Survival Of The Fittest

PEOPLE PASSSION 360 by John Philpin… and by fittest, I do not mean largest, richest, most powerful. I mean whether they fit into how we want to do business.

Ten years ago, Doc Searls was invited by Harvard to take some of the thinking in The Cluetrain Manifesto and launch a new project that became known as Project VRM. I was delighted to attend one of their regular meetings last month at the Computer History Museum.

I have written about this before – specifically here, but as a quick reminder VRM, ‘fosters development of tools and services that make every person both independent of others (especially companies), yet better able to engage with them.’

I know … the marketing people haven’t weighed in yet !

Suffice to say if you run ‘tracking blockers’ on any of your computers or devices (the ‘ad-tec industry’ likes to call them ‘ad-blockers’, partly to make us feel bad – but make no mistake – they are ‘tracking blockers’), then you are already on board the VRM train.

If you are wondering about Blockchain and Bitcoin. Welcome to VRM. Maybe you are concerned about your Personal Data, security and privacy. Guess what … VRM. You might have heard of Customer Commons and trying to decide what they mean to you? VRM Knows. Self sovereignty, reputation tracking, ‘Intelligent Personal Assistants’, Trust Based Authentication Systems … all tie back to VRM. It is a very large topic.

You might have heard of companies like, Meeco, Task Rabbit, Query or Ghostery? You have? They are just 5 of over 200 companies across the world focussed on ‘VRM solutions’.

Suffice to say, in my world VRM is big. In yours? Well – did you see this headline recently?

Google Has Quietly Dropped Ban on Personally Identifiable Web Tracking

I am going to guess that it probably passed you by. Certainly mainstream media aren’t talking about it. And, if you saw the headline, you more than likely didn’t give it a second thought. Why would you? Let me tell you …

Google quietly erased that last privacy line in the sand – literally crossing out the lines in its privacy policy that promised to keep the two pots of data separate by default. In its place, Google substituted new language that says browsing habits “may be” combined with what the company learns from the use Gmail and other tools.

The ‘may be’ is code for ‘will’.

At a stroke Google is taking ten years of your personalized browsing records and essentially merging it with their ‘anonymized’ search, youtube, android, seo, gmail data to develop a very very clear picture of who you are. Or as I would have it … who they think you are.

Did you ever give permission? Well, legally yes – but I bet you didn’t think that they were legally allowed to track you quite as much as they do. Have you been sent an alert as to where you last parked your car? When did you say that tracking was ok? Trust me – you did.

VRM is the flip of all of that.

Five years before Doc was launching Project VRM, I was in London where I helped a colleague develop white papers and presentations that we delivered to whoever would listen about the transition from ‘Producer Efficient Supply Chains’ – to ‘Customer Effective Demand Networks’. I know, ‘pithy’ wasn’t our ‘M.O.’


John Philpin
John Philpin
JOHN'S career spans 30 years, 2 continents, and organizations as diverse as Oracle, Citibank and GE. A Mathematics graduate, John moved to California in 1990. He helps technology companies create, develop and deliver their story for fund raising, market development and influencer programs. He also works with businesses to ensure they understand, and are ready, for the ever accelerating changes that technology is bringing to their industry. John is a co-founder of Expert Alumni and gleXnet and long before futurists and industry watchers were writing about the impending challenges that industries were going to be facing, they predicted a perfect storm of issues like skills gap, declining work forces, the gig economy, people trained to do work no longer needed, demographic shifts, economic and social change, market upheaval and rapidly changing ways of doing work. From the beginning they have promoted the idea that massive change was coming to how organizations should think about their workforce, with a singular focus on simplifying the interface between people and their work. Understanding the challenges ahead of the curve, the solution was built to arrive at a better understanding of the greatest restraint to business operations - competence, not capital. gleXnet provides unparalleled insights into an organizations people and operations by flipping the problem from the perspective of people, not the business.

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