Intention Economy

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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Customers as a Third Force

Almost all arguments in economics are advanced by two almost opposed positions, each walled into the castles of their ideologies, both insisting that their side has the solutions and the other side causes the problems—while meanwhile between the two flows a river of customers who, if they could be heard, and could participate with more than their cash, would have solutions of their own. Customer Commons’s job is giving those customers full agency for dealing with both the businesses and…

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Privacy is personal. Let’s start there.

The GDPR won’t give us privacy. Nor will ePrivacy or any other regulation. We also won’t get it from the businesses those regulations are aimed at. Because privacy is personal. If it wasn’t we wouldn’t have invented clothing and shelter, or social norms for signaling to each what’s okay and what’s not okay. On the Internet we have none of those. We’re still as naked as we were in Eden. But let’s get some perspective here:  we invented clothing and shelter long…

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How customers help companies comply with the GDPR

That’s what we’re starting this Thursday (26 April) at GDPR Hack Day at MIT. The GDPR‘s “sunrise day” — when the EU can start laying fines on companies for violations of it — is May 25th. We want to be ready for that: with a cookie of our own baking that will get us past the “gauntlet walls” of consent requirements that are already appearing on the world’s commercial websites—especially the ad-supported ones. The reason is this: Which you can also see…

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The Only Way Customers Come First

— is by proffering terms of their own. That’s what will happen when sites and services click “accept” to your terms, rather than the reverse. The role you play here is what lawyers call the first party. Sites and services that agree to your terms are second parties. As a first party, you get scale across all the sites and services that agree to your terms: This the exact reverse of what we’ve had in mass markets ever since industry won the industrial revolution. But we can get…

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Time for THEM to agree to OUR terms

Try to guess how many times, in the course of your life in the digital world, have “agreed” to terms like these: Hundreds? Thousands? (Feels like) millions? Look at the number of login/password combinations remembered by your browser. That’ll be a fraction of the true total. Now think about what might happen if we could turn these things around. How about if sites and services could agree to our terms and conditions, and our privacy policies? We’d have real agreements, and real relationships, freely established, between parties of…

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Giving Customers Scale

Customers need scale. Scale is leverage. A way to get lift. Big business gets scale by aggregating resources, production methods, delivery services — and, especially, customers: you, me and billions of others without whom business would not exist. Big business is heavy by nature. That’s why we use mass as an adjective for much of what big business does: mass manufacturing, mass distribution, mass retailing, mass marketing, and mass approaches to everything, including legal agreements. For personal perspective on this, consider how…

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Privacy is an Inside Job

Start here: clothing and shelter are privacy technologies. We use them to create secluded spaces for ourselves. Spaces we control. Our ancestors have been wearing clothing for at least 170,000 years and building shelters for at least half a million years. So we’ve had some time to work out what privacy means. Yes, it differs among cultures and settings, but on the whole it is well understood and not very controversial. On the Internet we’ve had about 21 years*. That’s not enough time to…

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