October 17 2007 Conference Call

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Conference Call Notes

Drafted by Joe Andrieu, October 17, 2007


  1. vrm at chat.freenode.net

Other Calls

Category:conference call


  • Joe Andrieu
  • Dean Landsman
  • Iain Henderson
  • Alan Mitchell
  • Charles Andres
  • Doc Searls
  • Brett McDowell
  • Keith Hopper
  • Drummond Reed


VRM Starting Document

Sean has the hot potato. It's on a round-robin style. He's going to work on it this weekend and then we'll distribute it to the group.

With a target to next Wednesday.

The document outlines a bunch of ways and places that VRM applies. Scenarios and use cases of real-world examples.

Monthly Open Call

Dean will be leading a more public "Chatty Cathy" call to open the floor to new folks and more general conversation.

Mission Plan

Needs write up and further work. Joe will get a rev to the group by next Wednesday.

Dean asks for input. Charles volunteered. Doc says what we really need is a landing page that introduces folks to what we are doing. Something a bit more polished, soft and easy for newcomers. Brett led us to clarify that why we are doing this is so that we can get more traction raising funding.


We want VRM to be a conceptual and technical foundation that is tied to lots of nodes: academic and business and others. There are several business out there who are interested in coming up with some of the tools that we've talked about in the abstract. For example, what would be the thing we store our Personal Health Care records? Or the shopping cart that we carry around with us?

How can we "collude" rather than collide with folks who are working along similar efforts?

This worked great in the Internet Identity community. Doc would like to use that as a model for VRM. This is something we can talk about at IIW in December.

How do we create the broadest possible infrastructure for the most fertile fields?

Question: what is meant when we say "standards"? What degree of specificity to we mean?

Doc's Answer: protocols, VRM specific protocols (either original, revised, or co-opted). Protocols for sending data, policies for "selective disclosure". In the course of doing this, we are going to have to explore some of this.

What we don't want is a private infrastructure that limits the scope of what other people can do.

What we have now is there are protocols for Identity, then we are going to have to have protocol infrastructure. The problem is there is too much out there. Brett recommends taking the high road, define the requirements and work towards an interoperable protocol from those developing existing standards.

Open question: what is the core of a personal data store? What do we absolutely need for managing that?

Alan: Let's define what those core data requirements are going to be.

IIW Pre-meeting

A group steering committee meeting will occur Sunday Dec. 2 from 2PM to 6PM. We'll arrange an agenda to make the most of those four hours.

Berkman Update

VRM is a Berkman project, and all Berkman projects grow by budding off, ala Creative Commons. Doc is a Fellow at Berkman and that will be renewed.

Need to produce at least two scholarly papers on the subject. Published in a peer review journal.

Has to be Doc's byline, but can have co-authors. Also encouraged to "exceed the expectation".

There is also an expectation to work in a cross-disciplinary way to work with other departments and schools to engage the broadest option.

VRM Rating/Checklist

Alan and Iain have built a Trust Index they use with companies around the use of data. We discussed that

Public Conference

We've discussed the need for public VRM workshops dedicated to engaging, evolving, and promoting a VRM community and vision.

IIW Works well. We could do similar things or go different.

Perhaps we could have a conference on customer-in-charge or user-centric commerce or what have you.

Or smaller meeting, bigger than a conference room but smaller than a huge ballroom. ~35 attendees.

A combination of meeting, publicity, all together.

Drummond tells us about U-Con, which came out of Digital Identity World's post-review. A lot of folks suggested forging a new conference focused on more specific use cases, in the direction of User-Centric Commerce. Kaliya Hamlin, Charles Andres, Mary Ruddy, Drummond all signed up to try to make that happen.

There is a clear need for workshop style get togethers---we still need to develop the actual working protocols.

But there is also an opportunity to develop a larger, more commercial conference, which can serve as a catalyst in a broader market and as a fund-raiser for a VRM organization. And if we were to start right now the year it would take to make it happen would be about right with the rest of the market ripening for a major conference.

Yet Another Site

Doc has talked to a bunch of folks who are trying to solve a business opportunity as "Yet another site". Doc has suggested trying services instead of just another website. That can be a hard transition for folks.

There is a lot of push-back in the investor community to build your business as a website.

But websites are locations, places, and what we really want is results. We want our travel advice when & where we want it, without having to go somewhere to get it.

This is largely about expanding the scope for "point of contact".

Perhaps we can take this issue on. Moving beyond the static to the dynamic and the best way to do that is to anchor it to yourself.

The issue isn't so much about static/dynamic, but there may be opportunities in shifting thinking about points of contact.

There are new and interesting points of contact, thinking about your business as a service that uses multiple innovative points of contact to provide end-user value.

There are companies out there that are service based, often using twitter or facebook to reach end users.

Also, folks are moving their reach out tothe world, planting content on YouTube and elsewhere to plant "johnny-appleseed" style touchpoints in other people's gardens.

Rick Siegel: "What we need to do is build businesses and marketplaces around the intentions of individuals rather than the avarice or appetites of businesses who want to make money."

For example, Tableau, is an accessory to flicker. About bits to atoms for making montages, collages, cubes of pictures, etc., then you print it with Tableau. They sold to HP recently.

The interesting thing for that entrepreneur was that the VC kept asking "what's your lock-in" and really wanted to see the lock-in on the site. His answer was my lock-in is love. He wanted customers to love him.

Next Meeting

October 31, 2007