Q&A with Lisa Gansky, author of ‘The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing’ | JWT Intelligence

Yet with peer-to-peer services, the community is generally a virtual one, right?

The community can be a physical place, but it can also look like Kickstarter or Spacehive or SmallKnot, even, I would say, TaskRabbit. TaskRabbit has done an incredibly fabulous job at creating a lot of reverse work around trust and safety so people have a lot of confidence in the service.

Do these businesses change the mainstream concept of what constitutes a professional service and a career?

They create a sense of what Leah Busque [founder of TaskRabbit] likes to call the micro-entrepreneur, or the micropreneur. I was in Portland last week and I asked some people what do they do for a living. Somebody put their arm around me and said, “Look, Lisa, nobody I know has a full-time job. It’s just a collection of really interesting projects.”

People are seeing that the time they have between working on a project and life is really quite interesting. Then aligning that with the amount of money you really need to make, as opposed to necessarily trying to make the most money possible, is a real shift. It’s a huge shift from 10 years ago, when the goal was to aim for the biggest amount of income you could have. I think the value has shifted to aim for an enjoyable, relatively stress-free life in which you’re enriched with a lot of experience. And so that shift means a lot when you translate that into what it will look like when it plays out in the economy.

Do you think that’s a generational trend?

No. It’s not just Millennial. The recession and people being unemployed has invited a kind of reinventing of the self from a career perspective. And instead of it being, “My career is equal to the string of jobs I have,” people are seeing their lives as kind of cocktail of projects and experiences. I don’t even hear the word “career” being used that much anymore.

(via futuristgerd)


Using goods only when needed is a fundamental cultural change.

You might own some tools that you never use, or perhaps you have a backyard that you just don’t have the time to do anything interesting with. Until recently, those pieces of property mostly served as nagging reminders that you didn’t have enough time to do everything you wanted to do. Today, they can look like revenue streams, not wastes of money.

A Visual Tour Guide To Collaborative Consumption

For more information, look no further than the Mesh, a network of sharing founded by technology entrepreneur and 2010 PopTech speaker Lisa Gansky. Gansky believes that the growing ubiquity of networked information and relationships are leading to what she calls a “mesh” economy of shared services and products. This “meshiness” not only rewards sharing over ownership, but it is also fundamentally changing our relationship with things from product to experience.

Textbook Renter Chegg Becomes More Social

Chegg is known as the Netflix of college textbooks. The Silicon Valley start-up, which has raised more than $200 million in debt and equity, allows students to rent costly college textbooks, rather than buy them. When the semester is over, they ship the books back and order new ones.

The business, said Dan Rosensweig, the former Yahoo and Activision Blizzard executive who became Chegg’s chief executive 13 months ago, is booming. He said Chegg, which plants a tree for every textbook rented, has planted four million trees.

Zipcar Adds Plug-In Prius Hybrids to Its Fleet

Source: Fast Company

The next generation of electric cars is now available to the car-less—at least, to Zipcar members in Boston, San Francisco, and Portland.

The car-sharing service announced this week that eight Toyota Prius plug-in hybrids are now available to those three cities as part of a pilot program that will explore how the technology can work in large-scale car-sharing programs.

“Zipcar is an ideal test bed for early consumer acceptance of EVs,” said Scott Griffith, Chairman and CEO of Zipcar, in a statement. “This project will allow companies to receive direct feedback from thousands of consumers in three cities and help evaluate how EVs fit into a large-scale car sharing model.”

Toyota’s plug-in Prius, set to be released to showrooms in 2012, can travel on pure electric power up to 62 MPH for approximately 13 miles before shifting into conventional Prius hybrid mode, where it averages 50 MPG. Zipcar is planning on charging its fleet using both conventional 110-volt outlets (a three-hour charge time) and 220-volt chargers (a 90-minute charge time). Customers will be allowed to take the plug-ins out for $7 per hour.

(via smarterplanet)

Sustainable Transportation — The Global Bike-Sharing Revolution


Around 50% of the worlds population currently live in cities and this number is expected to go up to 70% by 2050. This unprecedented urban growth will continue to lead to transportation challenges like congestion, pollution and its associated social and environmental concerns. In response to the urgent need to develop sustainable transportation solutions for the future, many cities are turning to cycling as the answer. Free or sponsored bicycle programs are appearing globally and have the potential to transform the streets of some of the worlds biggest cities.

The Chinese have long been recognized for their widespread use of cycling as a means for getting around. But as China becomes a capitalist nation, car use is on the rise there and bicycle use is plummeting. At the same time, major cities everywhere are responding to the call of residents to ease congestion and make transport more sustainable and accessible. Washington D.C., London, Tokyo, Melbourne, Paris and Barcelona are just some of the hundreds of cities worldwide that have launched successful public bike-sharing programs. According to The Bike Sharing Blog, there were approximately 160 or so bike-sharing systems globally at the end of 2009, up nearly 74% from 92 bike-sharing systems at the end of 2008.

The first generation bike-sharing programs began in Amsterdam in the mid-1960s, with the introduction of the White Bike program. White Bikes were ordinary bicycles painted white and left about the city for the public to use free of charge. Within days, the program collapsed from overwhelming rates of theft and vandalism. The White Bike program was followed by several other first generation programs in various cities that all suffered similar fates. In 1995, Copenhagen launched a second generation bike-share program called Bycyklen, which is widely considered to be the first successful modern bike-sharing program that acted as a catalyst for bike-sharing in Europe. Copenhagen now has such a pronounced cycling culture that it is a tourist attraction in itself! Around 500,000 citizens (between 37-55% of commuters) choose to ride over driving in Copenhagen every day. The success of bike-sharing and bicycle culture in general in Copenhagen can be attributed to the fact that the city worked hard to promote behavioral changes that lead to more cycling and blogs like Copenhagenize and Copenhagen Cycle Chic celebrate the many ways people take to the city streets without cars.

In the U.S., Washington D.C. was the first city to launch a modern bike-sharing program (Smart Bike DC) in 2008, with just 120 bikes. Since then, Minneapolis, Chicago and Denver are other U.S. cities that have launched similar programs. In August 2010, the Mayor of New York announced a plan to launch a bicycle sharing program that would make 49,000 cycles available to city commuters, making it the biggest city cycling program in the world. A vital part of the plan is to reclaim traffic lanes or parking lanes for bicycle use, reducing cycling injuries and risk.  San Francisco has also announced a bike-sharing program that is expected to launch in 2011 and Portland, Boston and Philadelphia are other cities that are working on their own bike-sharing systems.

The key to many city cycling programs is the bikes themselves. Purpose built, unique in design and using wireless tracking technology, city bikes are meant to be stand-outs, easily located if stolen, and thus less desirable for theft. Their original designs and parts are usually incompatible with regular bikes, making them impossible for thieves to repair. The first-generation bike-sharing program that was implemented in Amsterdam in the 1960’s failed because of theft, but this problem has now largely been solved because of advances in technology. Further, there are some interesting innovations emerging in the bike-sharing space. For example, SoBi (the Social Bicycle System) is the first public bike-share system to rely entirely on wireless technology for tracking, locating and unlocking bikes (rather than relying only on a series of central command stations). SoBi bikes include a GPS unit, a cellular device and a lock. Users can register with SoBi to use their smartphones to track down and unlock the bikes in the city. The SoBi team is currently prototyping the lock box design which will be tested in New York City this winter.

As fuel prices continue to rise, traffic congestion worsens, and the detrimental impacts of climate change become widely known, bike-sharing presents a sustainable alternative that is not only more convenient (and fun), but also offers several environmental and physical health benefits. Hopefully, with further innovation and greater user participation, bike-sharing in the U.S. and different parts of the world will continue to grow and evolve in the years ahead. This is just the beginning and we’re very excited about bicycling and bike-sharing becoming a mainstay of transportation systems worldwide. Watch this space!

Image Source: Image 1, Image 2

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