Feature Friday: Trust
I went back and looked at the Ten Golden Principals For Web Apps presentation I did four and a half years ago.
Nowhere on this list is Trust. Maybe that was an oversight. Or maybe times have changed.
Take auto photo backup from my Android phone to the cloud. I have two great options on my phone, Dropbox and Google+.
I don’t use Google+ for this and I do use Dropbox for this.
It is not that I don’t trust Google to host my photos. And it is not that I don’t trust Google in general. It is that I don’t trust Google to change the privacy rules on Google+ and instantly expose all of these photos to their crawlers and the web at large.
It’s really Facebook’s fault that I don’t trust Google with this. Anyone in the social networking game who isn’t already default public is trying to figure out how to get there. That’s the nice thing about Twitter. It has always been default public and so you know what to expect when you post something there.
I trust Dropbox to keep the photos I backup to the cloud private. It’s not that Dropbox is more trustworthy than Google in my mind. But it is that privacy is part of the brand promise that Dropbox makes and their business of hosting all of our data in their cloud depends on them being very careful with our privacy expectations.
Going back to why in early 2010 I didn’t put Trust in my top ten – it may be that Facebook’s assault on our privacy and the loss of trust that ensued was just developing in our collective consciousness at that time. And now we live in a more paranoid state about this stuff.
The rise of Snapchat, I believe, is largely in response to this exact thing. With Snapchat, you have explicit control over who sees your photos and where they go from there. That was a feature we did not know we needed four years ago. And it is a feature that built an entire company. And probably many more. Trust is a very important feature these days.
Trust is difficult.As a company, you really shouldn’t have a earn it – but you can quickly lose it.
Trust to the consumer is intent to the company.When I’m comfortable with a company’s intent, then trust can follow.No broad based, media driven social net can be trusted by definition.
I’m confused how trust is intent – intent usually means about to purchase.While is say trust leads to intent, I wouldn’t say trust is intent
Just my way of looking at things Shana.Companies have intent. Facebook’s is to monetize social attention. To do that they are a media company selling out data to advertisers. All clear, no reason to trust them.Amazon’s model (for consumers)is to be the transactional center of everything I buy online. They do not gain by releasing or abusing or reselling my data. I trust them because of that.Follow the transaction is what leads me to understanding intent and likewise a quotient of trust.
Trust is difficult.As a company, you shouldn’t have to earn it, but you can quickly lose it.
I don’t think it’s Facebook’s assault, I think it was naiveté of users of platforms. It was cool to be open and not care about what people saw. Now people are back in the real world of wanting some privacy because of the fall out. Snapchat is on the rise because now all the kids’ parents are on Facebook and they can’t interact with their friends without their parents or the people they don’t want to hang with anymore knowing what’s going on.In the real world we have varying degrees of privacy in our relationships and I don’t think there is a platform out there that makes it easy to mirror that behaviour.I don’t trust any platform because the premise they operate on is that once you post or upload it they can do what they like with it. Maybe that should be part of their freemium offering, pay us and you can trust us
Last week, all my Gmail contacts (around 5,000) received a bogus email with a Google Drive document, asking them to open it.I then received a deluge of replies asking me to confirm I was doing this, and some of course guessed it was spam and suggested I change passwords, etc. The only good thing about this episode is that I re-connected with people I hadn’t heard from for years.My trust in Gmail and Drive are on shaky grounds now. Good thing that Apple has taken their cloud capabilities more seriously since their last announcement. And Dropbox looks good too because they give the perception of being a fortress in terms of privacy and trust.
dropbox can be a wedge between the two of them. they can offer cross platform when the others won’t.
just to be sure, do you use, at @USV, Gmail at all ?
Yep, Dropbox as the Switzerland of the Cloud.
My trust in Gmail and Drive are on shaky grounds now.Sounds like a problem on your local machine that allowed some malware virus etc. to access all of your contacts. Have you taken care to clean that up?
I’m not sure yet. Nothing turned out. But Gmail and Drive are cloud products.
Just set up two step auth for your gmail or google apps domain
Yep- I did that exactly actually, but that’s not supported on the iPhone client.
Get an android 🙂 … there has to be some work around because i force 2 step at the Google apps domain level for all our users. They can’t have their work email on their phone without it. I remember the iPhone users had some problems at first but were eventually able to get it to work. Seems like i remember something about the Google Sync app
Yes it is. I can’t look up the steps for you right now, but I have two factor on my main gmail account and had to set it up on my iphone.
Trust and privacy go hand in hand. Duck duck go? ;-)Shaun Dakin @PrivacyCamp
Ensuring “trust” breaks their business model.
whats interesting is how we can trust a brand, let’s say google, with some of our most important business and personal correspondence (gmail & google docs) – yet we don’t trust them with photos via another of their brands G+, even though on a continuum, emails are probably more important and sensitive than *most* photos.
My emails don’t get posted to their Social netThe big mistake they made with G+ was to position as a Social netThey should have positioned it as an identify layer
companies are just that. they will do what they will do for profitability over the long game at their best.twitter will change as need be to make dollars.the only company out there that i actually trust is amazon as their model and future growth doesn’t conflict with keeping my data secure.
I feel like apple’s motivations are similarly aligned with the consumer.
If you reply via Gmail to a G+ post’s comments, those emails do get posted to their Social Net.Later, if you’re logged in to Gmail and go to Google Search and happen to search for topics you previously posted on G+, then the search list surfaces your G+ post within the top 3 items.Ditto if you comment on a YouTube video, you’ll see it linked to G+.
I don’t trust that anything I have on the internet is private. Even if it’s private now, it may not be so in the future. It does not matter what platform it is on. My credit card has been stolen so many times over the past year (Adobe, Target, etc.) that privacy is more of an ideal now than a reality. I don’t take any photos with my phone that I would ever find embarrassing or that I want to own the copyright on.(However, that being said, I find the G+ photo system to be pretty damn awesome. I use it all the time when covering client press/pr events so I can then disburse photos to the media in real time.)
I don’t take any photos with my phone that I would ever find embarrassing or that I want to own the copyright on.So then where (doth) said embarrassing photos reside, Susan?If they are on your laptop is the drive on that encrypted with a strong password? And if the laptop is backed up is the backup encrypted? Or ditto for your desktop?I’m kind of half joking. But what is an example of a photo that you would find embarrassing? Do you just mean a photo where you don’t look good? Or do you really mean embarrassing?
LOL. REALLY embarrassing.Photos reside on their own secure drive. A second backup drive is securely stored off-site.Also, copyrighted photos that I do share online are digitally watermarked.
The principles you state in your presentation are, by and large, product attributes built into an app or product.Trust isn’t manufactured, it’s earned.
It should be implicit though, but what we’ve learned is that if it isn’t explicit, it doesn’t exist.
One problem is that Facebook is bent on acquiring a lot of services as their path to expansion. So one service which you may trust may become part of FB (e.g. What’s App) and devolve their policies and practices into FB’s over time.
I’m not sure its privacy that we are talking about? With two billion smartphones privacy is almost baked in. Intra-generational exclusivity and permanency on the other hand are features that will always have value.
when you wrote PERSONAL (slide7) I assume it included some TRUST in it, no ?
yeah, but i don’t think i was thinking of that exactly when i wrote it
Trust will be a battleground between Android and iOS.
Taken from: Why Apple really cares about your privacyhttp://www.macworld.com/art…iOS extensions were designed to prevent them from being able to circumvent a user’s privacy settings.No keyboards sniffing keystrokes and sending them off to the Internet (as has happened on Android).Both HealthKit and HomeKit are designed so users control their own data, and must explicitly allow it to be shared with outsiders.With Touch ID, not only does your fingerprint never leave the device, but apps can never see anything stored in the Secure Enclave.The privacy-minded DuckDuckGo search engine will be a default option, right next to Bing and Google.
It’s the principle of CONSISTENCY.If all players said what they do and do what they say consistently, then trust follows because we know what to expect.
‘part of the brand promise’.I’m a little choked up here…..give me a moment. I’m just so proud…. :DI mean, we all know that Dropbox is not a product that sucks.
And yet, “iterating”…
Iterate without Idiotate, if you know what I’m sayin’
Yes. It takes some maturity.
iterating in a consistent way is a way to build trust – you can’t not change (but how you change matters.)
Yes. And also sticking to some kind of core truth.
Lift.do is *very* good about communicating changes along the way, while also maintaining consistency about the way they are progressing.Here is a small snippet (8% of the total text from their latest app store release notes):===”I still get emails from a passionate part of the Lift 1.0 community about features they miss. The alarm that they feel to have a life changing feature disappear is real—their life stopped changing!At first, I thought these features would only be gone for a moment. But they actually took months to rebuild (especially community). As a product designer, I wish I could promise you genius, but most days all I have to offer is persistence. That said, we’re past the rough spot, especially on the community side. Q&A is real and huge. Goal feeds are back. Today, we’ve also added goal-specific friend feeds.”===/via http://l00p.co/AlWxJv
“Doveryai, no proveryai” is what Reagan famously said to Gorbachev, speaking of arms control.In the Internet world, how can we “verify”? Can brands/services that want us to trust them allow us to verify that claim, and not just by anecdotal or experiential proofs, i.e. if nothing bad happened, it means we can trust them?
I (cynically) assume the worst and hope for the best. You only have to be burned once before your trust meter goes haywire.
With all due respect William, one of the most misguided political phrases of all time. And from a leader with astoundingly poor judgement.Letting bad people have big bombs has verification–when you are dead my friend.I believe in verification as useful, I believe in human nature and intent as the only things to rely on.
With all due respect Arnold, that “astonishingly poor judgement” brought millions of people out from under decades of darkness and drove the greatest threat to peace in the new world into bankruptcy. The growth of capitalism and the economic freedoms enjoyed across the European continent today, are a direct result.
All good in disagreement and I realized I was venturing where I was not an expert. So thanks and a caution to me not to generalize.I’m simply not a big fan of his.Recent reading, especially, ‘And the Band Played On’ has made me realize that his legacy should be not that however, but the complicity in the some 40 million AIDS death. His homophobic, head in the sand view is really an astonishing and not well realized error of huge significance.
Always good, Arnold. You’ve steered me in many a sound direction. Thanks.
what does verify mean in this case? Execatly what are we verifying
I’m not sure what it means in this case; that’s why i was asking. Maybe the onus is on the brands to help us verify them.
It behooves us as consumers, business persons, humans to do our due diligence on issues we’ve identified as key to us, individually and / or collectively.
the technology of trust does not yet exist. it will, and then fb will be gone.
this is a business model not a tech issue.fb is not going anywhere.this is about people and dollars, not code.
business-model vs tech issueThey are not necessarily mutually excessive ?
Of course but businesses are in business to make money.The failure of many web startups is a combo of not discovering a market and the failure of finding a model for the market they do discover.Tech is there but that is not the prime item.
present tech does not allow a person to know how their data is being used, hence suspicion over trust.trust tech would allow a person to know how their data is being used, hence trust over suspicion.
true but honestly, so what?this is not a spy game its the reality of creating value then selling it then iterating.tools help to verify but if intent is off kilter who cares?
I’m on side here. Placing all data with a firm that makes money on it seems to put endless pressure on privacy. This issue will not go away for Google no matter their good intent or fine products and solutions. I also do not worry over their intent but the scope of their vision may be their own biggest impediment.
I wouldn’t just limit this to Facebook’s assault on our privacy. Surely the governments and various agencies around the world miss-use and abuse of power has played a big part in this too.And with that in mind… where does that leave DropBox or anyone’s Privacy Policies?
The military have a saying: The best armor is to be out of range. Similarly I would say that the best form of trust is complete anonymity. USV port company Duck Duck Go points to that. Now we need internet providers to evolve to where no one tracks anything. Barring that if someone invents a router which I can physically install to anonymize all my incoming outgoing traffic, the would put me in a happy place. For now it’s a Tor browser when I want privacy and I’d prefer it to be a default instead of a compromised choice.
Proper control over our own privacy, over our own identity, over our own data footprint will inevitably emerge as a pivotal/primal ownership issue, as a fundamental crisis in the political autonomy of the individual, as a democratic digital-age existential threat!Our collective/individual negative experiences with trust/privacy issues have not yet become viscerally threatening enough to gel into reactive hard-wired memes.We are still in the honeymoon phase of basking in the limitless new potential of network synchronized/amplified/accelerated everything.This, network synchronized/amplified/accelerated everything, has an equally powerful dark side potential to become an under dampened self-emploding social singularity(digital jail).History repeatedly highlights the cavalier social misuse/overreach that has inevitably accompanied all disruptively new social power-tools. We humans have a universal long standing behavioural tradition requiring us to wait until these filpside negative symbiotics comes around to bite us in the ass before taking corrective action.Evolutionary biology has equipped us with powerful/localized self-interest rear view mirror survival strategies and a much less robust collective/global heads-up future inference toolset of survival strategies.This evolutionary lack of feedback mechanisms targeting collectively abstracted introspective longterm collaborative-interest/restraint survival strategies is our evolutionary achilles-heel, our Borg deficit.That evolutionary achilles-heel now becomes our most critical weakness as we cross the rubicon into the uncharted and organically volatile territory that is network synchronized/amplified/accelerated everything.This time around were not messing with the small stuff like fire, agriculture, animal domestication, gunpowder, the printing press, the steam engine or even the industrial revolution. This time around we are entering into a limitlessly volatile social/environmental holographic-gestalt of our own making.Carrying this evolutionary achilles-heel, this biologically-embeded Borg deficit which so limits our inherent propensity towards collectively-abstracted, introspective, longterm, collaborative-interest/restraint survival strategies across that rubacon into the organically-interdependent uncharted volatile territory that is network synchronized/amplified/accelerated everything maybe our undoing.We are now becoming responsible for designing our own primary evolutionary environmental circumstance.Without some socially transformative effort to consciously construct some sort of globally abstracted COLLABORATIVE COGNITIVE CULTURE WORKS by which we can circumvent/extend our own biologically-native Borg deficit, we as a species are most likely entering into what The Fermi Paradox calls “The Great Filter” which limits the prevalence of intelligent life in the cosmos.Defining that magic-mojo tipping point between privacy/autonomy and a workable collective/organic that will properly catalyze our networked-age success maybe the key collaborative-survival-strategy we need to unlock that Fermi Paradox Great Filter.http://waitbutwhy.com/wp-co…
Interesting observation and I do think you’re correct about why trust is front and center now. The progression of Facebook’s model along with the government being exposed has made us all think more deeply and carefully about the services we use and our online behavior. I’d like to think that as our needs get more fragmented more opportunities are created for startups.
I work in the infrastructure-as-a-service industry and trust has become one of the key selling points ever since the Snowden revelations. In this sense the country of origin of a company also matters. Being a Finnish/EU company we believe we have an advantage over US companies in this respect due to national legislation and procedures.
I don’t use G+, so I find that part of your post confusing. Do you mean to say you don’t trust them to change their privacy rules? Or that you don’t trust them to keep their privacy rules the same?
Was hoping you’d go with a Friday vote of whether the original Rocky still holds up. Then again, that’d be silly, because of course it does. #OrignalYoApp
like rocky, yo is not standing the test of time https://twitter.com/sfieger…
Well see that’s where you’re wrong…Let me quote Sly for you…”‘Cause all I wanna do is go the distance. Nobody’s ever gone the distance with Creed, and if I can go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and I’m still standin’, I’m gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren’t just another bum from the neighborhood.”
this may turn into a never ending debate 🙂
But that’s the beauty of the movie right there It’s right up your VC alley! It’s an allegory for David vs Goliath. It’s all about trying. For saying I’m gonna give it a shot dammit. And I’m gonna have doubts and all that, but I’m not gonna quit and that’s my advantage. And by just trying I’ve already won.Damn that movie gets me pumped. I need to find a meat market to run through and some stairs to run up!
Being from Philadelphia I never really liked that movie that much actually. It highlighted parts of the city that aren’t representative of what the area really offers. The city is really good at that. Being humble. No JLM’s to toot it’s horn and brand it.Besides both you and Fred got your ass back to NYC, right? And Arnold, well, when he came back from the West Coast he didn’t move to South Philly he moved to Manhattan. And I suspect that he would have done that even without the connection to his roots and his mother.I was explaining to my wife the other week (she’s from NY Metro area) that this all dates back to the Quaker shit and Billy Penn and also some stupid unwritten rule about not having a building higher than City Hall (until Rouse changed that). You know before she had to come here for some job interview she wasn’t even aware of where exactly Philly was it might as well have been Montana.There is a guy we both know – Morris B. In the 80’s he told me “I’m opening (or opened) up an office in NY because New Yorkers want to deal with a NY Company”.Anyway in the end Goliath normally does win.
I think Philly as a backdrop is apt. Blue collar, small, not NYC. That’s why it works IMHO.And yes, I live in New York. I love it. It’s amazing. But Philly will always be home. For better or worse. And nothing gives me a buzz like coming back to her. I’ll live there again for sure one day.
I think we have a few of those in Chicago.
Original Rocky still (pardon me!) rocks.Movie with a big heart.
I love you Arnold 😉
makes me want to do push ups.
elevate the feet on a ball, add balance to stress and strengthen the core.
Rocky 1 will always hold up!
VC principals often confuse the spelling of principles 😉
The problem with G+ is that once you make a photo or post public there is no way of making it private, so you end up having to delete the content.
This is the most prescient post I’ve read in a very long time.
Same goes for people too. I dislike the whole “fake it till you make it” meme
In addition, you can have all the trust in the world in a service provider and one key person in your life who you thought you could trust can pull the cornerstone out. In the internet age, the channels just have a far wider reach than pre-digital.
I don’t. Fake it till you make it is actually a sound practice for changing your own behavior in some direction.You can’t be fake forever 🙂
I find this whole conversation interesting, especially because I also follow Scoble. Scoble was glorifying the new feature in Facebook that geolocates you and shows all your friends where you are as you travel about (the feature was pre-activated to be on when it rolled out, you had to go find the setting to turn it off.) I posted that I didn’t want everyone to know where I am. He wrote back that he couldn’t understand why people wouldn’t want their friends to know where they are. As a woman who has been stalked in the past, but also as someone who likes solitude at times, I want to be the one who controls who can see me when, not Facebook or any other company. It’s my personal privacy. This goes for geolocation, photos, finances, etc.
Trust but verify. – Ronald Reagan.
Across all of these wonderful comments in response to an insightful post, I find myself surprised no one has asked the questions, “What is trust? How is trust built? How is trust designed into applications (as an add-on to the top ten)? How can the quality of trust be verified?”But there is one more question: How can trust be prioritized as a criteria of importance? With the full investments being made in risk management, it seems the institutional opposition to changing toward trust will be intense. What are the buttons that will need to be pushed to make trust a valued objective in the corporate boardrooms where investments in trust will be evaluated?It is easy to talk about trust–it is much, much harder to build and sustain trust, especially in the digital world. But until the preceding questions are answered, we will not be able to achieve new velocity toward trust.
This is humongous – thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. Trust, particularly with photos and any backups/ archive, is paramount and not a get rich quick app play or one trick pony. A custodian has been absent from any value propositions. Time changes everything, and we need to trust apps that promise to hold onto our most precious memories – particularly as we add more and more and they become stickier and stickier and harder to move as time goes on.Personal Control + Data liberation + the inevitable inheritance of our digital assets + Permanent organization (usable) + control are still lacking in the photo app world as the pioneering designs were based off albums, like physical albums in the 70s & 80s.
Anyone in the social networking game who isn’t already default public is trying to figure out how to get there. That’s the nice thing about Twitter. It has always been default public and so you know what to expect when you post something there. http://to.ly/zX0T
There is also a legal aspect. Most Terms of Service allow the provider to change anything in the future, which is weird for a regular contract, but acceptable for an always changing tech product. However, it would be nice to have some core features that are protected with “We will never change this without explicit user opt-in”.
HELP – I have a questionI recently had approximately 2,000 family photos scanned. I want to load them into the cloud so that all family members can access them. I also want those people to be able to tag them and comment on them so that we can pool our collective knowledge about what the photos represent.Which cloud app would people recommend I use to best support these requirements?(this isnt quite on Fred’s point but obviously it is related)thanks in advancePete
How can one trust a faceless entity? I am a ludite, but in all things commercial, I believe a healthy dose of mistrust makes good sense. Companies are until they are not, and that change can occur with new personnel or by mandate (legislative). I keep things that I want to be private under my direct control (harddrive), everything else is for the public with no reservations…
Fred I sat down with my last developers, I pulled out ur set of ten principles, I have them written down with descriptions beside each one from the presentation you gave on them… I said along with the direction I give you have to follow these, they understood and have done a good job so far. I said the same thing to my designers, then they went off in another direction and fought me on it. I let them go siting lack of following them pretty much.Thanks and keep up with the good content. What you do and what you provide to ENTREPRENEURS makes a difference. And if you ever find a way to leverage that more it’s always well accepted, and it always cements your value in the eyes of us entrepreneurs.MBA Mondays were money… Building a board of directors, Equity, Hiring, Managing… I have notes on all that I refer to. At one point you started to do classroom sessions… I think you only did one. I wish you had committed to once a quarter.
I find this odd that it is feature friday – trust isn’t a feature, its a state.
Yeah, except now it’s a feature instead. 🙁 Trust and privacy can no longer be assumed. 🙁
Hi Fred,Wanted to clarify if you implied that trust == privacy because trust is much broader than privacy/confidentiality. For e.g., as a marketing person I trust that what I post on Twitter would be broadcast to the widest audience — not that it would be private. Not trying to argue semantics but a more accurate word may be “privacy/confidentiality” at least from what I am seeing in the discussion thread here.
To what extent do you see US tech at a disadvantage purely as a result of being in the US and thus under the thumb of the NSA, etc? Whether true or not, there is a huge perceived trust issue in Europe (see Verizon losing a big German govt contract yesterday as a result). How do you see that in the consumer space? Is this an issue at all in the US? Hard for me to tell as I’m not there.
I do the same thing. All photos go to dropbox not g+ but yet i still trust gmail with the contents of confidential emails and google drive with all my documents + collaboration
If you think about platforms like Yelp and Trip Advisor, these are multi-billion dollar businesses, build entirely on expression of levels of ‘trust’ via independent reviews of services and accommodation.The network effect of the internet levels the playing field by democratising the ability to spread feedback around experiences, and therefore, trust. Ultimately these products lift the level of service consumers receive since service providers live and die by their feedback profiles on these sites.
Early this year I quit Facebook. I never trusted them on privacy, and chose to moderate my voice over constantly tweaking my settings to meet their rule changes.The last straw was some kind of algorithm change in their newsfeed took some people out of view, and I didn’t have the patience or time to figure out how to fix that. I had joined to “see” these people there, and couldn’t trust that I’d see them.Trust is bigger than what we care about having exposed.
Trust goes hand in hand with integrity; the behavior of a company, its founders, or leadership reflect on the company and send strong signals about trustworthiness.All of that can vary with not only the base level of a person’s (or companies) integrity but also where they are along the “has the shit hit the fan” scale.As a general rule people would tend to be more trustworthy if they can afford to be trustworthy. But the truth is not every person is going to go down with the ship or play in the band while the ship is sinking. Some are going to jump into the lifeboats preferring to live a bit longer.What a company does today, and or what their executives might do, is relative to their financial situation. If finances change or there are other influences (shareholders) you will find over time that people who you would normally consider trustworthy are no longer trustworthy.