Here’s an update on a new biz model commonly called: Collaborative Consumption.
Other names are swirling around: The Access Economy, The Collaborative Economy, and The Sharing Economy. Basically, this community business model is not a bartering system that the term “sharing” might imply, but a sustainable leasing arrangement.
The concept behind it is that if we “share” a.k.a. lease/rent products that we need infrequently, there will be less “stuff” in the world. Less products purchased, so less products made. That is the theory at least. Think Rent-A-Runway.)
It is entirely possible however, that this new leasing arrangement will encourage some companies to adopt the model to make more stuff. Like if you don’t have a cappuccino maker, but you might rent one for your Oscar party. Or if a food processor is not something you would ever buy for the 2 times a year you attempt to make a chocolate soufflé, but you would rent one instead. Or maybe clothing manufacturers will create lines just for the rental market…Hmmm…The verdict is still out on whether this would create a new market or recycle an old one.
The question is while this biz model might work in sunnier (and greener) pastures like SF Bay Area, Portland, Seattle, Boulder, Burlington, Greenpoint….will it work in raw unadulterated capitalist consumer bastions like Manhattan, NYC metro, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, LA, Beverly Hills, and Short Hills? However unlikely, the model seems to catching some steam.
We don’t know about you, but at Good-b as New Yorkers living in the center of one of the busiest shopping meccas in the world, we think most Americans (including us) have too much stuff! Perhaps given our proximity to the world’s financial markets on Wall Street, rather than calling the new movement a “sharing economy,” we will call it what it really is: collaborative capitalism. Check it out below!
Time Magazine on “The Access Economy”
Today’s Smart Choice: Don’t Own. Share
“Someday we’ll look back on the 20th century and wonder why we owned so much stuff. Not that it wasn’t great at first. After thousands of years during which most human beings lived hand to mouth, in the 20th century the industrial economies of the West and eventually much of the rest of the world began churning out consumer goods — refrigerators, cars, TVs, telephones, computers. George W. Bush won re-election as President in 2004 in part by proclaiming an “ownership society”: “The more ownership there is in America, the more vitality there is in America.”
Even as Bush was announcing its birth though, the ownership society was rotting from the inside out. Its demise began with Napster. The digitalization of music and the ability to share it made owning CDs superfluous. Then Napsterization spread to nearly all other media, and by 2008 the financial architecture that had been built to support all that ownership — the subprime mortgages and the credit-default swaps — had collapsed on top of us. Ownership hadn’t made the U.S. vital; it had just about ruined the country.”
Triple Pundit on “The Sharing Economy”
“The “sharing economy” describes a type of business built on the sharing of resources – allowing customers to access goods when needed. Think AirBnb or Zipcar. While sharing goods has always been a common practice among friends, family and neighbors, in recent years, the concept of sharing has moved from a community practice into a profitable business model.
This increasing legitimacy is reflected in the more polished terms used to describe the phenomenon like peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, collaborative consumption or the access economy. Some advocates wax philosophical that this emerging sharing economy has come about because society has collectively arrived at a more altruistic place in our evolution: We don’t all need to own drills or KitchenAid mixers – since most owners only get a few minutes of use out of them a year.”
CS Monitor on the Collaborative Economy
Rent or Own?
Welcome to the sharing economy – also known as the collaborative economy or the access economy – where tangible things are shared, like power tools or kids’ toys, as well as intangibles like space, time, car rides, and knowledge.
At a time when many feel a kind of cyber isolation from so much interaction on social networks, the idea of community and connection through sharing seems both retro and revolutionary.
It’s also quite marketable. Research consulting firm Frost & Sullivan projects that car-sharing revenues alone in North America will be $3.3 billion by 2016. The number of car-sharing members in North America is expected to reach 9 million by 2020, according to a forthcoming Frost & Sullivan study, written by industry analyst Ratika Garg.
Investors have shown interest, too. In February, international car-sharing service Zipcar led a $13.7 million investment in Wheelz, a peer-to-peer version of Zipcar (which owns all its vehicles) that is based on college campuses and matches car owners with would-be borrowers. In August, Getaround, another peer-to-peer car-sharing service, closed a $13.9 million round of financing led by Silicon Valley‘s Menlo Ventures.