I have long been a fan of Doc Searls from his seminal (co-authored) publication, The Cluetrain Manifesto, to his work with Linux Journal, and more recently his tireless battles for consumers who are tracked across the internet like so many bits of soulless data.
Today Doc features small business and how credit cuts against them in ways not unlike internet advertising. The concept is VRM, vendor relationship management. The point of it all is that in today’s economy vendors drive the conversation with consumers in a top down manner. The vision is to flip the balance of power, or at least create symmetry–a level playing field. Instead of CRM, both a software model and a paradigm driven from the vendor to customer, we have VRM, the model and paradigm in which customers drive their engagement with vendors.
Here’s an excerpt from one of my responses to Doc’s questions:
At Descant, we are applying the principles of VRM to transform the relationship between small business and creditors. As a result, up to six million small employer firms will be able to access the credit, capital, and commerce they deserve.. This will lead to better leverage of cash and ability to not only meet payroll and pay bills on time, but also better contribute to the economic well-being of their communities. Twenty-two million “non employer firms”—freelancers and sole proprietors, for example—will have access to credit, and more easily form trusted joint ventures to bid on otherwise out-of-reach projects.
See the entire post and many links to important research here!