She‘s really into this thing called “collaborative consumption”. She’s written books on this (What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption) and given a TED talk… in fact, that’s where I first heard her speak about this “collaborative consumption” thing…. from the comfort of my own home on TED.com.

Rachel Botsman's speak on collaborative consumption at TED

Rachel Botsman's speak on collaborative consumption at TED

In my opinion, collaborative consumption is really just a fancy phrase for “sharing.” But the big difference between sharing and collaborative consumption, in my mind, is that collaborative consumption is a platform for monetizing and distributing value from the process of sharing.
Rachel Botsman describes 3 types of collaborative consumption in her talk.

  • Redistribution markets
  • e.g. I own a DVD I’ll never watch again, and you own a DVD you’ll never watch again. A collaborative consumption platform will allow me to see that you have a DVD I want, and I have a DVD you want. We trade DVDs for a few days. Neither of us spends any money (besides the possible membership fee for the service), and we both gain value from the process.

  • Collaborative Lifestyle
  • e.g. I own some land, but I don’t farm. You know how to farm. I let you farm my land, and we split the fruit and veggies from your labor and my ownership. I didn’t lose anything, and you didn’t have to pay for land. We both just gain value… at no cost to us.

  • Product Service Systems
  • e.g. Neither of us can afford a Mercedes right now and we know we’d only use it 8% of the time anyway. So, we use a Mercedes at times that are convenient for us, and only pay when we use the car. Basically, we are time-sharing a car. Collectively we kinda own the car, but individually we are only leasing it for stints of time.

So, I thought about this collaborative consumption thing, and I realized that the value from the collab. consumption process really comes from the system that facilitates the deals. For example, the redistribution market platform will only work if there is a good algorithm that can link me and my unused DVD with someone else and their unused DVD. So, the quality of collab. consumption really derives from having a large pool of users (along with their interests, benefits, and products/services) and an algorithm that can create successful connections from that base.

Then, I had an idea: what if there was a knowledge-based collaborative lifestyle platform that matched people who needed to write some text (papers, contracts, and/or articles) with a pool of experts and writers that could write all or part of the desired text. A wide-range of experts could monetize their knowledge, and a wide-range of people could have more time to do what they actually want to do.

So, I moved on this idea, and I recently registered a domain name called AllOurBrains.com. And as the development of this idea comes along, I will post the business plan on Kickstarter and Angellist.com to crowdsource (in a collaborative consumption kinda way) the funding of the process…. Seems fitting.

Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t. Ya never know. But the development of the idea is where I find the most fun. So, in all, thanks, Rachel Botsman, for inspiring me to take this new journey.

Advertisements