Private: Blog

What’s a Good Customer?

For awhile the subhead for our site was, It’s still a timely thing to say, since searches on Google for “good customer” are at an all-time high:   The year 2004 was when Google began keeping track of search trends. It was also the year “good customer” hit at an all-time high in percentage of appearances in books Google scanned*: So, What exactly is a “good customer?” The answer depends on the size of the business, and how well people…

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Toward E-commerce 2.0

Phil Windley explains e-commerce 1.0  in a single slide that says this: One reason this happened is that client-server, aka calf-cow  (illustrated in Thinking outside the browser) has been the default format for all relationships on the Web, and cookies were required to maintain those relationships. Which really aren’t. Here’s why: The calves in these relationship have no easy way even to find  (much less to understand or create) the cookies in their browsers’ jars. The calves have no real…

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Thinking Outside the Browser

Even if you’re on a phone, chances are you’re reading this in a browser. Chances are also that most of what you do online is through a browser. Hell, many—maybe even most—of the apps you use on your phone use the Webkit browser engine. Meaning they’re browsers too. And, of course, I’m writing this in a browser. Two problems with this: Browsers are clients, which are by design subordinate to servers. There is a lot that can’t be done with…

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Just in case you feel safe with Twitter

Just got a press release by email from David Rosen (@firstpersonpol) of the Public Citizen press office. The headline says “Historic Grindr Fine Shows Need for FTC Enforcement Action.” The same release is also a post in the news section of the Public Citizen website. This is it: WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Norwegian Data Protection Agency today fined Grindr $11.7 million following a Jan. 2020 report that the dating app systematically violates users’ privacy. Public Citizen asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state attorneys general to investigate Grindr…

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Solving Subscriptions

Count the number of companies you pay regularly for anything. Add up what you pay for all of them. Then think about the time you spend trying and failing to “manage” any of it—especially when most or all of the management tools are separately held by every outfit’s subscription system, all for their convenience rather than yours. And then think about how in most cases you also need to swim upstream against a tide of promotional BS and manipulation. There…

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We need a Theia

Some prophesies come true. For example, Shoshana Zuboff’s third law: In the absence of countervailing restrictions and sanctions, every digital application that can be used for surveillance and control will be used for surveillance and control, irrespective of its originating intention. She forecast that in 1989, with In the Age of the Smart Machine. Then she reported on its effects in 2018, with The Age of Surveillance Capitalism. The business model of surveillance capitalism is tracking-based advertising, which the trade…

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Putting the R back in CRM

Every customer is familiar with Customer Relationship Management (aka CRM). They meet it when they get personal offers, when they call customer service, or any time they deal with companies that seem to know who they are. Doing this is a  huge business, passing $40 billion worldwide in 2018, and expected to be twice that in 2015. All of CRM is also B2B: business to business. Salesforce, SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle, Adobe and IBM don’t sell their CRM services to…

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What only customers can do

Businesses love to say “the customer comes first,” “the customer is in charge” and that they need to “let the customer lead.” But the customer can’t come first, can’t be in charge, and can’t lead, without tools of her own: tools that give  her ways to interact in common ways across all the companies she deals with. Ways that give her leverage: She already has some of those tools. The Internet. The Web. EMail. The phone system. Credit cards. Cars.…

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The business problems only customers can solve

Customer Commons was created because there are many business and market problems that can only be solved from the customers’ side, under the customer’s control, and at scale, with #customertech. In the absence of solutions that customers control, both customers and businesses are forced to use business-side-only solutions that limit customer power to what can be done within each business’s silo, or to await regulatory help, usually crafted by captive regulators who can’t even imagine full customer agency. Here are…

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Going #Faceless

Facial recognition by entities other than people and their pets has gotten out of control. Thanks to ubiquitous surveillance systems, including the ones in our own phones, we can no longer assume we are anonymous in public places or private in private ones. This became especially clear a few weeks ago when Kashmir Hill (@kashhill) reported in the New York Times that a company called Clearview.ai “invented a tool that could end your ability to walk down the street anonymously, and…

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