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Doc Searls is:

In a bit more detail...

The Intention Economy: When Customers Take Charge (Harvard Business Review Press, 2012) reports on the expected market changes caused by increased independence and empowerment of customers in the marketplace. Those changes are ones Doc began work toward in 2006, when he created ProjectVRM at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. VRM stands for Vendor Relationship Management, a customer-side counterpart for CRM, or Customer Relationship Management. Today there are dozens of VRM development projects and companies. For his work on VRM, Doc was named a "2010 Influential Leader" by CRM Magazine. (See the cover story, below on the right).

Doc has also been a fellow with the Center for Information Technology and Society (CITS) at the University of California, Santa Barbara, since 2006. In that capacity he studies the Internet as a form of infrastructure, and infrastructure itself (a term that has only come into popular use in the last three decades and still suffers a lack of clear definition). These together are the subjects of his next book, titled The Giant Zero.

In October 2012 Doc was apointed as a visiting scholar in the Arthur J. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University, under professor Jay Rosen in Studio20. In this capacity Doc takes part in classes and helps guide students in their real-world projects.

Doc's career as a journalist began when he worked as a reporter and photographer for a series of small papers in suburban and rural New Jersey in the early 1970s, followed by work as a writer and editor for newspapers and magazines in North Carolina. In the same decade he also worked in radio (as a news reporter, disc jockey, engineer and advertising salesman), where he acquired his nickname (shortened from "Doctor Dave," his on-air persona). He continued to write free-lance while working full-time at the advertising agency he co-founded in 1978 (more about that below), and returned to full-time journalism in 1996, when he began writing for Linux Journal. His title for most of the time since has been Senior Editor. As an observer of free software, open source and related development methods he has contributed to a number of books, including Open Sources 2.0 from O'Reilly. In The World is Flat, Thomas L. Friedman calls Doc "one of the most respected technology writers in America." In 2005, Doc won the Google O'Reilly Open Source Award for Best Communicator. Doc's byline has also appeared in The Wall Street Journal, OMNI, Wired, PC Magazine, The Standard, The Sun, Upside, Release 1.0, The Globe & Mail and many other publications.CRM Magazine cover

Cluetrain coverIn 1999 Doc and three collaborators put up an iconoclastic website called The Cluetrain Manifesto, which Tom Petzinger of The Wall Street Journal called "the future of business." The site was then enlarged into a book, which became a business bestseller in 2000. Thirteen years later, Cluetrain still sells well (a 10th Anniversary edition came out in 2009). According to Google Books, Cluetrain is cited by more than five thousand other books. Doc is perhaps best known as the source of Cluetrain's thesis and most-quoted line, "Markets are conversations"—which has since become a mantra for marketing.

He is also one of the Web's longest-serving and widely-sourced bloggers. Doc Searls Weblog, which moved to a Harvard address in 2007, started (with guidance from Doc's friend and mentor Dave Winer) in 1999. J.D. Lasica, author of Darknet and proprietor of OurMedia, calls Doc "one of the deep thinkers in the blog movement." Doc also tweets as @dsearls and has over 19,000 followers on Twitter.

As a speaker, Doc has keynoted, served as a panelist or been interviewed at countless events and trade shows. He is also a figure in the "unconference" movement, and co-organizes the twice-yearly Internet Identity Workshops, which have contributed to the development of many standards, technologies, companies and organizations, including ProjectVRM, which has spawned or contributed to dozens of new development efforts around the world.

Doc's consulting practice, The Searls Group, has worked with Hitachi, Sun, Apple, Nortel, Borland, BT, Symbian Foundation, Motorola, Acxiom and other leading companies, in addition to many start-ups. The Searls Group grew out of Doc's work with Hodskins Simone & Searls, which he co-founded in North Carolina and which later became one of Silicon Valley's top advertising agencies. (HS&S was acquired by Publicis in 1998.)

Doc's earliest training in journalism was as a newspaper photographer. These days he leverages that craft mostly in service to the fields of geology and geography, which he observes from the sky while piling up frequent-flyer miles. Thanks to permissive licensing of Doc's 45,000+ photos posted on Flickr, hundreds of those have found their way onto Wikimedia Commons, and into countless Wikipedia articles as well. All of them were put there by people other than Doc. Many books, magazines and other media contain Doc's photos. Billions of people saw some of those photos during NBC's coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, in which Doc's ice crystal photos served as key elements for the network's coverage. (Doc ran in the credits as a member of the design team.)

Doc and his family split time between their home in Santa Barbara and his work at Harvard, NYU and elsewhere.

He and his wife Joyce are also board members of Customer Commons, which has as its mission "creating a world of liberated, powerful and respected customers."


Downloadable pictures of Doc live in this folder here. The photo above is by Carsten Ingemann and was shot in Paris in July 2010.

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