After Watching The Social Dilemma, I Wonder: Can We Commoditize Trust?
In cyber, nothing is trusted. That’s the assumption: all things are bad until they aren’t.
If you haven’t watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix yet, I encourage you to spend 90 minutes and watch. Include the older kids. You may need to pause it at times to discuss the point. It’s worthy of a discussion. As a life-long Silicon Valley marketer, it struck a nerve.
I’ve worked in cybersecurity for years. I am the marketing person who turns an engineer’s wild ideas into plain English so ordinary people can understand what they are doing and why they’re doing it. While it can be hopelessly dull, cybersecurity is vital. And working to keep democracy safe — at least that’s how I decided to see it — was a mission I could get behind.
But the challenge that cybersecurity solutions battle is knowing what to trust. Not knowing what to trust was in play before this new Administration started “fake news.” Stephen Colbert (watch video) hit this hard in 2005 with truthiness: the quality of seeming to be true according to one’s intuition, opinion, or perception without regard to logic, factual evidence.¹ Yep, it’s been a decades’ long struggle for Americans as truth (and trust) has been traded away for profit and power.
But what if trust was a commodity? What if we could buy it?
I started pushing this idea in my last cyber job. While engineers focus on technical solutions to problems, marketers turn to persuasion and messaging. My job often required my ability to straddle the product constraints (“oh, sure, that feature is on our punch list”), and the pain the customers were experiencing with messages that would make the customers feel better while providing air cover for engineering.²
I realized trust could be a competitive advantage. It’s something that can distinguish one company from another and could lead to increased revenue. I did some research for Awake Security, and respondents said they’d be willing to pay more for a service that would guarantee trust, and they’d be more likely to recommend a trustworthy service to a friend.
Here’s how that might work: you need to choose a financial service provider…