This piece on the Intention Economy by Doc is really great. It speaks to what I see as the subtle convergence of ideas from communities that I belong to. In spiritual activist world intention is a big deal “what is your intention” is not an infrequent question or frame invited around self reflection.
Is “The Attention Economy” just another way for advertisers to skewer eyeballs? And why build an economy around Attention, when Intention is where the money comes from?
I have developed a real problem with the perspective behind what a number of people have been saying about Attention behind the podia. That perspective is sell-side. Its point of view is anchored with sellers, not buyers.
Hence my idea: The Intention Economy.
The Intention Economy grows around buyers, not sellers. It leverages the simple fact that buyers are the first source of money, and that they come ready-made. You don’t need advertising to make them.
The Intention Economy is about markets, not marketing. You don’t need marketing to make Intention Markets.
The Intention Economy is built around truly open markets, not a collection of silos. In The Intention Economy, customers don’t have to fly from silo to silo, like a bees from flower to flower, collecting deal info (and unavoidable hype) like so much pollen. In The Intention Economy, the buyer notifies the market of the intent to buy, and sellers compete for the buyer’s purchase. Simple as that.
The Intention Economy is built around more than transactions. Conversations matter. So do relationships. So do reputation, authority and respect. Those virtues, however, are earned by sellers (as well as buyers) and not just “branded” by sellers on the minds of buyers like the symbols of ranchers burned on the hides of cattle.
The Intention Economy is about buyers finding sellers, not sellers finding (or “capturing”) buyers.
Even though I’ve been thinking out loud about Independent Identity for years, I didn’t have a one-word adjective for the kind of market economy it would yield, or where it would thrive. Now, thanks to all the unclear talk at eTech about attention, intentional is that adjective, because intent is the noun that matters most in any economy that gives full respect to what only customers can do, which is buy.
Like so many other things that I write about (including everything I’ve written about identity), The Intention Economy is a provisional idea. It’s an observation that might have no traction at all. Or, it might be a snowball: an core idea with enough heft to roll, and with enough adhesion to grow, so others add their own thoughts and ideas to it.
As for the Linux connection, I believe that The Intention Economy is, by necessity, built on free software and open source principles, practices, standards and code. It’s not something that requires any company’s “platform” or “environment”. That’s why, much as I like the services provided by companies like Orbitz (which is built on LAMP, and does a very good job), I believe no company’s system can encompass The Intention Economy. The encompassing has to work the other way around. In other words, silos are fine. But the choice can’t be “nothing but silos”.
I think the foundational statement here is this necessity these new economic models be built on free software and open source principles, practices, standards and code.
You can see this trend happening in the face to face community gatherings of techies with the flowering of independent conferences that are built on open source principles. They don’t have a high barrier to entry and people come together because they have an interest – they figure out what they want to talk about and do together. We have used these to bring the identity community together at the Internet Identity Workshop. Camps are happening etc.
The essential nature of identity systems that go to the core of who we are – or are becoming in the digital age means that the platforms that we use to exchange this information must be OPEN. Jair and I have talked about this a bunch. We must be able to see the code that our operating systems are built on if they are managing our personally identifying information. How do we know there is not an NSA back door into Microsoft vista to peer on us. Despite what MS says can we believe them – we could if we could see the code. Hopefully they will get with Jeffery Moore and understand the comodification of the stack.
We also must improve privacy protection for third party storage of information – breaking out of the ‘secrecy paradigm’ that the courts interpreted – if someone knows information about me then it is not secret so they can share it. This does not jive with or norms of social disclosure of information.