Thursday, July 14, 2005

Moral innovation, not just economic innovation

LinkedIn and other such webware are more than an economic innovation, it's a moral innovation: it seems to increase the "return on honesty."

Indeed, while most people agree that "honesty is the best policy," most people will also, I suspect, agree that "honesty is not always the best economic policy."

For example, many job seekers will write up different versions of their resume, depending on which company or position they apply for.

Nobody can judge such behavior, since it is up to the conscience of each person to do what he/she believes is right and honorable.

But with LinkedIn, something strange is happening: the more honest you are about your career objective and past professional experiences, the more people will trust you. This, in turn, increases your chances of getting the job you want at the company you like.

In other words, LinkedIn "forces" people to be transparent and to be honest; users can only have one profile (which is actually a resume listing one's track record). Nobody can have more than one profile.

So finally, it seems that there is a high return on honesty. This is why, in my opinion, LinkedIn is more than just a technological innovation. It's a moral innovation in that it ensures that users be honest about their career objective and professional track record, while providing a significant incentive for being transparent.