Four Ways the Crowd Gets What they Need From Each Other –Without Buying from Companies

Four Ways the Crowd Gets What they Need From Each Other -Without Buying from Companies

I’m a little worried this morning.

I’m in Minneapolis, the capital city for consumer packaged goods, durable goods, and some of the top retailer ands in the entire world.  Why am I here?  I’m speaking to 300 corporate folks, at an event hosted by Magnet 360, Salesforce, and Marketo.

What am I going to tell them?  That people are shifting their behaviors, and enabled by internet tools, they can share products with each other –rather than buy it directly from them.   I’m going to tell them that people can buy once, then share goods with each other many times with each other.

I’m doing to tell them that the crowd can get what they want from each other, and their reliance on corporations will reduce.  I’m telling them that they could have reduced revenues.  I’m telling them, they could potentially lose their jobs.

As I head to the stage in a few hours, I must admit, dark thoughts are racing thoughts my head….

I’m going to deliver some bad news, how will they react?  Will they tune me out and surf instagram?  Shun me or tweet bad things about me?  Or maybe, throw those little Italian hotel candies at me?

I’m here to tell them there are many reasons why this sharing movement is happening.  Not only does social technology make it super easy for people to connect with others, but for some people sharing used goods is often just as good as buying anew.  I’ll tell them that a new class of Conscious Consumers will want to reduce needless consumption.  I’ll also tell them that the due to the rapid increase in earth population, that we really don’t have a choice as a planet, but must be more careful with our fixed resources

Heck, I’m even going to tell them, that I myself, have become a conscious consumer.  Aside from consumable s like food, gas, and personal health items, I can name on one hand the physical goods I’ve purchased in the last two months:  A fancy handsfree phone for my home office, a fancy purse for my ever-deserving wife, and a pair of customized NikeID running shoes.  Heck, I may even read my heartfelt letter to ands, telling them how my lifestyle is starting to change and that means my relationship with ands is changing along with it.

You’re probably wondering, who does this?  Is it just Asian-American Industry Analysts with four-syllable-first-names and impossible to pronounce last names that live in Northern California?  Maybe. But if you read, Share or Die, by Neal Gorenflo of Shareable Magazine talks about how this asset light movement is common among Generation Y, who are native to sharing on the internet yet are saddled with college debt they’ve no choice.  Or, I may tell them about internet leader Andrew Hyde that reduces his inventory of items to 39 things and felt free.  Or I might tell them about my trips to Europe and Asia where these behaviors have been common for a long looong time. Or how about in dense American cities like New York or San Francisco sharing of bikes, cars, houses, gardens, and even food is already common.

I’ll share with them these four examples of startups that will ultimately reduce their revenue: