Why you should care
Looking for stuff sucks. All the computer power in the world and the process is actually more a pain in the butt then the Yellow Pages.
Doc and the gang propose to turn this customer relationship stuff on its head and do what a) makes total sense and b) what should have been done 60 seconds after the first piece of SPAM email went out.
From the manifesto:
The primary theory behind ProjectVRM is that many market problems (including the widespread belief that customer lock-in is a "best practice") can only be solved from the customer side: by making the customer a fully-empowered actor in the marketplace, rather than one whose power in many cases is dependent on exclusive relationships with vendors, by coerced agreement provided entirely by those vendors.
Consider this simple example:
Let’s say you want to rent a house in Florida. There are about a billion websites to pick from. There are lots of sites with great listings, calendars with availability, rate cards, etc. Before I (or you)ever get on that web site, we know generally what we want. I’d like a nice one bedroom (no kids, whoo hooo! Sorry, girls) on the gulf side, on the beach, with an internet connection, parking, and I want it for the month of December. Oh, and I’m willing to pay up to $3500 for the month, all in.
Does it not make sense that I should be able to put this information in one place and have this information go out to the property owners who have the above? And it goes out anonymously. Why do I have to fill out a stupid form for each inquiry (go to this site and wander around to see what I mean. Most are no better.) and give my information each time. Nonsense.
What should happen:
I verify myself. I have a LinkedIn profile as well as my Facebook page. On LinkedIn, I’ve actually paid for the service so those folks have, for the most part, verified I exist. Or PayPal. The point is that I have verified credentials out there so this notion of the property owner having to put up with nonsensical requests can be mitigated by using some trusted source to ‘prove’ an inquiry is coming from a real person. Not a guaranteed sale, mind you, by a real person. I then fill out the request. If I need an unlocked BlackBerry or a rental home in Florida, I have the need, want to buy and somebody out there can make a sale. This is a big database project and one that can change the face of commerce.
An automatic concierge of sorts that takes your request, puts it out there, and gets you what you need. There’s a trillion dollar opportunity in here. If you're an entrepreneur interested in these types of things, you should get over to ProjectVRM’s website, dive in and go make something.