Friday, 9 January 2009

VRM in 2009

I'm willing to wager that 2009 will be a watershed year for VRM. But then I suspect the same will apply for the next 5-10 years too; we're only at the beginning of the journey. So what activity can we anticipate from the VRM community over the course of the year?

From where I'm standing, VRM seems to be gathering significant momentum in terms of mindshare. Folks are frequently joining the VRM mailing list, and offering valuable, constructive input. And a few hardy vendors are starting to take notice (as evidenced by their attendance at November's meeting). It all goes towards improving the definition and objectives of the VRM project, and there's some fantastic work going on at as a result.

So in 2009 I think we can expect two things.

On the positive side, actual VRM tools will move from conception and production into launch. Having these tools in the wild will help many to understand what is, up to now, a fairly conceptual notion. This will help determine the future direction of the project and, naturally, improved tools will follow.

Unfortunately, on the negative side, I suspect VRM will become a misused buzzphrase. It'll be interpreted (whether accidentally or maliciously) as simply giving customers a bit more control over their data, without strictly adhering to the actual principles of VRM. Companies will proudly sign up for their faulty interpretation of VRM. Course correction will become an important job for the project team.

Looking beyond these, I imagine that one or more VRM tools are on the horizon that will be embraced by customers and vendors alike. I still believe that there'll be room for a broker in this arrangement - at least to get things off the ground - with a strict provision for direct-to-vendor relationships as well.

And I believe with passion that 2009 will be a huge net positive for the VRM project. The quality of the discussions taking place on the mailing lists (join!) is consistently high and thought provoking. Some of the best minds on the planet are coming together for the greater good. VRM has implications that go far beyond mere trade...this is truly groundbreaking stuff and I'd urge anyone who hasn't yet taken an interest to get involved!

Christmas in Hong Kong

We decided to stop in Hong Kong on the way back from Australia, which happened to include Christmas Day. I didn't know what to expect, and a few have asked what it was like, so here goes...

(Quick link to photos)

Christmas is still a public holiday, from the days of British rule, and with the weather being ~20°C plenty of people were out and about. The overwhelming impression - skewed as it may be - was that everyone hit the shops. They were heaving!

We had Dim Sum for our main Christmas meal, as the amazing Luk Yu Tea House in Lan Kwai Fong. Best. Dumplings. Ever. And the kids got to use chopsticks for the first time.

Yum Cha


But the most interesting thing by far was that the parks were packed with people holding Christmas parties. In Kowloon Park we spent some time with some people from Indonesia, who'd bought their instruments to rock out to:

Guitar hero

Get down

Meanwhile the locals were trying to concentrate...

Chinese Checkers

And at the end of Christmas Day, there was the usual 8pm lightshow. Crowds gather on Kowloon to look over the harbour at Hong Kong island, where several buildings have coordinated a lights and lasers show to music:

It's obviously impossible to get a clear picture of a city like Hong Kong in the short time we had. But I will say it was one of the more interesting Christmas Days I've had...!

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Australia 2008

Happy New Year!

This is the first of a few catch-up posts. I spent most of December travelling around Australia, catching up with friends in Melbourne and Sydney, and driving along the coast inbetween.

It was a great trip, and we got to see a corner of Australia we missed out on last time. Highlights along the coast were Wilson's Prom (a lovely national park at the Southern-most point of mainland Australia)....


With heaps of animals...


...some more friendly than others...

Attack! Attack!

...we stayed in some cool cabins along the coast (this one was only A$95 a night!)...

Log cabin

...and had a few jellyfish encounters...


...but Sydney (with apologies to Melbournites) was the real jewel in the crown. It was great to visit old haunts, as well as catching up with old friends. And the harbour...oh, the harbour....


In short, well worth the effort! Several have asked how we managed this with two very small children in tow, I'll post about that separately. In the meantime, here's to 2009 and saying goodbye to George!