How many times have you said, someone once said, but I can’t remember who. Then it becomes, as I’ve always said….once you claim it to be yours, the thing that someone once said, became research. The truth is, we should always give credit to whomever said the thing you decided to rip and make your own, integrity then becomes the word damaged if you don’t.

If you plan on building a brand, a business, or a reputation, you will need the sacred social currency, trust. Without trust, you’ll find it almost impossible to acquire true fans, which means the tribe won’t follow you. So always name the person, give the credit to its rightful owner, if it’s you, then you can say, as I’ve always said, and I’ll have to say, as someone once said if I don’t know who you are. Become known, share your wisdom, and protect yourself from being the someone who once said.

The social currency is trust, but you’ll only get it through transparency and giving credit to those who deserve it, the fastest way to lose it, keep taking credit for something you didn’t say or do.

There have been many times when I went to a conference, sat in a workshop, or just talked with one of the speakers, and then walked away talking to myself, mumbling and processing. Everytime, and I mean everytime, I ask myself why I can’t see somethings but others do. You know, when you have that Uh Huh moment, the moment you get excited because you just saw or heard that thing, that thing you were missing or waiting to someday get so you could finish that whatever.

I do a fair bit of public speaking, workshops and think-tank sessions, and I always get a charge out of watching someones light go on. That moment of epiphany, the eyes get big, the smile and then SHAZZAM the light goes on. What a treat, it’s the high of highs for me, I love it when you get to play role in someones great idea or pain of figuring something out. It happens almost everytime I speak, I show them the future and then help them figure out how to adopt it. The creative juices always flow from something they didn’t know or just saw, the pen starts scratching on the pad an then the million question come at me like a Gatling gun. Fun stuff I must say.

Today was one of those days, I punched out the information in my workshop and it was as if someone pulled the blinders off and they could see once again. I love seeing people light up, they are always grateful after I share with them. Being surrounded with great people makes it even more special.

Do you turn lights on in people, are you helpful and giving of yourself, are you sharing in such a way that people want to hear more, get more, an then share what they learn from you. If you’re asking me, that’s the social currency, when others talk about you in a positive way, that you helped them solve a problem or just simply brightened their day. It’s called getting Attention.

I challenge you to give yourself away and turn the lights on in people. You will be blessed and rewarded ten fold.

Like McDonald’s, Subway is following suit. Till April 22nd, 2010 you can get your Seattle’s Best coffee free at any Subway, this on the heals of the Golden Arches experiment that increased sales in the Month of March. This another low-level example of how the Open & Free Business Model works. In the retail sector they have a name for it, Loss Leaders. They would blow out product that hasn’t moved or strategically bring in a product of low cost and use it to draw in customers. This is not a new concept but strengthens the argument for the Open & Free Business Model to increase revenues.

I can’t help wondering what’s next, this is the kind of thing I teach and recommend to local businesses, how they can increase awareness, brand and revenues by strategically using what they may already have in house. As I’ve mentioned before, the Open & Free Business Model is not a skill set, it’s a paradigm shift, a new way of looking at the world of business, especially online but also win the brick & mortar types. I hold workshops to help business owners make progress on the deemed paradigm shift, so they can go back to the office and help staff make small changes. The world is coming, it’s not here yet, but when it does, you’ll want to be ahead of the wave. Otherwise, you may get wiped out by that wave.

The fear of loss is what most business owners go to bed with at the end of each business day. How will coveer this, how will I….and so on. The fear of losing their business or money of any amount is a problem. The Open & Free Business Model embraces that fear and confronts it, how, by doing something different and taking a small calculated risk. You most likely took that risk when you started your business.

McDonald’s obviously has resources most of us don’t have, Subway isn’t nearly as large but they see the benefit of giving away Seattle’s Best Coffee for the purposes of leveraging a Social Currency called ATTENTION. McDonald’s sales increased when they ran the experiment of giving away coffee for short period of time, the loss if any, was minimal and got them a ton of Attention. These arrangements are called Strategic Alignments or Alliances, Seattle’s Best wants to sell more coffee, offers to provide the coffee by leveraging Subways customer base. Who wins? They both do!

Even if you don’t own a business, your going to remember Subway’s name, and Seattle’s Best Coffee sales will go up. What a simple concept, but yet the fear of loss seems to win over most business owners. If you’re dealing with the fear right now, go to Subway and have a coffee on the house till April 22nd and get creative with how you can overcome that fear. Or, take my workshop and learn how to defeat the fear by learning the Open & Free Business Model Mindset.

The old business model of a closed / control is failing us here online, we truly believe that if we are in control, put things behind walls, force people to pay first, we will create new money and all will be well. Not true. The new open & free model is somewhat the opposite of that model, your product & services are out in the open for people to try and use, then they will buy. Recently, media futurist Gerd Leonhard put his products out there for you to freely download and use, and announcing the payment model for his new iPhone & Android mobile apps: pay what you think it’s worth. Would you do this, you will in the future.

I can tell you first hand that most business owners are scared to death of this model, but what they don’t realize is, they will create more new money with this open & free business model than they believe they will. Now I am not saying there isn’t a need for controlled models, I am however saying, here online it can’t be maintained and have it survive. Gerd Leonhard stated in a presentation he made March 2nd, 2009, “Rights-holders / Content-Owners have the choice: Control + Declining Revenues or ‘Open’ and New Revenues “.

This is only one example of someone embracing the new open & free business model, he is trusting his marketplace, his following and current strategic business alignments to provide revenues. Social Currency (trust) is the key here, your brand must be trusted for this open & free business model to succeed. It’s not that simple, you must be open, transparent, and have integrity at all times. This sounds great but is a lot of work, maintaining this kind of model can’t be done with the current closed business model. The current model relies on control, fear and you not pushing back. We are moving to this model, it’s going to happen, why? You won’t tolerate the old control model, you want access first, you want to try before you buy, you will dictate how business is done. Eventually.

If you write a book or make a product and try to position yourself under the old model, you have to jump through all the control mechanism hoops. In the open & free business model you just make it available, you may not make money from the book immediately in terms of sales. You will however realize revenues by monetizing around the book, consulting, coaching, teaching and or maybe even get hired because of your insights and know how. Your book must be good of course, you must bring quality in order to get the attention you need to realize the levels of revenue you desire. Attention is another form of currency.

Chris Brogan is all about making business human again, he also knows you will help him drive that process. You may not know it, but you want business to be human, not a system making you a number. You want to feel human, be viewed as human, and most of all, you want to feel important. Chris knows we are all after the same thing really, he is helping you see it, we want to make a difference, and make the world a better place, we all want to feel important. The problem has never been the desire, it was the how do we do it. Social Media has opened the door for you to exercise what you didn’t know how to do, you now have a way to express yourself and make it happen. You will and are shaping the future of business, the open & free model even if you can’t see the bigger picture right now.

Eventually you will make it happen, Control Is Dead!