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What's Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption Hardcover – September 14, 2010
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A groundbreaking idea fueled good news book that explores the rise of a newsocioeconomic phenomenon based on shared resources and collective consumptionthe authors call Collaborative Consumption WHAT S MINE IS YOURS is about Collaborative Consumption a new emerging economy made possible by online social networks and fueled by increasing cost consciousness and environmental necessity Collaborative Consumption occurs when people participate in organized sharing bartering trading renting swapping and collectives to get the same pleasures of ownership with reduced personal cost and burden and lower environmental impact The book addresses three growing models of Collaborative Consumption Product Service Systems Communal Economies and Redistribution Markets The first Product Service Systems reflects the increasing number of people from all different backgrounds and across ages who are buying into the idea of using the service of the product what it does for them without owning it Examples include Zipcar and Ziploc and these companies are disrupting traditional industries based on models of individual ownership Second in what the authors define as Communal Economies there is a growing realization that as individual consumers we have relatively little in the way of bargaining power with corporations A crowd of consumers however introduces a different empowering dynamic Online networks are bringing people together again and making them more willing to leverage the proverbial power of numbers Examples of this second category include Etsy an online market for handcrafts or the social lending marketplace Zopa The third model is Redistribution Markets exemplified by worldwide networks such as Freecycle and Ebay as well as emerging forms of modern day bartering and swap trading such as Zwaggle Swaptree and Zunafish Social networks facilitate consumer to consumer marketplaces that redistribute goods from where they are not needed to somewh
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In itself, this is hardly a new idea; the only element that is new is the methodology of communication. Yet it is a significant sign of the times that people are sharing what they don’t use with others and making money at the same time. In case you are tempted to ascribe the trend to the economic necessity of the times, it was spreading at a rapid pace before 2008.
According to the authors, “Collaborative Consumptions” is a new trend that is strengthening daily, literally. There are three forms this new trend can take: sharing of services, redistribution of goods and collaborative lifestyles. To work, collaborative consumption requires critical mass (which is already there,) idling capacity (which we have in abundance,) a belief in the idea of commons (an idea in its infancy,) and trust between strangers (which technology can solve.)
The 20th century was defined in large measure by hyper-consumption and we defined ourselves by what we owned or consumed. It seemed as if the more we had the better we were considered to be by peers and the happier we thought we would be. We acquired unusable amount of goods such as kitchen equipment we don’t use, clothes we are sorry we bought and so much more. The effect is that rentable storage has increased by 740% in the past two decades, and in the US people are spending more on storage of things they don’t use than on milk, coffee or even beer.
The accumulation of goods, and our conspicuous consumption has not made us any happier, if anything it has made us less happy according to research. “Conspicuous consumption” was a term coined by the Norwegian economist Veblen to describe the nouveau riche, a class emerging at the time, who were eager to display their wealth and power. Not much change there.
Denis Diderot wrote a thought provoking essay entitled “Regrets on Parting With My Old Dressing Gown” describing how a gift from a friend of a beautiful scarlet dressing gown changed his home. It made other things look shabby so they had to be changed. This made others things in his home look out of place and so they had to be replaced, including pieces of furniture.
“We might just be coming out of the consumer trance we have been living in for the past 50 years or so,” suggest the authors. The consequence is the realization that we no longer need to own things when we can use them. How many minutes a year do you use the electric drill you dashed out to buy? Then extend that to all the other acquisitions.
Collaborative consumption is not asking people to “play nice and share in the sandbox” rather it puts in place a system whereby we can share resources without sacrificing our personal freedom or lifestyle.
Do you have a car you are paying off but only use two hours a day? Why not rent it to a reliable person instead of paying to park it. The internet can let others see your car, but it can also be a source for the would-be renter to show off his reputation for using people’s cars and returning them on time and in good order. This reputation he achieves by the reviews of his conduct on the site by people he has borrowed cars from, just as he can see a review of the condition of the car on offer based on other user’s assessments.
The authors describe events where people swap clothes they do not use (the only criteria is that it is in excellent condition,) for clothes someone else is not using. There are toy libraries where toys can be borrowed and returned (all are sanitized) saving you buying new ones when they lose their novelty. Most of the identified sites monetise the process, but there are also those that make donating simpler.
If the authors are correct, the 21st century will be defined by what we can access, how we share and what we give away. With the enormity of the waste produced by our consumption for which we have no space and the effects on the environment by what we dispose, sharing will become a necessity.
Believing we should own not share, is not a natural, innate human condition. We can unlearn this desire, after all we tell our kids to that “sharing is caring.”
The authors make a very compelling case for an important idea. Worth reading and sharing.
Readability Light ---+- Serious
Insights High -+--- Low
Practical High ---+- Low
Ian Mann of Gateways consults internationally on leadership and strategy
If not, you may find yourself left behind.
"What's Mine is Yours. The Rise of Collaborative Consumption" is an important new book by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers. It explains how the extraordinary disruption caused by the communications revolution is spawning an explosion in sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting and swapping.
Sites like Couchsurfing.com, which co-ordinates swaps of 'couch' accommodation for visitors and travelers has become the third most visited travel site in the world.
Car-sharing services like Zipcar saw their membership triple in 2009, and it is estimated that by 2015, 4.4 million people in North America and 5.5 million in Europe will belong to similar services.
People are realising that they don't have to own everything themselves, and that reaching out to others and sharing saves them money, makes them feel good and makes them new friends.
It meets a fundamental human need for connection and sharing.
Even mega consumer brands like Nike are shifting their brand focus and advertising away from products and towards building collaborative communities, investing in nonmedia social hubs like NikePlus, where runners around the world post runnning routes, map their runs, offer advice and encourage one another. It is estimated that Nike is spending 55 per cent less on traditional advertising and celebrity endorsements than it did ten years ago.
So why is this change occurring? Botsman and Roo cite a number of reasons, one of which is that it
feeds what sociologist Marilynn Brewer calls our 'social self', the part of us that seeks connection and belonging.
People have a need to connect. We are essentially social beings. And after 60 years of what author Clay Shirky terms one-way media communication (television to us) the internet has given back some choice to consumers - and they're taking it.
Botsman and Roo posit that in 10 years people won't be judging each other by their credit rating but by their 'reputation rating' - what they give to, what they share and in what they participate. This will be a radical departure from the era of defining ourselves by the brands we display and the houses we live in.
There exists a huge desire for more meaning and connection in life.
Now is the time.
This is the most important book since "What would Google do?" and Clay Shirky's "Cognitive Surplus". Read it or miss out on the next big thing.
Intelligently written, accessible, insightful and without being 'touchy feely psychobabble,' the authors genuinely reach out to the parts of ourselves that sense that there is a better way to live together and show us how the power of collective behaviour through technology and social networking are actually creating online and face to face communities.
If you, like me have traded on ebay, do your bit for recycling and maybe even subscribe to Freecycle.com, pat myself on the back, but still have a sense that there is so much more I can do, but don't know where to start then this is a must read. And if you are not, then I challenge you to read this book and not feel optimistic about life again.