Monday, June 12

Whodentity? Tor Who.

Mark Dixon posted a blog entry announcing a page called Whodentity? on which he lists a number of people who are influential Identity Management characters. In his blog entry, he mentioned Eric Norlin's Top 10 most important people in Identity and asks was he correct? I think the answer will (and should) vary depending on your perspective. For example:

  • For Identity Management solution implementers, I can't think of anyone who has provided more valuable information than Mark Dixon himself. His blog series on IdM Implementation Risks is well worth the price of admission alone and should be required reading for anybody planning an IdM project. I think we're still waiting for full entries on the final two risks (no pressure Mark).

  • If you're a product manager thinking about what features to next build into your IdM products, you might look to Microsoft's Kim Cameron for food-for-thought about the future of Identity technologies.

  • If you're an enterprise IT manager and need to understand what products are out there and how they might help your organization, you might turn to Dave Kearns or Digital ID World's Phil Becker & Eric Norlin.

So I think every person's top ten may be different, depending on what information they need. Mark's post inspired me to re-read the Top 10 and I saw in the number one spot Jamie Lewis of Burton Group. No doubt that Jamie has contributed a great deal to the industry. The text states that he wrote the original white paper outlining the concept of a metadirectory and that the white paper "essentially gave birth to the identity industry". This may be true, but it got me thinking. My research tells me that the Burton paper came out in 1996 shortly before the ZoomIt metadirectory product, which was also released in 1996 and later became Microsoft Metadirectory Server. And so we can conclude that people building Identity Management expertise in 1996 are considered innovators and should be praised for their foresight.

And so with that background, I'd like to contribute another name to the discussion - MaXware's own Tor Even Dahl. Tor Even wrote what I believe to be the world's first metadirectory product in 1995. That product remains to this date at the core of our data synchronization and provisioning products. And although it's architecture was different than what ZoomIt was building around the same time, Microsoft re-built MIIS to have a similar architecture when they started from scratch in 2002 - which only proves that that the architecture has withstood the test of time. Tor Even went on to write the world's first virtual directory product in 1998 (then called an LDAP proxy). So, here's a guy who wrote both the first metadirectory and the first virtual directory but has no real industy recognition. He probably likes it that way. Like many Norwegians, Tor Even is humble and he'll probably cringe to see his name mentioned like this, so let me apologize in advance (Sorry Tor Even). But, I thought his accomplishments worth mentioning to the larger community.

With the help of a few other people, Tor Even Dahl built one of the first pure-play Identity Management companies and today remains the CTO of a successful IdM company that has over 300 customers in 30 countries around the globe. So, here's a toast to Tor Even Dahl, as they say in Norway, "Skal!"

...and thanks Mark for Whodentity? It's a list that is sure to provide many interesting viewpoints.


Mark Dixon said...


Thanks for the mention - and for the challenge. I will complete the "Risks" series - stay tuned!


Dave Kearns said...

Oh, I think those of us "in the industry" are well aware of Tor Even. My only regret is that he leaves Norway so little - and we hardly ever go there.