Customer Commons

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Earlier this week, several of us met to talk about developing a non-hierarchical, scalable organization called Customer Commons. The working ideas/hypotheses include:

  • This is a community of individuals that buy stuff (customers),
  • it receives its funding only from customers, and
  • the organization serves the collective interests and aspirations of those customers.

You’ve likely heard of Creative Commons (offers alternative copyright choices for publication of your work), Consumer’s Union (addresses the information asymmetry between consumers and companies, but reifies the old constraints), Common Cause, and other “commona” related interests that help bridge the gap between abundance and scarcity. However, there’s a need for an organization that represents the customers.

A few rough notes from the meeting:

Process: problem definition, validate possible solutions for your market, then build. No a priori structure. Customer discovery, customer validation (confirming that they’ll pay for your solution), customer creation, company building. Joe will arrange a series of conference calls based on Four Steps of the Epiphany (45 pages) to discuss a process for building this organization. (Let me know if you’d like to join us!) This process/movement/organization will “roll out like the web” in the sense that everyone is exploring a market place/need.

Organizational aspect: Organization should be in the same vein as what we’re trying to create with VRM, not a hierarchy. What is it that is unique/needs to do that nobody else does?

Product hypothesis: what problem must we solve to adhere our mission and change the world?

  • VIP access to beta products that are VRMy
  • Support development of rights frameworks that are VRMy
  • Building moral/political/economic force
  • membership
  • legal education
  • magazine/publications
  • tools
  • seed funding for VRM tech
  • Participation in the conversation that is reframing the market
  • Develop/grow the “customer interaction protocol”

Customer hypothesis:

  • We are the 100% (eventually)
  • We are intentful

Process: idea – discussion understanding – agreement – movement – ubiquity

Three “might be viral” points: 1) is edge driven, 2) is VRMy like our projects, 3) says “emperor wears no clothes” (reflects common values).

More work will be done in the coming weeks.


  1. Where do I sign up. Great meeting this week, thank for capturing the key points. Keeping us all on track, and on message.

  2. Thanks @Jim,
    Doc will be setting up the web site/contact procedures. I’ve forwarded your email and request for follow-up.

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