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Authors@Google: Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers on Collaborative Consumption November 9, 2010

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What is Collaborative Consumption? And who is doing it? Collaborative Consumption is the organized sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting, and swapping through online and real-world communities. From social lending (Zopa) to car sharing (Zipcar) and co-working (HubCulture), from peer-to-peer rental (Zilok) to collaborative travel (Air BnB) and neighborhood sharing schemes (WeCommune)... people are already using the principles and dynamics of Collaborative Consumption—without even knowing it. Along the way, they are getting the same fulfillment and benefits of actual ownership while saving money and lowering their environmental impact. Today, more and more consumers are opting for access over ownership, and use over possession.

The philosophy behind this idea is not new—carpooling, staying with friends and relatives when traveling, checking a book out from library—are age-old examples of Collaborative Consumption. But today, propelled by web-enabled technologies and economic and environmental imperatives, a surge is taking place with new sharing models and business opportunities emerging every day. The authors explore this phenomenon with numerous examples, and by dividing companies and organizations into three systems (see a detailed list on the following page and on their site):

Producer service systems:

* Pay for the benefit of using a product without needing to own the product outright. Disrupting traditional industries based on models of individual private ownership (examples include Zipcar and Netflix)

Redistribution markets:

* Redistribute used or pre-owned goods from where they are not needed to somewhere or someone where they are. (examples include Craigslist, eBay, and SwapStyle)

Collaborative lifestyles:

* It's not just physical goods that can be shared, swapped, and bartered. People with similar interests are banding together to share and exchange less tangible assets such as time, space, skills, and money. (examples include: Coachsurfing, Urban Garden Share, and LendClub)

Rachel Botsman writes, consults, and speaks on the power of collaboration and sharing, and on how it can transform the way we live. She received her BFA (Honors) from the University of Oxford, and undertook her postgraduate studies at Harvard University. She has consulted to businesses around the world on brand and innovation strategy. As a former director at the William J. Clinton Foundation, she spearheaded major public-private partnerships with Nickelodeon, Rachael Ray, and the NBA.

Roo Rogers is a serial entrepreneur with five successful startups currently in the marketplace. He is currently the director of Redscout Ventures. He has a combination of operational and venture capital expertise and works across multiple consumer sectors, including media, transportation, and beverages. Roo has a BA from Columbia College and a Masters in Economics from University College London. Roo sits on the board of two nonprofits: Médecins du Monde UK and The Bronx Community Charter School. He currently resides in New York City.


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