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The Mesh: Why the Future of Business Is Sharing Hardcover – September 23, 2010

43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Lisa Gansky sees around corners and describes a future that seems impossible...until you realize that it's imminent. The Mesh is a very big idea."
-Seth Godin

"Lisa Gansky makes a compelling case for the new competitive logic of sharing- and shows how to build not just a single company, but an entire business ecosystem, around this concept. If you want to understand the future, and maybe even help create it, read this book."
-Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind

"This is a brilliant, important book. Lisa Gansky has put her finger on one of the most important trends that will shape our culture over the next decades. She puts social media in a broader economic, cultural, and environmental context."
-Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO, O'Reilly Media

"This book offers a timely introduction to the reality and importance of Mesh companies-ones that provide products and services through sharing, via community participation and a culture of trust-in a way that really matters."
-Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist

"Easy access to shared and personalized goods and services is going to be an integral and ubiquitous part of the new economy. Lisa has tapped into, explains, and explores this new phenomenon."
-Robin Chase, cofounder and founding CEO, Zipcar

"The Mesh clearly reveals the dramatic shift enabled by our connected world. And Gansky's practical experience makes it real. It's essential reading for anyone in business."
-John Donahoe, CEO, eBay

"Gansky's book is an important read for anyone who cares about the planet or is looking to make a ton of money."
-David Hornik, venture capitalist, August Capital

About the Author

Lisa Gansky has been a founder and CEO of multiple Internet companies, including GNN and Ofoto. She currently advises and invests in several social ventures, including New Resource Bank, Squidoo, Convio, TasteBook, MePlease, Slide, Instructables, and Greener World Media. She is a cofounder of Dos Margaritas, a conservation-focused social venture. She lives in Napa, California.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio; 1St Edition edition (September 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591843715
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591843719
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #183,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lisa is an author of The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing, to be published by Penguin Press, Fall 2010. Since 1991, Lisa has been an entrepreneur and environmentalist focused on building companies and supporting social ventures where there is an opportunity for well timed disruption and a resounding impact. A founder and CEO of several internet companies, including GNN (the first web portal sold to AOL) and the largest consumer photo sharing and print service, Ofoto (sold to Eastman Kodak in 2001), Lisa's attention is on sustainable ventures with positive social impact. She puts a strong emphasis on clean energy, social networks, accelerating community engagement and awareness & exploring new platforms & business models.

As CEO, co-founder and chairman of Ofoto and President of Digital Services for Eastman Kodak, Lisa drew on her entrepreneurial spirit and experience developing global web and mobile services. Lisa & the team worked to develop Ofoto (now Kodak Gallery) into a world-class consumer services offering for over 50 million customers.

Lisa currently serves as a Director and Co-Founder of Dos Margaritas, an environmental foundation with programs focused in Latin America. She is an advisor & investor in several social ventures including: New Resource Bank, Convio, Squidoo, TasteBook, MePlease & Greener World Media.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Wulfstan TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The key idea in this book is that we are changing from owning piles of products (and services) to sharing them and using them only when needed. Out here in San Francisco, where many folks use public transportation for commuting and shopping, few need to own a car. So, there's ZipCar, where you can "own" a car for a few days a month, on a "as needed basis". The author also uses Netflix as an example- but of course we have been renting videos and DVD's for quite some time before that company- there's rarely a need to keep an extensive and expensive video library at home.

As the author says "The Mesh difference is that with GPS-enabled mobile web devices and social networks, physical goods are now easily located in space and time. It has become very convenient to find a ride back from your meeting with someone heading to your neighborhood, or get a great deal for drinks close by, or locate an available home in a home exchange while traveling, or discover a new "popup gallery" near the dinner you're attending."

Other examples of course include the classic "timeshare"- condos. In fact I just stayed at one during a rather nice trip to Disneyworld. It was lovely and worked perfectly for us.

Gansky argues against the modern American "throwaway culture" and shows us that "The Mesh" will bring in more products that are "Durable, flexible, reparable and sustainable." " "When stuff became cheap, and then credit became cheap, we filled our lives with stuff - not the things we really care about. "

This is a fascinating concept and very cutting edge. What I found interesting is that it really sounds so obvious once the author points it out, and I agree we are headed that way more and more.

The book also contains more than 50 pages of "Mesh" businesses and references, and even more at the book's/author webpage.

This is Lisa's first book, she was the founder of several internet companies and is a well known entrepreneur.
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38 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Don McGowan on February 28, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I should feel bad saying negative things about this book considering I got it for free from a Seth Godin pre-order, but...

Gansky obviously knows a thing or two about starting businesses. No question. She has done it before and she'll do it again no doubt. The thing is, her big idea doesn't go quite as far as she wants it to, or as she wants you to think it will. The big idea: if you can find a way to monetize having people share, you'll be able to open new business opportunities. She's got some insights: the idea of a baby clothes exchange definitely shows that sharing-based models aren't just limited to big-ticket items. But she overextends by suggesting that any type of business will be able to work this way. I would imagine that if you live in rural North Dakota on a farm, you can't exactly share your harvester in a Zipcar kind of network. You need it at exactly the same time as your neighbors. And I don't care how many shirt-sharing services you can think of, there's just no way I'm sharing shoes or underwear, and I'm sure I'm not alone. I am always more impressed when a book acknowledges the limits of its hypotheses. If you read this book, there's no reason everything can't work with sharing. If you think about the world, you know that can't be true.

There's also something so very "farmer's market" about starting a web-based business based upon sharing. There's nothing new about sharing. Rural communities have done it for years. I made the harvester/Zipcar example for a reason: rural communities have *always* shared big-ticket items and purchses. They've just never made it a business. Barn raising, crop harvesting, etc. aren't at all new and noteworthy and Gansky doesn't talk about them. Why not? My theory: because they don't send the right semiotic.
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53 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Seth Godin on September 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
In this painstakingly researched fun to read book (how often do those two go together) Gansky has outlined a trend that's been around but often overlooked. The internet has turbocharged our ability to share. It's created a platform for business models based on community use of expensive objects and services.

It'll take an hour to get her point, and then you'll see it over and over, everywhere you look.

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Scribere on September 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Using clear, concise examples, Gansky defines a new space for entrepreneurs. Not only did I want to go out and join Zip car or help small business owners with a loan, I wanted to implement the same techniques that are making these companies successful. Gansky sets a terrific agenda for the post-consumer age.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dave J. Toole on September 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book helps to reflect how a world that is transitioning to bringing physical and digital goods to markets in more
economical and environmentally conscious ways. This is the grid and will become a driver of future economic values. It is a must
read if you want to survive the digital transition that we are living through. It will impact every business and every individual.
If you want to stake out your role and figure out the eco system that you contribute to. I am recommending this to all my
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Format: Hardcover
A Mesh enterprise (as opposed to a Mesh company) consists of everyone directly or indirectly associated with the design, production, marketing, sales, distribution, and servicing. It relies on advanced web and mobile data networks to obtain or create whatever information is needed (e.g. demographics of consumers, market trends and patterns, as well as the nature, extent, and frequency of usage. Also, it makes effective use of word-of-mouth and social network channels to "get the word out" about offers, news, and recommendations.

According to Lisa Gansky, and contrary to planned obsolescence, Mesh design ensures that whatever is offered to the consumer is durable, flexible, reliable, and (most important of all) sustainable. Moreover, Gansky observes, "a key advantage for Mesh businesses is the use of rich information to personalize products and services. There are several ways to achieve this. Products can be designed to adjust easily to different users, but in a way that is not time-consuming or expensive, and doesn't compromise the product's primary functionality...If a product design is modular, different modules can be added or subtracted from the basic structure."

Throughout her lively narrative, Gansky explains

o What the Mesh business model is...
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