Collaborative Consumption: TED Talks

(notes on videos after each embed)

Lisa Gansky: The Mesh

In many circumstances, “access trumps ownership” — libraries, public transit, coffeehouses — and the Mesh refers to “meshy” businesses that provide “better things easily shared.”

Vectors leading to this new emphasis on sharing:

  1. The Recession: we’re recalculating value based on what we’d now consider to be ‘truer’ costs
  2. Population growth and density: less is increasingly more as we search for efficient ways for more people to live in the same amount of space
  3. Climate change: environmental problems result in new conscious consumption ideals, distrust of big corporations and brands, new interest in the “local”
  4. Networks: we are connected to everyone else on the planet in faster and stronger ways than ever before.

A mesh company is social and mobile, provides access to (in place of ownership of) physical goods and services.

Zipcar — car sharing company. Wasn’t the first to come up with the idea, but through careful matching of car types with target demographics were able to make car sharing friendly, sexy, a club you want to be part of. They understand that they’re an information company, not a car company — emphasis on the “sharing” part of  “car-sharing”

A brand is a voice and a product is a souvenir.

Value — disuse leads to waste, but if (through peer-to-peer networks and other platforms) we share important items like cars, we maximize value by minimizing waste. If everyone uses a car about 10% of the time, then each person really only needs 10% of a car.

Make sharing irresistible.

Delight is contagious.

Platforms are invitations to innovation.

Rachel Botsman: The Case for Collaborative Consumption

Sharing is “reinventing how we consume” by making use of the latent value in our unused belongings.

Swaptrading  makes it possible to match “haves” with “wants” via internet-supported social networks. This solves the scarcity of “coincidence of wants.” The “collaborative behaviors and trust mechanics inherent within those systems” are enabled by technology.

Collaborative consumption relies on the power of crowds, as consumer become collaborators in a “peer-to-peer revolution.” Digital natives (Gen Y) are growing up in a network of mobile collaboration.

The 20th century was characterized by an economy of hyperconsumption, but the 21st may be defined by its collaborative consumption. What’s driving this shift in values and economic modes?

  1. New emphasis on community and the ‘local’
  2. Peer-to-peer networks and new technologies.
  3. Problems with environment.
  4. The recession.

Sharing behaviors are now pervading our lives. There are three different ways that they’re manifested:

  1. Redistributive markets: It makes economic and environmental sense to barter used items, send them along to someone who wants them and extend their lifetime, reduce waste by reducing dependence on “new.”
  2. Collaborative lifestyles.
  3. Product service systems: ownership isn’t necessary for things (like DVDs) that have a “high idling capacity, so services like Netflix or Zipcar seem to make a lot of sense. This isn’t a new idea (hello, laundromats) but it is streamlined and perfected by advances in technology and sharing networks.

“I don’t want the DVD, I want the movie” — “access is better than ownership

“Reputation capital” — as new social currency, the internet-age credit rating? How trustworthy have you shown yourself to be, what is your ebay or amazon seller rating, etc.

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