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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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It’s The Trust, Stupid

Comments (15)

There are three words I’m starting to see regularly in the recursive world of blogs (blogs about blogs) and user-generate content (yes – there is an awful lot of user-generated content about user-generated content, including this blog post.)

  1. Trust
  2. Attention
  3. Relevance

Unfortunately for my title to be cute, pithy, and remind us of a president who actually had a clue even though he couldn’t manage to keep his zipper up (oops, did I say that), I could only use one of the words.  So – how about a haiku since when I get older I want to be like Yoda.

It’s the trust, stupid
Pay attention people
Relevance it is

While you might end up feeling like you are playing buzzword bingo, these three words (ok – concepts) are going to start weaving themselves into a lot of the user-generated content dialogue.  Why – just this morning – Judy’s Book (my newest investment) announced “TrustScore(SM)”, a mechanism for delivering at-a-glance scoring of local consumer reviews on the Judy’s Book site.

This stuff isn’t trivial to figure out.  Seth Goldstein, who is working on Root Markets and AttentionTrust, is deep into the Attention concept.  My friends at NewsGator are deep into the Relevance and Attention concepts.  The key – of course – is to get this right and completely hide it from the end user (ah – the brilliance of Google Page Rank).  Mr. End User wants to automagically get the most relevant, trusted stuff and ignore the other n-thousand pieces of email / blog / web / RSS clutter that vies for his attention every day.

We need a TLA for Trust / Attention / Relevance – how about TAR?  Or ART?  Or RAT?

  • http://bigben.blogs.com Ben Casnocha

    So the risk you run with haikus is that you’ll fuck up the syllable count. I’m sorry to say my friend that line two is six, not seven. For shame, for shame.

    I’ve already been in touch with Seth about starting a monthly haiku blog post series as a right brain exercise and an ode to brevity. Stay tuned.

  • http://megaphone.unixdaemons.com/ Bosko Milekic

    I agree with your ideas on trust (and if I’m not mistaken this is not the first time you post about this).

    For me, there are really two major ways to consume content on the web.

    The first is by searching and looking to discover content matching x (or a variation thereof). Or, alternately, subscribing to something to get up-to-date information matching x.

    The second has more to do with entrusting people. It sometimes happens as a result of the first. I discover a person who generates various types of content, and I want to grab more of the types (sometimes matching x, too, but entirely from that person). There is more trust inherent here because I am directly entrusting another person.

    The former is readily accomplished by services like Technorati, icerocket, Google, and so on.

    The second is becoming more and more important for me as I consume more and more content and clutter ensues. My natural reaction is to entrust those people I know are good with x to filter (and sometimes even produce!) it for me. I built a simple web thingamajig to help me do this (peoplefeeds). It lets me expose my stuff but even more importantly, build a watchlist of exactly stuff that matches x from selected people who I trust about x. It’s helped me personally deal with consumption clutter to some extent.

    I am curious: is Newsgator is planning on any feature sets aimed at adding _personal_ relevance to the feed reading experience? I find that without having the entire day reserved for content consumption it’s becoming more and more important for me to see only what’s really relevant/important, minus the clutter. I’d love the ability, for example, to keep various tabs of pre-configured feed subscriptions obtained from say a hosted OPML somewhere (such as the watchlist in Peoplefeeds) and automatically synchronize with updates to those reading lists. Then people might start publishing and truly sharing their reading experiences.

  • Dave Jilk

    Shopzilla does a good job of showing vendors who have a combination of the best prices and best ratings, thus combining trust and relevance.

  • Dave Jilk

    I’d also add “Priorities,” and I’d claim that Attention is a (positive) function of the other three. Just because something is relevant and you trust the person doesn’t mean they get your attention – it also has to be a priority. If you don’t believe me, try selling enterprise software to IT departments. Priorities are also the hardest part to deal with, because they change rapidly and relatively unpredictably. You could roll it into relevance, but I think it’s better to separate this out because this way relevance has more stability over time, even while priorities shift (for example, your blog may be relevant to me but I don’t have time to read it on any particular day; or I may need a particular product, but I don’t have budget to buy it this quarter).

    Acronyms: TRAP? PART?

  • http://www.simpy.com/ Otis Gospodnetic

    You forgot another important one – Authority.

  • http://www.raydeck.com Ray

    Actually, “The economy, stupid” is a line from a haiku by James Carville during the 1992 Presidential election. So maybe you’re channelling a left-of-Marx cajun instead of a Jedi Master.

  • http://www.feld.com Brad Feld

    Yup – I know that Haiku – http://www.feld.com/blog/archives/2005/11/the_war_room.html. I also like that left leaning cajun (smirk). Thanks Ben for pointing out that I can’t seem to count to seven.

  • http://www.raydeck.com ray

    OK, so it turns out that Brad was perfectly aware of the origins of the “the x stupid” having just recently blogged about seeing “The War Room.” So while he may still be channelling a bald crazy man, he knew it, and I needn’t have mentioned it.

  • http://www.hojohnlee.com/weblog/?p=467 Ho John Lee's W

    Five principles of user generated content – Trust, Attention, Relevance, Authority, and Intent

    Brad Feld summarizes much of the ongoing discussion about user-generated content into three points, in a recent post. Here’s a recap, with some additions:

    Trust
    Attention
    Relevance
    Authority (added in a reader comment)
    Intent (added by me…

  • http://www.hojohnlee.com/weblog/?p=467 Ho John Lee’s Weblog

    Five principles of user generated content – Trust, Attention, Relevance, Authority, and Intent

    Brad Feld summarizes much of the ongoing discussion about user-generated content into three points, in a recent post. Here’s a recap, with some additions:

    Trust
    Attention
    Relevance
    Authority (added in a reader comment)
    Intent (added by me…

  • http://www. iam

    user generated content needs a new name. i suggest egomedia. and i would totally say those three elements are the backbone, or shall i say mortality, of the evolved web. my new web addiction is clipmarks. they seem to be looking to address all three. see me: clipmarks.com/user/thebeatpoet

  • http://blog.judysbook.com/weblog/2006/01/new_features.html Judy's Blog

    New Features

    Judy's Book rolled out a couple of exciting new features this evening. City Editor Program More of a rewards program than a feature per se, the big idea behind the City Editor program is to align the interests of people

  • http://blog.judysbook.com/weblog/2006/01/new_features.html Judy’s Blog

    New Features

    Judy’s Book rolled out a couple of exciting new features this evening. City Editor Program More of a rewards program than a feature per se, the big idea behind the City Editor program is to align the interests of people

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