Following on More Than Friday: The Ones Who Teach Me

Note: I'm actually on a vacation, just finishing an incredible cruise through the Mediterranean and now on Day 2 of a 3 day stay in Barcelona. All in all a dream vacation to tell you the truth.
Written by Paul Greenberg, Contributor

Note: I'm actually on a vacation, just finishing an incredible cruise through the Mediterranean and now on Day 2 of a 3 day stay in Barcelona. All in all a dream vacation to tell you the truth. Best ever. But I HAD to finish this post. An addiction. If I left you out and I actually do follow you as an expert, I apologize and will update this list in the near future. Forgive me. I'm loving this trip to much to worry about the rest of it all. Also, please let me know who teaches you. Not just who you read but who teaches you something of value - and moves you forward. Either ZDNet or PGreenblog which will have this post will be great for the comments. Please.

There’s was this list going around a few weeks ago that seemed to be saying that somehow those on it were "the" SCRM Top 50 "experts." After seeing yet another list of another group of experts or influencers in CRM, I realized I'm having a problem with all of these lists. The problem isn't who's on the list, though about 20% of the people on it, I've never heard of - which is highly unlikely if they are influential. The bigger problem I have with lists like this is in this case is that a list like this is now calling the chosen ones on it, "experts." This particular list is saying that the top 50 SCRM experts are sorted by a combination of some sort of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn followers, friends and other connections. Hopefully, the use of the word "experts" here was a poor unconscious choice of words, because I'm hard pressed to understand how these criteria are linked to expertise.

Look, I have a really hard time seeing a combination of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn compadres as a measure of influence,much less expertise. How this T+F+L combo scrubbed with an algorithm or two qualifies someone as an expert, I'll never know. (hat tip to Groucho Marx). I just get the feeling that even beyond this list (no offense intended, list producers), we are reducing the value of expertise to something that means "someone will listen to you beyond your mom and/or dad." All it seems to need in the world of Social CRM is a comment in an #scrm hashtag or some SCRM related keyword in combination with retweets, Facebook wall posts and god-know-what on LinkedIn to be anointed the god of an industry. Now to the authors credit, they said in their post to not take the numerical order of the list seriously. Which I didn't.


It’s just not the way I roll. Or most of the people I know either.

Please forgive me if I sound somewhat grouchy, but I’m seeing lists like this everywhere that are based on some quantitative calculation that are then being acclaimed as definitive. Reality is that they aren’t definitive and they actually provide little value and more confusion than not.

Here’s my take on all of this. The value of an expert is that they are able to teach someone something in a way that the person learning can understand. In other words, not only do they have depth in a discipline or domain of some sort, but they also think about who their audience actually is and what they do and how they live and, most of all, how they think. The reality is that each person, regardless of their proximity to a particular demographic, thinks differently than the next person. They think in different metaphors. The expert – at least the experts that I think deserve that designation are those that think about that audience. They aren’t just people who spout stuff about a subject or who build up a big Twitter following or who have lots of Facebook friends. They are people who have an expertise that they can impart in the metaphors of their audience so that their audience really understands what they are trying to say. These are people who think about doing that too.

The people that I’m going to recommend here are those I look to for learning. They are the ones who actually teach me something. They don’t just rehash others stuff, they don’t spend their lives arguing their picayune niggling gripes about "definitions"; they aren’t in business to maneuver themselves into leadership positions. They don't backstab or spit at others due their own inadequacies. They've become experts because they've earned the recognition, not because they are trying to get it.

These experts have ideas that create the seeds of new concepts, or they provide unique frameworks in how they look at a subject, or they are able to advance a discussion in a way that didn’t seem possible twenty minutes before I read the article/post etc. They are thinkers who love ideas and love executing on the ideas. I look to different ones for different things. There are many others who I read that I enjoy but they aren’t the ones that consistently move me to another place in how I’m thinking about something. The ones that I’m highlighting are those that do make me think differently more often than not. I'm going to specify what each does - for me, at least. Others who aren’t on the list, please don’t take offense. Its quite possible I simply forgot to include you - and for that I blame a senior moment or two. Or I enjoy reading what you're saying and on occasion you too move me to new concepts and ways of thinking. But the ones here are the ones who consistently move me to change how I think and change what I think about, and they are my gods and goddesses.

I've listed them by category – The links to their name are to their blogs. Or barring that, to their twitter handle. They are in no particular order at all. All of these are regular or semi-regular bloggers or writers. These are not book authors who don't blog much. That means you won't see Joe Pine II or Lior Arussy here since they don't blog enough - even though they are expert when it comes to customer experience. Folks like them will get a separate post when I lay out the books that affected my life and impacted what I think in business. They also are not those who own the social sites or the aggregators, so you won't see Robin Carey or Bob Thompson here, both of whom are true influencers. Also, for those here, there are overlaps with some of these guys being experts in multiple categories but I’m only putting a person in one category. There is room for only so much knowledge between my ears before it fries my brain.

Social CRM

  1. Ray Wang
  2. - Ray is not only one of the most astute enterprise analysts I've ever met but he has a solid grasp of Social CRM and how to apply it in the real world which is something that is painfully needed in business now. He also has a heart of gold and a great head for business. He was voted the equivalent of the Analyst MVP two years running for good reason. He is one of the few must-always-read-even-if-you're-in-a-hurry pundits around.
  3. Esteban Kolsky
  4. - This man will frame you. Well, okay, so I'm taking some dramatic license here. He is a master at developing the kind of insights businesses need when it comes to SCRM and then creating frameworks that actually make some sense for businesses to apply. He does this on a solid intellectual foundation and a practical history as a former Gartner analyst. Plus he is really very funny.
  5. Brent Leary
  6. - He is the master at the application of SCRM to small business. Very few people can even understand how to apply CRM much less SCRM to small biz. Brent does both and straddles both worlds - CRM and small business as an influential. He can be found on the American Express Open Forum, BET, hanging out with Anita Campbell and of course among the glitterati of the CRM world too. Watch his real world examples of small business success carefully. Plus watch our show The CRM Playaz. Wicked.
  7. Jeremiah Owyang
  8. - A year and a half ago, Jeremiah was a social media rock star, now he's put the enterprise into his bucket and he's not only learned it but he's actually begun to master it. His insights into companies he's in touch with are not only priceless but actually usable when making technology decisions. I keep learning.
  9. Denis Pombriant
  10. - What can I say about Denis Pombriant. For all things SaaS, all things macroeconomic and all things SCRM, he's da man. He is the one who realized that salesforce.com was not only an upcoming company but would be something of a force of nature in the CRM and enterprise world. He called them a "disruptive innovation" when no one else did. Now he's talking about sustainable CRM companies - take heed.
  11. Prem Kumar
  12. - this guy is actually the chief SCRM evangelist at Cognizant - a company that is actually beginning to get it and Prem is a guy who totally gets it. He has a keen sense of the technology and a fine sense of the strategy.
  13. Mitch Lieberman
  14. - a former VP of SugarCRM, Mitch earned his way up to thought leader even when attached to a vendor. He is an astute analyst who sees SCRM with a depth of perception that most don't. What Mitch does uniquely is take an idea out there and then drive into it so deeply that you can see all the implications and questions that are contained in the idea. Plus he can do it with a sense of irony.
  15. Martin Schneider
  16. - Martin has achieved that rare consideration. He is a current vendor employee (senior director in fact) that actually transcends his company's particular interests. Not terribly surprising in his case, since Martin was a leading analyst in CRM prior to his sojourn at SugarCRM. (they seem to spawn these types at Sugar don't they?). He understands Social CRM strategy and writes short cogent pieces on what to be looking at when thinking "strategy." Not many do that - or write as well as Martin. Or can play in a rock band as well as Martin. He was even a pro at that!.
  17. Mike Fauscette
  18. - I've known Mike for 12 years (he co-authored my very first book with me on PeopleSoft in 1998) and he never ceases to amaze me. Currently the head of IDC's enterprise applications practice, he has perhaps the best grasp of social business in the industry and a laissez faire attitude that I love. He genuinely sees how business needs to run when it comes to CRM and SCRM because he was a practitioner himself and also worked for vendors. His experience is perhaps unparalleled among SCRM thought leaders. And that counts for a lot. Besides, the dude can really write.
  19. Brian Vellmure
  20. - Brian is a big idea kind of guy. Look to him when you want to know the difference between, say, traditional CRM and social CRM or understand a concept like. He makes it easy to understand and makes me think "why didn't I think of that?" constantly.
  21. Michael Maoz
  22. - Michael is the 800 pound gorilla of the 800 pound gorillas. He is the most utilized Gartner analyst, bar none, I hear tell, and there's a reason for that. He is foresighted - having figured on this social thing for the last 5-6 years. He is ruthlessly honest, not really worrying about anything but doing the best thing and the most honest thing for his clients. And he has a unique take on the social CRM world - one that's actually realistic, rather than some of the fantasies that are floating around. He is one of the few analysts who has truly gotten Social CRM and remained connected to an analyst firm. Michael is one of the Gartner analysts responsible for the new Social CRM Magic Quadrant that they are releasing, I think, at the Gartner 360 CRM Summit, that I'm speaking at multiple times - once with the subject of this particular paragraph. Coolio.
  23. Mark Tamis
  24. - Mark is a smart dude. He drills down deeply into concepts ranging from how strategies work (and differ in customer-driven enterprises to the depths of transparency and authenticity. He doesn't write enough but he writes really really well. Moves the needle.
  25. Chris Carfi
  26. - Funny, just as I'm writing this, Chris Carfi joined Edelman Digital as a leader of a group there that will handle Adobe and make sure they stay in the social age. There might be no one better suited than that. Chris is arguably the guy who coined the term "social customer" having developed his blog "The Social Customer" some 6 or 7 years ago; long before anyone else was even thinking of what that social customer might be. He is one of the few who started out in the social and CRM worlds simultaneously and managed to magically and accurately stitch the info. A long time compadre of mine who I think has miles to go before he sleeps in the words of the immortal Robert Browning.


  1. Bill Band
  2. - Bill Band, who has had years and years of industry experience is not an expert on Social CRM though he fully understands it. But when you're looking at traditional CRM and its practicalities and how those practicalities are evolving; well, there aren't many who can give you the step by step than Bill does. Forrester is lucky to have him frankly. I only wish he blogged more than he does.
  3. Jim Berkowitz
  4. - Jim is the "tool guy" for CRM. Want to get a unique take on vendor capabilities when it comes to enterprise software? JB is your man and reading him is the plan, Stan. (that so dates me.). Jim spends incredible amounts of time understanding how features and functions can be valued when it comes to enterprise software and the businesses that are going to apply it. If you're trying to understand the selection process, he's your man. If you want to know what tools to use, he's your man.
  5. Mike Boysen
  6. - Mike Boysen is an iconoclast. A kind of retro-iconoclast who places a great deal of emphasis on what works and what doesn't when it comes to CRM. While he's not convinced that SCRM is going to be the harvest of bountiful plenty that most of us think, he is convinced that it has it's place in the world of traditional CRM where he is an expert - and an expert with a wry sense of humor. A very wry sense of humor. Land on earth is the location for Mike and how he moves the discussion on CRM forward.
  7. Don Peppers & Martha Rogers
  8. - I'm only putting them under this category because they are key business strategists who have shaped the industry for decades and continue to make their mark - and I'm not sure where else to put them. They have been a team forever and they have a quality company that comes from quality thinking - and a quality staff. Not only have they been the creators of 1 to 1 relationship marketing - the forerunner of personalized insight and interaction, but they also sparked the industry discussion with their notion of Return on Customer (ROC) - which transcends ROI. Whether you agree with them or not on this (I do with modifications), they moved the needle and continue to do so with their 1to1 publications.

The Enterprise

  1. Josh Greenbaum
  2. - Josh is tough. Really tough. I've heard him at vendor conferences asking what are perhaps the toughest questions that vendors will get at any time during the conference. But the answers are translated by Josh in ways that provide what is one of the most coherent voices in the industry when it comes to interpreting the complexity of large enterprise software vendors and the practitioners implementations of the large "stuff."
  3. Michael Krigsman
  4. - Michael has a unique role in the world of experts and influencers. He documents failure so that success can be learned. What he's able to do, which no one else can, is identify problems that have damaged other companies and then provide a foundation for not committing the same mistakes twice. He is thorough, thoughtful and has the good of the industry and interested parties in and around it at heart. He is a must follow who helps the industry.
  5. Vinnie Mirchandani
  6. - Vinnie is best known for his blog "Deal Architect" (see name link) which covers all things topical and enterprise; but he is best represented by his other blog - New Florence, New Renaissance and his new John Wiley published book out at the end of this month - The New Polymath: Profiles in Compound-Technology Innovations - which takes a look at innovation and transformation in the business world from the perspective of a renaissance of new ideas. If he weren't a Tampa Bay Rays fan, he'd be perfect.
  7. Dennis Howlett
  8. - Dennis is a man of ascerbic wit, passionate belief and devastatingly accurate insight into the enterprise - and he has NO problem saying what he thinks often with a very sharp tongue. He scares companies but actually makes his readers (among them me) think. He is a powerful influencer who understands the enterprise software industry better than most - especially the financial/ERP end of it - and has the chops to prove it.


  1. Graham Hill
  2. - Graham is always one step ahead - he is an innovative and brilliant thinker, a no holds barred fighter for new business ideas and someone who makes you think, not about social business 101 but about social business 202. Thing is, he isn't just academic either. He has years and years of experience of doing this for companies. Years. Light years. Check out his Social Business Manifesto from last November, his very last Cust0merThink post. A critical post.
  3. Wim Rampen
  4. - Eighteen months ago, I didn't know Wim. Now I do. I'm glad i do, because he is also a key thinker in the co-creation/innovation, social business 202 world. Guy has a brain that must run hot because he is always applying the lessons of co-creation to real life. Not easy to do, given the infrequency of success that the combination has. But he is an optimistic guy who is a forward thinker that simply should be read.

Enterprise 2.0

  1. Sameer Patel
  2. - Sameer is an enterprise software industry veteran, who is not only one of the best writers on collaboration out there but also a keen observer of what's going on when it comes to trends. He is someone who gets down to the core of an issue or digs out a strength where others may just gloss over it. He is one of the clearest voices and strongest influences in the Enterprise 2.0 space.
  3. Dion Hinchcliffe
  4. - Dion is a superstar. Joining the Dachis Group in April hasn't changed a thing when it comes to his incredibly comprehensive, cogent blog posts - often for ZDNet (see blog link at name). He is someone who blogs less often but when he does, his blog postings are blockbusters. They establish frameworks, interconnections (e.g. between Enterprise 2.0 and SCRM), maturity models, technology models, you name it. What is astounding is how clearly he does it. He is a serious must read in this space. Deep, deep knowledge. Plus an aggregator of resources of the first order.
  5. Oliver Marks
  6. - Oliver, who is partnered with Sameer Patel in the E20 space is also someone who you need to read. He is an astute thinker who covers issues in the collaboration space as often as he covers techniques and approaches. Someone who gets down to the core and is scrupulously honest in his assessments with no agenda but reality.
  7. Andrew McAfee
  8. - While I'm always called the Godfather of CRM, Andrew McAfee is the father of the Enterprise 2.0 - and has been since his 2006 publication in the Sloan Management Review of Enterprise 2.0: The Dawn of Emergent Collaboration. Honestly, aside from his deep commitment to the Boston Red Sox, the man has nothing wrong with him. He is the guy who created the SLATE model of E20 (see the article) and made the idea of using social tools internally at a company, not just interesting, but de rigueur. Someone that you must pay attention to because what he says in his writings and books is just right and provocative. Just get a load of his latest blog posting on the iPad, which is awesome, ascerbic, funny and pointedly right. He sits on the curve in a way that makes the curve move ahead of itself. If you catch my drift. But that Red Sox thing.....


This category bears explanation. These are the journalists, some who blog, some who write regularly for publications - all of whom have a leadership position in the CRM and SCRM world one way or the other. Each of them is a terrific writer as well as an original thinker. Each of them, to one degree or another, falls into that hazy space between journalist and analyst, meaning they are journalists with a well formulated opinion. Their advantage over analysts is that they write better. You should follow them. You have to. You NEED to. You want to. When I snap my fingers, you will. AND you will feel refreshed, as if you came out of a deep and satisfying sleep.

Oh yeah, since they aren't all bloggers regularly, I'm going to point you to their articles if need be in the link of their name.

  1. Josh Weinberger
  2. - Josh is flat out brillant, insightful, always on top of the CRM/SCRM industry and actually practically conversant with all the tools of the trade, ranging from the software that runs businesses to the B2C stuff we are now discovering might have business value such as Foursquare. Read anything you can of his. Just do it.
  3. Chris Bucholtz
  4. - Chris Bucholz makes the industry a bit stronger for his range of knowledge, his writing skills and his sense of humor. He is actually the former editor of InsideCRM now the editor and chief writer for Aplicor's Forecasting Cloud - a compendium of daily writings in CRM, ScRM and even some ERP as of late. But don't let his cogent thinking get buried in all the other writing. Even if he wrote alone it would be worth it.
  5. Ginger Conlon
  6. - Ginger is someone who tries to keep her profile low (she is currently editorial director of 1to1 Publications) but can't because she is so good at thinking about things. I asked her to contribute to CRM at the Speed of Light's 4th edition, because I think so highly of her. She is a veteran of the industry, though not very old, with a background as editor-in-chief of CRM Magazine in her past. AND she gets all the social stuff. All of it.
  7. Marshall Lager
  8. - Marshall is something unique in the CRM industry. A great writer, with a rapier wit who has made the transition from pure journalist to analyst/consultant without losing an iota of his writing skills - making him well qualified to get across the ideas that he has to.
  9. David Sims
  10. - This guy might well be the most literate journalist with an opinion in the enterprise software world - and possibly the funniest. Thing about David, who has been writing for years - for TMC as a columnist and blogger, CustomerThink, etc. is that he has strong opinions and is an original thinker, but he does it with a literary humor that both enhances and masks the insight. He is SO worth reading. I've been a devoted fan (and friend) for years of this man. You should be (both) too.
  11. David Myron
  12. - David is a tone setter. As jefé of CRM Magazine, and one or two other Infotoday properties, he is not only doing what superb editors-in-chief do (don't forget I have a degree and an editorial work history in journalism, so I know what it takes to be an editor-in-chief), juggling all the time, but his editorial content sets not only the magazine's pace, but often sets the industry's pace. Be aware, be very aware of what David says.

Analytics, Measurement

  1. Michael Wu
  2. - Michael is the Principal Scientist of Analytics (for real) for Lithium and its rare I read someone who understands analytics better and more...analytically than Michael. For example, he actually is looking at what makes for identification of a true influencer - rather than the gross oversimplification that's going on now with T+F+L = Superman as the going industry standard. He shows me something new in the world of analytics, without any overt Lithiumesque interest in the writings. Most recently he is distinguishing between communities and social networks in a two part post. Part 1 and Part 2. Gotta read this dude.
  3. Jim Sterne
  4. - Not only is Jim Sterne one of the granddaddies (metaphorical, peeps, metaphorical) of Web analytics - and the president of the Web Analytics Association, but he is now a pioneer in social media analytics, the current author of a successful book in the field called "Social Media Metrics: How to Measure and Optimize Your Marketing Investment" and is a constant presence in the refining of these newly developed metrics.
  5. Dr. V. Kumar
  6. - Even though he's really more of an author than a blogger - in fact, I don't think he has a blog, I'm going to break my protocol and include him here because he had such a seminal influence on my thinking when it came to the measurement of advocacy. I always knew that Net Promoter Score, while a good start, was hardly sufficient for measuring the social customer's power in and value to business. When he extended Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) to include Customer Referral Value (CRV) among other measures and asked four questions with number 1 being NPS - would you recommend this company to someone you know - I thought - 'ohhh-kay". But it was question 2 that was both an epiphany and a "duh" moment - "Did you recommend this company to someone you know?" that I knew that I loved this man. He is a distinguished marketing professor at Georgia State University, the executive director of the GSU Center for Brand Experience Excellence and a must read. His book is "Managing CUstomers for Profit" and its a great start to a new version of measure for social business.

Social Media

  1. Brian Solis
  2. - Hard not to think of Brian. He's a vibrant, visible presence and what I've always called one of the "Big 3" of social...whatever. (The other two are the aforementioned Jeremiah Owyang and Chris Brogan). He's easily one of most influential and most respected guys in the world of social media and is spending serious time putting thinking about Social CRM and what he sees as a successor to it, SRM. While I can't say I can fully buy into the SRM side of it, I do fully buy into Brian. Also, he is so active in social media that people forget that he is a highly successful PR guy and his blog PR 2.0 is actually fascinating. Plus he has a new book out called Engage: The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web which is a social marketing book more than a social media one. And really, really good.
  3. Paul Gillin
  4. - I've known Paul since he was the Executive Editor of SearchCRM about 7 or 8 years now. Not only is he an expert in CRM, but he is also an expert in social media from a standpoint that few others are. First, he has a B2B knowledge that is unparalleled in social media. Second, his expertise is eminently practical. Meaning he is not theorizing on definitions of things, he is telling you how to do something. Want to blog? Here's how, here is the supporting arguments on its behalf to your left brained boss, your right brained boss and your colleagues. Here are what you can and can't do...you get the picture. He has two books out now, The New Influencers: A Marketer's Guide to the New Social Media and Secrets of Social Media Marketing: How to Use Online Conversations and Customer Communities to Turbo-Charge Your Business! and a third coming in January 2011 on social marketing.He is also the only columnist I read religiously in B2B Magazine - even with my secular behavior.


  1. Anneke Seley
  2. -Anneke wrote a book on Sales 2.0 and she blogs on sales 2.0 and she knows sales 2.0 better than you do. She is a long time industry veteran with insight and is a delightful person. You'd think the latter is enough to make you want to make you read her blog but, honestly, her insights are the real reason.

Customer Service

  1. Natalie Petouhoff
  2. - I've known Dr. Nat for years. Many years. Though she's a lot younger than me. She is formidable. Tres formidable. While she is currently heading up all social media efforts at Weber Shandwick (good move, WS), she is still one of the foremost experts in "social" customer service that you will find in the world. She has a solid research background and methodology, an intuitive sense of what's right when it comes to treating customers well that overlays that, and is just a good person who is able to turn that goodness into something substantial and interesting. I'm not sure where her new position will take her, but I'll follow.


I can't say that I really can find anyone that rocks my boat here though there are many that I read ardently. I think this is a transformational period and there's a lot of both good stuff and noise out there but I can't clearly distinguish one from the other yet, so I'm going to leave this category alone. Though some of my social media experts are also marketing guys - so just reiterate them.

Public Sector/Politics

  1. Andrew Rasiej
  2. - This guy is amazing. He not only runs PDF - the Personal Democracy Forum - one of the most influential progressive institutions in the country - with an activist bent - but also is one of the jefés of TechPresident, which could be the most significant political blog in the country. He's also a true New Yorker - acerbic and honest and an ardent Yankees fan. A perfect person.
  3. Alan Weber
  4. - This guy, now at Altimeter Group with Ray Wang, Charlene Li, Jeremiah Owyang and a host of other superstars, has serious chops when it comes to the comings and goings of the public sector and the future of government as it links to the new technology paradigms. I have to say that I almost envy his depth of knowledge, ability to extract information from sources and his analytical skills. Public sector ain't easy to decipher yet, somehow he does it.
  5. Alan Rosenblatt
  6. - Alan is the Associate Director for Internet Advocacy at the Center for American Progress - the most powerful progressive think tank in Washington DC (I sit on their New Media Board of Advisors). Alan is also a tireless champion for constituency engagement utilizing the new social tools to empower citizens. He blogs for multiple sites including TechPresident, the CAP blogs and the Huffington Post. The man has mad advocacy knowledge and skills and if advocacy is something you think is important, whether in politics or business, then Alan is your man. Just read him, and if you meet him, offer him a single malt and you'll get the conversation you're looking for.


  1. Sheryl Kingstone - Sheryl works for Yankee Group. She is the Yankee Group star (no disrespect to any other Yankee Group analysts when I say this). She is the analyst most responsible for "the Anytime Anywhere Enterprise" that Yankee espouses - which of course includes a mobile component. Sheryl has been one of my ongoing beacons for mobile trends for as long as I can remember -which of course means since she was about 6 years old. I trust her thinking and judgment.
  2. Michael Gartenberg
  3. - Michael has been a bastion of mobile insight forever and a little longer. He is now at Altimeter, was at Forrester and was always someone that people just listened to. Among them me. For me, in the mobile world, he (and Sheryl) are it. 'Nuff said.


These are those who either defy classification or who's category doesn't include that many but are exceptional thinkers who are actually ahead of the curve.

  1. Doc Searls
  2. - Doc is in his own category - and that would be Vendor Relationship Management (VRM). In principle, VRM is an important addition to the scholarship of social business. It helps define the customer's individual behavior when it comes to all businesses that he/she interacts with - in reality or potentially. It dovetails from my standpoint with what I call the personal value chain of an individual customer. Doc, one of the authors of the seminal Cluetrain Manifesto, drives VRM like no one else. Whether or not it becomes the "movement" (the labor movement for customers) it should be, remains to be seen. But what doesn't remain to be seen is Doc Searl's importance in the social business landscape.
  3. Thomas Vander Wal
  4. - What can I say about Thomas Vander Wal? He is the father of folksonomy and social tagging. He is the person who developed the social stack that I use for my discussion of social characteristics in enterprise software (that is software mimicking human behavior). He is constantly evolving new ideas on how to humanize the software and business processes that are supporting 21st century business so that business is able to gain greater insight into their customer base. YO'd be wise to read him because if you do, you'll be ahead of the curve - one that your business needs to be ahead of.
  5. Lisa Stone
  6. I love this woman (you know what I mean). She is a co-founder of Blogher, recently named one of 2010's 100 most creative people in America by Fast Company and one of the most generally astute bloggers anywhere. I am a fan who simply loves what she does. Its also nice that she's the significant other my my dear friend and influencer mentioned above Chris Carfi, making me thrilled to know them individually and as a couple.

Vendors Who Have Blogs that Transcend Pitches

I'm not going to go into a breakdown of each of these except to say that please check them out. Each of them has a unique perspective that's interesting and transcends their merely mortal business interests, though clearly doesn't ignore them. In the case of SAP, they have so many blogs that I've chosen the properties of SMT that they are the chief sponsors for and have some of their staff writing for. Also, interestingly enough, I'm noticing that the blogs that I do follow in marketing are mostly vendor blogs. Not sure what to make of that except that the marketing industry is still working it all out.

Okay. All in all, I've got the links for you. Click and read. Follow the yellow brick road.

  1. Lithium
  2. Attensity
  3. SAP
  4. Infusionsoft
  5. Eloqua
  6. Radian6 - in this case, look at the bottom of the page for their extensive list of blogs and podcasts
  7. SugarCRM
  8. Aplicor

Editorial standards