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Past Project


ProjectVRM has the immodest ambition of turning business on its head -- for its own good, and for everyone else's as well.

Since the dawn of the Industrial Age, large companies have been working to "capture" and "lock" customers inside what we today call "silos" and "walled gardens." These are the private habitats where customer choices are limited to what the vendor alone can provide. "Relationships" with customers in these habitats are maintained entirely on the vendor's terms, through Customer Relationship Management" systems (CRMs) that work to milk as much money as possible out of customers by limiting rather than liberating customer choices.

ProjectVRM is a new Berkman Klein Center research and development effort that is working to provide customers with tools that provide both independence from vendor lock-in and better ways of engaging with vendors -- on terms and by means that work better for both sides.

The primary theory behind ProjectVRM is that many market problems (including the widespread belief that customer lock-in is a "best practice") can only be solved from the customer side: by making the customer a fully-empowered actor in the marketplace, rather than one whose power in many cases is dependent on exclusive relationships with vendors, by coerced agreement provided entirely by those vendors.

Our Work 11

Jun 11, 2012 @ 6:00 PM

The Intention Economy: When Customers Take Charge

Doc Searls

Whether your interest is in preserving Internet freedom and opportunity, changing the economic power structure, new challenges for cyberlaw, or just turning the tables on privacy…

Aug 26, 2010 @ 9:00 AM

VRM + CRM 2010

The first VRM+CRM workshop will take place on 26-27 August, at Harvard Law School. It’s free. The purpose is to get VRM and CRM developers and other interested parties (such as…

Oct 12, 2009 @ 9:00 AM

VRooM Boston 2009

As with earlier Vendor Relationship Management (VRM) workshops, this is a free unconference, organized on the open space model. Participants choose the topics, move those topics…

Jul 16, 2009

ProjectVRM: Health Care vs. Risk Snare

Doc Searls for the ProjectVRM blog: "So I’m a guest on the latest TWiL (This Week in Law) podcast. Lots of VRM links at that link, below the topic, 'How modernization of health…

May 15, 2009 @ 9:00 AM

ProjectVRM West Coast Workshop 2009

ProjectVRM, an initiative lead by Berkman Fellow Doc Searls, will host its first West Coast Meeting in Palo Alto.

Apr 1, 2009

Radio Berkman: YOU as the Future of Commerce

This week on Radio Berkman: Doc Searls discusses Vendor Relationship Management (VRM)...

Mar 24, 2009 @ 12:30 PM

The Intention Economy: What Happens When Customers Get Real Power

Doc Searls, Berkman Fellow

In these dawn years of the Information Age, when individuals have more choice than ever about what they can do with their time and money, big companies still talk about "capturing…

Jan 9, 2009

PRX Launches the Public Radio Tuner iPhone App

Our friends over at the Public Radio Exchange are making it easier for you to access public radio everywhere you go.

Jul 17, 2008

"Markets under reconstruction"

Doc Searls reports on Monday and Tuesday's first-ever VRM workshop...

Jul 14, 2008 @ 9:00 AM

ProjectVRM Workshop

Day 2 of ProjectVRM's first workshop is underway...

Apr 29, 2008

VRM 2008 - European Identity Conference

Last week, Berkman Fellow Doc Searls delivered the keynote -- virtually -- at the VRM 2008 conference in Munich. And ProjectVRM won a special prize...

Community 01

Project VRM

A citizen-sovereign way to pay for news—or for any creative work

Doc Searls on getting the supply and demand sides of creative markets together to better support journalism

Feb 11, 2019

People 01