Commentary

What mine is yours: the rise of collaborative consumption


Collaborative consumption brands

Imagine a life without possession but with sharing. When my parents come to Pittsburgh for my graduation, I log in ‘Zipcar’ application on my i-Phone, choose a car located in the campus garage, and pay for 2 hour drive to pick up my parents at the airport. Before I begin my summer internship at California, I list my room out of two-bed room apartment in Pittsburgh at ‘Airbnb’ for hosting. A Chinese guest-researcher at CMU chooses my room for his stay in Pittsburgh for a month and other travelers from all over the world book my room for a few day stay. While busy at internship, I post a task at ‘taskrabbit’ to find out the person who can take care of my laundry and a person who makes the lowest bid, $10, is assigned and run my laundry.

All of the services listed above can be examples of collaborative consumption. From Airbnb to Zipcar, people are swapping their cars, homes, even clothes with each other. The idea that we can actually pay for the use of the product or other human resources without needing to actually own that outright is one of the fundamental principles of collaborative consumption. Not content with persuading us to share our thoughts, photos, location and music what we are listening to, creative entrepreneurs are now asking us to post our possessions on the internet and hire them out to neighbors.

What's Mine Is Yours

The Mesh

The sharing economy is already ‘the next big thing’ in U.S an now it’s reached to everywhere in the world. We come from a long tradition of sharing. We’ve shared transportation like bus, entertainment, such as sports arenas, public parks, concert halls and libraries. We have already learned through the popular services such as Netflix and Spotify that we don’t need to own physical goods to make our lives much easier and happier. Then people have become driven by growing dissatisfaction with their roles as robotic consumers manipulated by marketing; now they are turning more and more to models of consumption that emphasize usefulness over ownership, neighbor community over selfishness, sustainability over novelty, and eco-friendly over destructive.

Rachel Botsman and Roo Roger, the authors of ‘What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption’, predict that it will be a fully-fledged economy within the next five years. Lisa Gansky, an author of ‘The Mesh: why the Future of Business is Sharing’, explains what’s driving sharing platform business in this era.

  1. Recession: the recession has caused us to rethink our relationship with the things in our lives relative to the value, so starting to align the value with true cost.
  2. Population growth: the population growth and density into cities cause more people, smaller spaces and less stuff.
  3. More to life than money: Sharing based business generally offer a greater feeling of connection and community.
  4. Web and Mobile Technology: we are more connected now to more people on the planet than ever before.

CEOs and activists in the shared platform businesses

As of now, a number of new businesses with innovative ideas have emerged to serve this new market and the success of Netflix, Zipcar, and AirBnB boost the entrepreneurs and the rapid spread of this market to all over the world. Here’s the list of collaborative consumption businesses.

Product Service Systems

Car sharing: ZipcarStreetcarGoGet
Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing: WhipcarRelayRidesSprideDrivemycar Rentals, Getaround

Bike sharing: VelibBixiBarclays Cycle HireSmartbike

Ride sharing: ZimrideNurideLiftshareGoLoco

Solar Power : Solar CitySolar CenturyPretaSolOne Block Off The Grid

Toy Rental : Dim DomBabyPlaysRent-a-toy

Fashion : Bag Borrow & StealFashionhireFromBagsToRiches

Movies : NetflixLend A RoundRenttherunway

Peer Rental : ZilokRentoidEcomodoHireThingsThingloopRentalicRentcycle

Neighborhood Rental : SharesomesugarNeighborrowNeighborgoods

Redistribution Markets

Big marketplaces : craigslisteBayFlippidGumtree

Free exchanges: FreecycleKashlessAround Again

Swap sites for books : BookHopperThebookswapPaperbackswapBookmooch

Swap sites for baby goods and toys : ToyswapthredUpSwapitbabySwapkidsclothes

Clothing swaps : SwapstyleClothing Exchange99 DressesBig Wardrobe

Swap sites for media (Dvd’s, books, games) : SwapSwapSimpleDig N’Swap

Collaborative LifeStyles

Coworking : Citizen SpaceHub CultureThe Hub

Social Lending : ZopaProsperThe Lending Club

Social currencies : VenQuidTimeBanksLETSystemsSPICE Timebank

Peer-to-Peer Travel : CouchSurfingAirbnbRoomoramaCrashpadder

Taxi Sharing : Taxi2TaxiDeck

Bartering : BarterquestOurGoodsITEXBartercard

Gardens : UrbanGardenShareLandshareSharedEarth

Skill sharing : Brooklyn Skill ShareTeachStreetTradeSchool

Shared Studios/Workshops : 3rd Space StudiosTechShop

Parking spots : ParkAtMyHouse

Neighborhood Support : WeCommuneShare Some Sugar

 This post is written by Kyung Rock Park, a graduate student in electrical and computer engineering

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  • Another skill sharing site is @Communiteach – one of the founders is from Pittsburgh