I've been following Joshua's blog for a while. We got talking about some of each other's recent posts that interested us, this one of his particular: Attention, Buying a Car and Control.
The post 'in a nutshell' is about being in control of the process of purchasing a car. He describes technique he once used that worked wonders: decide precisely the car you want, fax 20 nearby dealers with the details and get them clambering for your business, forcing the best price - (known as a reverse auction). It worked.
Joshua used this story as an analogy to the Attention concept, specifically the notion of the customer being in control. We then moved on to the subject of OPML and how it fitted in the Attention space and the car buying scenario. We played with the idea that you might create an OPML file that includes the car spec you were looking for (make, model, year, colour, etc) and make that file available to the car dealers. They would then bid a price - maybe via an RSS feed created for just for you, created when you submit an OPML file / url...(let us put aside the practicalities of this for a moment ;-). All along, the dealers don't know who you are...at least until you decide to buy the car.
But who would create an OPML file with a car's make, model, colour, etc? As we were talking it occurred to me that there is an OPML experiment going on called 'my car roll' started by Amy Bellinger. A car roll is a list of all the cars you've ever owned, with details, such as, you guessed it - make, model, year, colour and whether you liked it or not, published as OPML file. Here is Amy's and her friends' car roll. (Now, what if there was such a thing as a recommendation engine for cars...?).
It's a funny old world.
Anyway, it was fun talking to Joshua. Hope to do it again soon.