05 May 2010

Why did I join Ping Identity?

In April I accepted the position of Community Evangelist with PingIdentity.


Internet-scale identity:  This is a smoldering passion of mine.  Two friends at my previous employer, ACI Worldwide, got me thinking about it in 2002.  The more I thought about it, I began to realize that this was one of the great unsolved problems in the world.  In my work with payment cards, online banking, and e- & m-commerce at ACI, I kept always thinking and reading about identity.  When Kim Cameron invented information cards, I really got bitten by the bug. Claims based, user-centric identity feels right.

Ping Identity: I started following the posts of Ashish Jain (then at PingIdentity, now at PayPal).   I tracked down Ashish's email address and started a dialog with him about identity and payments.  He said he was going to be in the PingIdentity booth at the next RSA conference if I wanted to drop by.  I finally met Ashish face to face and he introduced me to Andre Durand, the CEO of PingIdentity.  We started talking; I ranted about my interest in the intersection of payments and Internet-scale identity;  and Andre's eyes lit up and we were on the road to becoming friends.   Ashish also introduced me to Patrick Harding and Pam Dingle, two more members of the PingIdentity braintrust.  One thing led to another and ACI and PingIdentity ended up doing a joint demo and presentation about using  Information Cards to pay at a merchant, using the 3DSecure protocols in the payment card network to authorize the payment.   Next, through PingIdentity, and especially through the great parties they host, I got to know many of the movers and shakers in identity.  Clearly, PingIdentity is at the center of digital identity.

Why now?  I had been at my old job for 11 years, the longest I've been anywhere in my career.  I just turned 60 in February and was wondering what the next 30 years would hold.  And I had just gotten an email from a Marty Halpin at PingIdentity saying that he was looking for a Community Evangelist and that I was part of the group of PingIdentity's friends that might know of someone.  So I walked into the PingIdentity party at RSA Conference 2010 at the Mars Bar and encountered Andre and Patrick.  I asked them if they thought I'd be fit for Marty's job opening.  Andre exclaimed that he thought that it would be perfect fit for my personality and Patrick agreed.   The next day I got in touch with Marty.  We quickly concluded that me as the Community Evangelist at PingIdentity would be good for me and good for PingIdentity.

What is a CommunityEvangelist?  Marty Halpin is a genius when it comes to operations and customers.  As PingIdentity grows, he knows that we will constantly need to knit our various communities together: our customers, our friends and prospects, and our employees.  PingIdentity is focused on the human side of the future - that's why we care so much about identity, and security, and privacy, and trust.  And as a company, PingIdentity believes that people come first.  We want to harness the strength of our communities as we grow and navigate the future.  And I'm the guy to pull it all together for Marty and PingIdentity.

Passion:   After just a short time, I know I made the right decision.  I can feel the creative juices starting to flow.  I have much to assimilate and master, but as I learn about PingIdentity, their communities, and how to use the Internet social media, ideas are beginning to pour out like a fountain.  I am starting to see a vision, hazy for now, but it is leading me on.

I can't believe that I am getting paid to do this!  :O)

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