When I was a software product manager, I knew that people who used the product would immediately need to have a sense of confidence in the product as they entrusted one of their most precious possessions to it: their data. So I took to referring to the software as ‘Banker software’ so everyone would realise that the product under development needed to live up to the trust that our customers put in them. And that’s what happened: customers would use the product, feel confident, and build on that to develop great loyalty to the product.
So what is ‘Banker software’? It’s software that gives you the same confidence as does a bank. When you walk into a bank, the decor and everyone in there is geared to having you have 100% confidence in their trustworthiness since you are trusting them with your precious possession: money. And the same with the rental business: landlords hand over a property which has huge monetary value and immense emotional significance to them. If you look sloppy, you don’t give off the ‘banker confidence’ vibes – and the keys to the house disappear into their pockets. These are only a few examples of where the Banker metaphor works in daily life.
Only in this day and age, is a banker considered trustworthy? And if they aren’t, then who is? Police? Ministers and priests? Sports coaches? The pillars of society on which confidence in the edifice is built have all been shown to have clay feet. And ‘Banker safety’ has been shown to be an illusion. It may be that when human beings – no matter how illustrious have proved to be so fallible that God seems like a much better alternative. He doesn’t show up to disappoint. But humans really need other humans to model themselves on. Society self-destructs with a lack of trust. Italy is one example where family is all and everyone else is treated with suspicion.
I had to teach my children to be careful of strangers, but was also careful to allow them safe interaction with people especially in public places. The casual chat with others in the grocery store line was intended to build bridges between fallible humans – who in many cases need to be trusted in order to be trustworthy. Without these confidence building measures, they kids would retreat to a fearful place. And that isn’t healthy for them or society as a whole.
So, ‘Banker software’ may just be an illusion, however, people are real. Imagine building a reality of interactions, links and trust which build a better society and think of how you can be part of that reality.