He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened. Trust Me
Lao Tzu, with that simple phrase, would have been a mover and shaker in digital media. Here’s one reason why…
I had time for a cup of coffee with Charlie Greene, a trust advisor who has carved out a unique niche teaching Trust-Worthiness to all sorts of companies, corporate citizens, and high level advisors. In fact, I would venture to call him The Trust Advisor, not just a trust advisor. Check out his multiple books on the subject here.
I came into the meeting wondering if the processes he had developed would be applicable in the Sharing Economy where TrustCloud functions. What he told me opened a whole new perspective on the concept. In his words, the basic elements of trustworthiness are contained in the Trust Equation.
(T+C+R+I) / S
Now let me explain:
- T stands for trustworthiness—how much the buyer/client trusts the seller (or vice versa)
- C stands for credibility—it speaks to words and credentials.
- R is reliability—how others perceive the consistency of our actions, and our actions’ connection with our words (integrity).
- I is intimacy— how secure or safe the client feels sharing with us.
The lone term in the denominator is Self-Orientation, and it has a double meaning. Partly it’s about selfishness. But Self-orientation is also about our attention, our focus. Are we listening ? Or are we listening to truly hear. Are we obsessed by our own desires, by our insecurities? Or do we truly focus on others needs, paying attention even when it doesn’t necessarily benefit us? Only the latter builds deep, long-term relationships.
I love exploring the dynamics of Trust (and trust-worthiness), and have written regularly about what I have learned on the subject (here’s the Trust tag in my blog) including such favorites as MadMen, Catfish, and Fool me Once. I have also been speaking on the topic: one fun afternoon was spent with Cam Tonkinwise of Shared Square and his class of students at the New School studying (you guessed it) the sharing economy. I was hit with a ton of new questions about Trust and its components. Every time I think I have explored every corner, I get another view that gives me deeper understanding and deeper desire to dig deeper. As the dinosaur product development monster FAKE GRIMLOCK famously said: RIGHT IDEA MAKE BURN INSIDE TO FIX. CAN TAKE DAY OFF FROM IDEA? IT WRONG ONE. Trust has that grip on me.
So I began to think Trust as it applies to our online “social vapor” (a term Xin Chung coined to describe all the low stakes, hi volume events we participate in online that form a picture of our offline personality).
How much better would you feel about sharing a ride, if that someone had done the same with others. (C above) Even better if that share was with someone we knew. How confident might we been lending out our powertools if the borrower had proven reliability in a similar sharing economy circumstance. (R) How important would it be to know someone you were about to give the housekeys was actually connected to others in your network. (I) And, of all these data points, what does the denominator of paying attention to the needs of others affect our trust. (S). The formula works, even when applied in rudimentary terms to the sharing economy.
The sharing economy has some really cool companies that are just starting to get some traction:
- Share a room with airBnb or wimdu
- Share a ride with getaround or relayrides
- Share a skill with zaarly
- Share a (tool) or thing with neighborgoods or snapgoods
- Share a project ($) with kickstarter
- Share your driveway with Park at my House
Each of them have a unique idea to change the way our planet consumes resources more efficiently. and they have domain expertise in forming and communicating with that specialized market. Now, imagine an eco-system where people are doing more and quicker exchanges with each other because trust had been built within the community. Awesome power. All from a simple equation. But to make a sharing economy-type point to the sharing economy, would it not make perfect sense to use and re-use one common asset to track trust-worthiness across the eco-system?
I think so. How ’bouts you?
Charles Greene’s trust indicator test is here… http://trustsuite.trustedadvisor.com/landing/A/C
My Disclaimer Here: I have an investment in, and a deep belief for, the benefits of TrustCloud, mentioned above.