social networking technology

Trust Agents 2a – Action Step #1

paper planeDid you ever play a game where everyone gets a piece of paper with the instructions, “whoever can throw the paper farthest wins?” If so, you probably watched people create intricate paper planes with fancy wings and aerodynamic bodies. One by one the planes are sent sailing amid cheers and laughs. Until the last person steps up, paper yet untouched. He crumbles it into a ball and sends it 20 feet beyond any other.  Wait! Is that fair? Yes. Why? He made it his own game.

The first action step suggested by the authors in becoming a Trust Agent is to “Make Your Own Game.” They point to a few notorious Game-makers like Perez Hilton (Gossip blogger), Sam Walton (Wal-Mart), Steve Jobs & Steve Wozniak (Apple co-founders), and Richard Branson (Virgin brand). All saw their way around perceived limitations to achieve success.

Accomplishing a goal requires following some type of procedures, but to Make it Your Own Game, you need to find the “Gatejumper” key. Gatejumping is…”what happens when you find a better way to do things while everyone else is too busy to notice.” Some examples:

•    Kid jumping a gateRadio > Podcasts
•    Print books > Kindle
•    Video Rental Stores > Netflix

What this really boils down to is taking a fresh perspective, or thinking outside the box. This allows you to redefine the game, differentiate yourself to stand out from the rest; putting yourself in the driver’s seat as opposed to catching up to those already in the game.  Now you are the authority, and trust can build.

Brogan and Smith say there are three methods of games, I’m only going to touch on the first of these, playing.  The object of playing a game is to have fun.  First, you have to figure out how to play a game by learning the rules. Once you have the game down, it’s time to decide which rules can be changed or ignored.

When games have measurable goals, there is a sense of accomplishment in winning. We map out our game plan based on achieving these goals. “When you’re playing life instead of just living it, you try to see the map to know how you can organize yourself better.” When you set the goals for life/work, you can see daily progress.

chessThe reason we can improve our game play faster than our life, is games have quick and clear feedback. You get a point, a buzzer sounds. Life feedback is much more subtle. You need to diligently look for it. For online entrepreneurs, a few indicators are links to/comments on your blog. Both will grow trust in your writing. Friends and followers are not considered a good metric of online success.

According to Laszlo Polgar, to become a great chess player, learn the basic rules, then study strategy. You don’t need to be born a chess genius to play great chess.  Polgar believes that geniuses are made, not born. What does it mean to your game to learn that talent is overrated?

Can you think of other Gatejumping examples?

Mary Beth Stockdale is a spiritual architect – rebuilding body of Christ. She blogs at Breaking Point.

About the author



  • I like the methods Brogan and Smith provide for measuring performance of your blog/online presence, especially links and comments. Being a new blogger, those two things are important to me, but I need some advice on how to motivate my readers to do that in a gentle way.

    I ask questions at the end of the post and ask for comments, but I don’t get very many. I haven’t asked for people to link to my blog very much, but I do have a “share this” button after each post.

    Also, I just recorded a “welcome” video which explains the blog a bit and at the end I ask the viewers to comment and link.

    What else could/should I be doing?

  • What is the point of playing if you don’t intend winning? Well, that’s what I think most of the time – it’s my competitive nature. It is also the reason why I tried to up my game in blogging when a friend go a day of massive hits on his new blog. When he stopped blogging so much, so did I; the game was not fun for me if I was not trying to win. Trying to change that now.
    For me, I need to gatejump from WP hosted to self hosted; use my programming experience and buzz the Intraweb, zzzzzzzzzing.
    I think a great example in gatejumping and changing the rule is film/video distribution. Anyone can be a filmmaker nowadays with vimeo, youtube, etc. Actually there are a few examples out there in the industry like that Blaire Witch Project and Deep water, etc that show you that you don’t need a couple million bucks worth of film camera to make a movie.

  • I just think the game paradigm is so interesting. It’s probably unhealthy in some way or another, but I’m pretty much constantly thinking of how I can “win” at the newest online craze.

  • I like competition too, and so the idea of making things into a game is appealing. However, I think it also has several pitfalls.

    One problem is when the goal/game is not in alignment with the end goals. For example, getting more visitors to one’s website is a good goal, but more visitors is usually not the end goal. The end goal is usually more sales, more subscribers, more church visitors, etc. I could win the game of bringing more visitors to my website but if they don’t convert, I’m just wasting my time.

    It’s even possible to win the battle and lose the war. For example you could post something very controversial or offensive to try to get more links or comments and in the process lose your credibility.

    Another pitfall is that when we make it a game we can lose sight of the fact that it’s not really about numbers but about people. This is particularly true for those of us who serve in churches and other Christian ministries.

    Remember, Jesus left the 99 to look for the one. Generally speaking, that’s not good game play.

  • I went to a marriage conference a couple weeks ago. One of the things that I found very helpful was a personality test that helped my wife and I talk about what motivates us. It was clear from the test (and most other things like it: Five Love Languages, etc.) that we treat others as we want to be treated. So we talk to others using words that motivate us, not necessarily the words that motivate others. If we are going to motivate others then we need to alter our motivational ideas to reach out.

    So I am all about the playing words, but I rarely play a game to win. I play a game to participate and enjoy the people around me. I know many people are very competitive so I am not trying to discount that as a motivational language. But it is one part of motivation.

  • […] October 20, 2009 by marybethstockdale I’m really enjoying the book, “Trust Agents: Using the web to build influence, improve reputation, and earn trust” by Chris Brogan.  Chock-full of information, and practical advice about how to use it. I posted on Chapter 2 – Action Step #1 – Make It Your Game. You can see it and posts along the way on the book here. […]

Leave a Comment

What is 13 + 8 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
IMPORTANT! To be able to proceed, you need to solve the following simple math (so we know that you are a human) :-)