in which phil gets his flowers…

phil is getting married. there are things he is going to need. in the interest of pursuing vendor-client relations, he has set up a tiddlywiki here: http://www.osmosoft.com/wedding/

i have been thinking about this wiki for sometime. i think about if i was a vendor. if i was a vendor, in the local area, what would i need from this wiki, from this interface between my services and the happy couple? first of all, i would need access to their needs, their request for service. secondly, i would need to be able to contact them easily and quickly to submit a bid for certain items. to do this, i would need access to other vendors. if i was a floral designer, i would need flowers, and ribbon (among other things, like green sticky tape).

so what can this wiki do for me? it could offer the need for certain items/services to a feed. it could offer this need/request in a way that i can access local floral needs in a real-time environment. perhaps i subscribe to a feed for ‘floral’, sub-tag ‘weddings’. perhaps my feed is filtered by local area.

so i wake up one day and there is phil’s request for flowers. now i need a way to tell him that i am available, and submit my resume/references/portfolio/philosophy. that would be a link, to a page, or a blog, or a wiki. so there are ten of us who do this (via form-tiddler), and phil checks us out. maybe he likes one of us for our flower philosophy, maybe for our sustainable practices, maybe one of us has an outstanding public rating, many hearts, many reviews. maybe he notices one of us is connected to him through a network of people. maybe he just likes our designs.

maybe he hires me on the spot. done deal.

or maybe he chooses three of us, names some flowers, and takes bids. we are notified of his consideration, and submit a bid (tiddler-form). he chooses one of us. online deposit, done deal.

so say i get the contract. now i need flowers. i submit my need for deep blue flowers to go with the gold suits, and local florists have access to my request, by way of the local filter. i am rated as a client, and they trust me to pay on time. they are rated as vendors, so i feel secure that the flowers will be of good quality. perhaps this florist has a connection to a ribbon person, and i can get ribbon, too. and green sticky tape. all set.

i think about how we are all vendors, and we are all clients. i think about how we simply need to find each other when we need to, and have a way to talk. we also need to find information about our trade, to be aware of and share innovations.

finding people, and finding information. this process of finding is currently called searching.

about searching:

i search for information, or for products and services.

wikipedia is, for me, often the top listing on google for ‘definition/information’ searches. it is most often the most relevant. a wiki-pedia, or series of niche wikis (or pedias) could enable their own ‘relevance’ listings. browsers could offer cross-searches of select pedia databases. a sub-listing of local experts in a certain field could also be offered.

soon browsers become more than a portal, more like an interface (if that is the right term). soon they can catalogue sites frequented for information, and alert on updates to information areas, such as new findings, innovations, trends. how will these sites make money? as it is, experts in certain areas keep wikipedia up to date, gratis. if i am an expert in compost, then i will contribute my findings (as i document my work and experiences online). i can be searched locally, for consultation, or for services. i can be found by other experts, and we can collaborate.

about vendor searching (finding):

locality becomes more important. less transportation costs, more community. yahoo (http://local.yahoo.com/) has an excellent local hierarchal listing, as does dmoz (http://www.dmoz.org). how will these integrate into new ‘browsers’ ? our browser knows our local zip, harvests business listings. or, we fill-in what we are looking for, and local vendors supply us with bids. conversely, we are also local vendors ourselves, and our browser supplies us with a relevant feed of local requests. favorite vendors can be rated, feedback…

this idea cuts down on the need for advertising. if a product is needed, and i can contact the client, there is no need to advertise. if a vendor has access to a person’s needs, and can contact them easily with a bid, there is no need to promote themselves beyond ‘word of net’. a good job done well will speak for itself.

but what about brand names? what about coke and pepsi? local vendors that carry coke and pepsi will be available. perhaps one could have an option to allow product proposals, such as a restaurant owner may request. local vendors for locally made beverages will also be available. i, for one, would herald the return of sarsaparilla.

about vendor bidding:

in the instance of the wedding tiddlywiki, if i were a vendor, i could access a page that listed the items/services requested, and i could supply bids for the items i was interested in providing. the bidding process could be open or closed to bidders, but why not keep it open? a certain local area can only support so many florists, and the equilibrium level of suppliers and price will occur. perhaps some florists specialize in different niches (i.e., orchids, perennials…)

google, yahoo, microsoft… all clamoring for the ad dollars. why spend dollars on ads? do we need ads? how does advertising affect the integrity of the search? am i finding the best result for me? what is the best result? the most pertinent. the best price. the most sustainable. the most reputable.

let’s focus on sustainability, and repute. both can easily be solved with the browser-based feedreader/tagreader scenario. i can search for ‘solar panel’, click an option to filter with respect to my locality (why wouldn’t i?), click an option to filter by ratings of other clients. i am presented with a listing of say five local vendors, and an option to narrow the term, say to ‘solar panel: installation’.

my vendor, the installer of solar panels, is also a client. this person can search, by locality, for solar panel parts. how does this person keep up with worldwide advances in technologies? a broader search, perhaps one tailored to research and development in the industry. all solar panel installers have this option, to keep up with a feed about certain terms. ‘solar: technology’ filtered by date, for instance. all under the solar power top level (under the ‘renewable energy’ top level, under the ‘sustainable living’ top level).

what have these terms become? not ad words. just inherent information access. access to a term. is that term a tag? or, as in spanish, etiquetas (meaning both ‘label’ and ‘etiquette’)? why not?

it is the handling of these terms which will determine our accessibility to pertinent, relevant information.

it is the handling of these terms which will make current searching unnecessary. and current methods of advertising unnecessary. we will subscribe to the tagfeeds which are pertinent to our lives.

i write this with the instinct that our current browsing software will develop into our ‘interface’. how will such a browser make money? perhaps a commission, perhaps an annual fee from users. perhaps such an information system (from cables to software) becomes maintained by a larger community, such as the roads in a housing development.

what will result is an even playing field, managed by quality ratings and by a more responsible, responsive economic system. in many areas, local farmers are hard-pressed to find local markets. this will change. many things will change.

for instance, a person looking for a trade (or hobby) could access what sort of services are being requested within 50, 10 or 5 miles. is there is need for an appliance repair person? local people would have searched for one. this potential repairman would also have access to the fair wage for such a service.

increased demand in a service or product will result in an increase in vendors. quality and personal relationships will be the deciding factor. the community will become more integrated, basic needs as well as luxuries will be met more sustainably, and the system will have less stress overall.

the stress of selling. willy loman. how does it affect a person to live one’s life viewing others as a potential sale? how happy are telemarketers? how happy are we to be telemarketed to? to be spammed?

there would be no spam (gasp), as we will filter our feeds for the information we need. if someone were to misrepresent their services, or somehow operated below the level, they would soon be rated out of our radar. this occurrence will become increasingly unlikely, as we will have personal, local relationships with our vendors. our vendors are also our clients. there hardly needs to be a distinction between the two. we are the people. sometimes we provide a service or product, sometimes we buy the same. spammers can find other work. perhaps they knit.

this paradigm will find an economic equilibrium for many industry sectors. if there is such a thing as an industry sector.

take music. i can search for local musicians, find local favorites, find new musical combinations, follow certain musicians throughout numerous ‘bands’. i will be able to buy a song, for a song, so to speak (i personally feel 10 cents is a valid price for a digital version of a song, and $5 for an album). the music will get better, as more musicians can afford to live on their music, or keep it as a viable hobby. i will have access to show dates, and can secure bids directly from the musicians for any time i might want to hire musicians. if i want to have a broader outreach, i can search the top-rated musicians over a broader area, or perhaps view which music is being enjoyed worldwide. as a musician i can send a request for other musicians to collaborate with, through descriptions of the projects.

take healthcare. is it out of the question to think a network of local doctors could be on-call, or a community could set up a local healthcare network?

how many people could grow an extra food item in their yard, if a community market could offer a request for vegetables, or jelly-makers. if i, as a grower, saw i was going to have a large amount of tomatoes, i could announce the existence of said tomatoes, and stores and restaurants could reserve them. if i, as a grower, wanted to know what crops to grow, i could easily see where there was a demand, such as the one for sarsaparilla.

in many of these instances, the needs of the people of a community will be easily ascertained, and met by other people in the community. if i need extra money, say, to pay taxes, i could search for open positions, or open services/products in demand. i might end up with three part-time jobs, some seasonal. why not?

i also might just work less. any person will not have to work those hours (translated into money) they now spend on advertising. if i spend %5 of gross sales on advertising, and my accessibility to clients is accomplished, i can work 5% less. that is two hours less in a 40 hour week. two and a half-weeks less each year. my costs of transportation will decrease (as well as time spent transporting). local goods will become more accessible to the vendor, also translating into reduced costs. our vending efforts will be pre-niched and targeted, as the needs of the community will be readily available. if my local area needs more milk, i could buy a cow. if there is enough demand in a local area, someone could open a dairy, and send out a request for milk vendors. a local demand for goat milk could easily translate into accessible goat milk within weeks. i would demand goat milk. don’t think i wouldn’t. it is good stuff.

i just might spend more time growing my own food. again, less time i need to work.

i will have more time to refine my methods and innovate in my field. again, even less work.

i just might spend more time locally, traveling less. less expense. less work. my money is kept within the local area. our local infrastructure needs are easily suggested, discussed, solutions are found. local budgets are evident and accessible, and local vendors supply the services. maintenance costs go down. governing costs go down. taxes go down. i work less.

and phil gets his flowers. done deal.

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One Response to “in which phil gets his flowers…”

  1. osmosoft show n tell « rambly Says:

    […] second is a longish musing about VRM, or my interpretation of such a term, and a response to Phil Whitehouse’s wedding tiddlywiki […]

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