Friday, September 30, 2011

Sharing Economy, further notes

Back in May, I posted some brief notes on a SxSWi presentation I attended on the "Sharing Economy." I recently had a chance to go back and listen to the panel discussion again with fresh ears; here are my notes.


Shift from highly centralized, individual ownership to p2p sharing.

  • Economy -- less $$; want quality of life, but need to manage it better
  • Growing world population
  • Sustainability concerns about current levels of consumption
  • Generations growing up sharing, collaborating on internet; the web is a training ground for the sharing economy because of its values of trust, interaction. People are used to creating value together.
  • GPS-enabled devices like smartphones enabling real-time, on the fly, location-aware communication
  • Loss of trust in big institutions, more willingness to self-organize
  • People want community
  • Altruism & self-interest
What are people sharing? vacation homes, parking, cars, rooms, rides, bikes, clothing, planes, meals, gardens, seeds, boats, tools, skills, and more.

The average household has 3,000 items of unused items; think of all the stuff around your house that you only use once a year or so. What if you could make money by renting it out? What if you could barcode them for tracking purposes? What if the sharing platform had safeguards, and trust-assurance tools built in? What if you could pay by waving your phone? What if there were incentives for participation? These days, tech is in the service of the community breaking down the walls.

This isn't familiar to our parents, but your grandparents would have been very comfortable with it.

  • sharing takes more time
  • how are the collections purchased? maintained?
  • Manufacturers might feel threatened
  • Need to build more durability into items, and possibly even sharing mechanisms (think of eBooks and how hard they are to lend)
Cited: What's Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption (stories of how entrepreneurs and businesses are innovating in the space of Collaborative Consumption).

So what is their dream Library? A physical community space where people can share things as well as books and information.

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