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The Third Wave of the Internet Powered by the Sharing Economy

This past January, Brian Chesky Co-Founder and CEO of Airbnb presented his views on the sharing economy and his future vision for Airbnb during his keynote at DLD 2012 in Munich. A native New Yorker, he gave many comparisons of peoples’ natural tendency to share. Dating as far back as 45,000 years ago, people were ‘hardwired to share’ and this was how tribes survived, according to Chesky. 

"Before World War II, people shared. Following that timeframe, Americans were told to spend and to help stimulate the economy…and eventually people stopped sharing. Over the last 50 years we have consumed more than in the entire human history before that period."

Now 60 years in the future, the ‘new’ movement is coined the sharing economy. In his keynote, Brian Chesky states, “the average person uses one-third of every paycheck to cover their housing, and another $8,000 annually for car expenses”. 

The sharing economy enables people to make extra money with the assets they aren’t using. Chesky asserts that in 1995, the first wave of the Internet brought consumers online while the second wave connected them together through social networks. He refers to the new wave, the ‘third wave of the Internet’ as the convergence of online with the offline world; people become more social and share offline experiences.

Examples found in the sharing economy: 

Space Share - Airbnb, Loosecubes, Coworking spaces

Car Share - RelayRides, Zipcar, Getaround

Task Share - Taskrabbit

Peer-to-Peer Marketplaces - Farmers Markets, Tradepal, ThredUP

Experience Share - GuideHop

In view of the revitalization of sharing, Chesky stated,

"We used to try to keep up with the Jones’ and now we are sharing with the Jones’." 

Chesky shared his company’s vision to stimulate local businesses by enabling access to spaces. He hopes Airbnb will be the “protagonist” in helping expand the sharing economy by allowing people to ultimately gain access to any city, and be able to share any asset, any space within the next two years.

In contrast to the green movement of the early 2000s, the sharing economy is not evangelizing that we must sacrifice in order to save the world, but Chesky suggests, 

"What if it was actually better for us. We could save more money, have a more social life, share more and make the environment better."

In closing, Chesky asserted that with a broader currency of trust, where we all have online reputations, we all could have access to more. In 2011, 5 million nights were booked on Airbnb. Access is more powerful than ownership. 


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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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On the Semantics of The Reputation Index

Trust is the building block of any peer-to-peer relationship. The emergence of a universal online reputation index will be instrumental in the growth of collaborative consumption. 

The excellent piece “Aggregation Not Algorithms Is The Key To Establishing Trust Online” by @kusti raises a key debate. 

The Internet is winner-take-all: this debate almost reminds us of FBConnect vs. OpenID in the online identity war of 2009.

It’s not about aggregation vs. algorithms, it’s about aggregation within the algorithm of choice.

It’s not about transparency, it’s about whose algorithm is dominating.

It’s not about the risk of gaming an algorithm, it’s about the ability of the keeper of the index to be constantly engineering the algorithm while everyone is trying to game it.

It’s all about PeopleRank.

Does the general public argue about the semantics of credit scores? They actually follow suit and work to better their scores as it impacts their financial well-being. Their “social score” will impact their online reputation and allow them to participate in the sharing economy.

When it comes down to building an index, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is a good example. It’s a price-weighted average index of the 30 largest publicly traded companies in the United States. The reputation index that will win it all, is the one that will be able to select the most relevant types of actions in the social web, and weigh them in a secret algorithm reflecting their relative importance.

That’s serious big data engineering, and this exercise cannot be done in a collaborative way by multiple players: one dedicated startup, whose core business is to build that complex algorithm will dominate the space. 

Blog entry by @karimguessous



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Five Ways Smartphone Growth Will Fuel Collaborative Consumption

While smartphones increase our ability to influence people, places and things through peer-to-peer sharing and location-based services, these devices are also helping to fuel collaborative consumption in many ways:

  1. Immediacy: Smartphones facilitate instant communication when it comes down to peer-to-peer transactions
  2. Trust: Matching mobile phone numbers helps authenticate peers
  3. Payments: Mobile payments fuels the growth of peer-to-peer commerce
  4. Reputation: Smartphones increase the use of social networks which in turn increase the social clout of more peers
  5. Network effects: More people connected on mobile networks increases the adoption and the use of peer-to-peer services

In 2011 smartphone technology led the way toward fueling the growth of mCommerce as users opted for more advanced devices. According to the latest release from the  International Data Corporation (IDC), by 2015 more U.S. Internet users will access the Internet through mobile devices than through PCs.


Car-sharing “Zipcar” Leveraging Mobile Internet



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Introducing The New Consumer

The New Consumer is seeking to gain a sense of fulfillment by simplifying their lives and taking a holistic approach about their consumption habits.  In 2010, Andrew Benett and Anne O’Reilly launched a study highlighting the permanent shift in peoples’ perceptions about themselves as consumers. According to Euro RSCG’s New Consumer global survey, consumers are embarking on a re-discovery of the basic ideals that were the building blocks of society. As a matter of fact, 70% of the respondents surveyed admire people who live simply, while 71% were actively trying to improve who they are as individuals.

It appears that the New Consumer is focused on limiting their environmental impact while reducing their spending. Indeed, 64% of respondents feel good when making environmentally friendly consumption choices and 70% feel great about saving money. The undeniable trend is that the new consumer is rejecting hyper-consumption in preference for more sustainable alternatives.

One encouraging statistic in this survey is 48% of respondents have stated that they will not revert back to their old consumption habits - even after the economy rebounds. This proves a permanent state of change has occurred in the mind of the New Consumer. 

The New Consumer has made a conscious effort to shift priorities and revolves most decisions around their communities. They want to better themselves, their families and their future. 

Will collaborative consumption become the economic model of the New Consumer as they transform the way they shop and spend? Will they adopt the latest trends in transportation (sharing and renting car and bikes), accommodation (peer-to-peer short term rentals), travel (car pooling), space (workspace, storage, and parking sharing), neighborhoods (tool rental, swaps, garage sales) and work (workspace sharing, part-time tasking)? 

To review the survey, visit Euro RSCG’s New Consumer



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From the Materials Economy to the Sharing Economy

“We cannot run a linear system in a finite planet indefinitely!”, Annie Leonard bluntly states in The Story of Stuff. She even goes further by stating that recycling is not a permanent solution as it does not reduce the waste generated by the production cycle. The materials economy has impacted our wallets while our wasteful behaviors have devastated the environment. Her video compels viewers to evaluate their habits and to make a conscious shift in their consumption choices. 

Is our system in a crisis due to our old school throw-away mindset or are we transitioning into a new era of mindfulness where we make more conscious decisions as we evaluate their future impact?

Formerly reluctant consumers are now adopting the latest trend of selling seldom used items to offset the cost of being fashionable, pay bills or to giveaway rather than dump in landfills.The attributes we were raised on such as thrift, trust and goodwill are definitely making a comeback as the foundation of our communities. Consumers are increasingly adopting new services that allow peer-to-peer sharing, renting, and swapping. 

One intangible benefit from these peer-to-peer startups is they strengthen our communities while minimizing some of the negative impact on the environment. There is a lot of buzz happening around Collaborative Consumption, and 2012 seems to be the year where it might go mainstream, as evidenced by the NBC Nightly News segment ”In a down economy, sharing takes off”, as aired on Jan 15th, 2012. 

We consider “The Story of Stuff” video to be a founding block in the emergence of the Sharing Economy. It has been an inspiration in building our people-centric marketplace at Tradepal. 


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Tradepal: People-Centric Marketplace

"We must rapidly begin the shift from a ‘thing-oriented’ society to a ‘person-oriented’ society." - Martin Luther King Jr.


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Tradepal is now on Google+

(Source: googleplus)

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Trendsetting Women Leading Peer-to-Peer Marketplaces

When it comes to purchases, consumers vote with their pocketbooks. When it comes to “stuff”, a shift is underway as women are making wiser purchases while taking the lead in how to part with what they no longer need. But this isn’t your run-of-the-mill stuff as these savvy shoppers have their eye on items that will hold their value in the resale market. Following the emergence of the Mommy-blogger and Mom-preneur, the latest consumer trend is women whose purchases include a preplanned exit strategy — the future resale of the item. These shoppers will either utilize a peer-to-peer marketplace or do a swap, depending on the item.

A study conducted by Women at NBCU points out the growing trend of women who view themselves as more than just consumers, they consider themselves to be curators, collectors and even experts. Here are some key insights:

  • Two-thirds prefer to spend $100 to get a resale of $35 rather than $5o with no resale value
  • 76% are presently buying and selling via peer-to-peer marketplaces
  • 60% were interested in selling on their Facebook page 
  • 77% would write about a product in exchange for a discount

The study also stated that as many as 89% of those surveyed prefer to own and then resell items rather than to rent or lease. Additionally, almost a quarter of those surveyed believe that within the next 10 years, the majority of purchases will be peer-to-peer transactions. These curators know their way around the marketplace and also know quality items and powerful brand names are key in the resale marketplaces.


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Happy New Year To Our Beloved Pals

Happy New Year To Our Beloved Pals

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NYE Tip: Recipe for Gummy Shots To Ring In The New Year

Are you looking for something fun to offer guests at your NYE party? 

While champagne is necessary to complete the requisite toast to the New Year, Tradepal offers a little twist to the cocktail selection with vodka soaked Gummy Bears.


Gummy Shots Recipe:

To make this concoction, just get a large bag of gummy bears and a bottle of vodka (other clear spirits will work also) and let ‘em swim in it a few nights.

Here is how you do it:

1 - Start with a medium bowl, add the gummy bears and then pour the vodka (or other alcohol) over them until it is filled about an inch over the top of the bears. These bears will absorb the alcohol and swell up, so make sure the bowl can contain this size increase.

2 - Give the bears a stir and then cover the bowl and let ‘em soak in the refrigerator

3 - Over the next 2 to 3 days give ‘em a stir each day and watch them get bigger 

4 - Serve the Gummy Bears at your Soiree and enjoy!

                       Have a happy New Year from your friends at Tradepal!

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7 Garage Sale Tips from Tradepal

When preparing for a garage sale, place the emphasis on streamlining and organizing the process. Here are 7 things to consider:

1. Sort items

  • Classic decluttering taking mainly into account the utility value
  • Organize the garage sale by category

2. Displaying Merchandise

  • Fun labeling of items
  • Give a small write-up on the history of the item

3. Determining the Price

  • Show both the Original Price and — the Asking Price
  • Mention if you would consider a trade or if the price is Negotiable

4. Advertising (the hard part is driving the traffic)

  • Keep it short - showing address and date for the grand event
  • Street signage, Community signage or local paper
  • Let your friends know - via phone/Facebook/Twitter/ other social networks

5. Time management before, during and after the sale

Simply put, it takes a lot of work whenever you get involved in a garage sale. You         need to separate each main task and allocate specific times in different days to             avoid getting frazzled.

6. What to do with items that didn’t sell?

  • Just do a giveaway or donate to a local charity
  • Keep them for the next garage sale

7.  Build your year-long Garage Sale on Tradepal

  • No need to spend the day selling or post signs - do it all online
  • List an item, add an image
  • Set a Price or mark as a Giveaway
  • Share with friends and friends of friends

tradepal: how it works from tradepal on Vimeo.

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Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday and a Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday and a Happy New Year!

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Reduce, Reuse, Re-Gift in the Holiday Spirit

Did you miss National Regifting Day last week?

Ah, yes it really does exist… While regifting has been growing trend as many Americans felt their wallets tighten due to the slowing of the economy or job changes, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The pressure to finalize holiday purchases is growing and each day we read about the challenges that plague Americans such as a recent article that mentioned, “50% of Americans not able to shop for the holidays this year as they could not afford it…” This is a startling number given that the average U.S. household harbors over $7,000 in unused items. This excess could be sold, traded for other items or even better, given away.

Many of us will be receiving a few new gadgets this year, maybe an Apple iPod Touch or iPad, or Let’s Rock! Elmo for the kids. Whether you receive the latest Kindle Reader, a camcorder, flat screen television or surround sound system, there is the old model that is destined for the Island of Misfit Toys now that it has been upgraded.

Were you wondering what to do with this outdated item …. or maybe items?

Here’s an idea! Since most of us are connected to our friends and family on our social networks already…. How about creating a Tradepal online garage sale and list these items for sale, trade or as a giveaway?

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