It's been incredible watching OpenID catalyze the identity industry in real time. In terms of getting a new platform technology off the ground I can think of no single harder market to work in than the identity space (that is until now).
Identity technology is only really useful when it is widely adopted, that is when you can use your identity to sign into many different services -- and at the same time it is very hard for a new technology to gain adoption unless it is generally useful -- all of which is complicated by the incredibly large privacy, security, usability, and business concerns that come along with centralizing someones identity information.
And yet the OpenID did it, and relatively quickly! By minimizing scope and getting the technology down to it's bare essentials, aligning players in the market as allies in 'coopertition', and executing beautifully, the OpenID community has pulled off something incredible -- started something huge.
Here is a look back at notable events in last year and a half in the world OpenID:
- July 2005 Brad Fitzpatrick releases OpenID to the wild
- January 2006 JanRain OpenID libraries start hitting the web.
- April 2006 David Recordan leaves SixApart to work on OpenID at Verisign
- June 2006 Scott Kveton leaves OSUOSL to become CEO of JanRain.
- July 2006 Over a dozen companies put up $50,000 for open-source OpenID code bounties.
- December 2006 Simon Willison creates a video tutorial that explains OpenID.
- Febuary 2007 Bill Gates announces that Microsoft is adopting OpenID.