5.0 out of 5 stars
Detailed review on Trust Agents - make your game
Reviewed in the United States on March 23, 2011
Every year, Time magazine selects a `person of the year', who remained as the most influential human icon for the year being. Often, they are from diverse field but there is always one common to be found; They are creative.
Chris Brogan from Trust Agents is also a believer in the value of creativity. In his words, the trust agents - who stand out among others with high level of trusts built around them, is required to fulfill seven elements, whist one of them being the ability to `Make Your Own Game' (refer to Chapter2)
Make Your Own Game
According to Chris, there are three methods which trust agents can benefit themselves by observing the pattern of the system. First of all, trust agents shall figure out the structure of the system by `Playing'smart in the given pattern. Then, they shall look for ways of modifying existing structure, which is defined as `Hacking'. Finally, trust agents would create their own rules by `Programming' their own game.
Playing a game would involve understanding existing rules and discovering perfect situation to maximize productivity. In other words, `playing' is a learning stage for players and it may include simple settings such as stating a goal or discovering the most comfortable space for the game. (e.g. Café instead of office)
Unlike the negative nature of the word, `hacking' involves improvement of the game by adjusting the given settings. If you have played SIMS by EA Games while being a member of their online community, you would understand how much more engaging the game could be with millions of items which are created by global users who are not the original developers.
Once players find themselves familiar enough to the game setting and also skilled enough to modify the settings, it is time to create an ultimate game that has new rules. Though this stage, the player would now be in charge of active role from their existing passive role.
From this chapter, the author used the term, `Player' and `Game'. Nonetheless, you, as a bright reader realize that the Game is only a metaphor for the real world we live in and the smart players are the faces that end up on the front cover of Time magazine.
So what would be the lesson to be learned here?
Unlike `Innovation for Dummies' (if there was such book for Dummy Series), `Trust Agents' by Chris Brogan do not tell readers the final step to success. While being deeply inspirational for its readers by suggesting a rule of successful people, the author also address the importance for readers to be active and thus leaves room for readers to create their own source of success (i.e. a chance to be a trust agent).
In other words, it is the reader who should discover their Gatejumping opportunities in the end and the book does not explicitly mention life-changing opportunities for them. Nevertheless, there is strong lesson to be learned from the book, which also comes from the quote of the Ralph Waldo Emerson. `Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail`.
Who are the real life trust agents? - Relation of concept to the reality
Mark Zuckerberg who marked the front page for the person of the year 2010, is a clear and well known example of a trust agent. From the concept of socialization, he created a virtual networking space and challenged the original setting by successfully inviting users to the whole new concept. Unlike traditional CEOs, he appealed himself as an endorser of the brand, and through the movie `The Social Networking' - which was also highly successful with its appeal to humanity issues over corporate values- he now is truly trusted by 3.6 million fans on Facebook. It is hard to comment if Mark has read the book Trust Agents or not, but the fact is, he is an marketer who has successfully created his own trail and now his trail would be thoroughly monitored with supports from people's trust.
(Disclaimer; within this article, Mark Zuckerburg is described as marketer as I personally believe that marketers can be anyone who understand value of brand and knows how to move strategically)
Question to the author and seven rules feedback
Trust Agents by Chris Brogan was an interesting and also engaging guide on `How to be better-heard by others'. It has identified keys to success and the commons of all time beloved social icons in seven details. However, if I was to apply seven rules to the real world, there are two areas of the concept that shall be questioned to the author; Start-up Connection and Timing issues.
While the book has cleverly answered to the most of the questions to be asked in being active, there has been less attention drawn on selection of right timing and emphasis on influence of start-up connection. For instance, recent increase in engagement towards smart phone was definitely one reason to Facebook's success and Sean Parker's helping hand for Mark Zuckerburg was definitely an asset for Mark to be a trust agent. If I was personally to start building my position as a trust agent, I would be in need of advices for a start-up which the book can be improved for.
Overall, the book was an excellent example of an accelerator to get reader motivated and moving. Through this book, I came to realize how my passive behavior can be improved and therefore I highly recommend this book to risk adverse people who has feared trying newer way of approaching themselves.
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