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VRM hacker session in London

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Last Friday a few of us gathered together in the name of VRM. Doc was there so the ritual could begin – geek talk about structured goop with XML crap, excited interrupting of others whilst being interrupted, nerd in-jokes and, most importantly, pizza with beer! Notes from the session can be found here. (Warning – they will give you only the gist of it, and a – not always meaningful – record of the multiple conversations throughout the evening.)

VRM is still at the stage of conversations, which, in my opinion, is right. Some basic assumptions need to be clarified and spelled out. No point in avoiding that or trying to gloss over them, as they’ll come out of woodwork a few months down the line anyway, when more time and effort has been invested. We all have our views and visions of VRM and although the concept is broad enough to accommodate them (in fact, it is a feature, not a bug that people have many and varied ideas about VRM) but there are a few that will need articulating. Here is one.

At one point he [an executive of a large retail company] talked about “owning the customer”. I asked, “What’s a word for ‘owning’ a human being?” “Oh my God”, he replied. “It’s slavery!” Then he said he was amazed, in respect to wht had just become obvious, at how much people at his company talked about customers as if literal ownership were both desirable as well as a fact.

Such legacies die hard. And it’s the customers themselves who will have to kill this one.

Doc Searls blog is always a good start and there is a growing number of people who have been pondering issues of ownership, control, data and access, privacy and much more.

I do like the way Tomas Kohl puts it:

This isn’t about the internet, Web 2.0 or 3.0. Forget it. We’re talking real world, real relationships, stuff that involves our everyday lives. The internet has helped to equalize some of the relationships we have, very much with the media, the government, and each other, and the debate should now switch from the virtual to the actual. We don’t go to bed and neither do we wake up as avatars.

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One Response to “VRM hacker session in London”

  1. on being a landlady | mad housewife
    on Nov 14th, 2007
    @ 19:37 pm

    [...] learning quite a bit about such things from posts like this one by Adriana.) Tags: careers, home, money, property, real [...]

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