Remembering a Human, Being.

Doc Searls, yesterday, on his Harvard blog:

“Got word yesterday that Kim Cameron had passed. Hit me hard. Kim was a loving and loved friend. He was also a brilliant and influential thinker and technologist.”

Kim Cameron: among the few techies more human than tech.

I only shared a few moments with Kim Cameron, but what came through loud and clear was that he cared more about people than the tech he was paid to develop.

As the Director of Identity Systems for Microsoft, his high regard for the human factors, humans’ choices, and humans’ dignity was unexpected. I never heard him call us “users”, echoing Doc Searls’ insight that only tech companies and drug peddlars call their customers “users”.

Doc cited:

Kim’s Seven Laws of Identity on the Blockchain and Informational Self-Determination in a Post Facebook/Cambridge Analytica Era (in the Ownership of Data track):

1️⃣ User control and consent
2️⃣ Minimum disclosure for a constrained use
3️⃣ Justifiable parties
4️⃣ Directed identity pairwise, known only to the person and the other party)
5️⃣ Pluralism of operators
6️⃣ Human integration
7️⃣ Consistent experience across contexts

Doc cited those laws not because they were technical talismans that justified Kim’s career, but because they signaled his doctrine that the human partners in the identity universe were the paramount actors, not subservient to the technical behemoths that want to grant us limited privileges for their own ends.

Celebrating Kim’s life, Doc quoted one of my life rules:

Britt Blaser says life is like a loaf of bread. It’s one loaf no matter how many slices are in it. Some people get a few slices, others many. For the sake of us all, I wish Kim had more.

That made me regret the self-centerdness of my bread loaf metaphor.

While the core observation is correct, that each of us has but one reality of our time here on Earth, the sum total of our experiences so far, it’s more nuanced. My beloved grandkids range from 8 to 18, and I’m certain that each of them has a single time span by which they measure their life: the loaf of bread they’ve experienced so far, their personal Law of Relativity.

When I was just seven years older than grandson Edward, I was an unwilling participant in yet another expensive war against unavoidable reality, and doubted I’d make it to 26.

Airborne aluminum, meet .50 cal. machine gun.

Maybe that’s what generated my egotistical personal rule that my only measurable reality is what I’ve lived so far, my personal, self-centered loaf.

Thanks, Doc, for straightening me out. Each of our lives is not just about our own experience, but about how many high-quality slices of our life we might share with those we love. It’s probably an expression of low self esteem that I could assume my days are useful only to myself.

Like Doc, I wish Kim Cameron had been allowed to share a few more slices of his life with the rest of us.

The missing slices metaphor is reminiscent of the classic Woody Allen story of the guy who told his shrink about his neice’s weird behavior. For years, she’d been convinced she was a chicken, cackling around the house, pecking at the carpet, squawking, etc.

“Why has this gone on so long? Doesn't it make you crazy?”

“Of course it does! But we need the eggs.”



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