Media Influencer

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VRM Hub conference update

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A few good pieces of news for the London VRM Hub conference on 3rd November:

Doc Searls, the VRM godfather, will be at the Unlocking the see-saw conference, talking about VRM principles as part of the introductory hour before the user panel and the vendor panel discussions.

Mike Nutley, the editor-in-chief of the New Media Age magazine will be joining the ‘vendors’ panel, commenting on how VRM impacts branding & marketing.

And finally, thanks to the generous support of iCrossing we will be able to network drinks following the afternoon sessions as well as refreshment during one of the breaks. This makes a difference to me as VRM Hub normally operates on less than a shoe-string.

For those who missed it, here is the conference programme: Unlocking the see-saw and registration.

Look forward to seeing you there.


VRM Hub annoucements

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Over at the VRM Hub blog, there is some news about our monthly gatherings. In short, for each meeting we will have a topic to focus on and a speaker for 15 minutes to kick off the discussion. Both will be announced with on each meeting’s sign up page and on the VRM Hub.

For those of Media Influencer readers who are interested in VRM and the Mine!, I will continue to write on these topics, in fact, I am stepping up the volume on VRM Hub and the Mine! project respectively. So please bookmark or subscribe to the VRM Hub feed and the Mine! project feed, if you wish to follow. I will cross-post for a while but eventually, the VRM action will happen there.

VRM Hub London

Tuttle club hosts VRM roundtable

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I am a fan and supporter of the Tuttle Club and what Lloyd has done for the social media scene in London can be seen from the popularity of the gatherings every Friday morning from 10am till about 1pm. I have two pieces of news to share regarding the Tuttle Club/Social Media Cafe.

First, the Friday morning meetings are moving from Coach & Horses to the ICA club (as part of what Lloyd calls Phase II). The weekly sign up wiki is here.

Secondly, on 10th October the Social media cafe meeting will be morph into a VRM roundtable at around 12.30pm. The idea is to bring VRM to the attention of the social web network in London and as a forerunner to the VRM Hub conference in November.

For more information feel free to email me at adriana dot lukas at gmail dot com.

Look forward to seeing you there!

cross-posted from VRM Hub

Identity online: implications for healthcare

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Last week I visited Boston, MA where I gave a talk at the Future of Healthcare technology summit at the MIT Faculty Club. It was a tough one to prepare as the calibre of speakers and audience was rather intimidating for a mere social web guru like me. One of the keynotes, delivered by an HP Laboratories scientist was about: Maintaining Your Health from Within: Controls for Nanorobot Swarms in Fluids. The dinner was accompanied by conversations with Prof. Marvin Minsky of the AI fame and a NASA astronaut Daniel T. Barry.


The safest option was to stick to what I know and talk about online identity, with the aim of helping people see it from a different perspective and enabling them to apply that understanding in their own areas of expertise. VRM and the Mine! were mentioned in this context as practical approaches to patient-driven healthcare, which I see as one of the major implications of online developments in technology and behaviours.

Here are the slides with detailed notes in the slide transcript, which is visible on the slideshare page.

There is a lot more to cover on this topic but 30 minutes was what I had. I hope to work on the VRM healthcare proposition within VRM Labs with companies experimenting with customer/user/patient-driven models and technologies.

VRM Hub meeting in September

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This month’s VRM Hub meeting will be on 25th Sept, Thursday, 6-9pm, at Smollensky’s in the Strand, where we have booked a couple of long tables behind the bar.

Sign up here.

VRM Hub London

VRM Hub conference in London 2008

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I am organising a half-day conference in London on 3rd November this year, reaching out to those interested in redressing the balance of power between customers and vendors, people and businesses.

The event is called Unlocking the see-saw (link to the full programme with registration).


Notes from VRM Hub evening

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Over at the VRM Hub blog – yes, it’s time to for the VRM Hub to get its own room – one of VRM’s kind supporters posted her notes on the discussion. Although the evenings are social, we invariably end up discussing the finer points of VRM and conversations do get interesting:

It wasn’t a full-blown punch up, but there were definitely two schools of thought on how to foster VRM ‘adoption’. In the red corner – people who think large companies like Tescos and John Lewis are needed to drive early adoption; in the blue corner – people who think vendors need to feel ‘pain’ before they will respond to VRM (I don’t think we’re talking about actual physical pain) – is the pain of an economic slow-down enough to prompt this? And aren’t ‘customers’ also individuals who aren’t just defined in terms of the companies they interact with?!

Do join us to continue the discussion…

VRM Hub London

VRM Hub meeting in August

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This month’s VRM Hub meeting will be on 28th Thursday, 6-9pm, in Chelsea. Sign up here.

VRM Hub London

Whit Diffie’s honorary doctorate at Holloway College

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Yesterday, I had the priviledge to attend the graduation ceremony at the Royal Holloway College as a guest of Whit Diffie who received an honorary doctorate for his achievements in the field of cryptography, namely, his pioneering work on the public private key. Wired article from 1994 on the topic sums it up:

Whitfield Diffie took cryptography out of the hands of the spooks and made privacy possible in the digital age – by inventing the most revolutionary concept in encryption since the Renaissance.

The ceremony started at 10.30am in the splendid college Chapel. Alas, as my flight from Boston was delayed by 3 hours the night before, I arrived too late to see whole thing. However, thanks to Alec I got there in time for Whit’s award and his acceptance speech and managed to record all but the first 10-15 seconds of it. Apologies for the quality, as this is recorded with my normal camera, from a screen outside the chapel.

…open to the opportunity to take risks and do things in unexpected ways and do what you want to but not what people recommend. On the other hand I think I can be said to have overdone this so they, when they give my resume, they normally, they gloss over details. I managed to graduate from MIT and I was later immatriculated at Standford university. Alumni register very tactfully shows me as having “graduated” in 1987, that is to say that have lost track of me. And I have two doctorates both kindly given by universities, both kindly given by universities that recognise quality of the work. And so, I find myself, you know, my work doesn’t seem that impressive to me, but fortunately it seems to have made a better impression on other people. So I found this eaxmple of the fact that it is possible to have a successful career without following the socially recommended paths. But I can also tell you that it must be much… easier to do it in the standard forms. As I can hardly say, I cannot say I don’t regret not having been more capable of a more sustained study and having been able to learn what I needed to learn rather than any given moment merely what I happened to be interested in. Thank you very much.

Diffie hasn’t just refused to fit into an educational system or innovate in structured ways. It was the thinking, Damned-if-I-follow-some-of-your-stupid-rules. Because some of them are stupid. As Steven Levy puts in his book Crypto:

Ultimately, it was only by questioning the conventional rules of cryptography and finding some of them “stupid” that Diffie made his breakthroughs. A case in point: the belief that the workings of a secure cryptosystem had to be treated with utmost secrecy. That might have held true for military organisations, but in the computer age, that didn’t make sense. There would be unlimited users who needed a system for privacy; obviously, such a system would have to be distributed so widely that potential crackers would have no trouble getting their hands on it and would have plenty of opportunity to practice attacking it. Instead, the secrecy had to rest somewhere else in the system.

The issue of privacy, boiled down for Whit Diffie to: How do you deal with a trustworthy person in the midst of a world full of untrustworthy people?

Diffie also believed in what he called “a decentralised view of authority”. By creating the proper cryptographic tools, he felt, you could solve the problem – by transferring the data protection from a disinterested third party to the actual user, the one whose privacy was actually at risk.

And this, in my view, applies not only to privacy and cryptographic tools but also to all the other tools that have made the web social and empowering to the individual. To that end, I want to look for ways to build tools that transfer the the data created by the individual in pursuit of his own goals (whether it involves conversations, relationships or transactions) from an abusive or exploitative party (vendor, platform and potentially any third party) to the actual user, the one who benefits from the data, communication and relationships directly.

Whit Diffie’s challenging of accepted rules, whether Doctor of Science or not, has been an inspiration to me, which couldn’t have come at a better time as I see several assumptions about the web ripe for such challenge…

Here are more photos from the event.

Whit Diffie in Holloway Chapel

VRM Hub meeting in July

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I will be attending the VRM workshop in Boston next week, 14-15th July, and VRM Hub meeting will happen as usual on the last Thurday of the month (which happens to be the last day as well). Sign up here.

VRM Hub London

Social web & tools

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Earlier this week I did two sessions (workshops only in the name as there was a stage and audience) at Online Marketing & Media08 show at Business Design Center in London. Here are a few slides that I used to introduce the workshop before I went into a more practical demonstration of the tools themselves.

Venue for the VRM Hub meeting next week

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We have a venue for the next week’s VRM Hub meeting. It’s the Sun Microsystems (customer briefing center) Regis House 45 King William Street, London EC4R 9AN.

The sign up is here, look forward to seeing you there.

VRM Hub London

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