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IIW XX, IIW_XX_logothe 20th Internet Identity Workshop, comes at a critical inflection point in the history of VRM: Vendor Relationship Management, the only business movement working toward giving you both

  1. independence from the silos and walled gardens of the world; and
  2. better means for engaging with every business in the world — your way, rather than theirs.

If you’re looking for a point of leverage on the future of customer liberation, independence and empowerment, IIW is it.

Wall Street-sized companies around the world are beginning to grok what Main Street ones have always known: customers aren’t just “targets” to be “acquired,” “managed,” “controlled” and “locked in.” In other words, Cluetrain was right when it said this, in 1999:

if you only have time for one clue this year, this is the one to get…

Now it is finally becoming clear that free customers are more valuable than captive ones: to themselves, to the companies they deal with, and to the marketplace.

But how, exactly? That’s what we’ll be working on at IIW, which runs from April 7 to 9 at the Computer History Museum, in the heart of Silicon Valley: the best venue ever created for a get-stuff-done unconference.

Focusing our work is a VRM maturity framework that gives every company, analyst and journalist a list of VRM competencies, and every VRM developer a context in which to show which of those competencies they provide, and how far along they are along the maturity path. This will start paving the paths along which individuals, tool and service providers and corporate systems (e.g. CRM) can finally begin to fit their pieces together. It will also help legitimize VRM as a category. If you have a VRM or related company, now is the time to jump in and participate in the conversation. Literally. Here are some of the VRM topics and technology categories that we’ll be talking about, and placing in context in the VRM maturity framework:

Note: Another version of this post appeared first on the ProjectVRM blog. I’m doing a rare cross-posting here because it that important.

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So I wanted to add a comment under essay “Lena Dunham Is The New John Updike — But Not In A Good Way“, in WBUR‘s Cognoscenti ‘zine (which I just discovered, and I like). So I wrote a caution about throwing out both Dunham’s and Updike’s babies in the bathwaters of their narcissm (as defined originally, for Updike, in this David Foster Wallace review of Updike’s late-in-life work). When I finished, I was presented with this:

First I picked Disqus (the one on the left), but it didn’t work. Then I picked Twitter. That didn’t work. (It flashed a small page that said “Redirecting you back to the application,” plus some other stuff that disappeared before I could read it.) Then I started writing in a name, and new fields opened up:

These were also unproductive, even when I used my known Disqus name, email and password. (The question mark with a circle produces a summary of Disqus’ policies, terms and conditions.) Then I made the mistake of clicking on a link somewhere and lost what I had written.

While it’s great, I suppose, that Disqus, Facebook, Twitter and Google provide handy shortcuts — “social” logins through their APIs — the whole non-system also fails so often that at best it comprises (entrepreneur alert:::) an opportunity for some new approach.

That’s why I keep going back to the oldest and perhaps the least complicated way to post a comment, which is on a publication of one’s own. So that’s what I’m doing here. (With a bonus complaint. :-) )

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