An old friend has migrated to a new blog titled Marcus Lasance's Identity Management and Privacy blog and posted today about the relationship between identity and philosophy. It's a topic that immediately caught my attention because I was a philosopher before I was a techie. I did my undergraduate work in Philosophy at a small mountainside university and I often took long hikes up the mountain to reflect on life's big questions. That was back when I was a user - you know, one of those people that just logs in and uses a computer without thinking about what's happening under the hood. It's been a long time. Do you remember when you were a user? Enough digression.
For me, the take-away from Marcus' comments is that we should remind ourselves to remove our blinders as we envision a new system design or architecture. We all have blinders of one kind or another - whether it's prejudice against data redundancy or preconceived notions of identity. We ought always to start with the essense of what we're trying to build and work outward from there - like Michelangelo who saw the statue within the block of marble. The question you should be asking is: What are the business requirements that we want to solve? If they're unclear, start over and try again. If they are clear, make sure that your design decisions support the successful meeting of those requirements and don't get caught up in pre-existing ideas about Microsoft or databases or enterprise architecture. Thanks for the reminder Marcus!