I recently hosted a panel of direct project experts. During the panel, Greg Meyers (@greg_meyer93) talked about why the need for a Direct Address directory was overstated. He argued that doctors could collect the direct addresses for the network of providers they refer to on their own quite easily. A directory would be nice, but you could still easily get value from direct without one.
To prove this point, Greg sent over this great story about his niece.
This past weekend, my wife’s family held their Christmas dinner and gift exchange, and the actions from my 10 year old niece were the highlight of my day. She has been desperately wanting a iPod Touch for quite some time for simple tween workflows such as taking pictures/video, downloading apps, and emailing/video chatting with her friends. With me being the corruptive spoiler of my sister-in-law’s children, I got permission a few months back to get her daughter the prized iTouch as a Christmas present.
From the moment she opened it, her excitement almost exploded out of her face. She spent the first hour asking Siri silly little girl questions, but the next hour was a display of simple intuition and what appears to achieve what some in the Health IT domain describe as almost impossible.
The tasks was simple: setup her email and FaceTime so she could start communicating with her family and friend immediately. Keep in mind this a child whose only electronic presence is her GMail account mandated via her 5th grade class; no Facebook, no SnapChat, no Twitter, no WhatsApp, and no access to a repository of electronic endpoints other than what she could find with a google search.
We went down the path of getting FaceTime associated with an AppleId and configuring the email app with access to her GMail account. What happened next was my moment of the year. She went around asking all her family members for email addresses and entering them into her contacts list. Anybody that had an apple device, she asked if they were on FaceTime and tried to initiate a test video conversation. If she had issues connecting to them, she would ask them to initiate a conversation by giving them her address and added them into her contacts after terminating a test chat. She tried adding some her classmates via the email addresses she knew, but when she failed, she said she would just call them or ask when she went back to school on Monday. By the time the day was over, she had built a respectable network (with validated endpoints) with her closest contacts and formed solid plan of how to continue to build her network. Oh, and she did this without the assistance of a directory; just plain old simple leg work.
I’m kicking myself for not following her with a video camera, but I think this poetically demonstrated the ability to build useful networks via the trivial thought processes of a tween girl.
Thanks Greg for sharing the story. Sometimes we seem to forget that not all solutions have to be technical and we don’t have to be hand fed everything. Here’s the video interview with Greg Meyers, Julie Mass and Mark Hefner for those that want to learn more about Direct Project: