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e$: 24 Hours
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e$: 24 Hours
Yesterday, I had probably the most amazing day I've had in a very
long time. As the day revolved around e$, strong crypto, cryptoanarchy,
Macs and the life on the internet, I thought I would share it with you.
Got up before the alarm. Carol, my wife, dropped me off at the gym,
where I hadn't set foot in about 6 months. Started up yet another
new exercise program. Did a lot of big muscle stuff, like squats
and deadlifts -- now I can't climb stairs so well for a while. Shaved
off yet another unfinished goatee (3rd time in 6 weeks) because I
had to be presentable in public today.
Showed up at the speaker's desk at Infoworld Boston, got
credentialled and went to find David Fox's session on transaction
methods. Had some time before, so I ran down to the floor and
weaseled an Apple Internet guy named Tom Bartlett into shooting a
picture of me with a QuickTake so that Vinnie Moscaritolo, another
friend at Apple, wouldn't have a picture of him holding a scrawled
sign saying "Bob: send me a GIF for this!" on the e$ web-page he's
building for me at http://www.webstuff.apple.com/~vinnie/Rah/ . I
had Tom e-mail the GIF to me from the floor, and ran back to
the session, with 5 minutes to spare.
The session got about 300 attendees, who listened to presentations
from Pierre from First Virtual, Cliff from Open Market and Mike
from Checkfree, and then I got to talk a bit.
I had never spoken to a convention before, and here I was batting
cleanup after all the pros pitched their stuff. David Fox introduced
me as a "Wild Card", and I did my best to help him out. We were running
late, but after asking them to get up and stretch after sitting
through 2 hours of dog-and-pony, I asked the audience how many
people people were from Boston, and told them about The Boston
Society for Digital Commerce and when the meeting was. I then asked
them how many of them had ever sold a car, and then asked them whether
they took MasterCard from the buyer, and got a nice laugh.
I told them that I thought that digital commerce *was* financial
cryptography, and that most people settling trades on the net were
just figuring that out. I told them to go out and buy Applied
Cryptography by Schneier, and Out of Control by Kelley. I told them
about the difference between certificate-based and book-entry
transaction systems. I told them about Tim May's idea of
Crypto-Anarchy, and about the Cypherpunks.
Finally I asked them to imagine a world where instead of needing to
enforce copyrights and patents, a developer's code would simply
refuse to run periodically without a digital receipt saying that
some specified amount had been paid, to the developer, preferrably
in cash. I told them about Digicash, Mark Twain Bank, and about
how important that was, even if it was a bumpy first start.
At question-and-answer time, a guy from Germany asked us about the
ITARs, regulatory restrictions on international transactions, and
deutchmark-denominated business. All of the other presenters allowed
that while that was hard, they had patches or were working on it, and
that regulations were a problem. I talked about Eric Hughes' idea
of regulatory arbitrage, how John Gilmore said that the internet saw
censorship, and by extension arbitrary regulation, as damage, and
routed around it, and I said that the folks at Mark Twain and
Digicash had seen this as a problem and set up their system to be
denominated in one of 5 currencies, including marks.
I picked up about 10 cards from people who wanted to come to lunch at
the Boston Society for Digital Commerce. (Plug: The first Tuesday of
the month at the downtown Harvard Club. This month's speaker is Win Treese
from Open Market, on how to design systems for digital commerce. E-mail
me for details.)
In addition, I saw BSDC member Dave Lash, a real-estate mogul turned
web-fanatic who told me how to clean up my presentation style for next
After schmoozing, and trying to find a bank to cash a check. I met
David Fox and his web guy (forgot your name, sorry) on the trade
floor in front of the Netscape booth, which was about 20% the size
of the IBM booth, and was blocking the aisles so much that the fire
marshall was giving them grief for it.
We then went to see Jim Phillips at Security First Network Bank.
SFNB is in Atlanta, and while the likes of Citicorp and Chase were
putting together proprietary, dial-up, bank-by-phone systems, Jim
went ahead and did his stuff on the web for some rediculous fraction
of their costs. They were the only bank there. They had this tiny
booth way back in the corner, and they were also a fire marshall
problem. Jim was talking to a guy from California somewhere about
setting up an account right then and there.
I told Jim to expect a visit from my anonymous digital signature
law source "Irwin" , (for Irwin Cory, The World's Foremost
Authority, RIP), who had asked me earlier in the week about SFNB,
and how to get ahold of them.
Then, David, who was the original Aldus and Radius distributor in
Australia before moving here a few years ago, went around lining up
sponsors for his WWW pre-tradeshow tradeshow which in turn evolved
out of his tradeshow directory business.
While we walked around, I talked to David some more about e$pam, my
idea for building a group of three e$-mail lists (a filtered list of
other e$-ralated sources, an unmoderated "watering hole", and a
newsletter), and we agreed to talk more about it on Friday sometime.
3:00 Cashed a check from my first-ever writing sale, a longish rant
entitled "The Geodesic Network, OpenDoc, and CyberDog", which
originally was posted to apple-internet-users, was cross-posted by
bunches of other people in the Mac world to other e-mail lists all
over the place, got me fan mail from the likes of Kawasaki, Alsop,
Petreley, and various Apple Vice Presidents, and was even cited in a
New Zealand law journal. An editor from InfoWorld bashed it from
a 20kb rant down to a feature article of about 1300 words, and it
will appear this Monday in the November 6th issue.
4:00 Went to see a client, who is the CFO for a famous, er, beauty salon,
with about 50 salons world wide. I sort of core-dumped at him about
how someday he could send his e-mail his cash to the home office in
London every night. He's seen me like this before, so he didn't
quite think I was from Mars...
5:45 As a lurker on the internet-marketing list, I got invited to a
party at Bob Metcalfe's 5-story Back Bay townhouse. I had recruited
Julie Rackliffe, a friend of mine in "Development" at the Computer Museum,
to come along so I would know at least one person there. When I got
there, I saw Dave Lash again. Small world.
Besides the usual groceries, Bob had a big bunch of posterboard on a
on his dining room table, and another piece of posterboard on his
fireplace mantle. There were a bunch of questions on the table's poster,
and one was about winners and loosers. I said that digital
financial certificate underwriters would be the winners, and that
loosers would be companies which depended on large information
hierarchies. There was a question about anonymity, and I quoted
Gilmore on network damage again. On the fireplace mantle was this
posterboard with an org chart with business-card sized blank boxes
all over it. One side of the pyramid said "Client", the other side
said "Server", and so I drew a big cloud off to the side with the
label "Crypto-Anarchist" in it, and put my card there. A few people
moved their cards into the cloud. I was rather pleased with myself...
I went upstairs where I met John Levine, who was in the PBS internet
special last year, and Margy Levine Young, who wrote "The Internet for
Windows for Dummies Starter Kit" in a room with a Windows box, a bonded
ISDN connection and a wall projector. I showed a few people the e$
web-page, met the author of the refrigerator magnets page, and found
out the John and Margy were fellow Unitarians, and that Margy's husband
is the UU webmaster. We're everywhere, we're everywhere.
I went up to the third floor, where by that time they were serving
coffee and dessert, and Bob Metcalfe was there reccommending desserts
to people. By that time I was talking to a trust officer at a very
large institutional trustee bank here in Boston about how to
underwrite digital cash. This guy was sympathetic because what he
really wanted to do was chuck it all and go to work for Open Market. I
told him that the next best thing was to let me come in and evangelize
his bank a bit. He agreed. Dubiously. Anyway, He wants to come to
lunch at BSDC, probably to schmooze the Open Market folks. So while
I was standing there waiting for coffee, I told Metcalfe about
getting a feature article into his magazine. One thing led to
another, and the next thing I know, we're up another flight of
stairs, and I'm dumping core again, this time about 10 steps from
ARP-1, the original ARPANet transponder. Oh. Metcalfe uses a Mac,
even though his internet feed is to a Wintel box.
Metcalfe first starts off with a few coy questions about Phiber
Optik, and Phil Zimmerman, and he figures out that my interest in
cryptography is pretty much in its financial implications. So, for the
better part of half an hour, he's quizzing me about stuff like
digital cash, digital certificates and financial disintermediation,
and pretty much the whole geodesic market rant. He says he likes
"Mr., Doctor, Doctor, Huber's" stuff, a reference to Huber's
hypercredentialed resume. He talked about these crazy people who
were creating a secondary market in Digicash's beta certificates,
so I told him about Lucky Green, Rich Lethin and how all of us
I told Metcalfe about reputation capital, and, when he talked about
the evils of anonymity, I talk about how on the net, a key pair *is* your
identity, and about Tim May's cryptoanarchy stuff. I told him about
BSDC and asked about him speaking sometime, but he says he's working
on a conference and a book, and his wife will kill him if he starts
making speeches again. He wanted on the BSDC list, though, so I'm
going to subscribe him and see what happens. I also said I'd mail him
the e$ URL.
I get home and after telling Carol all about my day, I still can't
sleep, so I jump on the net and filter cypherpunks for buyinfo, and
then answer some mail from my college roomate, who found me last
week. He's a commander in the Navy who's now flying planes at
McMurdo Sound in Antarctica. I shot him back a message and told him
about the e$ web-page, which he's going to have to sneak into another
office to look at some other night, ;-), and I told him that I was
writing this and would send it to him when I was through.
I still wasn't sleepy, so I plinked on the development version of the
e$ page with the new picture, and when I was done with that, I read
news, and, in reply to a comment I posted on soc.culture.alaska (I
spent middle school in Anchorage), I get a reply from Mr. Pickett, my
7th and 8th grade science teacher, and my favorite science teacher on
the whole planet. Since I had just put a picture on my web-page, I
put the development page's URL on the message so he could see what I
looked like now.
I finally go to sleep.
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Robert Hettinga ([email protected])
Shipwright Development Corporation, 44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131
USA (617) 323-7923
"Reality is not optional." --Thomas Sowell
>>>>Phree Phil: Email: [email protected] http://www.netresponse.com/zldf <<<<<