Month: September 2009

East Coast VRM Workshop coming up

VRooM Boston 2009 is coming up soon — on 12-13 October, at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, MA. It’s hosted by the Berkman Center and ProjectVRM at the Center.

As with earlier VRM workshops, it’s a free unconference, organized on the open space model. Participants choose the topics, move those topics forward in open discussion, and share progress with the whole group at the end of each day.

You can get a sense of the energy in a VRM gathering from photo galleries here, here, here, here and here.

Sign up for the workshop here.

For those of you not familiar with VRM, the letters stand for Vendor Relationship Management, and it’s about the tools that developers and friends are creating to provide individuals with tools of independence form organizations that wish to control them — and better means for engaging with those organizations. In other words, it’s about blowing up silos and walled gardens, and creating a better system: one in which individuals are the collection centers for their own data, and the ones controlling what gets done with that data.

There are many projects and topics already moving forward that should get a boost from participation at the workshop. Here in the UK this week I met with folks involved in MyDex and The Mine! Project — the latter in a VRM Hub meeting last night overlooking the Thames and Blackfriars Bridge.

In Boston I’m looking forward to a lot of discussion on a topic we might call HCRM, or Health Care Relationship Management. The Boston area is a hotbed of forward thinking about patients controlling their own health care data, and reforming the health care from the individual side of the relationshp with the systems in control of it. Here is an excerpt from the link above:

Among the biggest topics in HCRM in recent years has been PHR, for Personal Health Records. Search for that, with quotes, and you get over half a million results. Leave off the quotes and you get fifty-five million results. The more specific (and less confusing, with Physicians for Human Rights) EHR, for Electronic Health Records, gets nearly five million results.

This is a huge topic, of a degree of importance that verges on the absolute. It’s also perhaps the most sisyphean of VRM categories. I find that daunting, but there are many professionals in health care and related fields who have been doing a great job pushing big rocks long distances. These people are heroes, even if they don’t know or acknowledge that. Here are some links to get started:

I could (and should) write more, but I’m in London waiting for a plane, lucky to have any connectivity at all. (Which, if I’d had enough at my hotel this week, this would have been posted much earlier.)

In the next few days I’ll write about other topics I’m hoping to see covered at the workshop.

Is RedBeacon VRM?

That question came to me this morning, in response to RedBeacon being named the winner of this year’s TechCrunch 50.

What RedBeacon offers is a form of what in the VRM community we call a personal RFP. As the company’s site says, RedBeacon provides a way to …

  • 1Customers find you on Redbeacon
    Request a local service
  • 2Work when you want
    Compare prices
    from qualified providers
  • 3Did we mention it's FREE?
    Schedule the job online

(Whoa. I didn’t know WordPress would let you copy and paste images and text together like that. Nice. An old dog learns a new trick.)

As it says here, you can request a service, review qualified buyers, select a provider, and schedule the job, all at the RedBeacon site.

Is that VRM? In a number of ways, yes. RedBeacon to me looks like a fourth party service, such as those outlined in VRM and the Four Party System.

I would like to see how it fits as what Joe Andrieu outlines as a user-driven service. What do the rest of ya’ll think?

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