After years of market experience, the founders of BlaBlaCar, Frédéric Mazzella and Nicolas Brusson, learned that there are specific components to be deployed to create trust in an online community and enable the success of a peer-to-peer service. They quickly realised that their learnings could be extrapolated to all kinds of online sharing services, beyond ride sharing and across verticals. As a new framework for the collaborative economy, it’s aptly named D.R.E.A.M.S. In sharing it, the entrepreneurs hope to bring valuable knowledge and insight to other leaders of the sector, empowering a shared dream of a better, more collaborative, world.
Declared information is the foundation of a trusted online profile, it is the information that is volunteered by the user, telling the community a bit more about themselves. No one trusts a stranger, so this is the first, essential, step in moving away from anonymity towards online trust. For example, users can declare a name, age, their preferences or even give a quick description of themselves in their own words.
Ratings have long been used online because users trust content that has been created by a third party. However, unlike older online services like ebay or tripadvisor, for example, collaborative services ask users to rate one another, after having met “In Real Life”, enabling people to build valuable peer-reviewed reputations and to create inter-personal trust in a community.
In order to feel completely comfortable transacting with a fellow user of a sharing service, you need to believe that the other party will respect their engagement. That’s why a sharing service must always allow it’s members to financially commit to their transaction, via a pre-payment service.
All the information given in the D.R.E.A.M.S. framework gains it’s full value within a specific context. For example, a positive rating about a persons’ ironing skills does not indicate that they will be a good driver to ride share with, therefore, a successful sharing service must be activity-based.
…and also for Activity
Members of a collaborative service depend on each other to provide the goods or service that the platform is dedicated to. That's why it's vital to enable a reactive exchange between them, ensuring that the transaction progresses smoothly from initial interest to payment. To do this, information about one users' activity must be provided to the other party in a transaction, for example "Laura was last online yesterday at 6pm", "Laura has read your message" or "Laura generally replies within two hours".
All information transferred by users of a sharing service must be third-party verified, whether this is the verification of contact or bank details or the approval of User Generated Content. Users need to know that everything they see online meets a required level of goodwill and authenticity, as ensured by the third-party providing the sharing platform.
Social networks allow users to connect their online identity with their real world identity, be it socially, via Facebook, or professionally, via LinkedIn. Indeed, collaborative services are one facet of a persons online presence: their personal responsibility and good reputation are essential to their interactions on sharing services.
My superpower grows trust between people on a radical new scale. Let me explain. When you need to get something done or to buy something, you may seek out reliable information to help you make your decision. For example, you could ask your sister for the name of a trusted babysitter, or your colleague to recommend a trusted tradesman. By finding someone who is trusted by someone you trust, you expand the radius of that trust from them, to you, so you can benefit from it. That’s what my superpower does, it spreads trust between people… on a whole new level. On a global level. I call it Supertrust.
Supertrust developed in parallel to the growth of the Internet economy, and the proliferation of trusted online profiles. Today, we read and write reviews and ratings about just about everything: holiday destinations, restaurants, consumer goods, even people. And we trust these peer reviews: recent studies show that 75% of people trust them, against only 45% who trust advertising. These online ratings record trust and make it publicly available to everybody across the globe, at any and all times. The result is that the radius of trust has been radically enlarged to include everyone online. It’s what is enabling fast-growing sharing economy (a.k.a collaborative consumption) businesses like Airbnb and BlaBlaCar. Thanks to online profiles, we are now free to share or rent essential resources like cars or accommodation, to swap items, houses and skills, to crowdfund and crowdsource, to massively collaborate… all of which not only saves us money and time but actually makes all our lives richer.
Trustman is a new type of Superhero: a collaborative superhero. Today, everyone online can use the Supertrust that is publicly available on trusted profiles across the web. We can all share trust online by leaving ratings and reviews, making that value accessible to the entire connected world, in turn. Each of us can help grow a more efficient, sustainable economy by preferring access over ownership, by sharing, swapping, redistributing and collaborating, using trusted online profiles to create new wealth. In fact, we can all be Trustman. You are invited to release you inner superhero and join Trustman in a new era of trust, freedom and new value, for yourself and for society!
Frédéric Mazzella, founder of BlaBlaCar, first introduced Trustman to the world, at TEDx Panthéon Sorbonne in Paris, on the 8th November, 2012. His insights can be attributed to two important sources. First, the Nobel Laureate in Economics, Kenneth Arrow, who established the correlation between trust and economic value back in 1972. Second, since launching BlaBlaCar in 2008, Mazzella has directly observed the direct effect that trust in the community has on it’s growth. Today BlaBlaCar has 2.5 million members in Europe, transports 3 million passengers a year, and has it’s very own company superhero: Trustman.