Book of the Day: Doc Searls’ “The Intention Economy” | P2P Foundation

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Excerpted from an in-depth review by John Hagel:


“We’ve long known that customers are gaining power in markets around the world as they tap into the twin forces of digital technology and economic liberalization. They are able to access more and more information about products and vendors and to more readily switch from one vendor to another in a world of expanding choice. This has become a truism, so much so that our eyes begin to glaze over when we hear it, yet few of us have thought through the profound implications that this power will have. We’re not just talking about mounting pressure on companies, but also the emergence of what I have called reverse markets.


Most of us think of markets in conventional terms – it is about vendors seeking out customers and persuading them to buy more of their products and services. A reverse market flips this dynamic – it’s about customers seeking out the most relevant vendors and extracting more and more value at lower and lower cost. It’s a fundamentally different mindset. It turns much of what we know about business on its head. Framing it in these terms can create a zero sum view – either vendors win or customers win. As Doc persuasively argues, though, a customer driven market actually generates significant growth in demand that will serve both vendors and customers well.


Doc lays out the basic premise of the book as follows:


– “. . . rather than guessing what might get the attention of consumers – or what might “drive” them like cattle – vendors will respond to actual intentions of customers. Once customers’ expressions of intent become abundant and clear, the range of economic interplay between supply and demand will widen, and its sum will increase. The result we will call the Intention Economy.”

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