The Honest Broker Plays the Long Game

Ted Gioia’s newsletter is called Culture Notes of an Honest Broker and in this recent issue, he shares the surprisingly cloak and dagger story of how he came to think of himself as an “Honest Broker”.

“Who, exactly, is this Honest Broker?”

“There’s at least one in every city. But don’t expect their business cards to say ‘Honest Broker’ - that’s just what I call them. But that’s exactly what they are. Sometimes they don’t even have an official position. But they are the key to everything.”

He proceeded to explain how Honest Brokers play a hidden but vital role in communities without a history of legal protections and stable institutions. Their influence and power is built solely on a reputation for straight talk and trustworthy dealings. “They are true brokers, intermediaries between others. They aren’t going to participate in your deal, no matter what it is. They are go-betweens, really. But do not underestimate the power of this kind of brokerage. Whatever you need — a loan, a building permit, political influence, a place to land a private jet, whatever — they will introduce you to the right people and steer you away from the sharks.

Reading Gioia’s essay, I realized that with my work here on kottke.org, I’ve been unknowingly trying to be that Honest Broker for you folks. I don’t always live up to that ideal, but I work pretty hard so that everything I write and link to here is stuff that I genuinely enjoy and find interesting and believe that you will as well.

Do not underestimate the power of this kind of brokerage…the Honest Broker plays the long-term game, mate. Over time, that scrupulous fidelity and reputation for trustworthy advice beats out all other strategies. The Honest Broker is irreplaceable, and all the more so when other guides have become unreliable.

All it takes is 23 years of consistent effort…and presto! :)

Tags:kottke.orgTed Gioia

This entry originally appeared at kottke.org/21/05/the-honest-broker-plays-the-long-game, and may be a summary or abridged version.