R.I.P. “Super Vittorio” Bertocci

This weekend, Vittorio Bertocci, Principal Architect at Okta and coworker of mine, passed away after his battle with cancer.

When I was applying to work at Auth0 (this was before it was acquired by Okta), I didn’t know very much about digital identity, authentication, or authorization. In preparing for the interviews and eventual “take-home” exercise, I found Vittorio’s Learn Identity video series, which ended up being my North Star. I knew of him from his work at Microsoft (we were contemporaries there, when he was an Architect Evangelist and I was a Developer Evangelist), and I thought if anyone could teach me about OAuth2 and OpenID Connect, it would be Vittorio. I can say with absolute certainty that those videos helped me land this job — a position that I’ll have held for three years as of next Thursday — and for this alone, I will always be grateful to Vittorio.

After joining the company, I was fortunate to partake in a number of his “Architecture Hour” Zoom chats that he held with the Developer Engagement team. I’m even more grateful for the one time I got to hang out with him in person in March at the company offsite, where I had the privilege of annoying him with the accordion.

Vittorio was a giant in the world of digital identity, working continuously as a Principal Architect at Auth0 and then Okta, contributing to the standards that make it possible for us to sign into our websites and applications, and helping people understand what identity is and how it works in the online world.

Beyond his technical contributions, he made significant human contributions as well, sharing his warmth and humor with everyone he met, from his loud “Buongiorno, everybody!” greeting to his constant joking. His long, curly hair was legendary, and the RFC that he co-authored — RFC 9470, OAuth 2.0 Step Up Authentication Challenge Protocol — pays tribute to it in the Acknowledgements section, where there’s a “thank you” to the shampoo manufacturers.

And only a character like Vittorio could become an anime character! This video, created by Auth0’s Japanese office, explains multifactor authentication (MFA) in the most delightfully bonkers anime way:

Vittorio’s approach and demeanor are part of the DNA of Auth0’s legendary work culture. I’m pleased to say it lives on in Okta, and for that, Vittorio deserves a lot of credit.

Requiescat in pace, Vittorio.

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