Summary: How can David Cameron trust ex-HSBC boss Stephen Green enough to appoint him trade minister?
Why should I trust your recommendation and read this book?

The above are all situations in which we as consumers, co-workers, citizens or purchasing officers have to decide, can I trust this information?
Discover four tips right here, plus see our handy checklist – with slides!
How do you do it? Leave a comment, I am curious to know.

Can I trust you?

Every day we tweet and share information, but how much can we trust these things?

Can you trust Dominique Strauss-Kahn? The French former politician and International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief recently gave evidence at his trial on pimping charges, which threatens to expose his double life. Stating that he rarely attended sex parties because he was “saving the world” and had “other things to do”, he probably knows what it means to lose one’s reputation and wife’s trust and respect.


Once tipped to be the next president of France, Strauss-Kahn does not deny having had group sex. But he refutes the charges of “aggravated pimping”, described as aiding and abetting prostitution. He denies knowing that women at the orgies were prostitutes, which is punishable by up to ten years in prison.

Similarly, the UK government was in possession of detailed evidence about wrongdoing at HSBC’s Swiss bank. That did not stop David Cameron from appointing former HSBC boss Lord Green as trade minister. But Swissleaks and other HSBC leaks haunt the ordained Church of England minister. The alleged money laundering activities happened during his watch (see below).

You are what you tweet

Remember last time you saw a tweet or got a newsletter in your inbox? You shared it on Twitter and Facebook, but did you first ask yourself, “Can I trust the information that I just passed on?” Was the study well done or based on a convenience sample (i.e. we asked our friends and know what people want based on that)?

Remember the last time you saw a blog entry like this:

Top 10 social media agencies in the world

So, the world consists only of the UK and US? I don’t think so!

11 power tips to increase your Facebook engagement

More like power trips, not tips!

These things are often based on people’s personal experience and opinions, but people still eat this stuff up and share it like candy.

Just reflect a moment, would you trust your banker to invest your pension savings based on personal beliefs? I prefer facts. I surely hope that our pension’s fund managers analyze data more carefully than just following such blog entries’ advice.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

How to check trust levels for a blogger => DrKPI Trust Index

Garbage in, garbage out? Nope!

Corporate blogs are often simply about the product. In other words, they all just push products, some openly, and others in more subtle ways. The SAS blogs do better than most, that is for sure. For instance, whenever possible the authors refer to other material that is beyond reproach.

Erwan Granger blogged about cloud computing (see below). Smartly, he refers to the definitions of cloud computing as put forward by NIST (Peter Mell and Timothy Grance), a well-respected agency.


While the above blog entry tries to push product, it still provides content that is valuable, helping the reader better understand what cloud computing is. By linking to other material it provides me with useful links where I can learn more, thus saving me time. Well done! If you have to push product, this is a good way of doing it (please note, we do not do business with SAS, directly or indirectly).

PS. How independent these SAS users are we do not know. But some do a very nice job blogging !

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Bottom line

There are four things to abide by before you trust your banker, corporate blogger, client or dentist:

1. Take five minutes to check the facts. Before you believe your banker or a tweet you saw, do a check. Is the eMarketer study or Jeff Bullas’ tip based on sound facts and research, or just the author’s gut feelings?

Is the research or opinion good enough to bet your money on? Probably not, unless it is personal investment advice from the Sage of Omaha, Warren Buffet, or maybe well-done survey research from PEW.


2. How did you come to trust this person? Think about your family physician: they are a non-nonsense person you trust based on their experience. They check a few things to avoid making a hasty, and possibly wrong, diagnosis.

Online content from a corporate blogger is similar. Have you followed them and read their material for some time; is their material trustworthy? Just like building trust, writing great blog content is time consuming and requires more than writing what you believe – show me the numbers.

3. Will your behaviour decrease the other person’s trust in you? Last week you agreed to have dinner with a business partner this Tuesday. Now you have to cancel.

It goes without saying that appointments should be kept whenever possible, but if you must cancel, do it personally and start with an apology. Make sure the other person does not feel offended or let down. Finally, agree on another time and place right then.


4. Lead by example and don’t preach, just do it right. Lord Green, the ex-HSBC boss published a book in 2009 (see above image) that preached at leaders to not only behave legally but ethically, going beyond “what you can get away with”.

In 2005, Green became chair of the supervisory company of HSBC’s Geneva unit, HSBC Private Banking Holdings (Suisse) SA. In this capacity, he was responsible for compliance and oversight when the alleged money laundering activity took place at HSBC’s Geneva branch.

The trust people put in you, the reputation you had and how good you made people feel is what you will be remembered by.

Looking at the above suggestions, before you re-tweet something next time, check it first. For instance, can you trust the study’s data? Otherwise follow Harper Lee’s 2007 advice, “Well, it’s better to be silent than to be a fool.

Sounds like a good motto for corporate bloggers: Check and re-check the facts, otherwise do not publish. Especially if somebody wants to quote you, make sure you read the book first before making a fool of yourself.

More Information
Download PDF file with additional graphics and 20 slides (317 kb) – Can I trust my banker, blogger and this book review?

Check out the SLIDES here, they’re definitely worth your time!

[slideshare id=44382283&doc=check-1st-or-loose-reputation-and-trust-150207080226-conversion-gate02]

Benchmark and test your blog – for free – right now

You can view more presentation slides from DrKPI here.

What is your opinion?

Why little data mean a lot: Incremental innovation is key.
Google Trends shows a spike in searches – iPhone6: Remember the flu trends? Increased searches do not make something a fact…
Constant experimentation and rapid implementation: Strive for lots of small and frequent advances, because that is good enough.

We address three questions

1. What does it mean when Google Trends shows a spike in searches?
2. Should we aim for lots of small wins from ‘big data’ that add up to something big?
3. Do metrics that focus on small but useful improvements make sense?

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CLICK - Caution - things may not be as they appear. Check the methods.

1. ‘iPhone slow’ and Google Trends

There are three types of business analytics:

Descriptive analytics that look at historical data,
Predictive Analytics that try to determine what might happen, and
Prescriptive Analytics that focus on giving us different options, in which case we choose what we think suits us best, given time and money constraints.

The question remains whether we have the right data… To illustrate this challenge, we can look at the Google Flu Trends (GFT). Using search results from Google, the GFT supposedly indicates how the flu spreads and affects people in various countries.

Continue reading “Data analytics: UPS or Apple?” »

CLICK - Facebook Likes tell a lot about you, such as if you drink beer, have sex regularly and are happy.

Facebook engaged in a large study to see if users’ emotional states could be affected by their news feed content.
Consent of Human Subjects: Subjects not asked for permission first.
Findings: Extremely small effects.
Research methodology: Poor algorithms used, questionable findings.

Key finding: A reduction in negative content in a person’s newsfeed on Facebook increased positive content in users’ posting behavior by about 1/15 of one percent!

We address 3 questions

1. Why did some of the checks and balances possibly fail?
2. Should we worry about the study’s findings?
3. What benefits do Facebook users get out of this study?

Non-techie description of study: News feed: ‘Emotional contagion’ sweeps Facebook

1. Some checks and balances failed

Following the spirit as well as the letter of the law is the key to successful compliance. In turn, any governance depends upon the participants doing their job thoroughly and carefully.

In this case, the academics thought this was an important subject that could be nicely studied with Facebook users. They may not have considered how much it might upset users and the media.

Cornell University has a its procedure in place for getting approval for research with human subjects. As the image below illustrates, the researcher is expected to reflect on the project and if in doubt, ask for help.

CLICK - Why does the media not get the facts right about the Facebook study? #BigData

The university points out that it did not review the study. Specifically, it did not check whether it met university guidelines for doing research with human subjects. The reasons given were that its staff:

Curious? Join 1500 other subscribers to this blog’s newsletter and read on! Pls. use an e-mail that works after you change jobs! Continue reading “Facebook mood study: Playing with your mind” »