Here at Union Square, all of our deal meetings are pretty conversational. I don't think we've ever fully gotten through a Powerpoint, and if we did its because we skipped past a lot.
But one thing I told a team today was that, if we say a lot, but its not what you wanted to hear, that's actually a good thing.
In other words, if we have a slew of stuff to day about your deal, but we don't sign any checks, if nothing else it means you're playing in the right space--a space that we've talked about a lot and debated internally previously.
I love those meetings because that also means that we'll bring the teams we meet into the debate and often times generate new ideas. The other day we talked about future web endeavors for our firm and whether or not it makes sense for us to throw ideas into the void that we like and see if anyone wants to run with them.
So one came up this morning. Feedback or testing is always appreciated:
Lots of the daily interactions that we have with people involve trust... some more than others, especially on the web. How do you ensure that resumes are legitimate? How can you trust the people you see on Craigslist? Ebay probably wouldn't exist without trust measurement, because you're buying from people all over the world. Another company, Daylo, for example, is aiming to become a marketplace for services, like photography, and services especially depend on trust. Even on LinkedIn, you can give someone a little thumbs up and say that someone is good.
Interestingly enough, the vertical that probably depends the MOST on trust, dating, is the one that addresses it the least. None of the dating sites I've seen have a trust rating for people that may have gone on a date with members. How would you like that? A little thumbs up/thumbs down or comment section.
"Charlie was a nice guy on our date. He's a little bit too goodlooking for me, but he's certainly trustworthy enough to show you a nice time. Thumbs up!"
This list could go on and on and its symptimatic of my earlier Y.A.F.P. posts. We have too many places to live on the net and nothing to tie them together. So, I could be a crook on eBay but have lots of thumbs up thingys on LinkedIn. Well, that doesn't make any sense. Even with blogging, people have asked me how you know a blog is legitimate. People could rate my posts, but where does anyone rate me as a person as a trustworthy person on the web, across all of my disparate profiles?
So, how about a little PeopleTrust badge?
PeopleTrust would be a neat little box I could post on any profile... on craigslist, eBay, Match, etc. and it would show my trustworthiness in a rating. It would be kind of like that trust-E symbol, but instead of for websites, for people. Here are the rules around how it would work:
- It would be based on algorhythms and it would not only state my rating, but also state the strength of that rating (so if you don't have many ratings, it would show that not a lot of people have rated you yet.) The algorhythym would weigh people's ratings based on their participation in the system and their own hit rate. So, if I spam lots of people with bad ratings, and I'm the only one who seems to hate these people, I don't get weighted highly. Plus, if all I do is knock people, that doesn't count as much either.
- You could tie it into other types of interactions, like AIM warnings and such as well. Would you tie your credit rating into it, too? I mean... do you want to know if you're dating a Match.com deadbeat? You would, right?
- You could look up people's interactions and see why they got one rating vs. another, too. Kind of like a credit report.
What's the business? Not sure, but, if you can figure out a way to get enough people to join, there's value in being the way to trust people on the web no matter where they are. Perhaps businesses like Wackenhut would pay for a PeopleTrust indepth profile. Does it replace other systems like eBay's.... no, I don't think so, because there are different types of trust. So, maybe someone ships their packages on eBay really late, but I might still want to date them and if they're eventually coming through, they're probably not such a bad person. But, certainly eBay could be a dataprovider to a universal system.
A lot of people might feel this is too open and too personal, but I think, at some point, the days where you can do sketchy things on the web and not be liable for it in other parts of your life are over. So, if I stalk several Match dates or screw a dozen eBay buyers, perhaps that should effect my background check for new employment or ability to get an apartment.
I imagine that the only people who would actually use this would be the good guys, but that's enough. In a world of lots of bad guys, if we just had ways to mark the good guys and exclude the bad guys from participating, that might be enough.