Jerry Michalski: “Trust” is one of those words we think we understand, but mostly we don’t. In particular, we don’t understand the role of trust in designing our institutions. Worse, few of us question how our institutions are designed. We humans are so adorably adaptable, no?

What If We Trusted You — this Patreon project — is a quest into this territory, with an optimistic point of view: When we design systems from trust, we get better results that cost less and have terrific side effects, like rebuilding community and releasing our inherent genius.

Thousands of organizations worldwide already act this way: we let strangers rent our homes and sit our pets; we share designs for cars and code; we govern Commons and cooperatives. Patreon is a great example of trust at work. You can learn more at

As those of you who know me may be thinking already, I was born for this quest, which began 20 years ago, when I was a tech-industry analyst. In the middle of hearing some 4,000 startup pitches, I realized I didn’t like the word “consumer.” Over time, paying attention to that itch blossomed into a world-change thesis I call the Relationship Economy. WIWTY is a laser slice through that thesis.

Along the way, I’ll curate everything worth remembering into my online Brain, which will be our shared memory. My Brain is a side story all its own.

At the beginning, this project will look like a podcast or vlog rolling out on my YouTube account and elsewhere. But WIWTY is also:

  • A book.
  • A collection of novel business ideas designed from trust.
  • Advice on what to do with your one wild and precious life.
  • A media experiment in collective intelligence, blending videos with Prezi, TheBrain, GitHub and more.
  • A way for me to “walk the talk,” to work openly, to use modern tools that connect us to one another and to improve our many Commons.

As we hit Goals here on Patreon and level up, we’ll be able to take more action together. I’ll convene meetings, virtual, real and augmented. We’ll help other initiatives and may have funds to seed our own. Along the way, we’ll give people a narrative for how (and why) they might act now to build a productive way forward.

Sound good? If so, please click here and let’s get busy.

Jerry Michalski

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