Tech helps us to share
Old impulses, New ideas
What is mine is yours
Co-authors Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers present a highly readable overview of the collaborative present and future of consumption as new technologies empower and amplify our basic human urge to share. I was really excited to finally get my review copy of this book, since my masters thesis, SokoSquare, dealt with many of these issues of reclaiming and redefining community (and finding abundance) through collaboration and sharing. In particular, chapter 8, “Collaborative Design” was a particularly inspiring call to action for me as a designer to move beyond creating beautiful artifacts to creating systems and experiences that generate some sort of communal value. The ethos of collaborative consumption doesn’t see technology and the internet as an end in itself, but instead a coordinating mechanism for enhancing robust communities.
I have also been thinking about these issues in my recent work with HelloElectric.org, a newly-launched social movement for the promotion of electric vehicles. Widespread adoption of electric vehicles is only one part of the solving the climate and peak oil crises. We must also change the way we own and use vehicles. Botsman & Rogers quote Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford:
The future of transportation will be a blend of things like Zipcar, public transportation, and private car ownership. Not only do I not feat that, but I think it’s a great opportunity for us to participate in the changing nature of car ownership.
Amen to that.
What’s Mine Is Yours is part cultural critique, part aspirational document, and part survey of the current collaborative consumption scene. Besides Zipcar, the book also explores the success of sites like eBay, craigslist, and CouchSurfing and offers an introduction to some interesting newcomers in the space.
If you like Clay Shirky’s Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age or Douglas Rushkoff’s Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take It Back, this is the book to read next.