Is collaborative consumption utopia?

At a recent marketing conference in Melbourne hosted by Elite Marketing, guest speaker Rachel Botsman clearly was the highlight of the event.

Her talk about collaborative consumption opened many people’s eyes. Did you know that the average car is only used for 1 hour per day? So, what is the point of paying for it the remaining 23 hours of a day? Think about all the other stuff that you own and how much you use it per day, per month, per season… you will find that many things you own are actually not used a lot:¬† lawn mowers, tools in the garden shed, bikes, bread machines, tread mills etc.

As a result, car sharing service like Zipcar, experienced peer-to-peer travel on Airbnb, free giveaways  on Freecycle or lending money through Zopa, have sprung to life in the USA.

But it is not just cars and other stuff that you can share or trade, this movement extends also to sharing work spaces and garden dating. Let me explain:

 

In her article Working Alone and Together, Rachel discusses the work concept of Brad Neuberg, a freelance programmer in San Francisco. He enjoyed working from home but also felt extremely isolated. He found he missed the social interactions of an office.

Brad joined forces with three other freelancers and they rented a space for two days a week. They started working together and soon other freelancers from all sorts of industries dropped in and wanted to rent space for a few hours or days per week.

Brad ironically left soon after he set it all up and started working for Google but his concept caught on and coworking spaces pop up everywhere globally.

Let’s have a look at another example: Garden Dating Agencies

www.psfk.com/2010/12/rachel-botsman-garden-dating-agencies.html

 

Have you ever considered sharing your garden or land with others? Landshare from the UK and also YardShare, SharedEarth and Urban Gardenshare in the USA are agencies that help you exactly do that: share your land with people who would like to grow produce.

The matches share the produce but often you get a lot more than fresh fruit: community and friendships are also an outcome of the garden sharing business.

I think collaborative consumption is a beautiful concept and I hope it catches on. We certainly have enough wealth and resources, we just don’t use them smart enough.

So yes, collaborative consumption for me is utopia: sharing and collaborating is always good unless when Communism forces you to share and collaborate. So I hope this is not a trend to trick us into Communism…

I’m currently reading Rachel’s book “What’s Mine is Yours- the rise of collaborative consumption“. Anybody wants to borrow it?

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