Doc Searls on The Intention Economy

I'm late to this, but I thought Doc Searls' thoughts on the Intention Economy were so interesting I wanted to record them here for posterity rather than just bookmark (from a Berkman lunch livblogged by Doc's fellow Cluetrain author Weinberger,found via Adriana)

"The problem is that most big businesses think that the best customer is a captive one." "That's why the free market is still your choice of captor." But "we're now about three minutes into the Big Bang" when it comes to the Net. The challenge is to "prove that a free customer is more valuable than a captive one."

So, Doc has started Project VRM (vendor relationship management) to provide ways for customers to drive relationships with vendors. More on that here. I was privileged enough to be able to attend an early VRM meeting with Doc and Adriana (pictured below by me) in London last February. I think it's very interesting to see the project develope, and with the intellectual giants involved I'm hopeful that it may be the next big thing.

So, what happens when customers get real power?

- “Customers get their own pricing guns” [i.e., the "guns" that print out price labels].

- “The intention economy” will get real because it’s based on what customers really want, as opposed to the attention economy that’s based on guesses.

- “The advertising bubble will burst.” There will still be ads, but they won’t be the “communications method of first resort.”

- “Cluetrain will finally be right.”

For some reason, the RSS feed I subscribed to from Doc's blog seem to have stopped working, must fix (and by putting a note about that here I might even remember when I come back in from the rain:-) ). Update 19-04/09: and when I get the RSS-feed from Doc's blog up an running again, and find time to read it, I find this post on After the advertising bubble bursts, which explains more)

LondonFeb2008 013

Calling out the next stops towards recession central

These are desperate media times. Late Friday night, news broke Mecom was planning a rights issue within the next month. The story surfaced just as the ailing pan-European company was preparing for a crucial week, with its EGM taking place today and its covenant test extenstion expiring early next week. 

Earlier this month, Norwegian media speculated another pan-European media player, Schibsted, may be forced to consider to ask shareholders for a capital injection, a move which would be less than straighforward due to its coroporate bylaws. However, Schibsted's CEO Kjell Aamot denied such a move was on the agenda, and said the company was instead looking to sell assets - such as taking a partner into its lucrative classified media online advertising business.

In today's market such moves look rather desperate, but so far Mecom's share price is certainly on the rise - perhaps aided by this bit of news.    

Train Station

On approaching recession central
"Ladies and gentlemen, fasten your seatbelts. We're making our final approach to recession central," wrote Peter Kirwan in early February as we were coming closer to the financial reporting season with all its expected doom and gloom.

I was quite taken by that metaphore, and thought it would be a great way to visualise the history of events later: a ghost train moving relentlessly forward, making unwelcome stops at most media companies along the way. Except it's still a bit of a mystery train, and we don't quite know when we'll reach recession central or what it'll look like.

Interestingly, as we're currently debating why financial journalism failed to spot the storm brewing, if the nature of the meltdown was not forewarned, at least's Jon Ogg blogged about how tired he was of predictions about recession central in December 2007 - not long after we had started to see the footprints of the subprime induced ghost in the share prices and results of European media companies. Framed that way, it's not been such a speedy train at all, and, as I've said before, I thought we would have seen the downturn much earlier, but because I was focusing narrowly on key cyclical indicators such as (ads for) property and jobs and the media industry I was not prepared for the scale.

Photo by Ben McLeod from Flickr, published under a Creative Commons license

Today's food for thought

I stumbled across two great SlideShare presentations that really gave me something to think about today - in the best possible way as they are both quite uplifting takes on the times we are living in (the first via Fred Wilson, the second from Neil Perkin).

Despite the disparate titles, they're also vaguely related: