Over the past year or so, I've talked with a number of Director, VP, and C level folks who run software-driven businesses or heavily integrate software into their operations. A particular phrase has come up in almost every conversation, something both very important to the success of their business and difficult to achieve.
They want a single source of truth for their important business data: a unified, complete record of everything that matters to keep their people on the same page.
I don't think that this value proposition only appeals to the largest enterprises: everyone who uses digital systems spends a lot of time or money struggling to keep emails, computers, file systems, databases, websites, spreadsheets, etc. on the same page.
This sounds like an insurmountable problem: by necessity, a company uses different software products for different domains, each with its own proprietary format or database: email, cloud storage, and the alphabet soup of CRM, CAD, PLM, MES, ERP, PCM, etc.
But I think we can solve it.
With a group of friends, I've been working on SST, an open-source universal data store enabling a single source of truth for collaborating on important data.
More specifically, SST enables participating nodes to create a universal key-value store which reaches consensus by blockchain, verifies storage transactions using commutative hashing, and secures values by public-key cryptography, forming a decentralized, highly available storage network.
SST aims to create a simple, low-cost way to store and share data that always works. Ethernet always works for transmitting data, but we want a similarly ubiquitous and trustworthy system for storing data.
SST enables software to do things that sound a bit like magic today:
- Traceability: want to track the complete history of every document? Done.
- Automatic updates: there's no need to attach the latest version of that presentation. The intended recipients already have it.
- Pre-integration: want your latest sales to be reflected on the company's website? The website and the CRM already talk the same language -- it's probably a one-line code change.
- Cross-company collaboration: need to share select data with business partners? SST keeps everyone on the same page without vendor lock-in or giving one company undue leverage over another
This is a different way of thinking about software, so we're also building a proof-of-concept client called Concorde to demonstrate these ideas in action.
The project is just beginning: the defining whitepaper, code base, and reference client all exist and are privately available, but much work remains.
If this sounds interesting to you, then please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We already have a community of folks interested in tackling this problem, but we really want your input on potential applications for this technology and advice on overcoming challenges as they arise. Our goal is to build SST into a simple, general purpose protocol that solves data collaboration problems in every industry.