Found the beef sortof

In an earlier post, I asked “Where’s the beef?” in my quest to learn more about what DaPo is currently doing.

After a few days of hanging out and chatting at Skype chatrooms and reading Google group conversations, I got a better sense (though far from complete understanding). Turns out the trick to catching conversations in Skype is to leave the chatroom windows open in the background and let it alert you when someone starts chatting. The 2 most active chatrooms are steering and evangelism – note: clicking on those links will launch Skype. Once you becomes a regular participant, you can set chat notification settings to alert you when your name is mentioned in the chat, thanks to Elias for the tip.

Onto the sort-of-beef. It should be noted that the dataportability project was formed in Nov 2007, barely a few months old. Historical milestones can be found here.

One of their main focus has been getting the house in order. By that I mean

  • establish a charter,
  • hashing out organizational details such as creating action groups,
  • identifying and implementing collaboration software (Skype, Google Groups, Confluence Wiki) and processes,
  • creating a governance model (still a hotly debated topic),
  • logo competition (ongoing but wrapping up),
  • entity formation (just starting),
  • new site design (just starting), and more.

So a lot has been happening, most of it internal. Having worked in big companies before, I realize how much work it is to take on such matters and doing it with an ever-growing all-volunteer organization from all corners of the earth makes it that much more challenging.

On the partnership front, there have been discussions with companies such as Microsoft, Facebook, Plaxo, LinkedIn, Six Apart, etc. Also, the project is dealing with potential scope growth beyond social networking information into verticals like healthcare, government, financial, etc. Hence, one of the main ongoing effort is investigation to find out what else is out there, what might be missing, and what might not be appropriate to take on.

This is all great stuff, though if not managed tightly can quickly become scope creep nightmare. If I have to pick one deliverable that is most crucial, it is the technical blueprint which is essential for developers and companies to adopt. I believe this is in the works though.

As it turns out, I am not the first one asking where’s the beef, heck I am not even the first one using that specific expression LOL. Here’s a post from someone at Microsoft that appears to be involved with DataPortability. Here’s another post from ReadWriteWeb. Here’s a response from Chris Saad, DataPortability chairman and founder.

I should state that I am now involved with the DataPortability project and an active contributor. In fact, we just started a Labs group which is a playing ground and sandbox for developers to experiment with technologies that are not official DataPortability projects but could (keyword being could) be adopted by DataPortability or otherwise discarded. I feel that this will aid in finding the beef so to speak 😀


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