Meet the Guardians: Doc Searls

profile picture Yoti 3 min read
Doc Searls

“For the last two decades, I have been encouraging solutions to identity issues that start by empowering individuals. In Yoti I see one of the most creative and potentiated approaches to this challenge, and welcome the opportunity to help guide the company’s efforts as the new and protean marketplace for individual empowerment evolves.”


Yoti Guardian Council

Yoti Guardians are influential individuals who ensure that Yoti always seeks to do the right thing, and that we are transparent about what we are doing and why. Guardians will bring their expert, independent perspectives and skills to three main responsibilities:

    1. Making sure Yoti optimises its products, services and partnerships to make life simpler for its user community.
    2. Ensuring Yoti stays consistent with its mission to build trust and give the user control of their personal data.
    3. Reporting any breaches of trust and representing any concerns shared by a significant percentage of the user community.


Doc Searls

As one of the first people to recognise the transformative nature of the internet, Doc has been active and public in the tech and digital space for more than three decades. He has championed the use of technology in ways that benefit individuals, is a principled advocate for free and open source software, and also works to increase the control individuals have in digital interactions with companies and other institutions. Doc does most of his work in partnership with his wife Joyce. Together they are based in Santa Barbara and New York, and travel a great deal in their work.

Doc is perhaps best known as an author through his books, The Intention Economy: When Customers Take Charge (Harvard Business Review Press, 2012), which covers the increased independence and empowerment of individuals in the marketplace; and The Cluetrain Manifesto (Basic Books, 2000, 2010), which was an early and still widely sourced manifesto on the Internet’s impact on society. He is also a lifelong journalist and pioneering blogger who served as an award-winning editor of Linux Journal for more than two decades.

Doc is the Founder and Director of ProjectVRM at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, a long-term community effort encouraging development of tools that provide people with both independence from vendor lock-in and better ways of engaging with vendors ( He also co-founded the Internet Identity Workshop (IIW), an un-conference held twice yearly at the Computer History Museum in Silicon valley (

Doc is a fellow of the Center for Information Technology and Society ( at the Unversity of California, Santa Barbara, an alumnus fellow of the Berkman Klein Center, a visiting scholar (with his wife Joyce) with the Ostrom Workshop at Indiana University, and was a visiting scholar as well with the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University.

Through their work in digital identity and IIW, Doc and Joyce bring to the Guardian Council a commitment toward making sure Yoti is empowering its users to be independent actors who retain autonomous control over their own personal data, and their Yoti-enabled interactions with others. Doc will also help Yoti identify complementary initiatives and products that share the same values around serving the needs of individuals, rather than the companies with which individuals engage.

The best place to stay up to date on Doc Searls’ work is through his personal blog ( and on Twitter: (@dsearls)