Let us introduce you to The Sharing Brothers, because “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful”. (Joshua J. Marine)
A fortnight ago we introduced you to the Collaborative Economy and our Distinguished Speaker for 2015, Rachel Botsman, in our blog ‘An Idea that Will Change the World’. But that had a lot of facts and figures from PWC, TIME and The Guardian, and tried to sum up some of the macro effects of Collaborative Consumption on the economy (amongst other things). Now we want you to see it through a completely different lens….
And we’ll do that with The Sharing Bros. Mathieu, Ivan and Rodolphe set themselves an extraordinary challenge; 21,000 km using only the Collaborative Economy. So far they’ve been on the road for 7 months.
“We were struck by the great energy across the collaborative space, struck by all these new ideas and alternative ways of doing things, but one particular thing caught our attention: all these people brought back the heart of economic transactions.”
The Adventure: Cross the American continent using only the collaborative economy.
The Big Question: Does the collaborative economy actually generate social bonds?
The Mission: Go and meet the many faces behind the collaborative economy.
The Sharing: A web-series and a documentary to share our experience.
For the boys, “it felt like for the media it was all about big figures: “Airbnb is valued at $10bn” or “BlaBlaCar raises $100 million”. But in our eyes, that’s not what the collaborative economy was all about! For us, it was about Sacdrac, that Chilean with whom Ivan climbed a Volcano. It was about Conrad, that Ugandan with whom Roro had discovered the history of his country. It was about Sterre, that Dutch host who had welcomed Mat with open arms.”
They began to wonder about the lives of those people behind the Collaborative Economy – “Who are they? Are they idealists? Champagne socialists? Pragmatics? Hipsters? A little stingier than the others? What drives them? Who and what fuels all that sharing?”
So what’s been their greatest obstacles?
“Trust – High criminality rates and armed conflicts in Central and Latin America have really nurtured fear and fostered mistrust between people.
“Limited availability of platforms: It was interesting to see that South of the US border, people are collaborating as they always have. Of course some numeric tools exist and across a variety of sectors (E.g.: P2P delivery, crowdlearning, P2P currency exchange, etc.) but the collaborative economy as we know it is still nascent.
“Lack of responsiveness : Hitchhiking is a good laugh but it also makes it harder to predict where you’re going to be when the night comes. We often had to act quickly if we wanted to find a place to sleep.”
And what did they discover about the collaborative economy along the way that they didn’t realise before?
- Reciprocity helps! Can be anything (money, skills, time, etc.) but we found that unilateral exchanges are much less likely to happen.
- Building a community is key! It might be harder and time-consuming than one might think but it’s all worth it! Doing a great community-building effort at an early stage has really helped us for our crowdfunding campaign, which was a good test and ended up giving more credibility to the project. We believe you should build your community before launching your app or even your website.
- Internet isn’t always the answer. Internet access is obviously limited in certain parts of the world and even when it is available, having people use it to connect can be a real challenge – Fear of the unknown, fear of fraud, etc. In Cuba for example some crowdfunding campaigns work without the internet only using pamphlets.
If you’re the type of person who enjoys an aphorism or two – the boys have a great curated list for you here.
Chloë Spackman, GLP Manager
Make sure you’ve marked the evening of Wednesday October 7th in your diary so you do not miss GLP’s 2015 Distinguished Speaker, Rachel Botsman, inspire you with her vision for Collaborative Consumption. Not only is the event compulsory, but it will be of great benefit to your development as a Global Leader.
Stay tuned to the GLP Blog for my next instalment – an interview with Mel O’Young, Collaborative Consumption convert, former Community Curator at Virgin Unite and current Head of Community for Airbnb, NYC.