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.
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
- Collaborative Lifestyle
- Product Service Systems
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.
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.
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.