Doc Searls is Senior Editor of Linux Journal, co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto, an alumnus fellow with the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, a fellow with the Center for Information Technology and Society (CITS) at the University of California, Santa Barbara, one of the world's most quoted bloggers, and a photographer committed to enlarging the sum of images in the public domain.
Mr. Searls began writing for Linux Journal in 1996, and has been Senior Editor for most of the time since . He has contributed to a number of books on open source, including Open Sources 2.0 from O'Reilly. In The World is Flat, Thomas L. Friedman calls Doc Searls "one of the most respected technology writers in America." In 2005, he won the Google O'Reilly Open Source Award for Best Communicator. Mr. Searls's byline has also appeared in OMNI, Wired, PC Magazine, The Standard, The Sun, Upside, Release 1.0, The Globe and Mail and many other publications.
Doc Searls was a fellow at the Berkman Center from 2006-2010. There he started ProjectVRM, which has the immodest ambition of liberating customers from entrapment in vendor silos, and improving markets by projectVRM logomaking it easy for customers to express intentions, form relationships and do business-on their own terms and in their own ways, and not just those provided by sellers. VRM stands for Vendor Relationship Management, a customer-side counterpart for CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, which is a $16 billion business. Today there are dozens of VRM development projects and companies. For his work on VRM, Mr. Searls was named a "2010 Influential Leader" by CRM Magazine, which devoted most of its May 2010 issue (and its cover story, on the right) to VRM. His VRM work is also the subject of a book he is writing for Harvard Business Publishing, due out in January, 2012.
Doc Searls became a fellow with CITS at UCSB in 2006. There he studies both the nature of infrastructure and the Internet as a form of infrastructure. These together are the subjects of his next book, provisionally titled The Giant Zero.
In 1999 Doc Searls and three collaborators put up an iconoclastic website called The Cluetrain Manifesto, which Tom Petzinger of The Wall Street Journal called "the future of CRM Magazine cover business." The site was enlarged into a book, which became a business bestseller in 2000. More than a decade 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. He is perhaps best known as the source of Cluetrain's first thesis and most-quoted line, "Markets are conversations"-which has since become something of a mantra in the social networking movement.
Doc Searls is also one of the Web's longest-serving and widely-sourced bloggers. Mr. Searls Weblog, which moved to a Harvard address in 2007, started (with guidance from Cluetrain cover his friend and mentor Dave Winer) in 1999. J.D. Lasica, author of Darknet and
Proprietor of OurMedia, calls Mr. Searls "one of the deep thinkers in the blog movement." Doc Searls also tweets as @dsearls and has close to 12,000 followers on Twitter.
As a speaker, Doc Searls has keynoted, served as a panelist or been interviewed at countless events and trade shows: Digital ID World, SXSW, Personal Democracy Forum, Defrag, O'Reilly's OSCON and Etech conferences, eCom eXpo, Les Blogs, Le Web, Reboot, Supernova, LinuxWorld Expo, National Chamber of Commerce, CES, Comdex, Desktop Linux Summit, Linux Lunacy Geek Cruises, Gnomedex, BloggerCon, First Tuesday/Zurich, JabberCon, PC Forum, Seybold, Syndicate, Kynetx Impact, Demo and many others. He is also a figure in the "unconference" movement, and helps organize 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 more than a dozen new development efforts around the world.
Doc Searls'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 his 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 Searls'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 Searls's 36,000+ photos posted on Flickr, more than 200 Wikipedia articles are now illustrated by his photos. (The full listings of photos currently used by Wikipedia are here. All of them were posted by people other than Mr. Searls.) His photos have also appeared in many books, magazines and other media, including NBC's coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. There Mr. Searls's ice crystal photos served as key elements for the network's coverage. (Doc Searls ran in the credits as a member of the design team.)
Doc Searls and his family split time between their home in Santa Barbara and his work at Harvard and elsewhere.