Sharing is caring

The sharing economy, or the peer-to-peer economy, is a system that is socio-economic and built around sharing physical and human resources. It’s also known as the collaborative economy and collaborative consumption.

The sharing economy includes shared creation, distribution, production, consumption and trade of various services and goods that are offered by not only different people, but organizations as well. The concept of sharing between neighbors and the community has completely branched out into something new, the P2P network. Once a community practice, sharing goods and services has transformed into a profitable business model and is constantly increasing in legitimacy.

One of the most well-known companies in the sharing economy was SnapGoods, a website that lets people borrow and lend high-end items such as musical instruments, cameras and even kitchenware. (SnapGoods, however, recently changed directions and now is a networking site, Simplist.) Interestingly enough, travelers are able to rent a room, home or even a castle in Britain, thanks to Airbnb, the poster child of the P2P network. Fon, a European hardware company, enables individuals to become hotspots to share wifi.

Even though the sharing economy has been praised for the overall method and general idea, there have been some negative posts popping up on the Internet. Holes are being poked in neighborhoods and communities by Airbnb: bringing a constant stream of tourists in and out of rooms and homes. However, the positive benefits are outweighing the negative.

Those who do not own a washing machine are able to rent one in France, and people are even able to rent a field in Australia for whatever purpose. Collaborative consumption is a good: owners and service providers become empowered to earn more money while providing customers with services that fit their needs, only paying for what they need. This moves money through the economy.

Building trust and communities and leveraging resources that would otherwise be wasted. How do you leverage resources to make sure that they are not being wasted?