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September 10, 2006

Gillmor Gang Debrief

A little old now but didn't get to post this until today: a brief summary from the Gillmor Gang, episode VRM Gang Post II (9/1/06):

1) Attention Scarcity and Clickstream Data

Setting aside the argument over who owns people's clickstream data, the real insight about the attention scarcity and clickstream discussion is that the value of clickstream data is probably in knowing what the user doesn't like rather than what they do like (the burden of proof is much easier on eliminating content that you're disinterested in rather than in selecting content that you're interested in)

I've posted about attention scarcity before but this discussion of attention and clickstream also reminds me of my ideas around "ah-hah moments" (tracking how you discover/create new knowledge) that I mentioend to Fred and Brad. I'm still not articulating it well but the discussion about attention and clickstream data is the closest thing to it so far.

The "ah-hah moments" are more about learning and adding it your your collective knowledge base so let's start calling them "knowledge moments." Seemingly contradictory because knowledge is by definition permanent and moments are ephermal, but I'm defining those precise moment of learning something new, when you make connections between different ideas, subject matters, areas of business, or authors or bloggers.

I always learn a lot from my reading and my blogging and the internet facilitates sharing via linking (the basic premise and power of Google is links). Sharing of ideas is fundmental to learning and eventually what we learn becomes knowledge. You can't always predict or define when or how this new knwoledge is going to form but if you have enough of these knowledge moments, you'll learn more and increase your odds of creating new knwoledge.

2) Giving More Control to Users- VRM

With ownership of your clickstream data, the issue becomes giving more control to the user (which decreases the burden on the seller- one reason why CRM software sucks is because all of the relationship intelligence info is a burden on the seller, not the user-- not the definition of a relationship). So the new buzzword in 2-3 years will be VRM, Vendor Relationship Management, which is the reciprocal of CRM: it's users tracking their relationships with vendors.

The question then becomes how much of their individual profile will users release to gain access to offers that they're interested in (the new face of advertising)? Think of like using a frequent shopper card at your grocery store. I agree more with Doc or Dan Farber (think it was one of them) and disagree with Steve because I think individuals will freely give away control/ownership of personal data if it equates to a discount/freebie or the appearance of one.

Don't believe me?

Read this interview with Steve Rambam and how as a private investigator who's willing to pay nominally for access to a few online databases, he can aggregate an astonishing and disturbing amount of personal information on the average citizen. And most of this information we voluntarily give over to private sector companies in exchange for using their services.


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