Did you know that most power drills are used for an average of 12-13 minutes in their entire lifetime? Neither did I – and as Rachel Botsman the collaborative consumption guru points out, that’s a big piece of kit to buy and store when what you really want is a few holes.
Collaborative consumption describes the rapid explosion in swapping, sharing, bartering, trading and renting being reinvented through the latest technologies and peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplaces in ways and on a scale never possible before.
Of course ideas like lending and product services systems have been around for a long time but today internet technology is removing the friction from P2P relationships, and a flood of activity is diverting us from ownership to access.
Zipcar, the US pay-as-you-go car rental service started modestly at university campuses and has 560,000 members today. Its recent IPO raised $174 million, over twice its original target.
Landshare connects people who have a passion for home-grown food with those who have land to share. Started in the UK in 2009, it now has nearly 60, 000 members and no doubt a profusion of veg.
Even banks are being by-passed by the collaborative consumption shift. Zopa is an online marketplace that matches people with money to invest with borrowers who need a personal loan. By cutting out the middleman Zopa offers competitive rates to both parties – and the default rate is less than 1%. As they say, everybody wins, except the fat cats!
What’s making it all possible? Years ago you’d be unlikely to form a business relationship with a complete stranger, but today the internet offers the social glue to build trust, and the efficiency to follow an individual’s track record.
As Wired puts it: “What matters in the new era is not your physical wealth, but your reputation”.