Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What we are doing in the sharing economy in 2015

If you need to use something for less than 2 weeks and it cost less than $1,000 and it weighs less than 50 pounds, click here.

On demand access to seldom used items is something that will continue to grow huge, but the answer is not exclusively tied to peer to peer online marketplaces. Photo credit www.gratisography.com
  1. We are still running experiments to learn more and more about what is important in the sharing economy. 
  2. These experiments run on www.neighborrow.com and facebook.com/neighborrow.com
  3. We are SHARING this data and the collective learnings with our peers, starting with a team in Spain, Relendo.com 
  4. We still believe in the vision of a world where less stuff is wasted for no reason, but we are not sure that the solution is a peer to peer platform. Lifetime fitness is a perfectly reasonable solution for people sharing a treadmill, in fact it is a superior one to one person buying it and lending it out to a neighbor when they are not using it.
  5. We believe in competition, but the founders in the "stuff sharing" space that has unquestionably struggled more than other areas, do not SHARE best practices enough. I see teams making the same mistakes over and over again. I want to fix that. 
  6. Trust is not the issue, and even when it is - third party trust sites are not the solution. Companies in this space who are big enough to worry about trust will have a competitive advantage solving it themselves. 
  7. Supply is not really the issue (especially for items below $1,000 that are seldom used), our experiments are all focused on demand. 
  8. Some solutions may be as simple as optimizing pricing for the amount of time the item "should be used". If you need the hole not the drill, maybe that's what people will start paying for. Or maybe the hole itself will disrupted and everyone will start using 3d printed tape to hang pictures on the wall and 3d printed fasteners to build things. 
  9. All of the experiments we run this year will be available to students and researchers free of charge as long as they help us collect and interpret the data. Founders in the space can pay (a little) for it. Investors in the space can pay (more) for it. 
Things we learned last year:
  1. not only is it not an issue to get people to return things...
  2. even when 25 people vouch for someone on facebook it does not generate a new request on its own 
  3. People are still creating these marketplaces at a furious pace. At Startup Weekends, during my workshops, etc. 

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