Tech’s Most Unlikely Venture Capitalist: The Promise of Peer-to-Peer Credentials


Hatched by Glasp

Jun 28, 2023

4 min read


Tech’s Most Unlikely Venture Capitalist: The Promise of Peer-to-Peer Credentials

In the world of entrepreneurship, it's not about chasing big ideas, but rather about solving real problems. Great entrepreneurs are those who have a deep understanding of the problems they are trying to solve. They are not simply pursuing the next big thing, but are instead driven by a genuine connection to the problem at hand. This connection gives them the tenacity to persevere when faced with challenges and allows them to identify the structural issues in the market that have prevented others from finding a solution.

One indicator of a successful founding team is their history of problem-solving together. Co-founders who have worked together in the past have a greater chance of success because they already have experience navigating obstacles and finding solutions. This long-term vision is crucial for building a company that can create real change, rather than just seeking short-term gains.

However, success in the startup world also requires kindness and empathy. Founders who prioritize their company and their teams over themselves and who treat others with kindness are more likely to build a positive and productive work environment. It's important to remember that being paranoid does not mean being harsh or unkind. Kindness and empathy go a long way in building strong relationships and fostering a supportive culture.

Now, let's shift our focus to the promise of peer-to-peer credentials. Think about the best people you've ever worked with, the ones who you would endorse without hesitation. This endorsement is a credential that hasn't yet been formalized. Peer-to-peer credentials have the potential to supplement and unbundle traditional college credentials. They can provide valuable information about individuals that may have been missed otherwise.

Consider the early investors in Facebook. They have a significant amount of status and recognition. But what about the people who discovered Mark Zuckerberg even before these investors, the ones who recognized his potential and invested their social capital in him? Their endorsement is just as valuable as the first dollar invested. People remember the first individuals who believed in them and helped them along their journey.

The concept of cosigning someone, essentially being the first social capital in, can have a profound impact. It can help individuals build relationships, boost their own status, and open up opportunities that may have otherwise been missed. In a world where talent is globally distributed and confidence in traditional credentialing institutions is waning, peer-to-peer credentials can make all the difference.

So why haven't peer-to-peer credentials taken off before? One reason is that existing platforms like LinkedIn recommendations lack scarcity and meaningful signals. People endorse their friends without consequence, leading to diluted recommendations. Peer-to-peer credentialing platforms, like Cosign, would introduce scarcity into the process. Additionally, there needs to be a way to "rate the raters" to ensure the credibility and reliability of the endorsements.

Peer-to-peer credentials have the potential to not only revolutionize the way we recognize and validate talent but also enable peer-to-peer marketplaces. By leveraging these credentials, people search engines and matchmaking companies can connect individuals with their ideal partners, collaborators, or employees. This democratization of talent discovery will allow people from all over the world to uncover the next big innovator without having to write a check to prove their talent discovery abilities.

In conclusion, the best entrepreneurs are those who have a genuine connection to the problems they are solving. They prioritize long-term vision and are not afraid to tackle smaller, more specific problems. Kindness and empathy play a crucial role in building successful companies. On the other hand, peer-to-peer credentials have the potential to disrupt traditional credentialing systems and unlock opportunities for talent discovery on a global scale.

Actionable advice:

  • 1. Focus on solving a specific problem that you have a genuine connection to. Don't chase the next big thing, but instead tackle problems that you deeply understand and care about.
  • 2. Prioritize long-term vision and think beyond short-term gains. Building a company that can create real change requires looking beyond the immediate future and envisioning the kind of future you want to build.
  • 3. Embrace the power of kindness and empathy. Treat your team and others with respect and prioritize the success and well-being of your company and your colleagues.

By following these three pieces of advice, you can increase your chances of success as an entrepreneur and contribute to the future of peer-to-peer credentials.

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