I got roped in to do a remote talk for a Share Economy workshop organised by ADV in Vienna. My reluctance was on two counts- a dislike for doing talks via Skype and an expectation by the organisers that MEGA would be portrayed as a key enabler of the Share Economy.
The Share Economy is generally understood to apply to physical goods and services rather than digital. Looking around, this presentation seemed to do a good job of conveying the concept, trends, and opportunities.
Nothing of course excludes digital goods from the Share Economy. So I spent most of my time talking about that and the role that MEGA could play.
One of the ideas that I developed for the talk was to frame 3 Rs that any platform for the Share Economy needs to provide: Relationships, Reputation, and Responsibility.
Relationships: To scale peer-to-peer relationships beyond immediate connections, a platform needs to provide a way for extensive connectivity between people who don’t know each other. For example, Zipcar “as an alternative to the costs and hassles of owning or renting a car” necessarily needs to put car owners in touch with everyone who wants to use it for a while.
Reputation: Reputation in a Share Economy is more important than identity. It’s the catalyst that makes relationships in peer-to-peer networks possible. For example, if you’re looking for a place to stay on Airbnb, reputation is useful for both sides.
Responsibility: Sometimes overlooked, setting norms and obligations for both sides is an important function of a Share Economy platform. These can be gentle, such as the Sharing Guidelines in NeighborGoods, or prescriptive, such as the commercial terms when borrowing fashion items from Bag Borrow or Steal.
NZ business opportunities
I think discussion about the Share Economy and start-ups in this area in New Zealand are still quite limited, for both local and global ventures. So if you have any bright ideas or are already operating in this area, I’m keen to talk.
If you’re looking for a spark to come up with an idea, take a look at these 18 possibilities: