Exchanging Trust

May 7, 2003

in Digital Identity, Rich Profiles, Social Networks, Trust

There’s an interesting discussion around trust fueled by Pierre’s blog and Mr G’s follow-up on the Global Trust Exchange. It began with a question “What for?”.  Somehow I think some posts are at cross purposes, when everyone could really be eating cake. 

It’s not surprising.  Trust is not a simple word to define. Trust is situational, it is also mine.  Do I trade trust? And what’s a trust exchange? If we are not sure of motives — when trust’s involved we are even more likely to jump to conclusions.

In a trust vein we looked at adding friends on Ryze.  “Will you be my friend?” and concluded we stopped asking questions like that long ago.  We’ve learnt that trust has many different faces.  In one instance I may ask you to be a referree on a job.  However, it’s still possible that while I trust you with that reference, I may not trust you to cut down a tree.  Similarly I may be happy to refer you but conditions may be attached.

The problem here is in the name GTX not the concept. What’s needed are illustrations.  In GTX connections between parties are defined by layers of permission and access.  These are friend to friend and not generic.  The brilliance in Net Deva is in the definitions and ultimately the simple way in which it makes connections, referrals and introductions. while paying attention to affinities and the type of relationship you have. 

Consider Pierre, Joi, William and Mr G.  Pierre asks Joi to be a financial reference and provides “Nickel Exchange details” plus general contact information etc by providing access to a rich profile format on GTX.  Joi is pleased to be a referee and accepts putting the minimum amount of information relating to himself into the system. He adds no further contacts, but over time others contact him, linking their business cards.  Similarly Pierre secures other referees.  For he’s learnt that there are connections between us that hold hidden value. 

Example at a networking event or a conference when meeting someone new we cross-reference on books, people, places, and names possible connections pop up.  These are ones we sense might be worth sharing a little of our social capital on and making an introduction.

Now William is in the GTX and is looking for a connection and introduction to the Nickel Exchange. Without GTX it may take forever to find someone who knows his work and may provide an introduction.  With GTX he keys in his request and gets a list back of possible connections.  He’s pleased to see Joi is on his list.  Now there are many levels, dependent on all the relationships that each have with each other.  If William is merely an aquaintance of Joi’s the next exchange will be very different from finding out one of his partners (Joi possibly) knows Pierre. 

Now imagine you have a plumber come to your home.  On completing the job he asks if you might be a local reference for him – valid for a year. You are pleased with his work.  You say yes.  Now a neighbor is looking for a plumber (of course you don’t know this).  Rather than waiting to ask friends they key into GTX, and find there are three people they are connected to via their daughters school class.  Three of them have the same plumber listed by name.  A fourth has a connection to a plumber but the name is not visible.  One parent you know very well.  Rather than calling them you call the plumber direct….. For the plumber has given access to his business details (super yellow page listing) though his trusted business referrals.  It’s quite possible that the same plumber doesn’t enable the same visibility via his church group.  Although members of his church group may be someone the neighbor could connect with who knows of a plumber. 

The trust issue is more I fear more of context here.  The examples are possible.  It’s been done and there’s an initial prototype. I’ve viewed Net Deva and want to see it rolled out.  It deserves further funding.  Ultimately a trust exchange may emerge.   

 Possible applications. 

  • An enterprise wants to intiate a socially innovative client service and business development strategy
  • An enterprise wants to lower the cost of human capital acqusition, finding new recruits though their network of employees, suppliers and key customers.
  • A jobseeker wants to build a network of trusted referrals which will help get a new job and bring more value when newly employed
  • A small company links to a multide of professional free agents, their access to talent just went up exponetially.   
  • An individual wants to find someone who lived in Holland in 1983.
  • A non-profit wants to raise money. They want to direct their volunteers to target specific organizational accounts.  Who best to reach out and approach? What groups could be put together? 
  • that’s enough for now

The real issues for “this trusted rich profile exchange” is in securing the numbers, ensuring and controlling access, security from spam and simply managing expectations.  In my view there’s an organizational / enterprise model and a public model.  Usability must be kept simple.

So has the Global Trust Exchange just been miss-interpreted? Is it the language or the concept? We all exchange information all the time for value creation. See the applications.  The real question is what’s the value of your missed opportunities? Can you afford not to experiment in this space.  If you are a large enterprise, a professional networking community or non-profit foundation, Net Deva is a nugget that may reframe how you do business. 


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