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27TH May 2011

Creative problem Solving - Geopolitical - Mobile - Race to the Bottom - Timely - Trust Cloud - Uncategorized - Vision

Got Trust? A leap of faith would enable more "Collaborative Consumption"

Now everyone knows...

It’s been a busy few weeks for Trust.

When Fast Company covered the concept recently, they called it “The Sharing Economy”. Now more light and more capital has begun to flow toward companies that are enabling the peer to peer trading that the web promised long ago. (Isn’t it funny how the web delivers, if you can afford to wait long enough)!

Rachel Botsman coined the term  Collaborative Consumption ( or “CollCons”) and has  written about it in “What’s Mine is Yours” . She’s become a bit of an evangelist for the power of sharing and consuming, peer to peer. Besides getting cred for the concept at TED , she’s been right on top of every move in the CollCons space. Like Getaround winning the battle of Tech Crunch. And Ashton Kutcher investing in AirBnB. Full disclosure: I have an investment in, and a deep belief for, the benefits of  TrustCloud, mentioned below.

So what, if anything, is holding this movement back from breakout growth? Why can a neighbor lean over the fence and ask for something, but the online equivalent results in apprehension?  When you hand the housekeys  to a couchsurfer, leave the kids with the new sitter, or hitch a ride with three total unknowns, it’s not a natural feeling. I’ve written about it in my MadMen post, as well as the downside in my Catfish story. CollCons could be sooooo good if we could only enjoy the benefits of peer to peer –without that dollop of angst in the pit of our stomachs.

The antidote?  Trust. It’s kind of the reverse of the behavior I blogged about in Race to the Bottom. And it’s closer to becoming a reality in the CollCons space.  I’ve determined  six qualities that can be measured and portable (to a variety of sites) and will help achieve the comfort levels needed to scale users and usage.

  1. I’m Helpful: I contribute online; so I’ll be considerate and prepared as your host.
  2. I’m Local: I grew up or lived here for a while, so I know the best places & activities around.
  3. I’m a Connector: I’ve got many local friends, so I can introduce you to interesting folks.
  4. I’m Worldly: I’ve travelled a lot, so I know what makes a good host in a variety of cultures.
  5. I’m Authentic: I’m open about myself online, so the description about my product (self) is also genuine.
  6. I’m Consistent: I’ve got an established history with school & work, so I’m a more responsible.

While some companies in the CollCons community are thinking of ways to develop this algorithm themselves, TrustCloud has begun to test its beta “Trust Indicator” integration in three CollCons leaders. The advantage to using the TrustCloud API is that CollCons brands will have a trust indicator with no development costs, the scores leverage the power of the entire CollCons network, and the scores are portable.  [Unlike eBay Power Scores, with TrustCloud, good behavior on a shared room makes for good ratings in a ride share, etc.]

I’m deeply committed to “trust” in the real world, and I’m excited about its prospects to enable more peer to peer sharing online. But I’m also aware of how online behavior can be gamed and trust abused or never created.   So I’m excited about the day when this artificial drag is finally removed from the CollCons market. Meanwhile, I’m jazzed to help all members work more effectively toward this goal.

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