Like a rubber-necker inching past a horrible highway accident, I’ve been watching the online news reports of the misbehavior of Whole Foods’ CEO. Yesterday I got a slew of emails about this issue now that it’s hit the New York Times. For those of you who spent a long weekend at the beach, John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, has apparently been hanging out online for about eight years, under various pseudonyms, talking up his company and bashing his competitors.
In the iconic film Wall Street, traders on the street are notified that “Blue Horseshoe loves Anacot Steel,” sending Anacot’s stock through the roof. It’s not clear whether or not the traders know who exactly Blue Horseshoe is; but what they do know is that past behavior has proven that Blue Horseshoe knows what’s going on – and that’s all that matters in that context.
Mackey’s behavior underlines some of the problems swirling around the Internet today regarding who you should trust, who you should believe, and who you should pay attention to — problems we’re solving at TrustPlus.
In the real world, each of us has a reputation that is built over time based primarily upon what others think of us and our prior behavior. Our friends, our loved ones, our business colleagues, our neighbors, and other communities we are all each a part of, work together to keep us all safe and informed. If we had similar tools online, Mackey’s pseudonyms would have likely been identifiable as the sock puppets they were.