October 1 2008 Conference Call

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Conference Call Notes

Drafted by Joe Andrieu, October 1, 2008


#vrm at chat.freenode.net

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Category:conference call


  • Joe Andrieu
  • Doc Searls
  • Chris Carfi
  • Keith Hopper
  • Charles Andres (coming in a bit late)


VRM Definition

Perhaps we can follow the success of the open source movement by opening up a conversation to define VRM--as was done with defining "open source".

Free software had been around for years. But it was marginally engaged by the business community, largely because it was misunderstood and in part, feared. So, Eric Raymond, Tim O'Reilly, and a few others set out to come up with a definition for open source that could be palatable to companies. They got together over beer and simply looked at existing licenses and put each in the Open Source column or not. http://www.opensource.org/

So maybe we could start putting together a definition and then a column that lists those services and products that meet those definitions VRM.

Proposal: a clean definition and a list of those products/companies that meet that.

However, since VRM hasn't been around for years, there may not be any companies, products, or services that are fully VRM.

One problem with CRM is that there isn't anywhere to hand it off (no personal datastore to interact with).

One exception there is email, which has now opened as an output for CRM, as a representation of individuals, and an open standard, service portable.

So, perhaps Berkman can serve as the authoritative source for the definition of VRM. They would own the web page and maintain the definition.

Two Lists?

First, a list of services and products that fully meet all of the VRM criteria. Second, a list of services "in the right direction", but missing some criteria.

What is the Criteria?

(strawman by Joe)

  1. User Independence
    1. Service Portability
    2. Data Portability
  2. User engagement

(strawman by Chris) A system is a VRM System if it meets the following definition...

1) A place for an Individual to store his or her information A personal data store

2) An Individual can control access to his or her information Who, What, When, Where, How

3) An Individual can access, move, or delete information whenever he or she wants to aka Data portability

4) An Individual can park data on any service that supports it and vendors can still find it aka Service Portability, similar to DNS in that "if i change server, you still find it"

List of Services

(strawman by Joe, these are largely "categories" rather than specific vendors)

  1. email
  2. web hosting
  3. blog hosting
  4. RSS readers

Question: if there is only one service offered by someone, do you really have service portability?

Question: what is it that is uniquely the customers?

The ability to assert a claim. The ability to establish and break a contract.

The ability to express a "global" preference. Global in the sense that any vendor could query your preference. There is a place that is "me" or "mine" in an important sense.

A big problem that Joyce has had is that she would like to be able to bring some kind of sense she has to suppliers of Home Improvement. She would like to say to, say Restoration Hardware, "I bought this list of stuff before". I want to store that and let them know that, so that they can use that information intelligently.

Credit card #'s, banking info. When these change, it is a pain in the butt to go change everything.

Pan-organization collaboration

Report from Charles (from IC stewards meeting) that we can perhaps move the conversation beyond forming a new organization and more to specific projects on which we can jointly collaborate.

Drummond and Iain are currently in Europe working on a new standard. Working with OASIS. IMI. The Identity MetaSystem Interoperability Technical Committee.

Each organization has their unique role in the ecosystem:

  • VRM: concepts
  • OASIS: standards
  • ICF: incubator
  • OWF: IPR policy

Claims are the IP datagram of the Identity Metasystem. Given that interoperability, we can start building apps based on claims. VRM has essentially always been--conceptually--built upon Identity and therefore built upon claims.

IMI is like building the IP and TCP/IP and UDP standards upon which Internet applications have been built.


We are confirmed for using the new Berkman space in downtown Cambridge. We'll be setting up for both teleconference and wi-fi, although the infrastructure is still being built out, so we'll want to stay on top of it.

IIW meeting

We are currently planning on a Thursday meeting after IIW. But a LOT of groups are trying to do that, so we have conflicts. Perhaps we should move to Sunday. Doc will send out an email to the steering list. The general concensus was that we should have a steering meeting, rather than an open workshop.

Website Update

Charles and Dean are making progress. Looking to add some sort of Twitter feed to the web page. Should we have blog ware? Not sure if we want that much dynamic stuff. The opening page could be/should be an easy landing, but potentially we could link to more dynamic stuff.

Next Meeting