Friday, August 26, 2005

The Federated Reserve

As I was drifting off to sleep last night I was self centeredly thinking about the brilliance of my metaphoric mind and the metaphor of companies trying to protect their currency (data) while at the same time realizing there is no Federal Reserve System out there to quantify or maintain the value of currency within an organization let alone between organizations. Then I got to thinking - isn't that what Federation is all about?

Are companies trying to create a 'Federated Reserve System'?

If I think about currency of a company, that currency has a subjective value to me, the organization. It also has a subjective value to the recipient/user of the currency which may have the same value, be more valuable, or be less valuable as the recipient/user determines. Where is the level playing field? Should there be one? Or should there just be a transparent exchange (respository) with very high level rules (standards) that govern currency value?

This cuts across all data, right? If I were Lars Ulrich from Metallica (for the record I stopped buying Metallica stuff after the San Mateo courthouse steps grandstanding incident - bonehead move IMHO) the value of my music, lyrics, and composition of songs has a value to me personally and the band. To my record company/label it has a value which is more than Lars, becuase the number of users/recipients of that currency is exponentially higher than Lars. Go one step further and that currency (data, now a song) has a value to each fan - I place a higher value on the currency because I will use it while my parents wouldn't take the currency if it was loaded on a free iPod (a found wallet in this metaphor).

Enter Napster, Kazaaa, etc. which is a governance-less exchange which totally devalues the currency across the board for many but not for all. To me it's still relative high value, however to the other components of the currency chain, its value has diminshed beyond belief. I realize I am off topic a bit here with Identity, but I do think that in this example it points out the necessity of a 'Federated Reserve System' for data, or in our world, currency.

One hope I do have is that all the components of Identity Management get knitted together and that there is a Federated Reserve System that is established. I also hope it is as elegant and flawed as the one that exists in the real world and takes into account that currency is just currency, and it's the people that must know and manage its value - not the currency.



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