Vitamins, Pain-killers, and Viagra


Dick Hardt
Dick Hardt
(click to enlarge)

Dick Hardt intro'd a panel on identity at big sites (meaning eBay, Yahoo!, Google, MSN, and so on). He used a great analogy of vitamins, pain-killers, and Viagra. We've been selling ID Management as vitamins. Everyone knows that they're good for you, but there's no urgency. With pain-killers, there's urgency. Viagra, on the other hand lets people do things they couldn't do before. User-centric identity is a pain-killer for users, but only a vitamin for big sites.

How do you turn user centric identity into Viagra? He uses eBay as an example. By using a user-centric, federated identity system, they could allow other sites to use their reputation system and charge for the privilege. That's a good example of enabling behavior from shared identity.