‘S’ is for Sharingby Rochelle Lee on August 22, 2012
I’m a minimalist. Three years of living out of a 70-liter backpack abroad probably has something to do with it. I avoid purchasing objects because of the commitment and responsibility that comes with ownership. And I always get by because I’m not afraid to use something that doesn’t belong to me.
My backpack has traveled more than I have. Just this summer, it’s already been on three different trips with three different people.
I recently went to an event at the Commonwealth Club of California called “The Shared Economy: Doing Business with the Jones.” The event featured a panel discussion with leaders in the shared economy: Lisa Gansky, author of The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing, Shelby Clark, founder and chief community officer of RelayRides, Leah Busque, founder and CEO of TaskRabbit, Cory Smith, CEO of Hub Bay Area, and Nate Blecharczyk, CTO and co-founder of Airbnb, shared their stories and ideas on the growth of collaborative consumption.
Obviously, I’m a huge fan of the shared economy and its resurrection and spread of old market traditions (bartering, renting, lending, etc.). What’s there not to like? From an economic standpoint, it creates new sources of income for some, and cost savings and convenience for others. From an environmental perspective, it efficiently utilizes what already exists without depleting more of the planet’s limited resources. And from a social point of the view, collaborative consumption connects people through new experiences in which they are reminded that strangers can be trustworthy, interesting, and kind. It’s a simple business model and it motivates individuals to cooperate and work together to better the greater community.
So how can large companies incorporate collaborative consumption in their sustainability strategy? Shelby Clark of RelayRides shared interesting information during the event about RelayRides partnership with General Motors. The partnership leverages OnStar, GM’s communication and assistance program, to allow GM owners to conveniently rent out their cars. Through their mobile devices, RelayRides members can unlock any OnStar car, eliminating the hassle of picking up keys.
America’s largest car manufacturer collaborating with America’s largest peer-to-peer carsharing market place? Sounds like an irresistible combination to me.