Silicon Valley is blessed with brilliance. Which means we are blessed with opinions that grow exponentially with each new technology and trend.
Right now, the opinions about what constitutes data portability are swirling around in the air here. Which I applaud. But I'm having trouble with the fact that the cloud doesn't include anyone representing the people beyond the Valley.
Last evening, I spent some time reading the blogs of some of our most insightful journalists and commentators. Looking for Joe User in their comments. From podcasts to blogs to tweets, I'm still not finding Joe User front and center.
I am finding a lot of folks who think they know Joe User and are telling us what he wants. But they might be confusing this with what they think he needs. It is possible that these folks know something we don't. I have begun asking them to share this knowledge with the rest of us [comment 22]. If that's not the case, I'm not going to rest until I understand whether regular users around the world want one sign-in, or the ability to scrape data from one network and port it to another, or simply the ability to share data on a selective basis via tools that work within acceptable bounds for the social networks.
Until then, I'm afraid I'm going to have to view the swirling opinions as circular chatter rolling around the Silicon Echo Chamber. And to think about ways to understand whether openness and portability are as important to Joe User as his privacy.
Here's the thing we all must keep in front of us: we may know best, but we must begin consulting the user and the user experience in testing ourselves. Especially since it was Silicon Valley brilliance that brought them to the party in the first place. We changed the rules. Now we must play by them, too.