Friday, June 21, 2013

Facebook vs. PricePoint (on privacy)

I don’t trust Facebook …in a sense. To be clear, I’m not saying that Facebook is evil. In fact, I’m on Facebook, I like Facebook, and I often defend it against critics.  However, throughout Facebook’s ever-evolving design, I've been more or less uncomfortable with their privacy controls – which are a common public criticism.

Facebook co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said of his intentions “I’m trying to make the world a more open place.”  I appreciate that, but in my opinion Facebook’s (mis)management of privacy control UI hinders Zuck’s objective. A well-known Seinfeld-ism of “world’s colliding” is good example of the issue.  What people are willing to share with one group (e.g. friends), they may not be willing to share with another (e.g. business colleagues).

Since I don’t fully trust Facebook’s ever-changing privacy policies and UI to keep my world’s from colliding in ways I don’t want, I personally apply a more simple firewall of rarely connecting to business colleagues on Facebook, instead utilizing LinkedIn for that sphere of networking.  This is clearly undesirable for Facebook’s business model as a significant portion of my networking (and value as an advertising audience) goes to a rival platform.

Facebook’s privacy control shortcomings (or my perception of it) served as a direct inspiration in PricePoint’s design towards privacy controls.  Facebook and PricePoint face a parallel responsibility towards our users, and I dare say we've done a better job of it with PricePoint. 

This began with founding GRIP as a completely independent company, and within PricePoint allowing all suppliers to directly control privacy settings in a simple, clear, and intuitive interface.  Furthermore, we proactively guard supplier price privacy by strictly enforcing a 10 day waiting period for all new clients, beginning with a new client announcement to all participating suppliers which gives all ample time to modify their privacy settings.  Going further, during that 10 day period GRIP applies geographic privacy restrictions between any client and supplier based in the same country (presuming they compete against each other), saving time for those suppliers or in case they didn’t see/act on the announcement for any reason.

To be fair, we face a less complex privacy challenge than Facebook, but nonetheless our realization was to place the highest emphasis on creating a trustworthy environment in PricePoint, realizing that pricing is a particularly sensitive area in which users would not want their “worlds to collide”.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

A bit about myself and my intentions

Hello, I’m Ryan Keintz, co-Founder of GRIP Inc., creator of PricePoint.  It’s fair to say I’m also a contrarian.  However, I would like to believe I am not the breed of contrarian that I’ve encountered elsewhere – one who rebels for the sake of rebellion, who simply aims to cast an image of being different, or is a naysayer merely for lack of genuine opinion. 

In fact, in my early school years I was a very obedient Catholic school boy, usually the least likely among my peers to break the rules.  But over time I gradually came to realize that some authority figures often didn’t really know what they were talking about, or at least were more confident in their beliefs than I could see justification for.  This developed within me a healthy questioning of authority and conventional thinking.

Our company GRIP springs from that fundamental willingness to question the traditional way of looking at things.  With the innovation of PricePoint, we aim to be a progressive force in the international relocation industry.  It’s the type of platform that may be described as disruptive, which naturally inspires both supporters and detractors.

This blog will serve as a forum for perspectives on the international relocation industry.  Some posts will highlight and question conventional thinking and assumptions which have caught my attention.  I will also share various insights regarding our design intentions with PricePoint, as well as some usage recommendations.

All are welcome to advance the discussion by posting your comments in support, disagreement, or a candid “I’m not sure.”

Ryan Keintz
co-Founder, GRIP Inc.