Personal data is becoming a thing in 2020. Not just startups, but also not-for-profit
organiations have been popping up everywhere … by some count, there are now
literally hundreds (!) that are involved in it somehow. It’s hard not to get lost.
To order my own thoughts, and for the purposes of some
organizations that I’m involved
in, I’ve been working on a 2x2 or 3x3-style matrix diagram that similar to what many
startups are using to position themselves with potential investors.
Here is my currently best draft. Would love your feedback and ideas!
The first question is: if we can only pick two axes by which to classify organizations,
which are the most important ones? I’ve picked:
- whether organizations are for-profit, or help building the commons. This is obviously
a big difference. I’m also distinguishing between organizations working broadly across
the space, or focused on a particular aspect of it.
- who is the primary customer of the organization? As personal data touches both
individuals and businesses (or Me’s and B’s as we call it in Me2BA), organizations
might focus on either, or both, and that has many practical differences just like
B2B and B2C businesses are different. For this diagram, “customers” mean the entities
that provide money to the organization, through membership fees, or who buy the product
or services. (They may also have benefits for the other side, but that’s probably
common for most of them so it’s not shown here.)
Now, let’s put some example organizations into the diagram and see how they fit.
- MyData has both business and individual members. It is a very
broad umbrella organization, and so I am putting it stretching from B to Me, with a
somewhat fuzzy border between general and specific focus. (One could have specific
tendrils going out and up in the diagram, like the recent MyData Operators group.)
- The Sovrin Foundation, which runs the epynomous digital
identity network, has only businesses as its members, so I put them on the left.
It is focused on something much more specific than, say, MyData, and so it goes
further up in the diagram.
- Customer Commons is an advocacy organization for
(non-business) customers. It has a specific focus in mission and only focuses on
consumers, thus it is in the middle on the right.
- The Me2B Alliance strives to improve the relationship
between businesses and individuals, and – once its membership structure is fully
defined – will have both business and individual members, so I put it in the middle.
Does this make sense?