Ok, the startup is over – now what? The first thing after deciding to end my startup was to figure out what I wanted to do next. I knew I wanted to stay in the web world, but given my wide range of past experiences I didn’t know what role I really wanted. This was new territory for me as it was the first time in 17 years that I didn’t already know what I wanted to do next (and had it lined up and ready to go). So I asked myself a simple question: what was the most fun part of working on Nouncer? To which I had a quick and easy answer: OAuth.
Working on the OAuth specification, talking about it, promoting it, helping others to understand and implement it, and most importantly being part of the community, were the most exciting tasks this past year. Since I didn’t think anyone will pay me to sit all day having fun writing OAuth, XRDS-Simple, and other related specifications, I was looking for opportunities where I would at least be able to continue working on open standards in a small part capacity. Turns out I was wrong.
It is therefore my great pleasure to announce that I will be joining Yahoo!’s Social Platform team in the newly created role of Open Web Evangelist. Turns out someone does want to pay me to spend my days working on OAuth and other exciting open standards! The Social Platform team is lead by Michael Curtis and focuses on the social directory, social graph activation, the vitality platform, and the universal profile among other things. All this with the perfect timing of the Y!OS announcement (Yahoo! Open Strategy).
Yahoo!’s past participation in community-driven open standards has been lagging behind, but with their recent commitment to OpenID and OAuth, they have positioned themselves to take a significant leadership role within the community. Whatever the challenges may be – and the job wouldn’t be fun without them – the idea of helping over half a billion internet users to enjoy the benefits of open standards is something I am extremely excited about. We – the open standards community – got a long way to go before our work is mature enough to be used seamlessly by non-geeks. I am confident that with Yahoo!’s resources, we can move forward faster and with greater chances of success.
The Open Web Evangelist role will focus on extending Yahoo!’s influence in the open standards community. By evaluating existing open standards, Yahoo! will be able to benefit from an established developers community, be able to immediately interface with other companies and efforts, and save resources on the development of new proprietary standards. In areas where open standards have yet to emerge or are in their early stages, Yahoo!’s vast experience and resources will be able to help in moving the community forward, all with the clear objective of supporting the community and maintaining openness.
Few companies are positioned to offer the open standards community the kind of resources available to Yahoo! both internally via their talent pool, and externally via their huge consumer base. Being able to join the effort of bringing Yahoo! to the open table is a challenge I cannot wait to begin.