The Laws of VRM

In conjunction with this week’s Internet Identity Workshop, a number of folks including

and others have been thinking a lot about ProjectVRM.  As part of the conversations, an activity this group was doing was trying to distill down to its essence what “makes” something “VRM” (or VRM-like, at least).  We came up with a couple of core concepts, the first of which is that in a system that is VRM-ish, the following holds true:

“VRM Law #1: The individual is the point of integration.”

In other words, instead of myriad entities holding various “slices” of data/information about an individual, that individual instead is the place where that information comes together.  The individual is the place where it all happens.

We want to keep kicking this rock down the street (or rolling this snowball downhill, or keeping this ball rolling, pick your own metaphor for “imparting forward motion to some type of spheroid object”).  However, I’ve noticed that in trying to determine these traits of VRM-ness, we sometimes are getting caught up in the semantics of the words, and instead are not clearly communicating the core concepts.

So.  Going to try something a bit new here.  I’ve embedded an open, editable presentation below.  Taking a page from the sketchbooks of Armano and Dave Gray and Dan Roam, let’s see if we can do this better visually.  

Think of this as a “visual wiki,” if you will.  Feel free to go ahead and change it, mark it up, tweak it, and adjust things.  You should (theoretically) be able to edit the presentation by clicking here.

Let’s see what happens.

10 Replies to “The Laws of VRM”

  1. “Individual is the Point of Integration” is probably the most important concept in VRM, yet it’s one of the hardest to convey – especially because the word “integration” is nerdy and can mean a bunch of different things.

    Integration here means both integrating the same thing across different external entities as well as integrating different things into a single place. The former is where most of the “ah-ha!” magic lives for me. This becomes more that the individual is the point of overlap or the individual is the common ground. For example, with transaction history, it doesn’t make sense at tax time for this data to be spread out across hundreds of disparate entities.

    In a networked world where everything is just a node, the individual is often the natural place for information and control to pivot around.

  2. Chris,

    Can you make the graphic on the first slide editable?

    Origination slide is pointing the arrows the other way

    Control is only offering a few of these icons and saying “no” to offering others

    Perhaps to Keith’s point, Integration might have all vendor histories in one database for sorting in any way we wish to see our purchases. Part of that history might be sorted out to offer access (say, to certain vendor data) to a second vendor.

  3. Hi, Judi! The graphic on the first slide is currently static, as I couldn’t get good arrows in the choices that were there, so I exported to Skitch (graphic editor) and then re-imported.

    Will explode that first graphic later today; I just need to tweak the arrows.

  4. keith, i think you’re spot-on, btw.

    your “tax time” example is beautiful.

    your last line, “In a networked world where everything is just a node, the individual is often the natural place for information and control to pivot around,” is golden.

  5. “Give people the opportunity to profit or otherwise benefit from their information products in the form of granular Informational Objects, and their valuable information will become more accessible to all. Give people the opportunity to familiarly bank their information like they bank their money, and watch the political dynamics shift favorably toward a more information transparent, and information secure, world.” Banking on Granular Information Ownership (April, 2007)

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