Unlocking the See-Saw – Post event thoughts

I just got back from a VRM event in London: Unlocking the See-Saw. It was a serious pleasure to meet so many people dedicated to building a more ethical consumer-enterprise relationship. The panels and the conversations (and the wine!) were highly stimulating.

For the uninitiated, VRM stands for “Vendor Relationship Management” which, in a nutshell, is the flipside of “Customer Relationship Management” (CRM). The VRM movement aspires to create both technological tools as well as a social context in which customers and users have more control over the data that corporations store about them as well as being able to choose what sort of personal data to make available to which organisations.

Ambitious? Yes. Utopian? No.

My take on the whole VRM thing is that at the core its about “open-source data” and more transparent relationships between individuals and organisations. It’s already happening in some areas. People are experimenting, entrepreneurs are listening, and change is brewing. Check out the VRM Hub and the VRM Labs websites to find out more.

The event itself seemed to me to be a successful exercise in VRM. First off, the agenda and programme were only loosely structured giving space to particpants and panelists to take it in different directions. The emergent discussions were probably miles better than a more stiff Speak+Q&A session could have ever achieved. Secondly the mix of participants themselves was testimony to the fact that “fat cats” and “thin individuals” can find common ground, discuss and come up with mutually beneficial ideas. The forty or so people attending included freelance consultants, marketeers, top execs, academics and entrepreneurs, and, because it was a small group, it was almost inevitable that everybody spoke to everybody.

So, kudos to Adriana Lukas for organising an excellent event. Definitely looking forward to attend the next one!

And now, after all the traveling, I’d better get back to finishing off my unfinished Part II post on the “Travel Bubble”…

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