Marketing had a bit of fun at this year’s kick-off. I must say, I hate hearing myself, or seeing myself on camera. I’ve got more respect for actors.
Archive for the ‘Identity’
Got an email from a friend asking me to install a new iPhone-to-iPhone chat program called “Ping!” Now I know I’ve been in technology too long.
I’ve got a feeling things are going to get quite interesting in the identity space in the next 12 months.
1. Look at open-source alternatives.
2. Figure out how to consolidate vendors at a lower unit cost.
3. Replace manual effort with automation that can be achieved with a 3m payback.
4. Invest in new technologies that will lower cost by an order of magnitude.
5. Break down myths that an application can’t be hosted externally.
6. Challenge costly, incumbent technologies with new upstarts.
7. Look for short-term projects that can delivery value quickly.
8. Attempt to put new products on existing IT infrastructure.
9. Not start any long-term, strategic projects.
10. Hit up your local sales rep for freebies (e.g. tickets to the Broncos)
Contributed by one of Ping’s advisors
When we started Ping, I had no idea how specific SSO solutions could or would become. While we’ve made a lot of progress with standards such as SAML, there’s still a number of things which have to be done to manage users in remote SaaS applications. One of the common requests we get from enterprises is to SSO with Salesforce. It’s one of the reasons we acquired SXIP Access from SXIP Identity, and why we now spend so much time in this space.
Now we’ve joined up with Salesforce Sr. Product Manager Peter Dapkus in an upcoming Webinar describing what’s required to secure Salesforce with your existing identity management system. If you have a Salesforce integration issue, this is a must attend event. Event Details
In biology, there is a concept known as homeostasis. Homeostasis is the ability for the body to adjust what it considers ‘normal’ to the current conditions, giving it an ability to detect changes in those conditions.
If it’s hot, your body adjusts its normal state to account for the heat. It can then detect if it gets hotter or colder. The same holds true for light, sound, touch, taste and smell.
In business (and I’ve found this to be especially true with entrepreneurs), I’ve noticed that people have developed a sort of ‘are you serious’ filter when they hear a newbie entrepreneur describe how they are going to set the world on fire. While friends may be generally encouraging, they are also inherently skeptical. And why would you blame them? ‘Normal’ for them is to hear a lot of talk, but witness very little follow-through. We’ve all seen and heard of plenty of great ideas. But of all those great ideas, how many are ever acted upon? And of those that are actually acted upon, how many of those ideas are really, really pursued, through the inevitable hard times in any startup? The answer is, not many.
Life itself I believe has a way of really challenging the conviction of any great yet unimplemented idea.
It reminds me of a question Phil Becker asked me before he invested in Ping. Sitting in his living room, he asked me, “…are you really serious about this?” That was a wise question.
I’m on the board of this great little company called ProQuo down in San Diego. While the original business idea incubated here at Ping, they’ve made great strides in a completely new and different direction. Their mission — put the user in control of their marketing identity, allowing people to stop the junk mail they don’t want, and register to receive the marketing they do want.
The Company recently created a number of video’s to help communicate that mission. They are all awesome!
I love entrepreneurs, but according to the factoid I saw on the elevator this morning, we’re a rare breed. In fact, a recent US survey said only 300 out of every 100,000 American’s started a business last year. Wow, I thought that number would be a lot higher. Having started several businesses, I’m approached by these individuals
all the time, mostly seeking advice on how to take that first step,
which often looks so daunting. In reflecting on the statistic, I have noticed a common excuse used by many potential entrepreneurs.
My advice to them is simple, but two-fold.
Step 1: Simply make a mental commitment to do it. Nothing more, nothing less.
Step 2: Don’t over think step 2. (this is where most fail)
I come across some of the most fantastic potential entrepreneurs — smart, fun, creative, good mojo. They would undoubtedly make great entrepreneurs, but they will likely never experience entrepreneurialism. The reason is simple, they’ve created a starting point for themselves which is simply unrealistic. I call this Unobtainium, and it’s really unfortunate, because, inevitably, their dreams are not realized, and with each passing day, they become more conservative as they set their starting bar higher and higher. Personally, I think it’s a sort of unconscious way of keeping them from ever taking risk.
When I talk to them about it, and describe ways in which I think they could lower the bar for themselves and simply get started, it’s as if I’ve suggested blasphemy or chopped their baby in half. In their minds, to do anything less than what they’ve concocted as the ‘only way to do it right’ is to violate the very integrity of their idea altogether.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. All mountains are climbed one step at a time. There are no silver bullets, and identifying that which is doable as a first step in no way violates the integrity of where you intend to go.
I often get asked, “aren’t you worried the big guys (IBM, Oracle, Sun etc.) will just come in and crush you?”
I’ve thought a lot about this question over the years, and my answer has evolved over time, as I’ve had a chance to observe how larger companies deal with emerging markets.
My current insight is that in rapidly evolving spaces, ones rich with room for innovation, offer a fair amount of blue ocean for start-ups to expand into before larger companies are able to mechanize their formula for steam-rolling a particular sector.
I’m not saying big companies don’t innovate, many do, but it appears quite a bit harder to do than within a small company, and many simply do it poorly.
I call this the glass ceiling phenomenon. When the headroom of innovation ceases to exist, you can set your watch by the amount of time you have before the steamrollers come knocking. I don’t see that glass ceiling approaching in Internet-scale identity any time soon (at least 3 to 4 years). In fact, I believe we’ve barely gotten started. Internet SSO is just the first of many complex problems that enterprises will need to solve as they effectively weave themselves into a fabric of inter-connectedness across the Internet. We’ve got a long ways to go before we have the federated identity life cycle (and all that this entails) figured out. Not just at the B2B level, but at the B2C level as well. We’ve got federated user provisioning, federated web services, federated authorization and role management, enterprise / web / desktop mash-ups, federated networks, federated risk management, compliance, audit, monitoring to figure out, and the list goes on and on.
Small, focused, innovative companies like Ping thrive in these rapidly evolving environments. Environments where the increasing rate of change is the only constant and customers are willing to pay a respectable amount to have their emerging network-based problems solved in a timely manner.
As I’ve instructed my crew, we’re in a marathon, not a sprint. While we need to be cognizant of our market stagnating, I don’t think it’s going to hit us for some time.
The big don’t eat the small, the fast eat the slow.