I have here at my left elbow an original 1993 edition of The One to One Future, by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers — the inaugural book in the authors’ , and one that had no small influence on , written six years later by , , and myself. From its pages protrude little plastic flags that I started sticking there, seventeen years ago, to mark quotable passages. The book was, and still is, ahead of its time. Dig some of the chapter titles:

  • Collaborate With Your Customers
  • Engage Your Customers in Dialoge
  • Take Products to Customers, Not Customers to Products
  • Make Money Protecting Privacy, Not Threatening It
  • Society at Light Speed.

This was two years before the arrival of the commercial Web (via the graphical browser).

I look at that chapter about not threatening privacy, and I think Geez, people were getting 1:1 wrong long before they started getting Cluetrain wrong. So I go to check and find David Weinberger talking about 1 to 1 and how people get it wrong, in The Cluetrain Manifesto itself. (Most of the original book is online here, but its sidebars are not, and that link goes to one of those sidebars, courtesy of Google Books.) For Wired, David also gave the book a thumbs-up review in 1995 and  interviewed Martha Rogers in 1996.

Look around and you’ll find other connections. There are plenty.

The latest is 1toEverything: innovation through a customer’s eyes, by , who worked with Don and Martha for many years. His post could hardly bowl a better strike, right up the VRM alley. One pull quote:

Nearly anything you see out your window – cars, office buildings, people, the weather, birds, restaurants or billions of other possibilities – can and will be differentiated on your behalf by applications that haven’t yet come to market.


In fact the VRM development community has brought some of those applications to market. Others are on their way. Others are open source projects that will be in continuous development, because that’s how open source works. The growing list is here.

I love this chart in Bruce’s post:

Everything in there can be remembered in your (aka — or either), which is in turn part of the . At the first of those links is this helpful graphic by of :

So this is to welcome Bruce, Don (who kindly pointed to VRM to in the first comment on Bruce’s post) and everybody else from the 1 to 1 community who wants to weigh in and help out with VRM development and (at last, because we’ve been holding off waiting for code) evangelism.

It’s still early. What we have so far is just the beginning of what we expect to be quite huge by the time it becomes established. But this stuff has been a long time coming, and it’s important to recognize our earliest and best pioneers.

And while I’m spreading gratitude around, the biggest props go to the , for giving us four years of runway to get VRM off the ground. Hats off to the faculty, staff and fellows who have done so much for us — and still do. We couldn’t have done it without them.