collaborative consumption

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Why is this important?

Collaborative consumption, micro-preneurs and “reputational capital” should be interesting to anyone thinking about how to support city systems that engage citizens. Reputational capital is about power, trust and influence.


Interesting insight into the notion of “connecting trust worthy strangers” and the fact that reputation is contextual – if I am trusted on e-bay should I be trusted on stackoverflow? Should reputation be transferable?

Buzzcar founder Robin introduces ideas around “Peer Inc”, the notion that combining the benefits of a community based context with industrial models of business organisation provides a best of both worlds scenario for collaborative consumption.

Noted on Pinboard…

Whilst sharing tools with neighbours or hitchhiking are not new concepts our access to models of ownership are changing. The trend towards service provision rather than product ownership means, for example, we are increasingly likely to purchase access to a car rather than buy a car. At scale this provides a really interesting model of sustainability in terms of numbers of vehicles needed (their embodied energy) and the statistics that people drive less if the car is not on their driveway.

But the really interesting trend here is that new forms of trust are being enabled by social networking technology. People joined Facebook and LinkedIn to stay in touch with colleagues and friends, but as a result of mass adoption we can also check up on virtually everyone we come across. We are using social networks to validate each other. If you are just selling goods on Craigslist, it doesn’t really matter whether the buyer is a good person or a bad one: I take the cash, you take my goods, and you are gone. But if I am renting something to you, trust becomes critical. Reputation enhanced lending and trading is becoming mainstream with sites such as AirBNB and Zimride. We will lease, barter, and trade with relative strangers, banking on their reputation and connections.

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Posted by Duncan

3 Responses to collaborative consumption

  1. velvis says:

    “put excess capacity on a growth platform out on the web for people to use for a small amount.” seems a powerful concept applicable to just about any consumption.

    also intriguing and counter inutitive the concept that there could be “a higher status of consumption then ownership”. why own a ferrari in london, when you can “own” 8,000 differnt cars in multiple locations around the world.

    autopreneur will flourish, because “it is in their self-interest”

  2. Andy says:

    This video is possibly of interest. From the TED website: “How can we fit more people into cities without overcrowding? Kent Larson shows off folding cars, quick-change apartments and other innovations that could make the city of the future work a lot like a small village of the past”

  3. nikkig says:
    like zimride, but has been operating since 2001 (as and is better established as a go-to travel tool for a wider age-distribution across europe.
    peer-to-peers, like getaround in the bay area, are another deviation of this service – kind of a hybrid style between ride sharing and airbnb

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