Magazine article Management Today

Esther Dyson's Update

Magazine article Management Today

Esther Dyson's Update

Article excerpt

I've been to three conferences recently and at each of them there were problems with the name badges. In the first, an oversight meant that there was none; at the second, the print was so small no-one could read them; at the third they were so discreet they seemed to say: 'This is an insiders' conference. If you don't know who someone is, you're not important enough to be bothering them.' At all these occasions, I couldn't easily find the people I wanted to meet. When I was networking, I wasn't sure who the people I was talking to were. My questions weren't sharp and I didn't learn as much as I could. Perhaps I even gave a stupid impression.

OK, so people in real life don't walk around with badges. But at a conference, as in much of online life, the idea is to meet and do business with people you don't already know. You may know what kind of people you want to meet, but you can't recognise them without help.

I believe than within a few years everyone is going to need an online label, a certificate of identity. The world seems to work better when people know each other's identities. Not only can you track someone down, you can offer them a better service -- everything from special deals to frequent-buyer discounts. Labels force people make judgments based on other people's reputations, and people behave better out of concern for their own. Now this may worry people, but all we really have to do is overcome two main issues: first, who will assign and guarantee these labels; and second, what does the label really mean?

On the former, there is a natural instinct to think that it is the Government's job. But a government that can monitor all a person's activities online or offline has too much power and is likely to abuse it. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.