Trust and my dad

My dad has an interesting viewpoint on the idea of trust. He says that it doesn’t need to be earned with him rather, he gives it out freely and automatically with anyone that he meets. He says that it is implicit in the human make up. He says that trust should be an automatic ‘gift’ in the human operating system.

Occasionally his trust gets abused – that’s the price he is willing to pay for it does happen. The upside of all the trust given far outweighs the few exceptions.

In startups and business, we’ve tried to de-humanize trust and replace it with forms and legal agreements. I really believe that we should trust ourselves and our gut just a little more. But I’m excited that new technology is making us more human again. The fact that digital footprints are largely permanent may even circumvent the need for mistrust and formal agreements. We can instead go back to trusting peoples word and enjoy the speed that organic development gives us versus making lawyers wealthy.




Stop thinking about technology

We need to stop thinking about technology. Actually we need to stop using the word technology. A chair made from timber is a form of technology. Digital does not equal technology. There is no technology. Only evolution and an increasing rate of change. People just lives their lives with the things around them. If the things are good and useful (new or old) they will embrace them. Lots of these things happen to have micro chips in them. So what. Lots of things have timber and metal in them too.

What we need to be is anthropologists. If we truly want to understand we need to listen and observe without interrupting. If we interrupt, there’s a chance we’ll influence the flow of the previously reality – and change it. So we wont know the truth as it would have been before we arrived. The truth and flow of human life is technology agnostic and there is much much more to it than ‘things’ we use to live.


What we follow – AFL

If you’re in Australia you’d know it is AFL Grand Final week. In US terms its the Super Bowl for Aussie rules football.

One of the most popular teams, Collingwood Football club has made it to the final. They have many fanatical supporters. So it got me thinking about what we are really supporting when it comes to football:

The Location? No, they do not play their games or even train in their original location of the suburb of Collingwood.

The Players? No, they are also never from the location they actually play for, let alone the same state or even country. They also change teams frequenctly and we welcome new players from other teams with open arms (so long as they are good players)

Our Peers? No, often our best friends follow teams which are the arch enemy of ours. We do not switch teams to be accepted by anyone. We’ll attend the games with them, but barrack for our own team.

The Jumper? No, that changes frequently. It barely looks like the original from 100 years ago and we are often forced to change it if the opposing team has colours which are deemed to clash.

The Performance? No, success is tenuous at best. Systems have been built in AFL to ensure the a more equitable distribution of success (Salary caps, draft systems). 1 successful year in 10 is a great result. 1 in 20 is more frequent.

So what do we support? We support the idea of loyalty. A concept only humans can understand. Following a team allows us to live vicariously, and display loyalty no matter what in a non life threatening way. It allows us to be emotional in a world that attempts to demand only rational thought.

Football and sport in general is one way we can remain human without consequence. And when it comes to brands, or clubs in this case, people can only truly love those which feel human.


Can boring brands create word of mouth?

This is the sixth of my crowd sourced blog entry ideas as suggested by Ben Rowe. Ben wanted to get my thoughts on the following: 

“Can boring brands and products create word of mouth?” Discuss.

In a word, no. But given the task is to discuss, I’d say the fact that matters here is the word emotion. Does a brand generate an emotional response from the audience. Does it generate passion and fervor?  Good or bad? If the response isn’t emotional. There will be no discussion.

The product or service may be very good, have a reasonable price and even be a market leader. Yes it may suffice or dominate it’s category, like cornflakes do as breakfast cereal, but I’m hardly about to email my brother with a link to the Kelloggs website.

We need to think about things that are emotional responses: Joy, Anger, Sadness, Elation, Fury, Disappointment, Love, Hate….

The heavy emotions every human is familiar with. A brand has to engender these type of emotional responses to get on the word of mouth agenda. Case in point is banks. They are seen to take advantage of their customers, and we have a strong distrust and hate for them. And even though the response is negative, it’s emotional and generates a great deal of discussion. That is, it’s not boring. It’s often the case that brands which have factional parties in the for and against camp (love / hate) generate the most word of mouth. Some recent examples of brands with this effect include:


Krispy Kreme



Will it blend

Cadbury Gorilla

All of these have been worth talking about. Our brand reputations as people wouldn’t be hindered if we mentioned these.

As far as start ups are concerned we should thinking less about trying to generate a viral campaign, and more about the emotional impact our offer has on our audience. Being new and innovative isn’t enough, it’s got to have an emotional impact on people. With boring brands we are simply indifferent, and so we just get on with our lives.


We are born

On this earth…

we are all born as creative

we are all born as emotional

we are all born as caring

we are all born as compassionate

we are all born as inquisitve

we are all born as adventurers

we are all born as ‘entrepreneurs’


Our world tries as hard as it can to hide these ‘in built’ features from us. It scares us, no ‘scars us’ into ignoring our given instincts.

We ‘as entrepreneurs’ must do everything we can to get them back. To be as nature intended.