Reputation as a Currency
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Reputation as a Currency

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  • Thank you Tim, I’ve very happy to be here.  Today I am going to share with you why I believe your online reputation will be the single most important thing in determining the trajectory of your life.  I’m serious.  It will determine things as important as where you get your next job or whether or not you can get a loan to purchase a home.
  • I want to start today by sharing a special story with you.   Some of you may be familiar with TaskRabbit - an online marketplace where you can connect with people to get things done. About 1 year after I started TaskRabbit, a TaskPoster emailed me this story.   A mom in San Francisco has a 20 year old son living in Boston.  Unfortunately, he was going through chemotherapy treatment at MGH.  She couldn't be there to be with him herself, so she went onto TaskRabbit, and asked someone to visit her son everyday in the hospital for a week.  Bring him a healthy meal and cozy blanket, and sit with him for 30 minutes to see how he was doing.  And then call her afterwards, every single day.   The TaskRabbit that picked up the job, was another mom in the Boston area, who was honored to help this family in a time of need. The bond that was formed between these two moms was incredibly powerful and proves that the service network that we've built goes far beyond just tasks, small jobs, and errands.
  • If you were this mom, and your son was in this situation, and you couldn’t get to him, how would you trust somebody to play that role in your absence? What sort of things would you look for? How would you even begin to decide which questions to ask? Would you check their credit score? Ask for a resume? Pull out the Yellow Pages? What elements of a stranger’s reputation would come into play with something so important? Today, we’re going to explore how reputation has evolved over the last century. We’ll take a look at some of the old, persistent reputation systems that determine everything from who gets hired for certain jobs or approved for business loans, to which restaurants are worth trying. Along the way, I’ll share my thoughts on the shortcomings of these old systems and explain how social reputation mechanisms are already at play, helping us navigate our rapidly digitizing world. I believe that a long and robust history of great transactional and social behavior online is the best indicator of future behavior available to us. I also believe that, five years from now,  this trail of information and behavior we leave online will have replaced the resume, the credit score, and every other antiquated reputation system imaginable. We have already started to see this happen as tools built on social reputation like Yelp, Kickstarter, and Linkedin have become part of our everyday lives. With the rise of peer-to-peer marketplaces that make up the sharing economy — like Airbnb, RelayRides, and TaskRabbit — we’ll only see the pace accelerate. Simply put, I believe that the social capital we build online will become everything. It will be the currency that powers our decisions and empowers us to lead our best lives, and it will be the catalyst for a new and exciting age of trusting one another again.
  • Over the years, we’ve developed tools and techniques to determine who among us has a reputation we can trust. These tools were born of necessity — we needed ways to surface the people who were the best for the job, the people who were likely to pay back a loan. As consumers, we needed ways to figure out how best to spend our hard-earned money. There are a lot of tools we could discuss here today, but I’d like to focus on three big ones — the credit score, information gatekeepers, and the resume.
  • Let’s take our first look at a number that determines a lot of what we’re allowed to do, and even what we’re allowed to own: our credit score. How did we come up with the idea to assign a number to our creditworthiness? It all came down to an attempt to even the playing field, as early means of deciding who was worthy of credit were based on subjective, individual judgements. These subjective, individual judgements were more than inconvenient — they were downright invasive. One of the strangest examples of just how unfair credit companies could be has to do with the Welcome Wagon ladies of the American south — the people in town who would greet new neighbors.   The company that later became Equifax, one of the three primary credit reporting agencies, started out as the Atlanta-based Retail Credit Company. This company devised a fool-proof method of figuring out who was worthy of credit.
  • The Retail Credit Company sent Welcome Wagon ladies to the homes of new neighbors as spies. The ladies gained entry with promises of pies and coupons to welcome people to the neighborhood.
  • Once inside someone’s home, the ladies noted the quality of furnishings, the cleanliness of the household, and whether the smell of alcohol was detected. The Welcome Wagon ladies reports turned into an early — and very subjective — version of the credit score.
  • Even outside of the bizarre southern hospitality spy program, informal mechanisms of denying credit to undesirable people were in place. If your local banker didn’t like you, you probably weren’t getting a loan. These subjective methods didn’t make a whole lot of sense to some people. Pragmatic people saw a need for an objective, data-based model of determining someone’s reputation. A better way to figure out who to lend to. So a little startup decided to disrupt things.
  • In 1956, an engineer and mathematician, Bill Fair and Earl Issac got together to figure out a way to use numbers to produce a better scoring model. They founded Fair, Isaac and Company, and ushered the FICO score into existence. By 1987, FICO went public and the financial opportunities of Americans became tied to their scores. Variables like a person’s total debt, types and ages of accounts, and number of late payments were tracked and scored on a point system. These data-driven models replaced human whims and prying Welcome Wagon ladies as the standard way to vet a person’s credit worthiness. Having a good credit score became a key component to securing a business loan, buying a home, or renting a car.
  • People in a position to dole out loans aren’t the only ones who need a reliable way to examine reputation. Regular people want to know about they can trust the car they’re buying, or the restaurant they’re dining in, or the handyman they hire to fix a leaky faucet. Many tools have popped up for consumers to evaluate the reputations of the brands, businesses, and service providers they encounter. I like to call this set of tools Information Gatekeepers . Once upon a time, when it came to choosing a restaurant we all looked to the same place: Zah-gat . When it came to buying a car or a washing machine, we looked to Consumer Reports. When it came to finding a plumber, we opened the Yellow Pages to find the biggest ad. When we were looking for something new, we went to the same place, or in some cases, person to choose for us. We relied on a group of gatekeepers. These gatekeepers became the authorities on our purchasing decisions. Consumer Reports was a magazine founded in the 1930s. Their editorial staff would test items in-house — everything from cars to appliances — and make recommendations on which items consumers should buy. The Zah-gat guide started a little later, in the late seventies, but with a similar intention. The founders of the guide surveyed their friends’ opinions of restaurants, aggregated the data, and published the recommendations on which restaurants consumers should try. Our oldest gatekeeper hit the scene way back in the 1880s, when a printer working on a phone directory ran out of white paper and used yellow instead. The Yellow Pages eventually morphed into a pay-to-play, alphabetized guide to all businesses within a given geographic area.
  • Ever wonder why so many business start with A1? A1 Plumbing, A1 Photo, A1 Bakery... It was the SEO of 1960s The final old-school reputation tool we’ll discuss is something most of you will be familiar with — the resume. What you may not know about this little piece of paper is how far it goes back... it all started with Leonardo Da Vinci.
  • Before he invented the helicopter, painted the mona lisa, and the last supper, Da Vinci had to prove himself to get his next gig. In 1482 he wrote the first resume, which was really a letter of introduction describing his capabilities to the Duke of Milan. The resume’s purpose was initially to provide a channel for trusted people to vouch for others just getting started.
  • In the ‘50s, resumes got pretty granular — they included, height, weight, marital status, hair color. They eventually morphed into a vehicle for two key pieces of information: Your history of job titles — hopefully impressive ones with lots of cool words and fancy modifiers — and your education.
  • These reputation tools — the credit score, information gatekeepers, and the resume — served us for a long time, but have they served us well? Most of us in this room would probably agree that they haven’t. Let’s look at some of the shortcomings of these old systems.
  • One of the most significant issues with credit scores is that they tend to vary wildly depending on the reporting agency. There are three primary credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, TransUnion. This mean discrepancies between credit scores, sometimes considerable ones.
  • A report by the US Public Interest Research Group revealed there’s at least one error on 79% of all credit reports. I remember my husband and I, right after we got married, we went to purchase a house, and it was the day before we were suppose to close on the loan, we get a call from the banker.  They tell us that we can’t close on the house because my credit report has brought up new information.  It turns out, an old car I had in college was still on my credit report, even 5 years later, after I had gotten rid of it.  I had no idea how to get this cleared off of my report, and it actually delayed us in being able to close on our house.  I felt completely helpless and out of control of my own credit situation.
  • Most people don’t know how to access their credit reports, let alone how to challenge errors or improve their scores. It’s a hot mess. How many people in this room, actually know their credit score? Are you surprised by this number? Credit scores have quite the transparency problem, so much so that entire companies have been founded to make it easy for people to view their scores. Those of us who do actively track our scores may be seeing a different score entirely than our creditors see.
  • A recent analysis from the Consumer Protection Bureau found that 1 in 5 consumers are shown a meaningfully different score from credit reporting agencies than people offering credit are shown. So all you people who raised your hands — you may know your score, but the person pulling your credit to evaluate you for your new home or car may see a totally different number. Pretty scary, right? What’s more, credit scores only include data based on transactional behavior — they don’t even include income. It’s not representative of a person’s complete character.
  • With the old ways of making consumer decisions like Zah-gat , Consumer Reports, and the Yellow Pages we didn’t have information — we had gatekeepers.   We gave a handful of people and organizations the power to decide what was good and what was not, often times based on things like their own ad revenue. While some of these gatekeepers — such as Consumer Reports — strived to maintain editorial independence, there was still a small group of people determining which products to recommend. Social consensus wasn’t a factor. There was a tiny group of people who decided where we ate, what movies we saw, which cars we bought, what books we read, and who we trusted to come into our homes and fix things around the house. There was no avenue for feedback at all. If I went to a restaurant that a critic said was amazing, but I found to be sub-par and overpriced, there was no way for me to share this feedback. And lack of consensus wasn’t the only problem. Not by a long shot. Restaurants and service providers with names at the end of the alphabet who couldn’t afford ad placement were at an extreme disadvantage. On its surface, the Yellow Pages may seem like an innocent reference book, but the model is very pay-to-play. If you couldn’t afford ad space and didn’t want to build your brand around the letter “A,” you were in trouble. The quality and reputation of the businesses with names at the end of the alphabet never had a chance to surface. A full history of satisfied customers didn’t matter nearly as much as a full-page ad or being at the beginning of the alphabet.
  • As the Internet grew and fewer people opened the Yellow Pages a new problem became apparent — waste. We spend $54 million a year to dispose of unwanted phone books, another $9 million to recycle them. In San Francisco alone, 1.6 million phone books are distributed each year — that’s two for every person who lives in the city — producing 3600 tons of waste. The waste is so bad that in 2011, San Francisco became the first city to ban phone books.
  • Speaking of paper waste, I’m sure we can all think of a shortcoming or two about the traditional resume. Like many of us working in the technology industry, many modern HR professionals find resumes to be increasingly irrelevant — largely, they’re just a supplement to Googling a candidate. Savvy applicants know that as long as education and job titles are relevant to the position, working in a few key terms (whether they truly represent experience or not) can move you to the top of the pile.
  • Even savvier ones know that cheap tricks like printing on off-white, colored paper, or as demonstrated by Elle Woods’ in Legally Blonde, spritzing a resume with a bit of perfume can at least get you looked at.
  • Resumes are highly subjective and selective pieces of information, and they don’t begin to communicate things like culture fit, collaborative ability, or the opinions of colleagues who’ve worked with the candidate. Let’s pretend I’m hiring for a major role at TaskRabbit. The position? TaskPoster-in-Chief — a major brand ambassador who will live and breathe TaskRabbit and tell the world about us. It’s a huge hire, and I’m taking this job search very seriously. I’ve flexed my network to find the very best candidates, and some of the most noteworthy people in Silicon Valley have expressed an interest. Pretty cool, huh? So what if I’m the kind of manager who’d rather look at a resume than someone’s social networks? What if I care more about job titles and GPAs than the trail of reputation these incredible candidates have left online? Would good candidates slip through the cracks? To give you an idea about how absurd it would be to insist on seeing a resume from one of these candidates, let’s go ahead and take a look at what that job interview might look like.
  • We’ve got one of these candidates, FLOODGATE Fund’s Ann Miura-Ko, who happened to lead TaskRabbit’s seed financing round dialed in for a video interview. The TaskPoster-in-Chief title is right in line with her experience — let’s see if her resume will get her the job. PLAY VIDEO After video: Hmmm. That was awkward. Looks like no one has asked Ann for a resume in years. Had I simply glanced at her social reputation or Googled her, I would have learned that Forbes named her “The Most Powerful Woman in Startups.” Wondering what other dream candidates never would have made it through this resume filter? Let’s take a look at my next three choices:
  • With so many shortcomings that have been simmering for decades, we’ve been forced to start figuring out ways to circumvent these archaic standards. We’ve begun creating reputation mechanisms to help us navigate around the barriers credit scores, information gatekeepers, and resumes represent.
  • Let’s start with the entrepreneur, we can all relate. A hardworking person used to be able to walk into a bank and prove trustworthiness based on credit history, and walk out with a loan to start a business. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t that simple, but almost.
  • Nowadays, banks have raised their lending standards so high that even those with near perfect scores are having trouble getting financed by these traditional means. So people with business ideas are turning to an alternative form of credit: crowdfunding. This approach doesn’t look at the credit score at all, social reputation is what gets people this kind of financing.
  • Getting a loan via Kickstarter is about character and your social reputation, not about your financial history. Anyone with a great idea can put a project up on Kickstarter, make a case to the public for why it’s a great idea, add some bio information, and connect their social profiles. Individuals examine the idea and reputation of the person, and decide whether or not to donate. To illustrate how a Kickstarter profile can be more helpful than a credit score when opening a new business, let’s  look at one of my favorite Kickstarter campaigns — Cards Against Humanity.
  • In 2010, Max Temkin and 7 of his friends had a very simple idea - they wanted to create a game for people to play at parties. Only the context of the game was unique - they wanted it to be for horrible people. Yes, that’s right, a game for people who find horribly inappropriate things funny.
  • The directions are simple. Each round, one player asks a question from a Black Card, like the class field trip was completely ruined by blank. and everyone else answers with their funniest White Card. Like, The rapture... or a squadron of moles wearing aviator goggles... or darth vader... or hipsters. Max and his team collectively spent over 100 hours coming up with cards for both sides of the game that matched together in hilariously unique ways. Now, imagine Max and his team waltzing into a bank to ask for a loan to create a game where people complete two unrelated thoughts to make something hilarious... yet horrible. How do you think that would have gone? Yeah, not so good. Instead, Max and his team turned to Kickstarter. They filled out their profile, explained who they were and what they wanted to do. Max added his name and a link to his website. They kicked the campaign off with the goal of raising $4,000 in two months. If someone gave $5, they’d receive a free PDF version of the game, that they would then have to cut out all of the cards themselves. Hilarity ensued. People were drawn to the game for horrible people. So much so, that it only took a little over two weeks for Max and his friends to reach their goal. Their next step? Use Kickstarter to raise even more money to make Cards Against Humanity into a real board game. For the sake of time, let’s fast forward to June of 2011 when Cards Against Humanity launched as the number one game on Amazon.com. So many copies were sold, that Amazon thought it was a hoax. These guys had an idea for a business and were able to build it by using a financing tool that looked at social reputation instead of credit score.
  • The people who financially backed Cards Against Humanity were able to look at Max’s Facebook page, view videos of him explaining the game, read his bio, visit his Website, read through his tweets, and directly ask him questions about the game, et cetera. Max’s social reputation was robust and it proved that he was dedicated to making this game a reality. Backers simply took a look at Max’s social reputation, and decided if they wanted to fund his cause - and then did. The game is now one of the most popular party games sold on the Internet and has already seen a second expansion and been translated into 14 languages. All because Max uploaded his idea to a Website with a profile about himself.
  • And this isn’t just card games, you guys. There are tons of examples of people building businesses through alternative means like Kickstarter. ANIMATE - There’s a Touchscreen WiFi Router and Smart Home Hub . ANIMATE - There’s an Urban Farm in London. ANIMATE - There’s a low carb , sugar free cupcake push pop . The possibi lities are endless, but one thing rema ins - people are raising a ton of money, receiving funding based on their character and online reputation. These folks never had to show their credit score to anyone.
  • So we’ve examined how a person goes about using their social reputation to start a business, but what about our everyday life? As consumers, we’ve moved pretty far away from letting gatekeepers make the rules. What do you actually do when you’re looking for a new restaurant? Do you open the Yellow Pages to “r”? Do you grab the trusty hardbound copy of zahgat off the shelf? I’m betting you don’t.
  • I’m betting you hop onto Yelp and start checking ratings,
  • or maybe you do a Facebook Graph Search to see where your friends are eating.
  • Looking to buy a new coffeemaker? You head over to Amazon to see what people are saying about each brand. You don’t let your local film critic decide which movie to watch, you head to Rotten Tomatoes. Platforms have popped up in nearly every vertical to enable us to discuss our consumer decisions with one another.
  • Increasingly, we’re relying on social consensus, not the opinion of a gatekeeper to make consumer decisions. Our demand as consumers for a more reliable method of examining a brand or businesses’ social reputation has created powerful momentum. Restaurants and hairdressers, shoe stores and tattoo artists, bands and cars and hand soap and salad dressing all live and die on their social reputations. These days, people simply want more information before they make consumer decisions.
  • On TaskRabbit, we see that people love to work with the same TaskRabbits their friends have worked with. They check out those ratings and reviews, and then they post a Task. We’ve talked about how social reputation has started to shift the tides of credit scores and render consumer gatekeepers irrelevant, now let’s take a look at what these mechanisms have done to the resume. The fate of the resume all comes down to one simple question: How would you approach finding a new job?
  • Do you really still think about your paper resume?  Are you spritzing it with perfume and printing it on thick stock pink paper? Of course not.
  • You think about your LinkedIn profile, your Facebook connections, how much authority your Twitter handle reveals you to have, and what potential employers are going to find when they Google your name. Your online behavior has created a nearly 360-degree vetting process for you that goes way deeper than just your job titles and name of your alma mater. Take the process we use when vetting potential TaskRabbits [ ANIMATE] .. We don’t ask for a resume, we ask people to apply in open essay form.  If an active TaskRabbit vouches for another candidate, we fast track them on our waiting list.  This idea of social proof and vetting matters more than a static resume ever could. Some companies and individuals have taken this concept to new heights and have replaced traditional vetting tools for job searching and replaced them with social reputation mechanisms. Let’s take a look at one of my favorite examples:
  • You think about your LinkedIn profile, your Facebook connections, how much authority your Twitter handle reveals you to have, and what potential employers are going to find when they Google your name. Your online behavior has created a nearly 360-degree vetting process for you that goes way deeper than just your job titles and name of your alma mater. Take the process we use when vetting potential TaskRabbits [ ANIMATE] .. We don’t ask for a resume, we ask people to apply in open essay form.  If an active TaskRabbit vouches for another candidate, we fast track them on our waiting list.  This idea of social proof and vetting matters more than a static resume ever could. Some companies and individuals have taken this concept to new heights and have replaced traditional vetting tools for job searching and replaced them with social reputation mechanisms. Let’s take a look at one of my favorite examples:
  • You think about your LinkedIn profile, your Facebook connections, how much authority your Twitter handle reveals you to have, and what potential employers are going to find when they Google your name. Your online behavior has created a nearly 360-degree vetting process for you that goes way deeper than just your job titles and name of your alma mater. Take the process we use when vetting potential TaskRabbits [ ANIMATE] .. We don’t ask for a resume, we ask people to apply in open essay form.  If an active TaskRabbit vouches for another candidate, we fast track them on our waiting list.  This idea of social proof and vetting matters more than a static resume ever could. Some companies and individuals have taken this concept to new heights and have replaced traditional vetting tools for job searching and replaced them with social reputation mechanisms. Let’s take a look at one of my favorite examples:
  • Last April, Rachael King was job searching. She wanted to work in community management in San Francisco... just like thousands of other applicants in the tech bubble’s epicenter. She did what most job applicants do - put her resume together. But something made Rachael’s resume different - it wasn’t a standard, 81/2 by 11 piece of paper, it was a living web page she built on Pinterest. It included a ‘pin’ of her traditional resume, as well as several other pins that highlighted the interesting things she’s done in her career - from speaking engagements, to media accolades to a constantly-updated list of references. Rachael applied for a coveted community management role at Adobe. Guess what? She got the job and has been a part of the Adobe Global Community Team for 11 months. Some companies have done away with the traditional resume all together. Take Union Square Ventures in NYC for example...they were hiring a new analyst and the hiring manager was so tired of receiving resumes as attachments, she forbid them from the process. She didn’t want a piece of paper, instead, she asked for a glimpse at each candidates Web presence.  
  • Even at TaskRabbit.  I don’t even look at the resumes of most candidates that come through the door.  We look at their Github accounts, what they’ve posted on Dribbble or Behance, and what sort of connections they have on Linkedin. New tools are popping up every day to help candidates better represent their abilities and skills.
  • For example, Mozilla has launched a really compelling project called Open Badges. The goal of Open Badges is to make it possible for people of all ages and occupations to access more opportunities by showing off the skills they have. People can earn badges to show off skills and capabilities in any area — ux design, nanotechnology, plumbing, whatever. These badges aren’t just for decoration, they’re issued by companies, schools, and associations with incredible clout. And they’re meaningful — actual criteria must be met before a badge is issued.
  • Even the Girl Scouts, an organization that knows a thing or two about badges, is getting in on the action with “My Girl Scout Sash is an App” — a program that issues badges to Girl Scouts for learning how to create mobile apps. Girl Scouts who earn this badge move into their careers with tangible proof that they know how to design and build for Android. The only thing I can think to say to that is — wow. How much more useful is that than a “Make a Paper Resume” badge?
  • We’ve examined the shortcomings of old systems and we’ve looked at how social reputation mechanisms are helping us move past them. But just what is it that makes social reputation so much better than the old ways? For starters, the sheer quantity of data.
  • More than 4.5 billion pieces of data are entered each month into credit records, which in turn become part of the more than 1 billion consumer credit reports issued annually in the United States. That’s a lot of information. But compare this to 350 million Tweets per day [ ANIMATE], or more than 10 billion per month. And that’s just Twitter. That doesn’t take into account your interactions on Facebook [ANIMATE], your activity level on TaskRabbit, your reputation as a host on Airbnb, or your reputation for car sharing on RelayRides. It doesn’t look at your Linkedin testimonials or endorsements, your professional portfolios, your participation on Yelp or Amazon or Reddit or Quora. Or your videos on YouTube or Vimeo. Or your Google+ profile. I could go on. And on and on. It doesn’t end.
  • In 2010, Google CEO Eric Schmidt gave us a massive statistic — every two days, we’re producing as much information as was produced from the dawn of civilization through 2003. Eric told us this three years ago — imagine how far we’ve come since then. Instagram didn’t exist. Path didn’t exist. Vine didn’t exist. No one in this room had ever heard of the Harlem Shake.
  • There are entire companies forming tackling this trust and data aggregation problem.  Take Legit, Trust Cloud, as just a few examples.   The vision of these companies is to give the consumer ownership of their reputations online. The time we put into building out our reputation on Airbnb, should carry some weight on TaskRabbit, and each consumer should have control over their online reputation data.   I’m not talking about measuring influence, like a Klout score, but actually being able to measure someone’s trustworthiness across multiple online networks.
  • I have a great story about someone who totally changed her reputation to get a great job. Some of this story took place at SXSW last year - I’d love to share it with you. One of TaskRabbit’s fantastic Product Managers is a woman by the name of Kaitlyn Trigger. A little background on Kaitlyn - she attended Yale University where she earned a degree in Political Science and later went into advertising and marketing. She wound up at a startup, where a front-row seat to the product department made her realize she wanted to change her career path. One day, while getting ready to go to a friend’s engagement party, Kaitlyn thought, wouldn’t it be cool if I could create a framed collage of my friend’s Instagrams and give it as an engagement gift. The problem was there was no way to connect two Instagram users. This led to a very important realization in Kaitlyn’s career - she could be the person who made this possible. This idea could be her transition into a product career. She began reaching out to everyone in her network who was skilled at engineering, UX, and product development to pick their brains about the best way to get started. She researched and read books all about teaching yourself how to code. After a lot of work, and late night workshops over beers with friends and coworkers, Kaitlyn built a little tool called Lovestagram. Lovestagram allows a person to connect two users on Instagram and turn photos of the people in them into Valentine’s - or just special, affectionate cards. At this point, Kaitlyn knew for certain that product management was what she wanted to do. But her resume was full of marketing, advertising, and political science credentials. So last year at SXSW Kaitlyn found me and asked for a meeting. She told me how she taught herself to code, how she built Lovestagram from the ground up, and told me why she felt it made her a great fit for the open product manager role at TaskRabbit. Guess what? Kaitlyn got the job. Did I ask her for a resume? No, because the experience on it didn’t matter for the position she wanted. Was a Yale degree in political science impressive? Sure, but it was irrelevant to the role she was interested in. Instead I looked at her social reputation data - the fact that she bootstrapped a company single handedly and chronicled her experience along the way. Kaitlyn wanted to become credible in a completely different area than she ever had been. She was in complete control of her online identity, and she changed it to get what she wanted. She couldn’t have done that with her resume. It’s also worth mentioning that social reputation works both ways. There’s a reason Kaitlyn came to TaskRabbit with her talent. She examined our social reputation. She looked at testimonials, our social followings, the press coverage we’ve received. She asked her friends about their experiences using TaskRabbit. Social reputation is more than just a more reliable and accurate measure of a person’s character and abilities. It’s become an essential cornerstone to launching a company today.
  • Nowhere is this more apparent than in the collaborative consumption movement. Marketplace companies, particularly ones with peer-to-peer offline components — depend on trust to keep the doors open.  Let’s take a look at how social reputation mechanisms are already being used to build multi-billion dollar businesses. When I started TaskRabbit back in 2008, terms like the “sharing economy” or “Collaborative Consumption” didn’t even exist yet. The change and momentum we’ve seen over the past 5 years is monumental, and some predict will have an even bigger impact than the industrial revolution! Companies like Airbnb, Zipcar, RelayRides, Lyft, Thred Up are ushering in a new way of approaching some very old concepts: sharing resources and transacting directly with our peers. Consumers are getting more and more comfortable with the idea of sharing resources and living more efficiently in a community.  
  • Technology is building efficiency and trust in these online networks that allow us to connect in the real world to get real things done. Ironically, technology is bringing us back to a time of asking your neighbor to borrow a cup of sugar.  It’s these old models of collaboration that are so innately built into us as human beings that fuel the momentum for a more connected world.
  • FORBES estimates the revenue flowing through the share economy directly into people’s wallets will surpass $3.5 billion this year, with growth exceeding 25%. Note that this number doesn’t reflect revenue, but the money actually earned by the people participating in these marketplaces. The Airbnb hosts, the TaskRabbits, the Lyft Drivers. So what's making these economic engines churn? Trust. The trust mechanisms used by companies in the collaborative space provide individuals with the confidence needed to participate in peer-to-peer activity offline. The trust mechanisms we've put in place at TaskRabbit have helped us grow our community considerably over the years, and helped us put an awful lot of money into the pockets of TaskRabbits around the country.
  • To demonstrate, let's take a look at San Francisco when we arrived, in April of 2010. Each of these lines represents a transaction that took place between members of our community. < animate > As you can see, there weren’t very many members of our community in the Bay Area at the time, and most of the people performing the Tasks were way over in Boston. Not many people were comfortable with this concept of hiring people online for offline Tasks, but as time went on our TaskRabbits developed social reputation trails. < animate > They collected ratings and reviews from satisfied TaskPosters, and we started to grow. Then we started to really grow < animate >. Today, many TaskRabbits earn the entirety of their incomes running Tasks.
  • To demonstrate, let's take a look at San Francisco when we arrived, in April of 2010. Each of these lines represents a transaction that took place between members of our community. < animate > As you can see, there weren’t very many members of our community in the Bay Area at the time, and most of the people performing the Tasks were way over in Boston. Not many people were comfortable with this concept of hiring people online for offline Tasks, but as time went on our TaskRabbits developed social reputation trails. < animate > They collected ratings and reviews from satisfied TaskPosters, and we started to grow. Then we started to really grow < animate >. Today, many TaskRabbits earn the entirety of their incomes running Tasks.
  • To demonstrate, let's take a look at San Francisco when we arrived, in April of 2010. Each of these lines represents a transaction that took place between members of our community. < animate > As you can see, there weren’t very many members of our community in the Bay Area at the time, and most of the people performing the Tasks were way over in Boston. Not many people were comfortable with this concept of hiring people online for offline Tasks, but as time went on our TaskRabbits developed social reputation trails. < animate > They collected ratings and reviews from satisfied TaskPosters, and we started to grow. Then we started to really grow < animate >. Today, many TaskRabbits earn the entirety of their incomes running Tasks.
  • To demonstrate, let's take a look at San Francisco when we arrived, in April of 2010. Each of these lines represents a transaction that took place between members of our community. < animate > As you can see, there weren’t very many members of our community in the Bay Area at the time, and most of the people performing the Tasks were way over in Boston. Not many people were comfortable with this concept of hiring people online for offline Tasks, but as time went on our TaskRabbits developed social reputation trails. < animate > They collected ratings and reviews from satisfied TaskPosters, and we started to grow. Then we started to really grow < animate >. Today, many TaskRabbits earn the entirety of their incomes running Tasks.
  • To demonstrate, let's take a look at San Francisco when we arrived, in April of 2010. Each of these lines represents a transaction that took place between members of our community. < animate > As you can see, there weren’t very many members of our community in the Bay Area at the time, and most of the people performing the Tasks were way over in Boston. Not many people were comfortable with this concept of hiring people online for offline Tasks, but as time went on our TaskRabbits developed social reputation trails. < animate > They collected ratings and reviews from satisfied TaskPosters, and we started to grow. Then we started to really grow < animate >. Today, many TaskRabbits earn the entirety of their incomes running Tasks.
  • Each of these circles represents a member of our community. Some are TaskRabbits and some are TaskPosters. This big circle represents Chris Mok. Chris is one of our most active TaskRabbits in San Francisco. Each line represents a transaction that earned Chris money, and a connection formed with someone in his community. It represents impact. Chris' impact on the Task landscape in San Francisco has been huge, and he's even run Tasks for people in other markets. Why do people trust Chris? Because of his social reputation.
  • Each of these circles represents a member of our community. Some are TaskRabbits and some are TaskPosters. This big circle represents Chris Mok. Chris is one of our most active TaskRabbits in San Francisco. Each line represents a transaction that earned Chris money, and a connection formed with someone in his community. It represents impact. Chris' impact on the Task landscape in San Francisco has been huge, and he's even run Tasks for people in other markets. Why do people trust Chris? Because of his social reputation.
  • Each of these circles represents a member of our community. Some are TaskRabbits and some are TaskPosters. This big circle represents Chris Mok. Chris is one of our most active TaskRabbits in San Francisco. Each line represents a transaction that earned Chris money, and a connection formed with someone in his community. It represents impact. Chris' impact on the Task landscape in San Francisco has been huge, and he's even run Tasks for people in other markets. Why do people trust Chris? Because of his social reputation.
  • Each of these circles represents a member of our community. Some are TaskRabbits and some are TaskPosters. This big circle represents Chris Mok. Chris is one of our most active TaskRabbits in San Francisco. Each line represents a transaction that earned Chris money, and a connection formed with someone in his community. It represents impact. Chris' impact on the Task landscape in San Francisco has been huge, and he's even run Tasks for people in other markets. Why do people trust Chris? Because of his social reputation.
  • People don’t think of Chris as a stranger — they think of him as a new neighbor. They believe that he’s reliable, true, strong, able to help them. They trust him. Isn’t that something? A decade ago we were afraid to enter our credit card information online. Five years ago we were trying to figure out why we needed Facebook. Today we’re building social reputation and trust in a way that redefines who our neighbors are and who we can trust on and offline. What is possible for us is something much, much more profound than the concept of strangers helping strangers. What’s possible is a world in which none of us are strangers — a world of neighbors. Technology has given us this tremendous gift: the ability to truly connect with one another again. To shake hands. To bump fists. To exchange smiles and ask one another for a little help when it’s needed. To trust one another. We’re not strangers anymore, we’re neighbors. All of us. This is in our nature, we just have to find our way back to it. What’s stopping us? Only one thing. Shaking this bizarre paradigm of letting other people make the rules. Letting the credit scores and resumes and gatekeepers outweigh the immense trail of information we leave behind about how we actually behave. Letting old systems get in the way of what we’re naturally inclined to do: trust. We’re closer than you think. I asked some of the smartest people I know in San Francisco to talk about the role of trust, not just at their companies, but in their everyday lives. And here’s what they said: PLAY VIDEO
  • At the start of this talk I told you a story. It’s one of the best stories I know in the TaskRabbit Universe. It illustrates so much about our capacity to believe in one another. When I asked you how this mother came around to figuring out how to trust a total stranger to hold her son’s hand during the darkest hour of his life, I already knew the answer. She didn’t care about knowing someone’s credit score, or looking at their resume.   It’s simple. She looked at the social reputation data. At the five-star rating and positive reviews. She looked at the word “mother” in the profile information. At the warm and smiling face in the photo. She took a look at all the reasons to trust this new neighbor. And then she took a little leap.  

Reputation as a Currency Presentation Transcript