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The Intention Economy: When Customers Take Charge [Kindle Edition]

Doc Searls
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Caveat venditor—let the seller beware

While marketers look for more ways to get personal with customers, including new tricks with “big data,” customers are about to get personal in their own ways, with their own tools. Soon consumers will be able to:

• Control the flow and use of personal data
• Build their own loyalty programs
• Dictate their own terms of service
• Tell whole markets what they want, how they want it, where and when they should be able to get it, and how much it should cost

And they will do all of this outside of any one vendor’s silo.

This new landscape we’re entering is what Doc Searls calls The Intention Economy—one in which demand will drive supply far more directly, efficiently, and compellingly than ever before. In this book he describes an economy driven by consumer intent, where vendors must respond to the actual intentions of customers instead of vying for the attention of many.

New customer tools will provide the engine, with VRM (Vendor Relationship Management) providing the consumer counterpart to vendors’ CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems. For example, imagine being able to change your address once for every company you deal with, or combining services from multiple companies in real time, in your own ways—all while keeping an auditable accounting of every one of your interactions in the marketplace. These tantalizing possibilities and many others are introduced in this book.

As customers become more independent and powerful, and the Intention Economy emerges, only vendors and organizations that are ready for the change will survive, and thrive. Where do you stand?


Editorial Reviews

Review

Named a Best Business Book for 2012 in strategy+business magazine

“a must-read book…” — TechCrunch

“Doc Searls has written a very thoughtful book on the intention economy and the promises it holds for both vendors and customers.” — Forbes

“Searls’s vision raises provocative questions for companies and for marketers.” — strategy+business magazine magazine

“This is a thoughtful, well researched book with a compelling thesis and call to action for marketers.” — Decision

“a brilliant piece on free markets and the Internet” — Linux Journal

“Do yourself a favor. Read The Intention Economy by @dsearls. It’s a very quick study in what VRM means for both brands and consumers.” — Business 2 Community (business2community.com)

“The fine distinction between consumer and customer is at the heart of this insightful look at how some companies, like Trader Joe's, are moving in the direction of the "intention economy," where the desires and needs of individual customers primarily determine what the vendors offer.” — Fort Worth Star Telegram

“it’s fun, insightful reading for anyone interested in becoming “self-actualized, liberated customers.” — SocialMedia.biz

“Finally a thoughtful, hype free book worth reading about digital marketing, the relationships we have with vendors, and a vision for a better future where we have greater control of our personal data.” — ZDNet

ADVANCE PRAISE for The Intention Economy:

JP Rangaswami, Chief Scientist, salesforce.com—
“‘Consumers have a right to exercise control over what personal data companies collect from them and how they use it.’ That’s the way the draft of the US Government’s planned Privacy Bill of Rights begins. If you want to understand what this really means, then Doc’s book is the place to start. In fact, if you want to understand anything about what’s really happening with customers, this book is for you. An excellent read.”

Seth Godin, author, We Are All Weird
“Profound, far-reaching, and one of those books people will be bragging about having read five or ten years from now.”

John Hagel, Co-Director, Center for the Edge; coauthor, The Power of Pull
“This book provides a much-needed road map for a profound shift in global markets. Vendor Relationship Management will turn markets as we know them inside out. Searls, as the key architect of this new movement, provides a compelling view of both why and how these changes will occur. You cannot afford to ignore this book."

Esther Dyson, angel investor—
“From Doc’s mouth to vendors’ ears! Doc Searls describes the economy the way it should be, with vendors paying attention to individuals’ wants and needs. I see a few such business models emerging, and I hope Searls’s book will incite a rush of them.”

Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, Ph.D., co-authors of Extreme Trust: Honesty as a Competitive Advantage
“Deliciously skeptical of today’s business models, Searls paints a compelling picture of the future. And if you’re a business manager, The Intention Economy is essential reading. Think of it as an API for dealing with empowered customers. ”

Clay Shirky, author, Here Comes Everybody and Cognitive Surplus
“No one has a better sense of the changing relationship between vendors and the rest of us than Doc Searls. In The Intention Economy, he explains the networked economy and your place in it, whoever you are—buyer, seller, advertiser, user.”

About the Author

Doc Searls is senior editor of Linux Journal, coauthor of The Cluetrain Manifesto, and one of the world’s most widely read bloggers. In The World is Flat, Thomas L. Friedman calls him “one of the most respected technology writers in America.” Searls is a fellow at the Center for Information Technology & Society (CITS) at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an alumnus fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, where he continues to run ProjectVRM.

Product Details

  • File Size: 885 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1 edition (April 10, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007UPDH5S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #187,519 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Customer Care is at a crossroads. Doc, in his highly conversational writing style, provides rapid-fire, highly personalized insights into both how things are and how they ought to be. For enterprise executives, he exposes many of the common promotional, marketing, sales and merchandising practices that help businesses achieve well-defined "KPIs (key performance indicators) like customer retention, increased marketshare, mindshare and, ultimately sales. At the same time he shows (just as he and the originators of the Cluetrain Manifesto did at the turn of the century) how these practices show disdain for customers and prospects and often make it impossible for them to recognize what their customers and prospects are trying to get across in real time.

As the originator of the "Vendor Relationship Management" (VRM) concept, Doc used his tenure at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society, to foster several development initiatives designed to provide individuals with tools, resources, and fourth-party agents to help them ("us" actually) do a better job of acting on our own behalf while carrying out everyday commerce. In this book, he takes stock of many of those efforts and also gives credit to a handful of retailers, public broadcasters and other businesses who actively seek to serve their customers without gimmicks, deception of sleight of hand.

Doc recently pointed out that IT and CRM specialists think they are solving "the problems of the future" when they are, in fact, just stuck in the "now.
Read more ›
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pay attention to intention economy April 24, 2012
By milofox
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A must read book for anyone who is concerned about the arrogance of social media and its expropriation and sale of our personal information. Doc Searl's exhortations that the customer can and should be empowered, if heeded, will transform the internet into a vehicle for liberation and make it truly consumer centric. Hopefully, thinkers like Doc, will allow us to realize our personal and collective power and rights as consumers and true relationship to the web. His novel concept that, in the new economy, our personal data is currency that we own and control should strike fear into both Google and Facebook. Doc's arguments are compelling. By asserting our rights as customers, we can create vendor relationship that serve our interests rather than exploit and manipulate us for marketing purposes. The alternative is impoverishment and a disconcertingly bleak future. We cannot afford to ignore his message.

Dr. Milo Pulde
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wealth of Internets June 14, 2012
Format:Hardcover
The Intention Economy
When Customers Take Charge
by Doc Searls
Review by Kelly Mackin, editor, Personal Data Journal.
Reprinted with Permission.

Before the middle of the last century, economics was called political economy. With the rise of computing and advanced statistical techniques after World War II, political economy gave way to econometrics and the rise of quantitative analysis. Political economy was always a broader, and in my opinion better, subject than its descendants for it allowed writers to connect economic thinking to the broader societies and issues that it directly affects.

Working on a four-year fellowship at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Doc Searls, an award-winning writer and journalist, has been spearheading a deep and important project on the role of intention in the structure of human action. His project centers on the development of an intellectual and technology consensus to further an improved political economy of the web. The internet was created by engineers who cared more about creating things and worried less about making money. That's why they favored open systems over closed ones.

Searls points out that the "open" internet is now overshadowed by the web as a sort of a Blade Runner "shopping mall." Relationships in this commercial web are governed by an essentially feudalistic rubric where sellers - in their crush to maximize revenue streams - essentially control all the material terms of a relationship. This feudalistic model developed in the absence of a technical infrastructure that would support other models.

As in the case of proprietary email systems, the need exists to develop interaction methods that support a 1:1 correspondence between buyers and sellers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cracking read June 8, 2012
By William
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a cracking read. Doc Searls' thesis - that customers will increasingly take charge of their end of the e-commerce relationship with profound effects - has a visceral appeal, and the same sense of inevitability that now seems obvious in hindsight with The Cluetrain Manifesto. It's built on his profound and well-researched understanding of technology, particularly the Internet and open source software, of advertising and marketing. But he wears this learning lightly, he avoids jargon and puts his message across in a folksy and humourous style. With the skill set he has it's some sort of miracle that instead of being blockedbooked years in advance earning vast consultancy fees from corporate boardrooms he's instead out there speaking for each and every one of us. We've yet to find out just how this world he describes will come about. But his book describes plenty of straws in the wind, and it seems inevitable - to this reader at least - that his vision will be realised, with vast implications and consequences for businesses of all sorts, for public services and the dignity of individuals.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting concepts about empowering buyers/consumers. Some of these...
Interesting concepts about empowering buyers/consumers. Some of these ideas may be applicable in an illusory way to current marking platforms. Read more
Published 1 month ago by BARRY GRAY
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love this book!
Published 1 month ago by lara hanson
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful with a powerful concept that may lead to a better future...
CRM should be thrown out of the window and replaced with VRM and give customers the power to choose vendors and not be locked in with vendors. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Cheng Yi Chiao
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic glimpse of the future
I enjoyed this book for many reasons. I loved it's insight into the way a customer really wants to work, I enjoyed reading about how early we are still in the web game and a... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Robert Kirk
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking
This book gave a great perspective that made sense of the increasing/accelerating shift to the consumer designing the commerce experience.
Published 16 months ago by Anthony Hackett
3.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking second half; lightweight first half
I highly recommend pages 162 through the end, where the author lays out his proposals of what technology could enable an intention economy. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Bradford Needham
4.0 out of 5 stars The future foretold
Dock Searls is one of the legends of the tech writing world (mostly known as Senior Editor of Linux Journal). Read more
Published 19 months ago by Jim Estill
5.0 out of 5 stars Informed look at the future potential of customer power
Imagine a world where unknown companies can't track your every digital move, and where you don't have to click, agree and assume all the liability in every transaction. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Rolf Dobelli
5.0 out of 5 stars think
There are a few books which force you to think, Take longer to complete as it involves assimilating more than reading. Read more
Published 23 months ago by vj2k
5.0 out of 5 stars A new direction for the Internet-enabled economy
I just finished Doc Searls' latest book. This book is several things, all of them good. This is a knowledgeable look at the future of being a customer in a world where the Internet... Read more
Published on August 6, 2012 by B. Caron
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