Collaborative Consumption – getting things done in the real world. Just what does that really mean? I had no idea what the term meant until I had the pleasure of attending a Women In Property and Construction breakfast the other day, thanks to Her Canberra and listening to Rachel Botsman (author of What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption) speak.
All I can say is WOW! What mind blowing stuff – and I WORK in this industry! Some great paradigm shifts occured as I listened to Rachel speak, and I’ld love to share my key take away points with you. Now bear with me, I took pages and pages of notes as I listened to Rachel – no, I didn’t record it – I still believe in the hand to brain connection that occurs when you actually write things down.
Colloborative Consumption: Online To Offline (OTO)
The biggest shift we are seeing in the ‘online’ world is that we are using online tools to build face to face connections. Now, I couldn’t agree more! I have made incredibly valuable face to face connections using online tools and will continue to do so.
A great example of the OTO revolution is Task Rabbit – an iOS app that was created because the developer ran out of dog food one night, and they had to change a heap of commitments so they could buy dog food! It’s a great story and worth the read – but the upshot is, the developer figured that at the time they needed dog food, there was someone in (or near) the local store that could have grabbed it for them…
Task Rabbit is only US based, but collaboration consumption in Australia is alive and well – Air Tasker is the Australian based version of it.
Collaborative Consumption – getting things done in the real world, using your online network
Collaborative Consumption: The New World Currency Is Trust
For Online to Offline to work, there must be “trust between strangers” …. trust is quickly becoming the new world currency. This is such a strong concept and, Rachel shared that reputation could well become a ‘bankable’ asset. By that she means you will be able to get a mortgage or loan using your ‘reputation capital’ rather than just ‘financial capital’….
What a great thought – that people will be rewarded for the way they behave in business.
Sound impossible? Well it’s not. Looking at business models like AirBnB (which I’ll cover in a later article) and Task Rabbit – ‘curation’ can occur to ensure that people providing the services are indeed trustworthy and ‘on the level’. What it does mean, is that consumers may need a change in mindset about how they do things – and the ‘new’ business models must address that mindset change as well.
So Lo Mo: Sing It For Collaborative Consumption
No, it’s not a line from the “Sound Of Music”… So Lo Mo applies to the ‘new world world’ order and connecting Online to Offline…
So = Social: the trust embedded in your network of connections online
Lo = Local: Customised content so your services are found in the local area
Mo = Mobile: Access to those goods and services whilst on the go.
By aligning those three components, Collaborative Consumption becomes a reality. Consumers gain access to what they want, when they want it…
The most important thing here though, is that this ‘new world order’ is creating a market where a marketplace never existed!
Looking at services like Task Rabbit – the most requested service (believe it or not) is the assembly of IKEA (or perhaps more generally flat pack) furniture. Some ‘rabbits’ have created a full time income from addressing “simple” requests like this.
Asset Heavy vs Asset Light
20th Century Business Models
Business models of the 20th Century are typically “asset” heavy. For example, a hotel chain owns property – and has a lot of physical assets. A retail store front requires a shop fit, pays rent and must have stock on hand.
I can tell you from first hand experience that when we opened our retail business in 2003, each store cost us approximately $250,000 in fit out and we were required to maintain approximately $100,000 in stock…. add on top of that our staffing and rent, and when we opened the doors each day we needed to pull in about $20K a month, before we paid ourselves!
21st Century Business Model
By contrast, 21st Century business models are asset light. We don’t own store fronts, we hold minimal stock and we outsource / job share work across a distributed work force.
A New Breed of Micro Entrepreneurs
The upshot of this change in approach to business that allows the connection of the Online to Offline to create Face to Face relationships is that a new layer of business is evolving – micro entrepreneurs.
A micro entrepreneur is the person who provides the service to put together flat pack furniture through a Task Rabbit service and use their online network to get things done in the real world….
There are interesting times ahead as more and more micro entrepreneurs evolve and start challenging ‘the norm’ in business…. Rachel calls this ‘disruption’ and I’ll speak more on that in my next article.
What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption
Want to know more? Rachels book is available from Fishpond in Australia & Amazon (of course)
and you catch watch Rachel’s Ted Talk, The Currency Of The New Economy Is Trust: