In the last few years, thousands of new startup businesses and initiatives have emerged around the world helping us share, rent and exchange our assets in different ways via technology.
Known as the shared economy (aka collaborative consumption), these businesses are making full-time use of the things around us, whether that’s physical stuff, or the less-than-tangible assets like our time, space and skills. The shared economy not only makes it easier for us to access the things we need when we need them, all at the click of button, but it also allows us to make and save money in the process, create meaningful connections with strangers along the way, and build richer communities.
So how can you get started? Here’s a look at 48 hours in the life of Anna, a proud Sydneysider and collaborative consumption maven sharing her way to a deeper and more collaborative lifestyle.
It’s quitting time! I check Jayride to ensure my ridesharing buddy is still heading back to Redfern at 5pm so I can cadge a lift. Vanessa rides the same route every day and opens up the spare seats in her car for passengers heading for the same ‘hood. On Fridays I snaffle a ride for only $2 – cheaper than a bus or train and I’m home early to start my weekend!
After a riffle through my wardrobe, I’m off to one of The Clothing Exchange’s regular swap parties. I’d love a new outfit for the shindig I’m hosting tomorrow night, and my closet needs a clear out. I select six items (unloved but all in good condition) to swap for six buttons that will buy me some flash new sartorial gems!
My flattie Jorge and I get stuck into the delectable dish I whipped up earlier in the week with mates at MamaBake. Jorge, who I found on flatmate finder site Roomz, has just arrived in Sydney and is keen to see some sites off the beaten track. I suggest he check out eXpertLocal, where he can tour Sydney’s live music scene or explore a new suburb with a local.
But for now I introduce Jorge to 107 Project‘s poetry slam, my favourite spot for truly creative collaborations.
I’ve cycled up to borrow some cookbooks from the local library because tonight I’m hosting a soiree with a twist by inviting both friends and strangers. I’ve listed my dinner party on EatWithMe, a social networking site where foodies come together and meet new people. My friends and I are expecting four mystery guests!
Vietnamese rice paper rolls are on the menu, so I’m off to source ingredients at my local shared vegie patch, which I discovered via the Community Garden Network. Sure, I could grow the herbs, carrots and cucumbers on my balcony but who would advise me when the aphids swoop? Here, I just turn to a new friend for tips.
I’m two chairs short for the party. I jump on Open Shed, a neighbourhood rental platform, to see if anyone in my area has chairs they can rent me for the evening. Luckily there’s a local star even closer. My pinned note on community site Friends with Things unearths chairs just a few streets away!
My friends arrive to help me welcome our EatWithMe guests and we settle into an evening of spring-rolling fun. I can’t help telling my friends about my Pozible project which is looking to collect $$$ so I can pull together a banjo collective.
Last night’s EatWithMe dinner was a blast – the state of the kitchen definitely confirms that! Luckily I’d arranged for an Airtasker to come around and help me clean up this morning, so I can scope the co-working spaces offered on The Fetch for next week.
I need to return the chairs to my neighbour, so I rent a car for a few hours. The closest GoGet car is a hatchback, but it turns out the guy a few doors down rents his station wagon through Car Next Door, which will fit the chairs in easily.
Monday-itis foiled! I run into my pal Willie and he suggests I swap my gloomy home office for a hot desk at co-working clubhouse Homework tomorrow. Later that night I even find a pre-loved banjo on Gumtree. What’s not to love about an economy built on sharing?
Join the shared economy
If you think your days could benefit from a little collaborative consumption, sign up quick sticks to our free Share Sydney event – Saturday 24 August at NG Gallery, Chippendale. There’ll be founders of some of Sydney’s biggest collcon businesses and a ton of locals who have simplified their lives by embracing the shared economy.
Our Share Sydney Guide was created in collaboration with Time Out.