By Tucker Ives
Somehow, the people behind the “collaborative consumption” movement made this economic model very visual. Maybe our new HD transmitters can beam pictures to you while listening to WNPR (I may be grossly overestimating the power of this technology). Perhaps it’s so artistically visual because the movement still has a hipster-vibe…and of course ALL hipsters are artistic. I kid of course because what was very evident in yesterday’s show was how this is something that can appeal to everyone. From sharing a snow-blower to sharing boats to…horse manure, this is something that makes sense. Rachel Botsman is the author of What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption and did a great job of describing this movement during the 2010 TEDxSydney conference:
Collaborative consumption may just be a fancy term for “being a nice neighbor and sharing.” But now with social networking and technology, we can have thousands of neighbors (if not millions). Here is a list of just some of the sites that utilize collaborative consumption: eBay, Airbnb, Zipcar, Davezillion, TaskRabbit, New Haven Free Store and Hey, Neighbor! Please feel free to add your other favorite sites in the comments section and I can update this list. A lot of these organizations have very little money exchanging hands but that’s not how the rest of the world operates. Fortunately for them, Craig Shapiro and the Collaborative Fund comes to the rescue (definitely check out their website…it’s very slick). This fund “aims to be the leading source of capital and strategic support for creative entrepreneurs who want to change the world.”
Shapiro said the popularity of collaborative consumption is inversely related to the strength of the economy. This might be the case but it shouldn’t be. Even in a great economy, who wants junk laying around that rarely gets used? Why not rent out your car if you only drive it a few times a month? Extra-cash has always been great, right Don Draper? Remember in elementary school when you tried trading your soggy ham sandwich for Johnny’s Lunchable (or if you were lucky…other kids were trying to trade with you)? We were learning how to barter before we learned how to enter our PIN into the ATM machine.
Maybe the “collaborative consumption” term isn’t as foreign as it might seem.