I just attended the Internet Identity Workshop at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. Many others have blogged the event so I shall not repeat what has already been said. Suffice to say that there was no synergistic paradigm disruption here, oh no. There was however a 3 day discourse on what digital identity for the internet is, how we can build it, how we can move it, how to make that all happen, and in some cases how to effectively fear it.
The format of the workshop consisted of an introductory afternoon, and then, well, then there was a 2 day coffee break. The coffee break started with some serious retro-geekery as people were asked to write down (with pens, on paper) topics that they wished to discuss and to place them in a time slot on the wall for one of the 7 meeting places. From a purely tech standpoint the wall was an elegant example of a fully interactive calendar, or meeting agenda, with advanced features like undo, redo, merge and insert but without the computer – genius. I can only wonder what features Kaliya Hamlin has in store for us when she releases the much anticipated harderware, Wall 2.0. The unconference format is an interesting live study in self organizing systems, and it works.
It struck me during the course of one particular meeting that the people around the table would probably be impossible to assemble in one place, and certainly one table, in any other way. In fact due to the nature of the workshop and the people attending, there was an excellent chance that any query you might have could be satisfied by the top banana on the subject, and who would be willing to talk. Though I confess I couldnâ€™t find anyone to tell me what to do about coffee induced shaking. You know you are in trouble when the guy fixing the coffee asks if you want your usual at a 3 day event. In keeping with the theme of discussion and interaction the entire workshop happenings are described on the wiki.
Actually, come to think of it, there was quite a bit of synergistic paradigm disruption after all.