LibraryThing’s Tim Spalding might just have renewed my belief in transparency. Skip the spin, deliver the truth and stand by your convictions with competitors and users.
Transparency has been a trendy web 2.0 business tenet for awhile and I’ve been a huge fanboi, but after reading Tim’s post I realized I had only seen half the value. The ingredient that’s been missing and always made transparency feel like just another slimy sales / marketing technique was integrity. Eschewing pr and marketing is an attempt to engage users and win trust by being direct and genuine. However, kowtowing to the whims and arguments of customers breaks the trust and voids the contract.
The mantra, “the customer is always right” is often interpreted as, “I’ll say anything to get / keep your business” and that’s, well, slimy. Part of the “transparency” movement is an attempt to completely cut the bullshit and broker honestly. We’re telling the customer directly about our our motivations, roadmap, financial health and products / services–everything the consumer needs to make an easy and effective evaluation. Implicit is the guarantee that customers will be treated honestly and fairly throughout the relationship and that means the courage to stand by your convictions.