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As the internet has increasingly become more social, the value of individual reputations has risen, and a new currency based on reputation has been created. This means that not only are companies tracking what an individual is tweeting and what sites they spend the most time on, but they're using this knowledge to predict the consumer's future behavior. And a world in which Target knows that a woman is pregnant before she does, or where a person gets a job (or loses one) based on his high school hijinx is a scary one indeed. But what if there were a way to harness the power of these new technologies to empower the individual and entrepreneur? As Joshua Klein's You Are the Product shows, what if it turned out that David was actually better suited to navigate this new realm of reputation than Goliath? And what if he ushered in a new age of business in which reputation, rather than money, was the strongest currency of all? This is all currently happening online already.
Welcome to the age of Reputation Economics:
-Where Avis is currently discounting car rentals based on Twitter followers
-Where Carnival Cruise Lines are offering free upgrades based on a Klout score
-Where Amazon and Microsoft are a short way away from dynamically pricing their goods based on a consumer's reach and reputation online
-Where Klout scores are being used to vet job applications
The value of individual reputation is already radically changing the way business is done.
Joshua Klein is an internationally known technology expert who studies systems, from computer networks and institutions to consumer hardware. His recent projects have included an acclaimed new television series on the history of innovation on the National Geographic Channel, called The Link, one of the most watched TED videos of all time (about vending machine to train crows to exchange found coins for peanuts) and the development of a cell phone application to create a virtuous cycle of education and employment in South Africa. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Wired, O Magazine, and The Harvard Business Review. He has made appearances on MSNBC, NPR, and has spoken at conferences from TED to Davos, and presented in front of organizations ranging from the State Department to the Young Presidents Organization Global Leadership Congress, to Microsoft to Amazon. To find out more about Josh, his new book, or his upcoming projects, you can visit the following sites: www.josh.is, www.reputation-economics.com, and www.ntwrkr.co. He lives in New York City.