More on Leadership
7 months ago
Changing Your Mindset From a Project to a Product
Product game mindsets? How do these vary from Project mindset?
1950s spawned the Iron Triangle. Project people everywhere know and live by it. In stakeholder meetings, it is used to stretch the timeframe, request additional money, or reduce scope.
Quality was added to this triangle as things matured.
Quality was intended to be transformative, but none of these principles addressed why we conduct projects.
Value and benefits are key.
Product value is quantified by ROI, revenue, profit, savings, or other metrics. For me, every project or product delivery is about value.
Most project managers, especially those schooled 5-10 years or more ago (thousands working in huge corporations worldwide), understand the world in terms of the iron triangle. What does that imply? They worry about:
a) enough time to get the thing done.
b) have enough resources (budget) to get the thing done.
c) have enough scope to fit within (a) and (b) >> note, they never have too little scope, not that I have ever seen! although, theoretically, this could happen.
To make the triangle function, project managers will utilize formal governance (Steering) to move those things. Increase money, scope, or both if time is short. Lacking funds? Increase time, scope, or both.
In current product development, shifting each item considerably may not yield value/benefit.
Even terrible. This approach will fail because it deprioritizes Value/Benefit by focusing the major stakeholders (Steering participants) and delivery team(s) on Time, Scope, and Budget restrictions.
Pre-agile, this problem was terrible. IT projects failed wildly. History is here.
Value, or benefit, is central to the product method. Product managers spend most of their time planning value-delivery paths.
Product people consider risk, schedules, scope, and budget, but value comes first. Let me illustrate.
Imagine managing internal products in an enterprise. Your core customer team needs a rapid text record of a chat to fix a problem. The consumer wants a feature/features added to a product you're producing because they think it's the greatest spot.
Project-minded, I may say;
Ok, I have budget as this is an existing project, due to run for a year. This is a new requirement to add to the features we’re already building. I think I can keep the deadline, and include this scope, as it sounds related to the feature set we’re building to give the desired result”.
This attitude repeats Scope, Time, and Budget.
Since it meets those standards, a project manager will likely approve it. If they have a backlog, they may add it and start specking it out assuming it will be built.
Instead, think like a product;
What problem does this feature idea solve? Is that problem relevant to the product I am building? Can that problem be solved quicker/better via another route ? Is it the most valuable problem to solve now? Is the problem space aligned to our current or future strategy? or do I need to alter/update the strategy?
A product mindset allows you to focus on timing, resource/cost, feasibility, feature detail, and so on after answering the aforementioned questions.
The above oversimplifies because
Leadership in discovery
Project managers are facilitators of ideas. This is as far as they normally go in the ‘idea’ space.
Business Requirements collection in classic project delivery requires extensive upfront documentation.
Agile project delivery analyzes requirements iteratively.
However, the project manager is a facilitator/planner first and foremost, therefore topic knowledge is not expected.
I mean business domain, not technical domain (to confuse matters, it is true that in some instances, it can be both technical and business domains that are important for a single individual to master).
Product managers are domain experts. They will become one if they are training/new.
They lead discovery.
Product Manager-led discovery is much more than requirements gathering.
Requirements gathering involves a Business Analyst interviewing people and documenting their requests.
The project manager calculates what fits and what doesn't using their Iron Triangle (presumably in their head) and reports back to Steering.
If this requirements-gathering exercise failed to identify requirements, what would a project manager do? or bewildered by project requirements and scope?
They would tell Steering they need a Business SME or Business Lead assigning or more of their time.
Product discovery requires the Product Manager's subject knowledge and a new mindset.
How should a Product Manager handle confusing requirements?
Product Managers handle these challenges with their talents and tools. They use their own knowledge to fill in ambiguity, but they have the discipline to validate those assumptions.
To define the problem, they may perform qualitative or quantitative primary research.
They might discuss with UX and Engineering on a whiteboard and test assumptions or hypotheses.
Do Product Managers escalate confusing requirements to Steering/Senior leaders? They would fix that themselves.
Product managers raise unclear strategy and outcomes to senior stakeholders. Open talks, soft skills, and data help them do this. They rarely raise requirements since they have their own means of handling them without top stakeholder participation.
Discovery is greenfield, exploratory, research-based, and needs higher-order stakeholder management, user research, and UX expertise.
Product Managers also aid discovery. They lead discovery. They will not leave customer/user engagement to a Business Analyst. Administratively, a business analyst could aid. In fact, many product organizations discourage business analysts (rely on PM, UX, and engineer involvement with end-users instead).
The Product Manager must drive user interaction, research, ideation, and problem analysis, therefore a Product professional must be skilled and confident.
Creating vs. receiving and having an entrepreneurial attitude
Product novices and project managers focus on details rather than the big picture. Project managers prefer spreadsheets to strategy whiteboards and vision statements.
These folks ask their manager or senior stakeholders, "What should we do?"
They then elaborate (in Jira, in XLS, in Confluence or whatever).
They want that plan populated fast because it reduces uncertainty about what's going on and who's supposed to do what.
Skilled Product Managers don't only ask folks Should we?
They're suggesting this, or worse, Senior stakeholders, here are some options. After asking and researching, they determine what value this product adds, what problems it solves, and what behavior it changes.
Therefore, to move into Product, you need to broaden your view and have courage in your ability to discover ideas, find insightful pieces of information, and collate them to form a valuable plan of action. You are constantly defining RoI and building Business Cases, so much so that you no longer create documents called Business Cases, it is simply ingrained in your work through metrics, intelligence, and insights.
Product Management is not a free lunch.
Plates and food must be prepared.
In conclusion, Product Managers must make at least three mentality shifts:
You put value first in all things. Time, money, and scope are not as important as knowing what is valuable.
You have faith in the field and have the ability to direct the search. YYou facilitate, but you don’t just facilitate. You wouldn't want to limit your domain expertise in that manner.
You develop concepts, strategies, and vision. You are not a waiter or an inbox where other people can post suggestions; you don't merely ask folks for opinion and record it. However, you excel at giving things that aren't clearly spoken or written down physical form.
1 year ago
The Great Organizational Conundrum
Only two of the following three options can be achieved: consistency, availability, and partition tolerance
Someone told me that growing from 30 to 60 is the biggest adjustment for a team or business.
I remember thinking, That's random. Each company is unique. I've seen teams of all types confront the same issues during development periods. With new enterprises starting every year, we should be better at navigating growing difficulties.
As a team grows, its processes and systems break down, requiring reorganization or declining results. Why always? Why isn't there a perfect scaling model? Why hasn't that been found?
The Three Things Productive Organizations Must Have
Any company should be efficient and productive. Three items are needed:
First, it must verify that no two team members have conflicting information about the roadmap, strategy, or any input that could affect execution. Teamwork is required.
Second, it must ensure that everyone can receive the information they need from everyone else quickly, especially as teams become more specialized (an inevitability in a developing organization). It requires everyone's accessibility.
Third, it must ensure that the organization can operate efficiently even if a piece is unavailable. It's partition-tolerant.
From my experience with the many teams I've been on, invested in, or advised, achieving all three is nearly impossible. Why a perfect organization model cannot exist is clear after analysis.
The CAP Theorem: What is it?
Eric Brewer of Berkeley discovered the CAP Theorem, which argues that a distributed data storage should have three benefits. One can only have two at once.
The three benefits are consistency, availability, and partition tolerance, which implies that even if part of the system is offline, the remainder continues to work.
This notion is usually applied to computer science, but I've realized it's also true for human organizations. In a post-COVID world, many organizations are hiring non-co-located staff as they grow. CAP Theorem is more important than ever. Growing teams sometimes think they can develop ways to bypass this law, dooming themselves to a less-than-optimal team dynamic. They should adopt CAP to maximize productivity.
Path 1: Consistency and availability equal no tolerance for partitions
Let's imagine you want your team to always be in sync (i.e., for someone to be the source of truth for the latest information) and to be able to share information with each other. Only division into domains will do.
Numerous developing organizations do this, especially after the early stage (say, 30 people) when everyone may wear many hats and be aware of all the moving elements. After a certain point, it's tougher to keep generalists aligned than to divide them into specialized tasks.
In a specialized, segmented team, leaders optimize consistency and availability (i.e. every function is up-to-speed on the latest strategy, no one is out of sync, and everyone is able to unblock and inform everyone else).
Partition tolerance suffers. If any component of the organization breaks down (someone goes on vacation, quits, underperforms, or Gmail or Slack goes down), productivity stops. There's no way to give the team stability, availability, and smooth operation during a hiccup.
Path 2: Partition Tolerance and Availability = No Consistency
Some businesses avoid relying too heavily on any one person or sub-team by maximizing availability and partition tolerance (the organization continues to function as a whole even if particular components fail). Only redundancy can do that. Instead of specializing each member, the team spreads expertise so people can work in parallel. I switched from Path 1 to Path 2 because I realized too much reliance on one person is risky.
What happens after redundancy? Unreliable. The more people may run independently and in parallel, the less anyone can be the truth. Lack of alignment or updated information can lead to people executing slightly different strategies. So, resources are squandered on the wrong work.
Path 3: Partition and Consistency "Tolerance" equates to "absence"
The third, least-used path stresses partition tolerance and consistency (meaning answers are always correct and up-to-date). In this organizational style, it's most critical to maintain the system operating and keep everyone aligned. No one is allowed to read anything without an assurance that it's up-to-date (i.e. there’s no availability).
Always short-lived. In my experience, a business that prioritizes quality and scalability over speedy information transmission can get bogged down in heavy processes that hinder production. Large-scale, this is unsustainable.
When two puzzle pieces fit, the third won't. I've watched developing teams try to tackle these difficulties, only to find, as their ancestors did, that they can never be entirely solved. Idealized solutions fail in reality, causing lost effort, confusion, and lower production.
As teams develop and change, they should embrace CAP, acknowledge there is a limit to productivity in a scaling business, and choose the best two-out-of-three path.
9 months ago
Provide a product roadmap that can withstand startup velocities
This is how to build a car while driving.
Building a high-growth startup is compared to building a car while it's speeding down the highway.
How to plan without going crazy? Or, without losing team, board, and investor buy-in?
I just delivered our company's product roadmap for the rest of the year. Complete. Thorough. Page-long. I'm optimistic about its chances of surviving as everything around us changes, from internal priorities to the global economy.
It's tricky. This isn't the first time I've created a startup roadmap. I didn't invent a document. It took time to deliver a document that will be relevant for months.
Although they never change, goals are rarely understood.
This is the third in a series about a startup's unique roadmapping needs. Velocity is the intensity at which a startup must produce to survive.
A high-growth startup moves at breakneck speed, which I alluded to when I said priorities and economic factors can change daily or weekly.
At that speed, a startup's roadmap must be flexible, bend but not break, and be brief and to the point. I can't tell you how many startups and large companies develop a product roadmap every quarter and then tuck it away.
Big, wealthy companies can do this. It's suicide for a startup.
The drawer thing happens because startup product roadmaps are often valid for a short time. The roadmap is a random list of features prioritized by different company factions and unrelated to company goals.
It's not because the goals changed that a roadmap is shelved or ignored. Because the company's goals were never communicated or documented in the context of its product.
In the previous post, I discussed how to turn company goals into a product roadmap. In this post, I'll show you how to make a one-page startup roadmap.
In a future post, I'll show you how to follow this roadmap. This roadmap helps you track company goals, something a roadmap must do.
Be vague for growth, but direct for execution.
Here's my plan. The real one has more entries and more content in each.
Let's discuss smaller boxes.
Product developers and engineers know that the further out they predict, the more wrong they'll be. When developing the product roadmap, this rule is ignored. Then it bites us three, six, or nine months later when we haven't even started.
Why do we put everything in a product roadmap like a project plan?
Yes, I know. We use it when the product roadmap isn't goal-based.
A goal-based roadmap begins with a document that outlines each goal's idea, execution, growth, and refinement.
Once the goals are broken down into epics, initiatives, projects, and programs, only the idea and execution phases should be modeled. Any goal growth or refinement items should be vague and loosely mapped.
Why? First, any idea or execution-phase goal will result in growth initiatives that are unimaginable today. Second, internal priorities and external factors will change, but the goals won't. Locking items into calendar slots reduces flexibility and forces deviation from the single source of truth.
No soothsayers. Predicting the future is pointless; just prepare.
A map is useless if you don't know where you're going.
As we speed down the road, the car and the road will change. Goals define the destination.
This quarter and next quarter's roadmap should be set. After that, you should track destination milestones, not how to get there.
When you do that, even the most critical investors will understand the roadmap and buy in. When you track progress at the end of the quarter and revise your roadmap, the destination won't change.
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1 year ago
Sony and LEGO raise $2 billion for Epic Games' metaverse
‘Kid-friendly’ project holds $32 billion valuation
Epic Games announced today that it has raised $2 billion USD from Sony Group Corporation and KIRKBI (holding company of The LEGO Group). Both companies contributed $1 billion to Epic Games' upcoming ‘metaverse' project.
“We need partners who share our vision as we reimagine entertainment and play. Our partnership with Sony and KIRKBI has found this,” said Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney. A new metaverse will be built where players can have fun with friends and brands create creative and immersive experiences, as well as creators thrive.
Last week, LEGO and Epic Games announced their plans to create a family-friendly metaverse where kids can play, interact, and create in digital environments. The service's users' safety and security will be prioritized.
With this new round of funding, Epic Games' project is now valued at $32 billion.
“Epic Games is known for empowering creators large and small,” said KIRKBI CEO Sren Thorup Srensen. “We invest in trends that we believe will impact the world we and our children will live in. We are pleased to invest in Epic Games to support their continued growth journey, with a long-term focus on the future metaverse.”
Epic Games is expected to unveil its metaverse plans later this year, including its name, details, services, and release date.
1 year ago
6 Causes Your Sales Pitch Is Unintentionally Repulsing Customers
Skip this if you don't want to discover why your lively, no-brainer pitch isn't making $10k a month.
You don't want to be repulsive as an entrepreneur or anyone else. Making friends, influencing people, and converting strangers into customers will be difficult if your words evoke disgust, distrust, or disrespect. You may be one of many entrepreneurs who do this obliviously and involuntarily.
I've had to master selling my skills to recruiters (to land 6-figure jobs on Wall Street), selling companies to buyers in M&A transactions, and selling my own companies' products to strangers-turned-customers. I probably committed every cardinal sin of sales repulsion before realizing it was me or my poor salesmanship strategy.
If you're launching a new business, frustrated by low conversion rates, or just curious if you're repelling customers, read on to identify (and avoid) the 6 fatal errors that can kill any sales pitch.
1. The first indication
So many people fumble before they even speak because they assume their role is to convince the buyer. In other words, they expect to pressure, arm-twist, and combat objections until they convert the buyer. Actuality, the approach stinks of disgust, and emotionally-aware buyers would feel "gross" immediately.
Instead of trying to persuade a customer to buy, ask questions that will lead them to do so on their own. When a customer discovers your product or service on their own, they need less outside persuasion. Why not position your offer in a way that leads customers to sell themselves on it?
2. A flawless performance
Are you memorizing a sales script, tweaking video testimonials, and expunging historical blemishes before hitting "publish" on your new campaign? If so, you may be hurting your conversion rate.
Perfection may be a step too far and cause prospects to mistrust your sincerity. Become a great conversationalist to boost your sales. Seriously. Being charismatic is hard without being genuine and showing a little vulnerability.
People like vulnerability, even if it dents your perfect facade. Show the customer's stuttering testimonial. Open up about your or your company's past mistakes (and how you've since improved). Make your sales pitch a two-way conversation. Let the customer talk about themselves to build rapport. Real people sell, not canned scripts and movie-trailer testimonials.
If marketing or sales calls feel like a performance, you may be doing something wrong or leaving money on the table.
3. Your greatest phobia
Three minutes into prospect talks, I'd start sweating. I was talking 100 miles per hour, covering as many bases as possible to avoid the ones I feared. I knew my then-offering was inadequate and my firm had fears I hadn't addressed. So I word-vomited facts, features, and everything else to avoid the customer's concerns.
Do my prospects know I'm insecure? Maybe not, but it added an unnecessary and unhelpful layer of paranoia that kept me stressed, rushed, and on edge instead of connecting with the prospect. Skirting around a company, product, or service's flaws or objections is a poor, temporary, lazy (and cowardly) decision.
How can you project confidence and trust if you're afraid? Before you make another sales call, face your shortcomings, weak points, and objections. Your company won't be everyone's cup of tea, but you should have answers to every question or objection. You should be your business's top spokesperson and defender.
4. The unintentional apologies
Have you ever begged for a sale? I'm going to say no, however you may be unknowingly emitting sorry, inferior, insecure energy.
Young founders, first-time entrepreneurs, and those with severe imposter syndrome may elevate their target customer. This is common when trying to get first customers for obvious reasons.
Since you're truly new at this, you naturally lack experience.
You don't have the self-confidence boost of thousands or hundreds of closed deals or satisfied client results to remind you that your good or service is worthwhile.
Getting those initial few clients seems like the most difficult task, as if doing so will decide the fate of your company as a whole (it probably won't, and you shouldn't actually place that much emphasis on any one transaction).
Customers can smell fear, insecurity, and anxiety just like they can smell B.S. If you believe your product or service improves clients' lives, selling it should feel like a benevolent act of service, not a sleazy money-grab. If you're a sincere entrepreneur, prospects will believe your proposition; if you're apprehensive, they'll notice.
Approach every sale as if you're fine with or without it. This has improved my salesmanship, marketing skills, and mental health. When you put pressure on yourself to close a sale or convince a difficult prospect "or else" (your company will fail, your rent will be late, your electricity will be cut), you emit desperation and lower the quality of your pitch. There's no point.
5. The endless promises
We've all read a million times how to answer or disprove prospects' arguments and add extra incentives to speed or secure the close. Some objections shouldn't be refuted. What if I told you not to offer certain incentives, bonuses, and promises? What if I told you to walk away from some prospects, even if it means losing your sales goal?
If you market to enough people, make enough sales calls, or grow enough companies, you'll encounter prospects who can't be satisfied. These prospects have endless questions, concerns, and requests for more, more, more that you'll never satisfy. These people are a distraction, a resource drain, and a test of your ability to cut losses before they erode your sanity and profit margin.
To appease or convert these insatiably needy, greedy Nellies into customers, you may agree with or acquiesce to every request and demand — even if you can't follow through. Once you overpromise and answer every hole they poke, their trust in you may wane quickly.
Telling a prospect what you can't do takes courage and integrity. If you're honest, upfront, and willing to admit when a product or service isn't right for the customer, you'll gain respect and positive customer experiences. Sometimes honesty is the most refreshing pitch and the deal-closer.
6. No matter what
Have you ever said, "I'll do anything to close this sale"? If so, you've probably already been disqualified. If a prospective customer haggles over a price, requests a discount, or continues to wear you down after you've made three concessions too many, you have a metal hook in your mouth, not them, and it may not end well. Why?
If you're so willing to cut a deal that you cut prices, comp services, extend payment plans, waive fees, etc., you betray your own confidence that your product or service was worth the stated price. They wonder if anyone is paying those prices, if you've ever had a customer (who wasn't a blood relative), and if you're legitimate or worth your rates.
Once a prospect senses that you'll do whatever it takes to get them to buy, their suspicions rise and they wonder why.
Why are you cutting pricing if something is wrong with you or your service?
Why are you so desperate for their sale?
Why aren't more customers waiting in line to pay your pricing, and if they aren't, what on earth are they doing there?
That's what a prospect thinks when you reveal your lack of conviction, desperation, and willingness to give up control. Some prospects will exploit it to drain you dry, while others will be too frightened to buy from you even if you paid them.
Walking down a two-way street. Be casual.
If we track each act of repulsion to an uneasiness, fear, misperception, or impulse, it's evident that these sales and marketing disasters were forced communications. Stiff, imbalanced, divisive, combative, bravado-filled, and desperate. They were unnatural and accepted a power struggle between two sparring, suspicious, unequal warriors, rather than a harmonious oneness of two natural, but opposite parties shaking hands.
Sales should be natural, harmonious. Sales should feel good for both parties, not like one party is having their arm twisted.
You may be doing sales wrong if it feels repulsive, icky, or degrading. If you're thinking cringe-worthy thoughts about yourself, your product, service, or sales pitch, imagine what you're projecting to prospects. Don't make it unpleasant, repulsive, or cringeworthy.
Farhan Ali Khan
5 months ago
Introduction to Zero-Knowledge Proofs: The Art of Proving Without Revealing
Zero-Knowledge Proofs for Beginners
Published here originally.
I Spy—did you play as a kid? One person chose a room object, and the other had to guess it by answering yes or no questions. I Spy was entertaining, but did you know it could teach you cryptography?
Zero Knowledge Proofs let you show your pal you know what they picked without exposing how. Math replaces electronics in this secret spy mission. Zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs) are sophisticated cryptographic tools that allow one party to prove they have particular knowledge without revealing it. This proves identification and ownership, secures financial transactions, and more. This article explains zero-knowledge proofs and provides examples to help you comprehend this powerful technology.
What is a Proof of Zero Knowledge?
Zero-knowledge proofs prove a proposition is true without revealing any other information. This lets the prover show the verifier that they know a fact without revealing it. So, a zero-knowledge proof is like a magician's trick: the prover proves they know something without revealing how or what. Complex mathematical procedures create a proof the verifier can verify.
Want to find an easy way to test it out? Try out with tis awesome example! ZK Crush
Describe it as if I'm 5
Alex and Jack found a cave with a center entrance that only opens when someone knows the secret. Alex knows how to open the cave door and wants to show Jack without telling him.
Alex and Jack name both pathways (let’s call them paths A and B).
In the first phase, Alex is already inside the cave and is free to select either path, in this case A or B.
As Alex made his decision, Jack entered the cave and asked him to exit from the B path.
Jack can confirm that Alex really does know the key to open the door because he came out for the B path and used it.
To conclude, Alex and Jack repeat:
Alex walks into the cave.
Alex follows a random route.
Jack walks into the cave.
Alex is asked to follow a random route by Jack.
Alex follows Jack's advice and heads back that way.
What is a Zero Knowledge Proof?
At a high level, the aim is to construct a secure and confidential conversation between the prover and the verifier, where the prover convinces the verifier that they have the requisite information without disclosing it. The prover and verifier exchange messages and calculate in each round of the dialogue.
The prover uses their knowledge to prove they have the information the verifier wants during these rounds. The verifier can verify the prover's truthfulness without learning more by checking the proof's mathematical statement or computation.
Zero knowledge proofs use advanced mathematical procedures and cryptography methods to secure communication. These methods ensure the evidence is authentic while preventing the prover from creating a phony proof or the verifier from extracting unnecessary information.
ZK proofs require examples to grasp. Before the examples, there are some preconditions.
Criteria for Proofs of Zero Knowledge
Completeness: If the proposition being proved is true, then an honest prover will persuade an honest verifier that it is true.
Soundness: If the proposition being proved is untrue, no dishonest prover can persuade a sincere verifier that it is true.
Zero-knowledge: The verifier only realizes that the proposition being proved is true. In other words, the proof only establishes the veracity of the proposition being supported and nothing more.
The zero-knowledge condition is crucial. Zero-knowledge proofs show only the secret's veracity. The verifier shouldn't know the secret's value or other details.
Example after example after example
To illustrate, take a zero-knowledge proof with several examples:
Initial Password Verification Example
You want to confirm you know a password or secret phrase without revealing it.
Use a zero-knowledge proof:
You and the verifier settle on a mathematical conundrum or issue, such as figuring out a big number's components.
The puzzle or problem is then solved using the hidden knowledge that you have learned. You may, for instance, utilize your understanding of the password to determine the components of a particular number.
You provide your answer to the verifier, who can assess its accuracy without knowing anything about your private data.
You go through this process several times with various riddles or issues to persuade the verifier that you actually are aware of the secret knowledge.
You solved the mathematical puzzles or problems, proving to the verifier that you know the hidden information. The proof is zero-knowledge since the verifier only sees puzzle solutions, not the secret information.
In this scenario, the mathematical challenge or problem represents the secret, and solving it proves you know it. The evidence does not expose the secret, and the verifier just learns that you know it.
My simple example meets the zero-knowledge proof conditions:
Completeness: If you actually know the hidden information, you will be able to solve the mathematical puzzles or problems, hence the proof is conclusive.
Soundness: The proof is sound because the verifier can use a publicly known algorithm to confirm that your answer to the mathematical conundrum or difficulty is accurate.
Zero-knowledge: The proof is zero-knowledge because all the verifier learns is that you are aware of the confidential information. Beyond the fact that you are aware of it, the verifier does not learn anything about the secret information itself, such as the password or the factors of the number. As a result, the proof does not provide any new insights into the secret.
Explanation #2: Toss a coin.
One coin is biased to come up heads more often than tails, while the other is fair (i.e., comes up heads and tails with equal probability). You know which coin is which, but you want to show a friend you can tell them apart without telling them.
Use a zero-knowledge proof:
One of the two coins is chosen at random, and you secretly flip it more than once.
You show your pal the following series of coin flips without revealing which coin you actually flipped.
Next, as one of the two coins is flipped in front of you, your friend asks you to tell which one it is.
Then, without revealing which coin is which, you can use your understanding of the secret order of coin flips to determine which coin your friend flipped.
To persuade your friend that you can actually differentiate between the coins, you repeat this process multiple times using various secret coin-flipping sequences.
In this example, the series of coin flips represents the knowledge of biased and fair coins. You can prove you know which coin is which without revealing which is biased or fair by employing a different secret sequence of coin flips for each round.
The evidence is zero-knowledge since your friend does not learn anything about which coin is biased and which is fair other than that you can tell them differently. The proof does not indicate which coin you flipped or how many times you flipped it.
The coin-flipping example meets zero-knowledge proof requirements:
Completeness: If you actually know which coin is biased and which is fair, you should be able to distinguish between them based on the order of coin flips, and your friend should be persuaded that you can.
Soundness: Your friend may confirm that you are correctly recognizing the coins by flipping one of them in front of you and validating your answer, thus the proof is sound in that regard. Because of this, your acquaintance can be sure that you are not just speculating or picking a coin at random.
Zero-knowledge: The argument is that your friend has no idea which coin is biased and which is fair beyond your ability to distinguish between them. Your friend is not made aware of the coin you used to make your decision or the order in which you flipped the coins. Consequently, except from letting you know which coin is biased and which is fair, the proof does not give any additional information about the coins themselves.
Figure out the prime number in Example #3.
You want to prove to a friend that you know their product n=pq without revealing p and q. Zero-knowledge proof?
Use a variant of the RSA algorithm. Method:
You determine a new number s = r2 mod n by computing a random number r.
You email your friend s and a declaration that you are aware of the values of p and q necessary for n to equal pq.
A random number (either 0 or 1) is selected by your friend and sent to you.
You send your friend r as evidence that you are aware of the values of p and q if e=0. You calculate and communicate your friend's s/r if e=1.
Without knowing the values of p and q, your friend can confirm that you know p and q (in the case where e=0) or that s/r is a legitimate square root of s mod n (in the situation where e=1).
This is a zero-knowledge proof since your friend learns nothing about p and q other than their product is n and your ability to verify it without exposing any other information. You can prove that you know p and q by sending r or by computing s/r and sending that instead (if e=1), and your friend can verify that you know p and q or that s/r is a valid square root of s mod n without learning anything else about their values. This meets the conditions of completeness, soundness, and zero-knowledge.
Zero-knowledge proofs satisfy the following:
Completeness: The prover can demonstrate this to the verifier by computing q = n/p and sending both p and q to the verifier. The prover also knows a prime number p and a factorization of n as p*q.
Soundness: Since it is impossible to identify any pair of numbers that correctly factorize n without being aware of its prime factors, the prover is unable to demonstrate knowledge of any p and q that do not do so.
Zero knowledge: The prover only admits that they are aware of a prime number p and its associated factor q, which is already known to the verifier. This is the extent of their knowledge of the prime factors of n. As a result, the prover does not provide any new details regarding n's prime factors.
Types of Proofs of Zero Knowledge
Each zero-knowledge proof has pros and cons. Most zero-knowledge proofs are:
Interactive Zero Knowledge Proofs: The prover and the verifier work together to establish the proof in this sort of zero-knowledge proof. The verifier disputes the prover's assertions after receiving a sequence of messages from the prover. When the evidence has been established, the prover will employ these new problems to generate additional responses.
Non-Interactive Zero Knowledge Proofs: For this kind of zero-knowledge proof, the prover and verifier just need to exchange a single message. Without further interaction between the two parties, the proof is established.
A statistical zero-knowledge proof is one in which the conclusion is reached with a high degree of probability but not with certainty. This indicates that there is a remote possibility that the proof is false, but that this possibility is so remote as to be unimportant.
Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge (SNARKs): SNARKs are an extremely effective and scalable form of zero-knowledge proof. They are utilized in many different applications, such as machine learning, blockchain technology, and more. Similar to other zero-knowledge proof techniques, SNARKs enable one party—the prover—to demonstrate to another—the verifier—that they are aware of a specific piece of information without disclosing any more information about that information.
The main characteristic of SNARKs is their succinctness, which refers to the fact that the size of the proof is substantially smaller than the amount of the original data being proved. Because to its high efficiency and scalability, SNARKs can be used in a wide range of applications, such as machine learning, blockchain technology, and more.
Uses for Zero Knowledge Proofs
ZKP applications include:
Verifying Identity ZKPs can be used to verify your identity without disclosing any personal information. This has uses in access control, digital signatures, and online authentication.
Proof of Ownership ZKPs can be used to demonstrate ownership of a certain asset without divulging any details about the asset itself. This has uses for protecting intellectual property, managing supply chains, and owning digital assets.
Financial Exchanges Without disclosing any details about the transaction itself, ZKPs can be used to validate financial transactions. Cryptocurrency, internet payments, and other digital financial transactions can all use this.
By enabling parties to make calculations on the data without disclosing the data itself, Data Privacy ZKPs can be used to preserve the privacy of sensitive data. Applications for this can be found in the financial, healthcare, and other sectors that handle sensitive data.
By enabling voters to confirm that their vote was counted without disclosing how they voted, elections ZKPs can be used to ensure the integrity of elections. This is applicable to electronic voting, including internet voting.
Cryptography Modern cryptography's ZKPs are a potent instrument that enable secure communication and authentication. This can be used for encrypted messaging and other purposes in the business sector as well as for military and intelligence operations.
Proofs of Zero Knowledge and Compliance
Kubernetes and regulatory compliance use ZKPs in many ways. Examples:
Security for Kubernetes ZKPs offer a mechanism to authenticate nodes without disclosing any sensitive information, enhancing the security of Kubernetes clusters. ZKPs, for instance, can be used to verify, without disclosing the specifics of the program, that the nodes in a Kubernetes cluster are running permitted software.
Compliance Inspection Without disclosing any sensitive information, ZKPs can be used to demonstrate compliance with rules like the GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI DSS. ZKPs, for instance, can be used to demonstrate that data has been encrypted and stored securely without divulging the specifics of the mechanism employed for either encryption or storage.
Access Management Without disclosing any private data, ZKPs can be used to offer safe access control to Kubernetes resources. ZKPs can be used, for instance, to demonstrate that a user has the necessary permissions to access a particular Kubernetes resource without disclosing the details of those permissions.
Safe Data Exchange Without disclosing any sensitive information, ZKPs can be used to securely transmit data between Kubernetes clusters or between several businesses. ZKPs, for instance, can be used to demonstrate the sharing of a specific piece of data between two parties without disclosing the details of the data itself.
Kubernetes deployments audited Without disclosing the specifics of the deployment or the data being processed, ZKPs can be used to demonstrate that Kubernetes deployments are working as planned. This can be helpful for auditing purposes and for ensuring that Kubernetes deployments are operating as planned.
ZKPs preserve data and maintain regulatory compliance by letting parties prove things without revealing sensitive information. ZKPs will be used more in Kubernetes as it grows.