The intention economy: when customers take charge

Searls, D. (2012). The intention economy: when customers take charge. Boston, Mass.: Harvard Business Review Press.

The world of business is company-centered. Oh, sure, everyone preaches a customer-centered attitude, but that is only to entice customers to purchase things. Companies have powerful tools to manage this business. Marketing departments spend a lot of time, effort and money to understand customers, to map them, to tag them, to dissect them. Data mining, this is called, and the amounts of data so huge that the technical term is "Big data." Powerful Information technologies exist to help companies, CRM being one of the most powerful and popular - CRM for Customer Relationship Management.

But customers, or rather people, are the targets of this effort. They themselves are at the mercy of the companies. Companies offer their stuff to us and we are required to select among them. The companies own our data: they won't even allow us to see what information they have about us.

What if all of this was reversed? What if the customers had all the tools? What if every one of us had our own Vendor Relationship Management system, a VRM? What if we owned our own data and collected and mined data about the vendors? What if we could share information about the trustworthiness and reliability of vendors? What if people had the power and companies served us?

What if instead of companies soliciting us, we would solicit them? Imagine announcing: "I am interested in buying a camera. Here are my requirements. Here is what I will permit you to do with my list of requirements and with any knowledge you acquire about me. What would you like to offer me?"

Doc Searls, a long-time friend and brilliant marketing expert shows how we can completely reverse the traditional relationship between people and companies. Long a proponent of free and open software, Doc now carries the lessons from those communities to that of business. Read the book. It will change the way you view business. Even if you represent one of the businesses discussed in the book, you will find much to learn, much to enjoy, and new ideas to pursue.

Searls is a fellow at the Center for Information Technology & Society at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an alumnus fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University (where much of this book was developed).

Want more? Just do a search for "intention economy" and get millions of hits. It's catching on. It should. It must.

Link to book at The Intention Economy: When Customers Take Charge