About Trust (via Funconf)

I’m attending funconf at the moment, a unique conference that takes place in Ireland. The dominating topic of today was trust. To give you a taste of it:

James Whelton, told us about CoderDojo and how it helps young people building trust in themselves.

In his talk, Tom Preston-Werner emphasized how important it is to trust yourself to learn and be a great person.

Michael Lopp expressed his belief that only teams that trust each other (implicitly) can achieve great things, e.g. like Apple with the iPhone.

The team behind jsconf.eu, (Tiffany, Jan, Malte, and Holger, told how trust in each other helped them to pull off this amazing conference.

To close this circle, Amy Hoy brought up the thesis that “everybody wants to be great” while giving an open mic talk yesterday, in which she recommended the book “How to win friends and influence people.” (Yes, the title sounds like bullshit, but what I read so far is good!)

Here I’d like to bring in my story about trust:

Last week we had our annual summer party. And while I did not quite trust that a significant number of people would show up, a lot of coworkers, friends, and people that knew about co.up joined us and had a good time. It was great.

Funnily enough, our partying drew so much attention that random people were showing up, among them a group of students. One of them was quite interested in what coworking is about, so I raved about the concept as well as what its effects are. During that conversation, his friend interrupted, saying, “Wait, you share this place with everybody? Don’t you worry that people steal or damage stuff?” I responded with something like, “Well, I believe that most people value what we are doing and don’t think to take advantage of the situation.” Upon this he responded, “Oh, one day you will be disappointed and stop doing that.” Hearing that from someone around twenty made me a little sad. I replied, “I have been disappointed and hurt a couple of times, but those feelings are diminished in comparison to what I get out of being open and trusting.” The conversation went on a little longer before I went downstairs again to the party outside.

Around 30 minutes after I went downstairs, the guy I was explaining coworking to and his friend nervously approached me again. Apparently, while we were talking, the third guy who came along with them thought in his drunkenness it would be a smart move to steal the MacBook Pro lying unattended in a bag next to him on the couch. He informed his friends about it not long after leaving our space, but they, seeing what an incredibly stupid thing it was to do, stopped him and made him return the MacBook. The same guy who warned me before that I will be disappointed in my trust at that moment said something like, “You have been so open by letting us party in your space without knowing us that I felt we have to stop our friend from getting away with this.”

I was a little shocked by the incident, but also grateful that in the end nothing bad happened. I was able to return the MacBook safely to its rightful owner later that night and felt confirmed in my belief that 99.999999% of people are good.

Trust people and “funconf the world”!