Andre Durand

Discovering life, one mistake at a time.

Archive for November, 2006

Missed BarCamp’s Identity

November 13, 2006 By: Andre Category: Life

Apparently there was a recent BarCamp here in Boulder in which identity was discussed. Me.dium hosted it, a startup where I know one of the founding investors, Kimbal Musk, a co-founder of PayPal and their CTO, Herb Morales. I wish I had known about it, because I would have attended. Perhaps David Cohen will give me the heads up next time?


November 08, 2006 By: Andre Category: Life

We challenged my old firm Jabber to a foozball tournament last week — and got our butt’s kicked! It’s not that we don’t have some talent, but I know for a fact that Jabber’s had a foosball table since 2000, and its clear that they use it, regularly.

If you plan to interview at Ping, you had better brush up on your foos skills, because we’re now on a mission to take back the Denver Foos Cup we just lost!

Ok, so the firewall isn’t dead…

November 07, 2006 By: Andre Category: Life

My recent post titled “The Firewall is Dead” rose a few eyebrows, as the title was designed to do. It was however more thought provoking than accurate. Perhaps a more accurate title would have been, “The Firewall as we know it must evolve to remain effective.” Of course the threats are not going away, but the business drivers to connect and achieve ever-higher levels of efficiency by driving cost out, relying more on partners, supply chains and business process outsourcers, is bringing new pressures on our perimeter security infrastructure. Indeed, the need to ‘allow access’ in ever more sophisticated ways will require that we drive more intelligence into our asset protection mechanisms. This is where the future of both identity and security collide.

Gunnar Peterson: So its not so much that firewalls are dead or useless, but they do not deal
with most threats, and in general do not represent the best investment for your
security dollars.

Mike Rothman: Last week, Gunnar continued the conversation (and even highlighted some of my
ramblings) about the role of firewalls in the next generation technology
architecture. He also references some posts from Andre Durand, Thomas Barnett
and Phil Windley. All interesting perspectives, but I dare to say – only tell a
portion of the story. It’s not that they are wrong – they aren’t. But they are
not complete. You cannot have a discussion about a next generation security
architecture without being respectful of today’s common attack vectors. The idea
that the firewall is irrelevant today is bunk. Perhaps it becomes irrelevant
tomorrow, but I doubt it. If anything, firewalls will evolve just like the
perimeter. There will be more of them, protecting valuable data assets as well
as against simple network-borne attacks. My real point here is not to poke these
guys, they are pushing the conversation forward. But to remind everyone that we
can’t forget where we’ve come from because we continue to see attacks that
firewalls do stop.

Successful Start-Up Ecosystems

November 06, 2006 By: Andre Category: Life

I’ve been making an attempt of recent to connect with my fellow brethren (other CEO’s) here in Denver. Colorado, and especially Denver and Boulder, for as many software engineers as I’ve been told there are per capita, is conspicuously lacking in notable software start-ups. Relatively speaking, we have a pulse; but it’s not what I’ve seen to in Northern California or Boston. Why is that?

My friend was telling me the other day that a recent scientific study points to the possibility that the entire oceanic ecosystem as we know it could falter by 2048 if commercial fishing continues as its current trajectory. It goes on to say that we need not bother worry about keeping a species extinction watchlist, because what’s at state is much greater, indeed a possible collapse of the entire oceanic food chain (the theory being all life is intertwined and once the balance is altered substantially, you put all life in peril).

This conversation came full circle when it dawned on me that there is a certain food chain of sorts when it comes to fostering start-ups in a manner which would make them more numerous, predictable and successful long term. To have all elements present, but not in sufficient quantities, is sub-threshold. Denver is just not there yet.

Tracing back this chain of thought to one possible root ’cause’, where at present the question is identifying the root variable which would cause the effect of successful start-ups in a defined location. In my opinion, at the root of the successful start-up food chain is the raw talent that is produced by schools such as Stanford, Berkeley, MIT and Harvard. But it’s not just the quantity that makes it work, it’s the qualitative attributes of this talent that makes the difference.

There was a Harvard paper done a few years back which connected cultural diversity to innovation. The theory being that different cultural biases allowed more diverse groups to view problems from more angles, and thus come up with more creative solutions than a more homogenous group. It’s no mystery that this nation’s top schools are also the most culturally diverse, and attract the brightest and most ambitious young minds from around the world. No wonder some of the worlds most creative; innovative and disruptive companies are started within a stone throw of these schools.

What can Denver do to fundamentally alter itself from the boon-town genetics of the past 30 years? Look to what supports the disruptively aggressive commercial food chain and you’ll find your answer. It all begins with the quantity, quality and cultural diversity of the young talent which chooses to make Denver their destination of choice for higher education. Get that right and you have the first ingredient. From there, we can focus on cushioning them with seasoned entrepreneurial mentors, senior management and venture funding, and then and only then do I suspect you’re most the ways there towards laying the foundation for a sustainable start-up ecosystem.

The past IS your future

November 01, 2006 By: Andre Category: Life

I continue to be intrigued with the notion of reputation.  It’s a deep, thought provoking space, and a lot of work is being done in the area as of recent (Phil Windley’s Work | Freakonomics | Line56 | Truth Markets | Reputation Research Network). Enabling reputation is likely the most socially and personally important part of any work in identity, but like everything, with the positive comes the negative.

I think in the end, what this will all boil down
to is machine readable predictive behavior. The more the past can be codified
and understood in machine language, the more our future behavior can be
predicted in some sort of algorithmic fashion. And as we’ve all learned,
predicting the future is money.

The dynamics of this model are a powerful personal motivator, because the
entire notion of ‘extending credit’ or trust accelerates our ability to obtain
higher qualities of life, thus, people are encouraged to participate (to allow
their interactions to be tracked openly). The dark side of this however is that
our history begins to institute the boundaries of our future.  The
more of our past is known, the more of our future is predicted, and the
consequence of this is that we might find it very hard to move and grow beyond
the glass-walls which are instituted all around us — worse yet, not by the
peers we know, but by those we’ve never even interacted with before.

Having been an entrepreneur all my life, it’s in my genes to ever be the
optimist. I also have a deep, well founded respect for the power of one’s
will (the will to improve upon past performance).  The notion that in some manner, one would be somehow restricted or
slowed from improving on their past behavior is frightening.