I’ve read “The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing” and it’s good reading (specailly, if you have 3h flight).
It outlines how the internet is driving radical new business models for companies with products. In essence, the latest location-based and smart phone apps allow us to access (expensive) products without having to own them. Think about the fact that, on average, you only drive your car one hour per day. What about those expensive tools you have sitting in your garage or handbags sitting in the closet. Written by serial entrepreneur Lisa Gansky, she co-founded Ofoto (sold to Kodak) and GNN (sold to AOL), Gansky is the first to name this important new trend in business. She points out that Huizenga used the same principle of purchasing a product and then renting it multiple times.
Want some more examples? here are just few:
- Netflix – let you rent a library of DVDs that will cost you few millions to own.
- Hilton/Hyyat and other hotels. They all let you do ‘time share’ and in their most basic business – they kind of ‘renting’ their properties piece by piece.
- ZipCar – let you share cars and use them only when you DO need it. Very cool start up that I am hoping to see in more and more places.
- Crushpad – wine-making services. I guess there are lots of avid wine fans that want to create their owe ‘grape juice’.
- North Portland Tool Library – Why pay for a great tool and use it only twice (on a good case)? rent them…
I’m sure there are other examples for these type of business that can run today, significantly better, due to the usage of the internet and mobile apps.
The fact that people are aware to quality and wants it make these business even more interesting because they give the crowds an option to use and enjoy something that is not in their reach in any other way. We will see in the future lots of models like this… Specially, in places like India, Brazil and China.