Business & Technology Nexus

Dave Stephens on technology and business trends

Lunch with Kveton and Musings on OpenID

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Had a great lunch with Scott Kveton yesterday. As I have mentioned, Scott is the new CEO of JanRain, a controlling force around the nascent OpenID technology movement. Previously Scott was Director of OSU’s Open Source Labs (OSL). Jason McKerr, who has worked a long time with Scott at the OSL, has moved to JanRain as well.

I had a lot of questions to ask Scott, but I won’t bore you with them. They generally centered around making sure Coupa does open source in a way that’s both sustainable as a business and friendly to open source advocates and evangelists.

The more interesting part of the discussion was learning more about OpenID. In short, it is a distributed model for identity. As Scott talked through all the consumer examples – blogs, wikis, e-commerce sites – I kept thinking about the awful state of technology for B2B, both server-to-server communications and employee-to-server communications. Together, we talked through a few different scenarios including traditional supplier punchout.

Could there be a way to adapt distributed authentication to B2B problems and lower costs? I think so. I’m looking forward to exploring a few ideas with the Coupa community and seeing if people are ready to toss old and increasingly arcane standards like cXML overboard. It’s by no means a slam dunk – the ROI associated with replacing methods that are still operational is muddy. Why replace your stove until it breaks, even if it’s from the 1950’s?

In other open source news, Scott confirmed something I had heard down in the Bay Area a few weeks ago – that Compiere is moving from Portland to Silicon Valley. Of course when you are a 2-person company there’s not too much to box up! They are a really interesting firm – it just goes to show you what releasing unrestricted intellectual property can do for your install base. Now that they are awash with cash from NEA it will be neat to see if they can turn their brand awareness and install base into a bigger business.


Written by Dave Stephens

07/7/06 7:17 AM at 7:17 am

Posted in Open Source, Opinion

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