The Great Reconfiguration

The Internet  is undergoing a major reconfiguration.

Digital ChildNo longer is it sufficient for companies to package a value proposition on their website and then drive traffic to it through ads, search engine optimization, and reciprocal links. Today companies must find ways to provide a value proposition wherever the user might be: on Facebook and Twitter, on their iPhones, and even through 3rd party applications accessing deep into the company’s datasphere through APIs and webhooks.

The Internet is reconfiguring around the user, wherever people happen to be.

I’ve been talking with folks in the VRM community about this topic over the last few years. VRM is, at its core, about starting with the user, re-engineering systems to maximize user freedom and control, and placing the user at the point of integration.¬† Or, as Doc Searls puts it, creating tools for “both independence and engagement”.

For example, I’ve led several discussions at various VRM workshops on what I call “user driven search“: what would happen if the user were truly in control of all the data related to their search and could engage any Search provider they like with the full scope of that information and under the user’s terms?

In the last several months, I have been advocating a new term has that captures the core direction of both VRM and User Driven Search: “User Driven Services”.

When you configure your services around the user as the primary point of origination, integration, and control, you are building User Driven Services.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll dive into what we mean by User Driven Services; consider it a warm up for both the VRM West Coast Workshop 2009 and the Internet Identity Workshop.

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