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“Alone we are SMART… Together we are BRILLIANT…”

Well… Those are a few brilliant words by Steven Anderson to start with.

Many of you might have guessed the meaning right. (Yeah! Wasn’t that obvious!) But we won’t be talking about the obvious, but the happy realization of this concept, and the beauty and potential that lies within it.

The sense of sharing and caring has been hard-wired into the human minds. We all could recall those times when our neighbor would come asking for a beer, or we’d go to their house to see if they can lend us the Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince. Here’s a story for you to picture-

PS- Just assume that these guys are fans of authentic pieces, and do not believe in the internet stuff.

You have a collectible edition of the Star Wars movie series that your girlfriend gifted you, and you have watched it for like 23 times. But, after a few times, you know what’s gonna happen next- How Yoda trains Luke Skywalker, or how the Sith Lord dies.

After some time, it just sits in the cabinet, and you look at it as your prized possession.

One fine day, you decided to read all the R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones but didn’t want to spend 50 bucks on it.

You’d just wish that if you could meet someone who could give it to you, and you did.

The girl next door happens to have it. And guess what?

She and her brother have been longing to have a Star Wars movie marathon but didn’t want to spend 90 bucks for that.

You guys meet, conversation happens, and you swap your Star Wars with her Game of Thrones. You swap it back after both of you have fulfilled your need.

You’re happy, the girl is happy, the Force is with you, and everybody lives happily ever after.

What you just experienced is an example of a concept called “Swap Trading”. There are websites like swap.com wherein you can do that- exchange stuff, meet people and build relationships.

The need

Well… We all like to enjoy watching shows and movies, riding a bike, reading books among many other things. But you would agree that after some time, the materialistic nature of “things” fade.

We don’t remember what exactly was printed on that F.R.I.E.N.D.S CD, or how the cover of The Matrix trilogy box looked like, but we remember the moments we had with our friends and family that we built while watching them. We keep the stuff as our prized possession, but at the back of our mind, we worry about the space they occupy.

Possibilities- To infinity and beyond

Possibilities are tremendous. People normally are thinking of books and CDs, but the concept is so powerful that it can be interpolated to almost anything.

Remember the first time your kid rode the bicycle? I bet you still would be having it somewhere in your house.

What about the first toy you played with when you were a kid? The Hot Wheels collection or the Barbie house set. Now they are just sitting in the showcase.

Or that deep sea diving kit you purchased to quench your adventure thirst but is rarely used?

Things like these, among others, can present with opportunities for collaborative consumption. And not just this, there are websites with multiple swaps features that matches your requirements with your have nots.

Communities are being built increasingly, and in spite of geographical distances, people are coming together. Online communities, being built around the trust factor and the need to solve an issue, present an amazing plethora of opportunities. Now you wouldn’t share your prized possessions with complete strangers, would ya’? But bring a known face, and you’d be happy to share your things with them.

At last (Yep! The summary)…

In the end, all I’d like to say is collaborative consumption is built around the fundamental ideas that materialistic things fade away, but what last are the experiences that we gain from them.

For more insights, here are some really awesome links to have a look at, especially the TEDTalk by Rachel Botsman.


Let us know what you think about Collaborative Consumption in the comment section below.

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