I first encountered Rachel Botsman, co-author of What’s Mine is Yours at a Local Government Tourism conference and was immediately compelled to buy this book. This was quite a few years ago, so I am delving into the archive for this review.

The benefit of 6 years of hindsight is the validation of the concepts within. We are seeing with eye-catching regularity new businesses popping up as the Uber but for X, or the AirBnB for Y, the start-up scene if full of them. It is exciting, as Newcastle’s own Camplify will attest.

This is a great read. It highlights the nature of human behaviour as an indicator of the potential to meet demand with innovative supply. It is a very inspiring read, generating the will to be always looking for a significant idle asset to commoditise for exchange.

The premise of “sharing is the new ownership” is one of Kevin Kelly’s Inevitable. The collaborative economy is not going away and it presents huge opportunity to create a business that connects those that have spare something to those that will pay for that something. Think storage space, office space, your camper van (Camplify), your idle car (CarNextDoor), your musical equipment.

Botsman & Rogers outlines three main forms of Collaborative Consumption:

  1. Product Service Systems are a peer to peer online platform where people can offer a private space capacity usage for rent.
  2. Redistribution Markets – or multi-vendor marketplaces – where people can sell unwanted items, think eBay or Gumtree.
  3. Collaborative Lifestyles where people can join shared experiences such as co-working spaces, MeetUps, or co-travelling.

The key theme is the shedding of the culture of ownership. Many of us no longer own movies, we rent them from Netflix or iTunes. We no longer own CDs as much as stream them via Spotify or iTunes Radio. If we do own something that is surplus to our needs, it is easy to sell it to someone who needs it, and we can do it ourselves via an online marketplace.

In 2010 Botsman and Rogers boldly predicted that collaborative consumption will be a “fully fledged economy” within the next 5 years. It has arrived and has plenty of opportunity to offer.

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