Personal is on a mission to empower individuals with control over their data. In the process, we challenge the status quo, build new tools that better align with our values, and meet amazing people. One of our company principles is full transparency, so we started this blog to chronicle how, together with you, we’re going to change how the world works, one data point at a time.
There are so many musings that we’re bursting to share, but, to create some order in the chaos, we’re focused on four specific areas:
- Power Shift. This is where we’ll share our vision for a future built around individuals controlling the power and value of their personal data, instead of companies. We’ll also write about the latest policy, technology, private sector, and nonprofit developments affecting this historic opportunity.
- Product. Making data fun and interesting isn’t easy. Join us in a wide-ranging discussion on Personal’s platform, data vault and gems. Share your feedback and ideas, and react to new product announcements.
- Practical Tips. We’re tapping into our team and outside experts to share tips and how-to’s that help protect your personal data and privacy wherever you go online.
- Inside Personal. Building any fast growing company has its challenges. Add to that a big, disruptive model built on transparency and trust, and we think this is just too interesting to keep to ourselves. We’ll show you the “sausage making,” with a special focus on the hard choices we constantly face to enable a truly people-centric world to emerge.
Contributors come from across Personal and bring their unique perspectives. We’ll also have guest posts from some of the interesting people we get to work with outside of our company. If you like what you read here and would like to guest blog, we’d love to hear from you. Post a comment below!
Speaking of comments… We moderate comments to prevent bots from spamming us and filter out profanity. Our goal is to approve comments from real, live people within 24 hours or less. We encourage you to be as opinionated as you want to be. Just please — don’t curse and don’t be a robot.
The announcement this week that Reputation.com raised $41 million was yet another sign that the world is starting to wake up to a fairer and more transparent model built around the needs and interests of individuals. I expect the pace of change to continue to accelerate:
- People are increasingly aware and concerned about how their information is used, and new opportunities for them to directly benefit from their data are emerging every day
- More and more companies are uncomfortable with current practices and are looking for a positive, permission-based way to interact with their customers and their data.
- Visionary policy and regulatory leaders recognize the need to move beyond the traditional privacy debate to a user-centric model that empowers individuals with control over their own data and to decide who gets access.
Although the vast majority of venture capital and corporate R&D dollars continue to fund even more powerful and exotic ways to capture and exploit our data, I’m encouraged that some investors on both coasts are starting to warm up to the idea that privacy isn’t dead, and that major new market opportunities can be built around a user-centric model. I look forward to more great news from others taking this approach.
This is a very exciting time for everyone at Personal – we recently began sending out the next round of invites to our closed beta. Up until this point, only our close friends and family have been able to use the service. But now, we’re inviting the more than 10,000 people who signed up on our waitlist.
Our CEO, Shane Green, recently wrote a blog post with his thoughts on the closed beta invitation and feedback process. Like Shane, I cannot wait to hear from our new users. There is always room for improvement. We are committed to providing a service that is useful and fun – your feedback is key!
Comment on this post or send an email to feedback[at]personal.com. We look forward to hearing from you!
Most people think their passwords are pretty good. After all, these passwords protect a growing stash of precious digital information about us. I used to do a party trick and/or a security demonstration where I bet people I could ask them five questions and then guess their password in five tries or less. I won the bet a frightening percentage of the time. For most people, my five password questions would be along the lines of:
- What is your significant other’s name?
- What is your pet’s name?
- What is your firstborn child’s name?
- When is your birthday?
- When is your anniversary?
Combining these in a fairly predictable way, I could almost always get close. After a few questions, many people started to realize that their entire digital life was locked away behind these easily picked locks of their own creation. Banking, credit card accounts, emails, instant messages – all potentially hanging in the breeze. Not a good feeling when you’ve always acted with the presumption of security and privacy.
For some people, I would ask different questions, “what is your favorite beer,” or “who is your favorite athlete/celebrity,” but the principle is that people generally create passwords around things meaningful to them that they can remember. If you understand this principle, passwords become increasingly easy to guess, as they are almost always based on common words and names. They more you know about a person, the easier the guessing game.
This gave me a natural segue to talk about password security and password complexity, topics of ever increasing importance in the digital age, and as more and more of our lives transition to the digital realm, the trend isn’t going to reverse anytime soon.
Stay tuned for the next installment where we’ll talk further about how to keep your digital property safe and secure!
Like many startups, we’ve been so focused on building our product that we only recently poked our collective head up and looked around. And there are meetups and conferences filled with people whom we can’t wait to get to know. In May, several of us headed out to the Privacy Identity Innovation conference, aka pii2011, to meet with some of the most well-known thought leaders in online privacy.
We were invited to present the company to the 250 attendees as one of 12 startups highlighted in the pii2011 Innovation Spotlight, where we played the product’s “How it works” video and risked the hotel’s spotty Internet with a live demo.
It was the first time that people outside our company and limited beta testers had seen the service in action. Other attendees had a lot of thoughtful questions for us, and it was both humbling and exhilarating when they voted us and another startup, PassTouch, the top choices for the Innovator Spotlight Audience Choice Award. We couldn’t have asked for a better debut.
Check out Shane’s perspective on pii2011 on his blog, Getting Personal: My Data and the Digital Me.