Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Collaborative Consumption

Today's keynote was from Rachel Botsman, author of What's Mine is Yours. She was in Australia, so it was a prerecorded talk, which worked really well.

Her talk was about collaborative consumption, and she believes that we are in the first stages of a collaborative revolution which is going to be as big as the industrial revolution.
Network technologies create the right infrastructure for collaborative market places.
A simple example is  Taskrabbit -  a site where people post a task and what they're prepared to pay for it, and network of rabbits bid to carry out the task. It's available as an app and a web site.  You can get food, cleaning, shopping, things delivered.  All rabbits are checked and reviewed and therefore they build up a reputation. The number one task posted is assembling IKEA furniture!
At its core it's about empowerment. using technology to enable people to make money around their lifestyle. 25% of rabbits are retired people. Some rabbits make $5000 a month.

Social technologies are enabling efficiencies and trust. It can match needs and wants, without layers of transaction costs in between. Also enables trust between strangers.

Efficiency and trust are the basis of this sharing evolution.
We've moved from being consumers, to creators to collaborators. Now we're sharing assets, not just music and photos but things like money, cars, space. We're back to the old behaviours of sharing and bartering, but enabled by technology.

There are 3 clear systems in this new market place:

1       Product service systems
Eg Boris's bikes. Bike sharing is the fastest growing transport system in world. Paying for the use of a product without needing to own it outright has been around for years, eg libraries. But now we have a different relationship to stuff. We don't want the stuff, we want the need and experience it fulfils. For example we don't want the CD, but the music, not the DVD but the film, etc.

Idling capacity, or under-utitlised assets are fuelling growth in this sort of system.  Eg Car Sharing. Car companies are no longer in business of selling cars, but in mobility services. BMW in Germany provides cars you can rent car by the minute, with never a car more than 500m from where you are .
Peer to peer car sharing makes use of the millions of cars sitting idle for most of the time. For example Owners rent out their cars when they're not being used and set their own prices. The company provides the insurance. Claims are 80% less than traditional rentals. Accountability and transparency make a difference -  people behave better when real people dealing with real people. There's a neat little video about it here.

2    Redistribution markets
Some are monetary eg Craigslist
Some free, like Freecycle
Some buying and selling like eBay.  Lovely story about how this was formed  - the story of the broken laser pointer.

3    Collaborative lifestyles.
This is where not just stuff is shared, but things like time, skills, space
Task rabbit one good example, another is Airbnb.  This matches people with places to rent with people who want to stay somewhere.  You can find everything from rooms in houses and flats, to an Igloo, to a whole island. It's created a market for things that never had a market place before and put things in reach of people. In New York, more people will stay in Airbnb accommodation tonight than in a hotel. Also based on trust. There's only been  two incidences of theft and vandalism in Airbnb and they lead to  increased trust measures.

Trust is the new black, as said by Craig Newmark said yesterday

We are all building up reputation capital.
When you trade on eBay, or rent a room, you're leaving a trail of  your reputation. Reputation will become a cornerstone of 21st century consumption.
Collaborative consumption is a massive opportunity.

In the Q and A session afterwards she was asked about privacy, and I loved her response. Privacy laws are national, the internet is international -  it's a friggin' nightmare.

It was a fascinating talk, and I'd love to see it on line. There's some great places on Airbnb, I'm thinking of putting my car on Whipcar, and I wish someone would send taskrabbits to Sheffield!

She's done a TED talk which is worth watching:

1 comment:

pj said...

HMRC and the IRS will have a field day when they get their hands on this. The Inland Revenue (as it was then) killed off a marvellous skills trading system in the UK in the 1990s, no doubt they'll do it again.