Andre Durand

Discovering life, one mistake at a time.
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Archive for May, 2008

ProQuo Stops Junk Mail…

May 19, 2008 By: Andre Category: Identity

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!

ProQuo Videos – Kill the Junk Monster!

Simply Amazing Game

May 19, 2008 By: Andre Category: Life

On my friends Nokia N810 (an Internet tablet), I experienced the most amazing thing I’ve seen in over a decade of computer / software evolution.  It’s a simple little game called Numpty Physics. In a sense, it’s the opposite of Quake/Doom, in that, it’s not about fancy 3D rendering, but instead about simple, crayon like drawings on simulated paper.

Looking at their humble website today reminds me of the first time I ever visited www.jabber.org back in April of 1999, when it was just Jeremy, Dizzy, Mass, Thomas  and a few others working on the Jabber project.

Anyways, you use the pen to draw on this simulated piece of paper, but everything you draw follows the basic laws of physics, (rocks fall, wheels roll down hill, sticks create bridges, weights on a rope swing etc. etc.). It’s simply amazing, and so simple, yet so challenging. I found the game more fun, and more mentally stimulating, than any computer game I’ve ever played. A little research turned up a similar game, Crayon Physics, and the promise of Crayon Physics Deluxe (not yet out). I’m not sure which came first, but I sense this entire genre of puzzles will explode when people experience it.

Keeping our Cool with Hot Sauce

May 19, 2008 By: Andre Category: Entrepreneurism, Life

Keenan Adams (pictured first) developed a love for hot sauce at an early age. So much so, he and his family, Steve and Laurie Adams started making a homemade (and very secret) batch of Keenan’s Killer Hot Sauce and giving it out at Christmas. They sent a batch to our Special Forces in Iraq, and they returned the favor by sending Keenan a Special Forces T-shirt, and taking pictures of the Keenan in action. How friggen cool is that?

Keenan hot sauce is indeed killer — and also addicting. Batch 1 is in short supply. I hesitate to even talk about it, for fear we’ll run out. That said, the K sauce made it to Moab with me this weekend (last pic). Just doing my part to keep it real with the K sauce.

Entrepreneurial’s Unobtainium

May 15, 2008 By: Andre Category: Identity

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.

Avoid being Steamrolled

May 13, 2008 By: Andre Category: Identity

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.

NEW: SignOn.com now supports SAML & Google Apps

May 12, 2008 By: Andre Category: Identity

Our guru’s of advanced identity work and labs, Ashish Jain and David Waite just completed a new release of SignOn.com. This time, they added PingFederate to the mix, which in turn adds SAML single sign-on to SignOn.com’s capabilities.  Specifically, the integration allows users of SignOn.com to SSO into Google Apps. Details are here.

It’s really fun to see the whole identity mash-up in action. Even if the use-cases are narrow and limited at this stage, you can see the islands being stitched together.

“product doesn’t matter”

May 06, 2008 By: Andre Category: Identity

I sat on a federation vendor panel in Munich a few weeks back, and following my comments to the audience about Ping’s focus on building simple products that speed time-to-connect with partners, one gentleman who represented one of the suite vendors actually said,

… I don’t think product or 3 days or 5 days to production really matter to customers…

I’m not exaggerating, he actually said that! Of course, our 215 customers and counting beg to differ.

SSO Summit Agenda & Discussions

May 06, 2008 By: Andre Category: Identity

We’ve finalized a great list of speakers and case-studies for this years SSO Summit,
taking place in Keystone CO on July and 25th. Case Studies on
everything from ESSO to Federated SSO will be presented by the likes of
General Motors, Chrysler, Deloitte, Rearden Commerce, Prudential Insurance, Wyeth and 3M. In 30 minutes, each case study will cover project scope, business drivers, problems addressed, hurdles surmounted, what worked and didn’t and lessons learned.

While the perspectives and case studies will no doubt be very good, I’m really looking forward to the open discussions, where we’ll tackle: 

  • Single Sign-On, Reduced Sign-On, Simplified Sign-On, Zero Sign-On – which is right for you?
  • Describing the business value of your SSO initiatives to the CIO
  • What’s next for Web Access Management SSO?
  • Kerberos everywhere – true statement?
  • What’s the ‘holy grail’ for Enterprise SSO – we‘ve been trying for 20 years!
  • SSO for Web services?
  • Single Sign-On’s role in Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC)
  • PKI or Federation — which is right for me?
  • SSO for non-browser clients – PDA’s, RIA’s, Phones
  • Leveraging NAC Authentication for Single Sign-On to Apps
  • Where do OpenID and InfoCards fit?
  • SSO for partners and customers – why bother?
  • Enterprise 2.0 and the Web 2.0 mash-up – how do we do SSO for these?
  • What is Oauth and where does it fit into your web services SSO initiatives.
  • The role of claims and the security token server in web services SSO

Munich

May 05, 2008 By: Andre Category: Identity

I just returned from the 2nd European Identity Conference in Munich. I came away very impressed not just with the quantity, but innovation going on in the field of federation. It’s as if the cultural diversity in Europe is driving a lot of innovation in the space, which I think will be healthy for the industry overall.  Munich is a beautiful city, so I was sure to bring my camera with me this time, but unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate. I did however get a few interesting photos worth sharing. The first nearly escaped me. It was located down a dark narrow passageway some 30 feet from a side street. I was lucky to see it.

“Piss-Off”

May 05, 2008 By: Andre Category: Identity

A gentleman came by the Ping booth at Software 2008 and asked Andrea how
long it took make a federated connection. He was with a large insurance
company that had 40 people dedicated to a federation project with 40
connections to make. He said they had been working on it on and off for years.

When Andrea responded, “…less than 30 days”, he replied,
“…piss-off! You’re kidding right? They lied to me!”. We got a good
laugh out of it and a new prospect. 

Yea, we do it in less than 30 days all the time. Try us.