Saturday, September 13, 2014

Where trust lies

Have spent some time figuring out what I think money is, and found myself focusing on monetary transactions, which is where there is consideration given in exchange for a favor.

When you do someone a favor there is at best a certain amount of goodwill. For instance you don't want to do a favor for someone you don't like I would think.

One of those signs that would often fascinate me when I went into an establishment would say:

"We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone."

The trust side of an exchange has to do with quality. And now I'm finding myself in a better position to talk about quality, as if you do some people a favor, and they give you some consideration in return for that favor you are trusting them.

Society gives us the framework for the trust system that we call the monetary system, as all money is, is a promise to pay later for something that was already done. So like if you mow someone's lawn, giving them an immediate benefit, you get some items made from scrap paper in the US which tell you that later you'll get a return on that action. That money has no intrinsic value. It's just a promise to pay.

Having other people obligated to you definitely has value. And can have a vast impact on the quality of your life. And there is a great value in doing things for others, and gaining an obligation back to you in return.

Some people, unfortunately, can see profit in betraying your trust by giving you less in the exchange. If they can get you to do them a favor, and give you less of a favor in return, to them that's "just business", but it's actually just a trust betrayal. In the past that type of behavior could be harder to track, but today the web is making it ever easier to find it, and keep up with it.

That is causing a sea change across the United States and greatly impacting businesses at all levels.

It also impacts individuals and how we relate to each other, especially when there is a long record in the public.

One of those things I found I felt I needed to do were disclosures that I don't have paid endorsements. And if I ever get any, I would disclose it, because people don't want to think they're reading something because you just feel a certain way, when in reality someone is paying you to say something.

And government is trying to regulate so-called 'native advertising' like when someone says something in a blog post which is being done for payment of some kind.

Trust and quality go together. Some people you can trust to give you quality because that's who they are. Doing quality work is a source of pride, and part of self-worth for them. They wouldn't betray your trust because you're not worth losing something of such value. And questioning them on the quality of their work can bring justified anger.

Businesses can be at the mercy of trust betrayers who come in for quick profits--shredding customer loyalty.

I think we're entering a new phase on the web which is the trust phase. As quality becomes more important to consumers and information about businesses becomes ever more accessible, as well as real life customer experience, it will be harder to betray people's trust and get away with it.

The best businesses can do an equal exchange--give equal value for value.

Maybe we'll see a reversal on that phrase "it's just business" in a world where that comes to mean you wouldn't betray the other person's trust because you know in business you can't get away with it.

There are many ways where people today have found their trust lay with the wrong people or institutions. And there have been HUGE consequences across the economic landscape. People without jobs. Struggling to find another, like me, where the biggest issue isn't ability. It's trust.

Quality matters. Where you get your money matters. How you got your money increasingly will matter in a world where people understand ever more the consequences of putting your trust in the wrong people.

Sitting at home trying to figure out how to pay your bills while reading about wealthy people in the news partying on ill-gotten gains is not what one would call fun.

But the good news is you can find value out there. And being skeptical, checking your sources, and figuring out which people to trust over time can lead to a great deal of personal satisfaction.

At our best we want to give at least as much as we get, and maybe more.

That some people are parasitic, hoping to suck more from others than they give in return, does not change the base reality that has given us human civilization and a world with lots of cool things.

Like computers that let us talk to each other like never before, share our point of view, and best of all, get that of others.

Earn your trust. And learn your trust. But never, ever take it for granted.

One of the things that's interesting to me, after reading what I wrote here a few times is the sense I have a better position when dealing with someone who thinks it's ok to emphasize being rich as if I care. It's like, they're saying: a lot of people owe me something so you should think I matter.

And I'm like, ok, so a bunch of people have an obligation to you according to some paper, so?

Reality is that even if you've done a bunch of favors for people so that they feel obligated to you, showing someone else a bunch of paper as if that obligation is what matters tells them you think people being obligated to you is important.

But if you do favors for people just to get them to feel obligated to you, and save up the return on those favors to hold that over their heads later, what really are they likely to think of you?

James Harris
Post a Comment