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‘Sharing’ is the new business opportunity.
People often ask me ‘what is the next big thing?’ Occasionally one get’s an insight into what the world ‘might be like’.
Here are some things we know:

  1. There is an anti ‘stuff’ movement – not only can we not store everything we own (we live in smaller spaces in cities – and self storage is one of the fastest growing industries) but we are increasingly concerned about the cost to the planet of manufacturing, transporting, storing, then disposing of all this stuff.
  2. That social networks are revolutionizing media…
  3. That smart phones are outselling PC/Laptops
  4. That people like a deal
  5. That people want to trust and believe in brands
  6. There is an increasing desire to do contribute to community and for people to feel connected to those people around them. (an increase in farmers markets for instance.)

Put these six things together and there is a perfect business revolution taking place.
Rachel Bolsman in her book ‘What’s mine is yours’  calls the phenomena ‘Collaborative Consumption’ – or the ‘Sharing Revolution’
There have been four phases distinct phases as business models evolve to get us to this collaborative consumption era:

  • We connected to share information (open source)
  • We connected to people we know (social networks)
  • We shared our thoughts and published them (blogs/twitter)
  • We connected to share and access to assets.

Apparently in the average life on a power drill it is only used for 13 minutes. Does every man need to have one in his tool shed (or does he just need a hole drilled)… Matt my colleague said that I was missing the point about men and power tools when I mentioned this to him.
So how can we share assets – or utilize what we already have to increase it’s return. The internet has created a true enabler – that is efficient, and that provides the scale needed to make such collaborative consumption work.
There is a shift where access trumps ownership.
There are four interesting business models.

  1. Collaborative Lifestyles: Social networking becomes service networking – have a look at AirBnB.com
  2. Micropreneurs: EBay is the ‘Big Daddy’ of this but also think Freelancer.com
  3. I need – You have: Is about redistribution (back to the idea of swapping, bartering, trading, gifting) think 99dresses
  4. Products become services: If BMW were to offer mobility solutions rather than sell more cars –It is worth looking at what DriveMyCarRentals.com.au is doing

Interesting it might take a radical shift of thought to move to these collaborative business models especially for existing businesses – such as manufacturers turning themselves into services.
Business is fascinating – Thanks Rachel for ‘Sharing’ your insights.

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