Why hasn’t the sharing economy embraced the idea of common, everyday asset sharing yet? It will one day, but no one has cracked the code just yet. What code? The one that makes me comfortable handing over my 14 year old Makita power drill to someone else that needs it for the day. It’s the one that let’s my neighbor ask me on a website to borrow the power drill that he found in my online “I’m willing to lend this to you” inventory list.
It’s SUCH a great vision, but it’s going to be a long time before it actualizes. It also spawned my first venture called Frenting. It’s caught the interest of a few other entrepreneurs that have founded companies like Rentalic, Neighborrow, Neighborgoods, SnapGoods, ShareSomeSugar, Lendzee, irent2u, Rentabilities, and at least one other stealth comapny that I know of. Yep, nine active companies vying for a throne of a nonexistent kingdom. All these companies need to collaborate and dedicate their efforts toward creating and building the market instead of sectioning it off and claiming their own tiny piece of the microscopic pie.
Nobody has found a rock solid use case that quite resonates with any sizable demographic yet. There’s also an economic barrier to adoption. There are perceived costs associated with a) depreciation of the item, b) the potential theft of the item and c) the over head of arranging the transfer. The sum of these perceived costs must be lower than the dollar amount you can get for the transaction. Does a $5.00 day long power drill rental meet these criteria? How about a $200 day long rental of my car thanks to Getaround? For the former, probably not, but yes for the latter. Why yes to the car? The per mile depreciation for my car is pretty low, they have a blanket insurance policy that covers damage and theft, and they even have devices which remove any need for me to be involved in the handoff. Even with all of that, the daily rate for my car is just barely high enough to make me comfortable with it. No way would I rent anything out anything I own for $5.00.
Each of these share-my-stuff companies has a slightly different twist that aims to overcome any number of issues with the concept. Pay to play membership, reciprocation requirements, degree-of-separation restrictions, etc. None has found the feature that works though. When someone figures out the combination of features that works, and identifies an asset category like cars that has suitable economics, and can rise above the noise created by an ocean of competition, then this vision will be realized. But, the current group of crusaders need to be more collaborative than competitive and really focus on the right use case that will turn sharing into a daily routine.
… then you can have my power drill.