“I’m sure users wouldn’t complain if there was an easy way to take certain data from one service to another, but by in large, I think the technologists pushing for data portability are trying to supply something that there isn’t a whole lot of demand for.”
To an extent, I agree with him. There isn’t that much of a demand for it at the moment. That’s true. The average user doesn’t really think about these things. But that doesn’t mean it’s not important.
Before the 1970s, there wasn’t much demand for personal computers either. In 1943, Thomas Watson (chairman of IBM at that time) said that “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” In 1977, Ken Olsen said that “there is no reason why anyone would want a computer in their home.” And we all know how that turned out.
The average users aren’t the one who drive progress. The “consummate geek[s]” (to use the phrase of Data 2.0) are.
As Bob Gedolf said in TED, “Human progress depends on unreasonable people. Reasonable people accept the world as they meet it; unreasonable people persist in trying to change.”