During the last 18 months or so, I had suspended contributing to this blog in order to focus on the creation of my new book on building digital trust. The second full draft is now complete and being submitted to several publishers for consideration. This blog will become my primary voice for addressing the “great challenge” that confronts our global community—how do we learn to trust digital information? I will be previewing some of the key concepts and insights in the book. I will also be commenting on ongoing developments in order to highlight how having a different model for thinking about trust can make all the difference in how the problems are solved. It is time to begin, with a word or two about the book!
The working title is Building Digital Trust—A New Architecture to Create Wealth and Govern a Wired World. That may remain as the title—I understand publishers have a lot to say about that sort of thing. But the working title gives some good clues as to what is inside!
First, to achieve trust in digital assets, you can no longer presume the information is trustworthy. That trust must be built and “a new architecture” suggests our existing models for designing information systems and information assets are not working.
Second, anything new that involves the Net must be grounded in the motivating force of creating wealth. The book does something that many will think is a bit dull, but is terribly important: the book enables new designs to connect the traditional services of governing information (such as records management and information security) to the wealth creation purposes for which any company exists. In order words, using the tools in the book, you can make the business case for how those services do not degrade profits, but actually serve to increase wealth.
Third, whenever society creates a new type of asset, and marketplaces for that asset comes into being, it is our human instinct to stabilize that asset, and create confidence and vitality for the related marketplaces. Thus, I discovered the designs offered in the book for creating wealth can also serve to re-direct and shape how we govern all of the dimensions of the Net through the rules of the nation-states, international organizations, technology standards, and best practices. Providing a unified platform that can enable wealth to be created and for governance to proceed forward with increased effectiveness is an essential deliverable to you, as a reader.
So, what do you think about the working title? If you have some questions or ideas, feel free to comment on the post.
Finally, for this first post, I discovered an important truth about undertaking a major book—you learn quickly that, in looking under the rocks and within the crevices of your big ideas, there is a LOT of work to be done to move from a grand design to a completed structure. Indeed, the challenges of the building architect became an important metaphor for my own journey. Sure, I had been thinking and talking about digital trust for nearly two decades. But when it came time to mature my napkin drawings into a full-fledged, provocative, and defensible analysis, I discovered that the Devil is truly in the details. In fact, there were more than one Devil lurking along the path, taunting me to think harder, tear apart and re-draft, and look differently at the problems . . . and the solutions.
Perhaps the coolest dimension of the entire exercise was that I discovered, as an author and as a source of the insights and solutions I was writing about, I was no different than the source of any other information asset you must determine to trust. One of the really neat things about how you evaluate, filter, and ultimately choose to rely on information is that you must first determine you are prepared to trust the source itself. This becomes a critical juncture in trust analysis on the Net: do you trust the source in order to trust the information?
So, as a source to you, as a reader, I realized I had to earn your affirmative trust at every step of unfolding the information in the book in order for you to place any confidence in the information itself. Thus, writing the book became a test of the very principles which are at the core of my work. Since the book was moving into unknown areas, that test became a bit more challenging. How would you determine to trust a guide through a dark and mysterious jungle if the guide confesses they had never been there before?
The key is transparency. The book shares with you how I found the path forward, and is open and honest about when, occasionally, I got lost and found my way again. But that honesty serves, I hope, to provide to you an ability to follow along and gain confidence in my ability to lead you to new insights into how you make trust decisions in every moment of your day, and how you can better design and build trust in the digital work you produce.
So, do you now trust me? What do I need to say or do to earn your trust? Let me know so your investment of time in reading this blog yields an exceptional return!