Monthly Archives

June 2006

On Trust

By | Comment | 4 Comments

My starting point here is that trust is somehow missing and that there may be some kind of opportunity here to build a big or probably even HUGE company providing that thing which is somehow missing.

It is easy to find examples where trust is present and has been a crititcal success factor – ebay’s rating system, Verisign’s logo, and open source development groups are three from the modern era.

To define it, however, is a little more difficult.

I would postulate that trust is a mechanism that regulates behaviour according to a set of communally understood principles that are probably not written down.

(Thanks to JP for this insight which came when I was reading Four Pillars – Further Musings on Trust).

In the ebay case people know without needing to be told what consititutes acceptable behaviour on that site and do what they know they should to avoid getting a bad rating or to get a good rating and increase their standing in the community. In open source communities people know without needing to be told what constitutes good software and know what they have to do to get their code accepted and to increase their standing in the community. I suspect Verisign’s case is similar – merchants abide by a set of rules that are written and in return are allowed to display Verisign’s trustmark which in turn gives them a standing that lets consumers trust them. I would be interested to know whether Verisign retains the right to unilaterally expel a merchant from its community if its behaviour was unaceptable, but still within the letter of Verisign’s T’s and C’s.

So the important notions here are “community”, “standing” and “communication”.

Which leads to the conclusion that the opportunity might lie in providing mechanisms that allow communities to bestow status on members who deserve it and communicate that status to other members.

Come to think of it Google’s link algorithm is an example of this in operation on the whole web.

There will be more on this, I hope.

Getting Started

By | Comment, Web2.0 | 7 Comments

Hello World
Right now I feel a bit like I did when I wrote my first java program.

So why am I doing this?
Because there is a conversation going on that I want to be part of. To add to. And to be provocative and develop my own thinking. (And maybe to give myself a back up career in journalism for when the bubble bursts again. I just heard about a VC offering to invest in a UK company at twice the valuation of an angel round that was six months ago and their pitch was “we’ll do it quickly with no due diligence”! Then the round got done by a hedge fund at a still higher price!!!)

Oh – and to have FUN.

And what conversation would that be?
Good question. To start with, something about venture capital, web2.0, making money, internet marketing. I’m going to try and make this about my thoughts rather than about what other people are thinking.

A starter for ten
I’m starting to think of web2.0 companies as falling into three categories:
1) Stuff people have always done simply moved to the net – a lot of these are old ideas that are finally having their time like the verticalised internet exchange models of 1999 – e.g. ticket exchange hubs. For a money guy like me these are the easiest to wrap your head around.
2) Old stuff done new ways on the net – LastFM is a good example of this, giving us new ways to control and improve our music listening that weren’t possible pre-broadband. MySpace et al also probably fall into this category although they go partly into (3).
3) Stuff people have never done before – blogging, personalised home pages etc. This is where the really big changes are coming IMHO. Problem is that business models are far from clear….

That’s it for now. My first post. Please comment, if only to let me know you are there!