Reflections on MyData Global 2023 Conference

We have just finished a fantastic Mydata 2023 conference, and thought it best to write up some notes and thoughts before heading home and catching up with sleep!!

Firstly, let's congratulate the organisers and the great city of Helsinki. The pandemic caused a gap, and last year some people were still unable to travel to the conference, but this year it is safe to say the conference was back with a bang. We are told there were 520 people attending, it certainly felt like that; and way more great sessions than one can feasibly attend. It feels like there is a particularly positive vibe around this event; perhaps because pretty much all of the attendees are aligned around the common goal of enabling human-centric approaches to data. But a lot of credit must go to the organising team for providing a great venue, schedule and very smooth processes. Plus the social side which is so important - great restaurants and bars; although maybe someone could turn the temperature up for next year.

To specific thoughts from the event, writing them whilst free in the mind.

The attendees have a great blend of optimism and realism. It is clear that the shift we seek will ultimately take a long time to pan out, but there are more green shoots now than ever before and an obvious building momentum.

One can only speak on behalf of talks that we give, or see; so on some of those:

- The 'Practice what we Preach' session in which the MyData Organisation went really well, and there felt to be a genuine desire to move forward with a project to enable MyData to connect to its members in human-centric ways. It seems that CRM/ membership management are at the sharp end of that. Detailed notes to follow.

- Who would have thoughts there would be 40 or so attendees from many countries attending what was inevitably going to be a deep dive conversation about building a standard personal data model from the individual perspective. But there were. It seemed to go pretty well, and we now have the remit to form the thematic group and get on with the hard work. That's really about synthesising the various start points for this into a cohesive plan. Much kudos to Jim Schoening for steering so well on this, and to Paul Theyskens for telling the story so well.

- The emerging MyData Relationship network sounds very promising. There were various ways to think about that put forward, my favourite being 'Zero Party Data Done Right' (which will include changing zero party that name!!!).

- Damian Collins, member of UK Parliament gave a very clear and informative talk on on the upcoming changes/ amended regulations around personal data in The UK. But unfortunately could not clarify why it is that 'data portability' is the too easily ignored existing right that people have under GDPR. Legislation has now been in place for five years that should have seen us all getting useful, machine readable data from our suppliers through easy processes (API's). Clearly that is not the case; and there is no visible enforcement on the horizon. I think that is going to need a large scale consumer movement; 'give me my data please'. You listening Doc Searls and Customer Commons?

- The presentation from Valto Loikkanen at Prifina gave at very good illustration of personal AI, initiated by a person; rather than 'personsalised AI' done to a person by some remotely designed algorithm.

- The SOLID / Inrupt presence at the event was really interesting and caused a whole load of chat. My personal take is that it is a good thing to see a well funded, well resourced entry into the 'my data' space; and that it is gaining traction, as this demonstrates there is a definite market. But then again 'interoperability' has always been a key non-negotiable target for the MyData Operator community. It is not sufficient to say that one can easily move data from one pod operator to another. That's not full eco-system interoperability. That issue will come again again I expect.

So, maybe more thoughts as they emerge and others post their own - but all in all a great event.