The good thing about standards is that there's always room for one more

location_city Sydney schedule Dec 4th 01:45 - 02:15 PM AEST place Grand Ball Room 1

How does a small Australian email company like Fastmail compete with such dominant players like Google or Office 365 or Apple who have the clout and market presence to do what they like, forcing everyone else to conform to their whims?

Come and hear a tale of David vs many Goliaths. Learn why we decided to build a new email standard - JMAP - and the process of getting that turned into an RFC. You'll hear about the pitfalls and joys of navigating the standards body IETF to get the standard ratified, and the challenges we still have ahead.

Maybe you, too, have something you'd like to turn into a standard?


Outline/Structure of the Talk


The playing field: Fastmail, Goliaths (Google, etc). Google/Apple can break standards and develop things for their own walled gardens with impunity. They have market share. Fastmail does not. So how do we innovate and become a leader within our space? More importantly: how can we make things better for everyone? How do we compete?

JMAP - an idea

We cannot compete on market share, but if enough people adopt a new RFC, then though we be small, we be mighty.

Brief description of JMAP - what it is, what our plans are for it, how it's different to IMAP. Why it is important enough to push forward with trying to make it a standard.


How do you get from idea to published RFC?

Explore the IETF process, going from proposal through to ratification and delve into the pros and cons. Like Bertie's every flavour beans, mostly the flavors are great, but you never know when you're gonna bite into one that tastes like dirt.

Discussion of why you would want to subject yourself to this, and what you need to succeed.

Summary and future

Building a standard is nontrivial, but worth it.

What industry-wide behaviour changes we are hoping to see, and what's happened since the RFC was published.

But it's not over because a standard is useless without adoption. I'll cover the challenges we see ahead, and some ideas for dealing with them. To infinity, and beyond!

Learning Outcome

Find out how to use the distributed and egalitarian nature of the internet to level the playing field against the megacorps.

Find out how RFCs are made!

Find out about a successor to IMAP: you can teach an old email dog new tricks.

Target Audience

Technical leaders, Developers, Curious folks

Prerequisites for Attendees

No prerequisites


schedule Submitted 2 years ago