Adriana is a first hour blogger and a firm believer in pretty much open anything, from a source code to the society. She holds a degree from Balliol College, Oxford in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. While working her way through a perfectly decent career in management consultancy and financial services in the City of London, she realised that the online was far more interesting. In 2001 she started writing for the political blog Samizdata.net, then set up the Big Blog Company in 2003, the first specialist consultancy in this area, with a central role in the nascent social media space. These days she writes mainly on her personal blog Media Influencer and stays away from the social media types. Since 2006 she has been involved in Project VRM, which stands for Vendor Relationship Management at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, founded by Doc Searls of “Cluetrain Manifesto” fame. The name is a flip of CRM (Customer Relationship Management), with the intention to redress the balance of power between customers and vendors by empowering the individual customer. For the last 3 years Adriana has been organising the London based VRM Hub, monthly meetings on the topic, and has been working on an open source project called the Mine!. It aims to provide individual users with a platform of their own enabling them to capture, manage and share data on their own terms. Her interest in personal data has led her to Personal Informatics and Quantified Self movement and she founded the London QS meetup group in September 2010. A year later the group has 250 members and has come up with its own concept, Self-hacking. Occasionally I get accused of problem-solving. To make a living and support the above, Adriana disrupts companies enlightened enough to know that there’s no change without pain i.e. disruption. She has a long standing consulting arrangement with Johnson & Johnson in the US that keeps her firmly in the real world, with a full-on experience of corporate hierarchies.
In the spirit of putting her time where her heart is and as a culmination of her varied business and political experiences, Adriana has begun investigating alternatives to hierarchical organisations, adopting the term heterarchy for this research. The starting point was her long running interest in distributed networks, which led her to realise that the internet is a happy accident of a peer-to-peer network defined by TCP/IP and fundamentally different to a hierarchy. Her self-proclaimed challenge is to uncover the ‘laws of heterarchy’ i.e. any rules that can help us establish and maintain heterarchical organisations. With a more explicit understanding what makes or breaks a heterarchy, it may be possible to design systems and technologies ‘native’ to a networked environment and improve the condition of all those trapped in organisational pyramids. She will share her findings so far, hoping to inspire others to look the same direction.