Futures stuff with Nicholas Givotovsky and John Kelly in the Boston area.

Identity DinnerThe Online Community UConference in New York City produced by Forum One – this was a lot of fun and Mary Ruddy joined me there we got to talk about identity with a range of attendees. We speed geeked – I white boarded OpenID and Mary demo’ed information cards. I got to hang out with Pauline Ores at IBM and Susan Tenby – Gliteractica Cookie at Tech Soup. It was great to talk with both Denise Tayloe (in the picture) and Carol Altarescu from Privo were there as well.

In DC I met with the women who are connected and local about She’s Geeky coming to the city. I learned that if it isn’t on a METRO line it isn’t “in” DC. We have a donated venue space
but in Northern Virginia and not on a metro – we are going to go with it for a one day event. Working on finding an “in” DC venue for later in the year. The goal is to get all the women who “never go into the city” to come to the Northern Virginia they will have such a good time they won’t mind coming into DC when it happens there.

Identity Dinner

Last weekend in Portland I enjoyed myself at Recent Changes Camp. It was the 4th one I attended. During it I lead a session about identity – technologies and issues. The people attending had lots of good questions. Most knew about OpenID they were unfamiliar with information cards. It was interesting to hear people’s deep concern about corporate involvement in the development of these standards – the three corporate names I mentioned in relationship to information cards seemed to raise particular ire – Microsfot, Novell and IBM. I invited all those concerned to join the community and meet the people working on this stuff themselves. I mentioned Higgins (the open source project) and talked about the standardization effort at OASIS. This didn’t sway them much they “just distrusted” the corporate involvement.

I personally am very clear that corporate involvement is essential to getting an identity layer to happen. I was re-affirmed in this exchange in knowing that the corporate perspective is not enough and having a trusted space for critical conversations around issues that arise with identity need a commons for them to occur (that is a space where corporations do note have the ultimate veto about what groups are or are not allowed in the conversation). If a space like this does not exist to create a dialogue amongst diverse interests and perspectives then the risk of it not happening or not getting adoption by people.

I invited everyone throughout my travels to the Internet Identity Workshop May 18-20. Registration will be opening this week with a special recession early bird rate.

My next trip is to SXSW Interactive where I am moderating a panel on OpenID, Oauth and other identity technologies in the enterprise with Bob Blakely, Joseph Smarr and Danny Kolke – it is at 11:30 AM on Sunday.

on Women talking at technology conferences

Chris Messina has a good post up about women and the Future of Web applications (the conference and the tools).

As far as I’m concerned, one of the greatest opportunities to seize the future of web apps is to cement the necessity of diversity in our processes and in our thinking, not for the sake of diversity alone (deserving though it is) but because the technology that we produce is better for it, being more robust, more versatile and flexible, and ultimately, more humane.

The future of web apps — and the conferences that tell their stories — should not be gender-neutral or gender-blind — but gender-balanced. Today, as it was two years ago, we suffer from a severe imbalance. It is my hope that, in raising the specter of consequences of the lack of women in technology, we begin to make as much progress in stitching diversity into the fabric of our society as we are making in producing source code.

I actually invited participants at Gnomedex 2006 when I was the “MVP” (that is – i didn’t have a schedulled speaking slot but the audience “voted” me on stage to fill a 15 min void for the MVP audience member) to think about these things.

I said that the app builders in the audience should get out of their boxes and start thinking about apps that socar mom’s, and churches and other realms of social civic engagement that could really use some good apps. Places that are not brimming with white guys under the age of 30 (in San Francisco). The audience wasn’t so sure about this idea.

I personally have been asked to speak at one conference this season – Community 2.0 in May. I am working with my speach coach on the talk and very much looking forward to redeeming myself. I worked with her on the last talk I gave at Net Squared in June that went ‘ok’ and I was thankful for that.

I think my story might be helpful in addressing this issue – which is why I am sharing it.

I was tapped by O’Reilly folks to speak at eTel and Web 2.0 in 2006. I didn’t do that great at eTel – I had never given a 10 min speech. I didn’t get any outside voice to help me and I should have but it didn’t even occur to me that one might hire someone to help one in such a situation. I thought I had to do it all on my own.

After the talk they suggested I talk to a speech coach for my upcoming talk at Web 2.0 Expo that they had tapped me to do (that is I didn’t go through the submission process they just asked me) that some of their own hosts of conferences had used – I figured this was a good recommendation. I listened to his advice but it actually failed me – he was not available to help (health issues) but was not clear about how limited his ability to help would be until to late. O’Reilly conferences were not clear with me what the composition of the audience would be (it was a CMP audience not an O’Reilly audience) so I gave the wrong kind of talk.

I was very nervous about the speech – didn’t prep well for (speech coach sort of 1/2 helping (when if I had just been on my own it would have been better) he also encouraged me to push beyond what I had originally said I would cover in the talk – I didn’t sleep that much the night before. I was visionary but that didn’t match what was in the program. 1/2 the audience walked out and I was shaken to the core – basically had stage fright for a year. (here is my blog post following it). There was no talk with O’Reilly folks about what had gone wrong, what could have been better – just silence and never an invite back.

I was “on my own” it was “my responsibility” but I was also in a vacuum. YES it is up to women to take responsibility but if the whole industry is serious about changing who is “always on stage” it also takes a village of – encouragement, good advice, and support.

Women don’t self-promote like the alpha dog’s in the industry do. Sorry it is just true. Ask women in leadership hiring in the software industry. Men over promote their skill set by double when seeking employment (generally) and Women under promote their skill set by 1/2.

I am am getting much better as a speaker. I certainly know what I am talking about in the realm of user-centric digital identity having facilitated over 15 events in the field in the past 3.5 years, doing technical and non-technical evangelism and working on the subject matter for 5 years now. I don’t run around telling conference organizers that I should be speaking at their conferences either. I did apply to RSA to be a Peer-to-peer discussion leader and was chosen to do so for the second year in a row. I also was tapped to facilitate a panel on OpenID, Oauth and the enterprise at SXSW. That is all the speaking I am doing so far this season.

I organized She’s Geeky as a way to address the challenges that we face – both being small minorities at conferences and not many of the faces on stage. She’s Geeky is the most diverse technology conference I have ever been to – it has the most non-white faces I have ever seen at a technology event. Please don’t get me wrong like the woman on stage at FOWA – I love dudes. I don’t think you last long in this industry if you don’t like men, enjoy working with them and can get along in their culture. I also wish there was more women and have decided once in a while to have a women’s only space to geek out in would be a fun thing to support.

I think it is also important to mention something else. As a woman putting yourself out there is risky. I watched what happened to Kathy Sierra – it was kinda freaky. I talked to a friend of mine – another prominent women in tech that week saying how deepy what happened to Kathy had shaken me. She said – well that is what happens if you become prominent enough – you get hate speech and death threats – basically this is what you signed up for if you chose this career path. It is another reason just go about doing my business – working on facilitating the identity community rather then “raising my profile” so conference organizers might tap me. I have had a mild case of a stalker around my work as identity woman a few years ago and I really don’t want another one. Not something guys think about really when they do their day jobs in technology. The latent misogyny is apparently REAL in some corners of this community. We need to know that we have the support of community behind us and won’t be attacked for speaking out against hate speech.

The issues are complex. I hope that as an industry we can continue to address them.

On the Fast Company List of Influential Women in Tech

Fast Company Image

This morning I got a ping via facebook from Bernard Moon:

hey, congrats on making the Fast Company list. you didn’t even post about it on your blog. don’t be humble! :)

It is an amazing list. It was sparked in part by the “heated conversation” that erupted after they posted The Most Influential Women in Web 2.0. They divide the list into these 7 categories and resisted the temptation to “number” us from “most influential to less influential” – thank goodness cause that would have been a very alpha-dog thing to do.

I am in the list of evangelists that includes, Mitchell Baker, danah boyd, Red Burns, Susan Crawford, Esther Dyson, Tara Hunt, Charlene Li and Mary Meeker.

This is a quote from their introduction and reflects the same reasons why I helped get She’s Geeky started. That is the unconference for women in tech that is happening for the third time next weekend

women in tech remain at a distinct disadvantage by any metric: average salary, top-management representation, board memberships. Silicon Valley, in particular, remains largely a boys’ club. In May 2007, Women in Technology International published a survey of 2,000 working women, about half of whom reported gender-based workplace inequality or said their opinions were less respected or sought out than those of male counterparts.

Several of the women who are on the list wrote blog posts for Fast company. Later today they are publishing a post that I did about the other women who work in digital identity.

The only tech sector that I know of that has gender parity is the non-profit technology sector. Beth Kanter who I met at the first BlogHer – has a great post about other amazing women in her sector.

Rashmi Sinha from Slide Share has a post up listing A Daily Dose of Blogs for the Tech Entrepreneur.

Tara Hunt co-founder of Citizen Agency has a post on 7 ways to increase your Whuffie Factor.

Parents and Technology

I just found this article on Yahoo! News.

It is quite disturbing

There are two companies offering a service to parents WQN and Aegis Mobility – there is software and then a monthly fee. Then services track the kids and turn of their phones in certain locations.

WQN’s surveillance service promises more than just disabling the phone in cars. It can monitor a person’s whereabouts, notifying parents by text messaging when their children step out of designated zones or return home. It also can turn off a cell phone at school, preventing cheating by text messaging during classroom tests, based on a reading of the school’s location.

The question parents would have to ask themselves is whether they’d want to prohibit their children’s activities this way. That kid you’re trying to control might not be driving, but rather sitting on a train or a city bus or in the passenger seat of a buddy’s car.

It seems a whole set of technology tools that are part of enabling over parenting. sigh.

Is Zivity Porn or not?

So, This summer there was some what of an controversy about the sponsorship of Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner by Zivity (a porn + social networking site where the men pay and get points to divvy up to women who’s “pin-up” photos are posted – and they can also “friend them”). I noticed this sponsorship when the organizer tweeted about it. I went to the site only to find out that on top of sponsoring they would be sending Photographers to the event to “shoot” us. I saw Zivity taking photos at the Crunchie Awards – (you can see the photos posted on Flickr with the Zivity tag.) This type of party photography just seemed totally inappropriate for a professional networking event.

I tweeted back “I find it ODD that you have a porn site sponsoring your next event and ‘shooting’ the women at the event. why sexualize us?”

Let me state the issue arising about BAGGD and Zivity sponsoring it:

The issue is about a porn company sponsoring a women in technology professional networking event AND having the porn company sponsor the photographers – who would be at the event taking pictures.

Those of us who were upset by the sponsorship and photographing objected to actually having this happen to us – to have our images be taken and tagged by a porn company and therefore implicitly endorsing them.

I had a lot going on this summer and didn’t have the energy to dive into the conversation on the blogs at the time. I did try to reach out to Angie Chang the organizer to meet with her face to face and talk before the dinner. She was unable to meet. Mary Hodder did a great job summarizing our attempted engagement with the organizers about the issue.

Recently Susan Mernitt attempted to write about the difference between, different generations of women and how the uproar about this event was an sample of the divide and a need for a bridge. Both Mary Hodder (comment 1,9) and I (comment 5,10) responded with a long comments about the nature of the issues that the BAGGD, Zivity sponsorship and her article raised for women in technology.

This is not about is porn good or bad? The issue is about where is its presence appropriate and where is it completely not appropriate. We have generally accepted social norms and now have legal regulation that it is not ok to have pornographic pictures posted in the workplace. I just don’t get how the BAGGD organizers thought it was appropriate to have a porn company sponsor and take photos at an event for women who work in technology. (They get that the Spock snafoo at Web 2.0 expo 2 years ago was not ok.) I don’t care if one of the 5 people who founded the company is a woman. It is porn and I don’t want to have to deal with the company taking my photo in the context of my professional work life and making women feel that they have to “be ultra-beautiful” to attend a networking event for women related to their day jobs in tech.

Several women spoke with Mary Hodder (who blogged about the issue before the event) directly saying that they “didn’t feel/look good enough to go.”

So some argue that the Zivity site is not actually porn (including the company – the have a motto “It’s not Porn it’s Pinups”). So this question is it or is it not porn is another layer of the debate. So yesterday when Jonathan Eunice tweeted this –

So, Zivity? Attractive girls taking their clothes off? How’s that gonna wo… Oh… Wait… I see. Getting it now.
I just had to ask him what he “got” about it – because of this ongoing is or is it not porn question.

@jonathaneunice what are you getting about Zivity? that it is actually porn even thought it says that it isn’t?

The conversation continued with side comments from Kevin Marks and Sillicon Calley……

BTW for those of you wondering about “why twitter” this is one of the reasons I like it — interesting conversations happen. For those of you not familiar with norms of twitter conversation @person’sName is a way in the medium to indicate who you are talking to. This whole conversation is public on twitter – you could go search for it and stich it all together – I also asked Jonathan if I could blog it before posting this.

JonathanEunice: @IdentityWoman Zivity is clearly porn–tho’ of soft, “artfully photographed” variety. Of course, so are many photos in mainstream mags.

JonathanEunice: Porn = images intended to stimulate desire. So Zivity, yes, but also much of Travel & Leisure, Maxim, Vogue, Architectural Digest, etc.

IdentityWoman: @jonathaneunice – that frame “Porn = images intended to stimulate desire.” is a good one to consider. What about “beauty without context”

JonathanEunice: Food porn, furniture porn, travel porn, fashion porn–we are awash in it. It all screams: Buy this! Be that! Want that!

JonathanEunice: @IdentityWoman Is SuicideGirls or Zivity different from W, Vogue, or GQ? More nudity yes, but worse self-esteem? I’d wager better. YMMV.

SiliconCalley: @identitywoman i hate the word porn, its too subjective. some people think that paintings of nude women are porn, some think its art

SiliconCalley: @identitywoman i don’t think zivity is porn, if it was the business model wouldn’t work. who wants to pay to connect to a model in porn?

IdentityWoman: @siliconCalley – I would ask it the other way – who DOESN’T want to pay to connect to a model in porn? seems like an obvious evolution

kevinmarks: @IdentityWoman isn’t porn in the eye of the beholder, not the intent of publisher? Some people get excited by pictures of feet on Flickr

SiliconCalley: @kevinmarks re: zivity touché! you are so wise.

SiliconCalley: @identitywoman porn for most people is a very private thing, and i don’t think that people usually want to be “social” with porn.

SiliconCalley: speaking of zivity…would anyone like an invite?

JonathanEunice: @jonathaneunice so what is the issue? @siliconcalley thinks that Zivity isn’t porn cause it is “social” and porn is private.

JonathanEunice: Just with client in my “CTO on demand” capacity. So back to the porn discussion…

JonathanEunice: @IdentityWoman I don’t think beauty needs any further context. But beauty (or Beauty, if you’re a Platonist) isn’t the issue here.

JonathanEunice: @IdentityWoman The issue here: 1. images and 2. asymmetry.

IdentityWoman: @jonathaneunice issues being 1) the images are about sexual desire 2)the guys linking to women are not also posing with their cloths off?

JonathanEunice: Images add distance, objectify. Thus beauty without interaction. Leading to asymmetry.

JonathanEunice: She is publically naked, I am not. She is identifiable, I am anonymous. That imbalance, I think, gets to heart of porn-iness.

JonathanEunice: In the spirit of oversharing: I prefer au naturel beaches. But much more symmetric. I am equally naked, exposed. Also, present, not distant.

IdentityWoman: @jonathaneunice – thanks for that (over)sharing. It makes the point about presence and embodiment rather then distance and

JonathanEunice: There’s a vast difference between looking at pictures of selected, carefully made up, airbrushed women (= porn) and…

JonathanEunice: …being with genuine, come-as-you-are nude women when you’re also nude. Isn’t that the diff btwn ‘nude’ and ‘naked’ (or ‘nekkid’)?

JonathanEunice: Today’s irony: Despite the porn diacussion, yet again asked to have drinks “with the girls” after work.

JonathanEunice: A simple Zivity joke turned into serious discussion. Pity the poor jokster!

JonathanEunice: I did. Very classy high quality photography. But at root still pics of naked chicks. High end porn still porn IMO.

Women In Tech

While surfing around the women in tech world I found this statistic on Ubuntu Women.

An EC funded study (2006) summarized in the Flosspols report, indicates that about 1.5% of FLOSS community members were female, compared with 28% in proprietary software. The Ubuntu Census Survey (June 2006) also reflects a similar female ratio with 2.4% women actively volunteering in the Ubuntu community.

I understand we are not an ‘open source community’ but I think we do have fewer women then the 28% in corporate tech. I was struck at AOL two weeks ago how many women were there. I wonder why more women from the corporate world don’t come to events like IIW and other tech conferences.

I hope that we can continue to improve the number of women participating in Identity. In the hallway of IIW I came across a little pod of three women I have never before seen at an IIW event – this was great! I hope that along with being proactive in inviting various interested communities to the next IIW we can also reach out to respected women who could contribute to the conversation.

Blogs beginning this Christmas

Two friends started blogging

Anslem Hook with praxis makes perfect has begun talking about his idea of a map centered conversational interface.

Laurie Rae a fellow woman in the identity space and Canadian has started – MyWhat? talking about Giving 2.0 and the best conceptual christmas present ever.
I am very glad that there are these new blogs in the community. They will add more depth to the conversation.

Mary and Me

Kaliya and Me

Originally uploaded by mary hodder.

I just found this great photo on Flickr. Thought i would try uploading it as my first ever photoblog post. If you have not checked out Mary’s company Dabble you should – it is they way you can share cool video’s like THE WORD: Managization with your friends just go to

SD Forum on Interoperability: Interoperability via Standards

I managed to make it to make it to the SD Forum at TechMart this morning.
I caught the end of Anne Thomas Manes’ talk. Her was her last slide –

Interoperability is the goal
Standards are the solution
Standardization takes time
Vendors typically do the standardization
Venders always pursue their own agenda

Youth, Identity and Technology

Dana Boyde is working on her PhD at at UC Berkeley. She is about to move to LA to do field research with youth. I read her blog regularly and a lot of what is happening is that youth, there use of technology and exploration of identity. I wanted to share this highlight from her post yesturday and if you are interested in these things you might want to subscribe to her blog.

I am currently more interested in understanding the theoretical and historical underpinnings of youth and identity. That said, what i am doing is not removed from social software. Most youth today use social technologies as part of their coming of age processes. They have far richer social lives than most adults. What they are doing with technology is far more complex. Furthermore, they are really focused on the act of socializing, not collaboration or any other work-centric model. Youth have a lot to teach us about social software – about its strengths, weaknesses and where innovation should go. Obviously, i’m biased – this is the root of how my research is applicable to technologists.

I hope those of you building technology will enjoy my journey to the depths of youth. I certainly am. If not, i’m sorry.

Your birthdate please – I need to enter it into the computers if you want to by cigarets

Your birthdate please – I need to enter it into the computers if you want to by cigarets.

This is what I heard said to the woman in front of me at a Walgreens across the street from my hotel in Memphis, TN. I inquired to the store clerk if this was the law to ask for someone’s birth date and enter it into the computer and she said yes for cigarets and ‘other items’ (I didn’t find out what they were). It seems that here in TN they have begun to break down the separation between the issuance of documents that assert one is over 18 and the presentation of those same documents to engage in commerce.

I wonder how many other states have similar laws. It makes me a bit nervous to think about the potential for states to require the swiping of an identity card to make such purchase. With all of the new tools we are creating that are to empower people how do we ensure they are not abused. Maybe Bob was right – if we build them then we should expect them to be abused by requiring people to turn over certain kinds of data they have about themselves. And so we should not build them.

I am inspired by the possibilities for empowerment but this little incident really makes me wonder.

Women in Open Source

There was a great panel on Women in Open Source at OSCON. It raised some very interesting issues including the open question of why there is 10x fewer women in Open Source then in the regular tech industry (as programmers and technical roles). Worth thinking about more and I hope that O’Reilly and others can continue the inquiry within its events.