On Saturday the Wall Street Journal Weekend Review featured a front page article by Doc Searls, one of the architects of the Respect Network and author of The Intention Economy, called The Customer as a God. It is a compelling argument for customer empowerment, one of the core beliefs of Connect.Me, where we have always felt that the empowered customer and control of their personal data is a major benefit for both companies and customers. To quote from the article:
Since the Industrial Revolution, the only way a company could scale up in productivity and profit was by treating customers as populations rather than as individuals—and by treating employees as positions on an organization chart rather than as unique sources of talent and ideas. Anything that stood in the way of larger scale tended to be dismissed.
The Internet has challenged that system by giving individuals the same power. Any of us can now communicate with anybody else, anywhere in the world, at costs close to zero. We can set up our own websites. We can produce, publish, syndicate and do other influential things, with global reach. Each of us can be valuable as unique individuals and not only as members of groups.
Doc has long understood that giving individuals the tools to interact with companies as true peers will help everyone be stronger. This movement has come to be called VRM (Vendor Relationship Management), and Connect.Me is one of the companies leading the charge to make this a reality. We believe empowering customers means equipping individuals to assert their reputation in specific contexts, and that trusted personal reputation will be a vital component of the emerging VRM movement. We applaud Doc for making such a strong case for VRM in one of the world’s most influential financial publications.