This article was published on April 4, 2008

Khris Loux interviews Chris Saad about Dataportability

Khris Loux interviews Chris Saad about Dataportability
Ernst-Jan Pfauth
Story by

Ernst-Jan Pfauth

Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He a Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He also served as The Next Web’s blog’s first blogger and Editor in Chief, back in 2008. At De Correspondent, Ernst-Jan serves as publisher, fostering the expansion of the platform.

Khris Loux and Chris Saad became friends because of the Next Web. During all the meetings they noticed they generally had the same interest and ideas. Not that those shared interests matter though, since Khris started the couch interview with the remark that we all have to be friends with Chris. Whether we’re publishers, entrepreneurs or bloggers, Chris Saad’s Dataportability is good for you.

Thus I’m really glad that I digitally met Chris a couple of months ago when I interviewed him for this blog. I asked him how I should explain Dataportability to Average Joe and his answer probably is a good start for this post: “A user would simply log onto a site, grant permission, and their friends, personal details and media – images, video, documents – are already populated and accessible – Nothing more complex than that.”

Khris and Chris having a beer and chatting
Just like during Diggnation, there was beer on stage. The Next Web is one rock ‘n’ roll conference

When he said something similar on the couch, the audience rewarded with a round of applause. So it’s clear that users are looking forward to get control of their data. Yet what are the advantages for the vendors? Chris: “Vendors get a broader picture of the user. Google owns the search space, yet they have no idea what books people buy on Amazon.”

This sounds good, but at the same time companies traditionally make money because they have locked in their data. So all the big guys who are joining Dataportability now, aren’t they just doing that for good PR? Chris: “If some companies joined the Dataportability group just for the PR that is just fine with us, since they do endorse the conversation. And if they don’t implement the new open standards, others will. So if they don’t implement, that’s actually great since it gives everyone in this room a chance to out-innovate them. Now, the task of Dataportability is to give the companies best practices for implementing new standards. If those companies say they will implement, but actually don’t, it’s up to the bloggers and the audience to confront them with this flaw”.

Chris then threw out some great one-liners, like: [to companies:] “You don’t own users, users own you” and “If you don’t join the standard of the time, you’ll loose”. But I’d like to conclude with probably the most important one: “The new innovation platform is data”.

By the way, the audience could ask questions on Twitter. So I asked Chris which major company is taking a lead on the field of open data standards. His answer? Microsoft! Chris: “The ones who are loosing now are very interested and they’re the ones who apply pressure to the others”.

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