Author Archives: Art Messal

Art Messal is a Senior Developer at Ionic Media, where he is responsible for leading client website development and developing scalable core software systems and tools. Art is an expert in software architecture, scalable system development, testing, documentation and support. With over 10 years experience in embedded systems engineering and dynamic website development, he is as adept at backend development as he is at hardware. Prior to joining Ionic, Art was an independent contractor in Los Angeles and Denver, and started his career at Cyrix and National Semiconductor. He has a BS in Computer Science.

Introducing the Open Social Identity

October 20th, 2010 by Art Messal

Arthur Messal, Software Architect at Ionic Media

A true social network is defined by its members, not its medium.  In an effort to improve the effectiveness and success of the widely hyped social components in new (and old) technologies the medium must become less coupled to singular disjoint social networks.  Simply put, having separate logins, data feeds, messaging systems, friends lists, etc, is not effective and causes frustration, requires the user to duplicate efforts, and prevents larger social networks from forming.

Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Google Buzz, LinkedIn, Flickr, and many other websites and companies all offer a similar service – a potential social network, and a portal into that network.  However, there is very little cross network interaction. It takes special tools and setup to simply have a tweet displayed as a status update on Facebook, much less for a comment on a Facebook post about a blog entry to be displayed on the actual blog.  There are many social networks, and little bringing the people in these various networks together.

To solve this problem, I propose the Open Social Identity.  The OSI is your entire social identity: your profile, friend lists, status updates, posts, pictures, messages, events, calenders, etc.  The OSI exists separate from what we currently call a social network.  Instead of defining and storing your identity, current social networks must become social network portals, into your online social life.  Portals will offer different services and features, much like they do currently; however, they must each support the OSI.  Some illustrations to demonstrate the concept.

  • A Facebook status update is intrinsically a status update on LinkedIn, MySpace, and becomes a Tweet.
  • A comment of a picture in Twitter is also viewable as part of the comments for the same picture on Facebook.
  • Adding to your job history on LinkedIn results in a change in your profile on Google Profiles.
  • Comments on a TypePad blog entry are shown with posts of that article on Facebook.
  • An Evite gets added to your iCal, Google Calendar, and is viewable in Facebook, automatically.

Of course, everything is customizable and configurable so that you can control who sees what and where, but regardless, 100% of your Social Identity is in a single place and owned by you.

The OSI represents a standardization of the data models that social networking sites use.  In following articles I will discuss the advantages of this model, and some of the finer details.

As a teaser, consider integration with your mobile phone’s phone book, an address book that you no longer need to manage, using your OSI as a OpenID to login to non-social sites, the ability to monetize your OSI, and more!

Read all of Arthur’s blogs at

Tags: Facebook, Flickr, Google Buzz, LinkedIn, MySpace, Open Social Identity, OSI, social network, technology, twitter

Micro Angel Investing

October 7th, 2010 by Art Messal

For about the last three years I’ve been working on finding a way for small (tiny) investors to invest in brand new startups, pre-IPO companies, and small businesses.  To facilitate this I created a concept called
Micro Angel Investing and the Micro Angel Investment Corporation.

For the uninitiated, Angel Investors provide early stage funding for startups.  Their investments are generally very high risk but can offer an extreme rate of return.  They are generally individuals with plenty of expendable income and can range from from a grandfather or friend with a ten thousand dollar investment, to a pool of Angels with a several million dollar investment.

Angel Investors are an important part of the modern startup environment where a lot of ideas are simply too risky for traditional funding methods.  Angels might also provide mentoring, connections, and advice to the entrepreneurs they are funding.

Micro Angel Investing allows individuals to pool many small investments into a single, large, angel investment, thereby spreading the risk but also opening up the potential rewards to a larger group of people.

This concept has recently entered the mainstream with an article published in Wired Magazine by Paul Boutin entitled Let the Little Guys Get in on Pre-IPO.

…you’d think today’s small-time stock traders would be allowed to get in on the pre-IPO action, effectively making them micro angel investors at a time when startup capital from established fund managers is hard to find.

Boutin’s concept is different than mine, but equally compelling.  Micro Angel Investing generally occurs at the earliest stages of a startup, a pre-IPO investment might occur just before the actual IPO.

Boutin accurately describes some of the hurdles with either of these concepts, namely, the SEC.  But the Securities and Exchange Commission doesn’t let just anyone buy shares in a corporation that hasn’t gone public. Pre-IPO sales are limited to “accredited investors”

At the present, there is simply no way to structure such investments in a cost effective manner.  Hopefully this will change in the future and anyone can own a stake in the best new ideas!

Art Messal is a Software Architect at Ionic Media.
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Tags: investing, startups, venture