The following is a slightly tweaked version of the comments I closed out The Sharenomics Buffet which featured an interview with Alexandra Liss, Chelsea Rustrum and Gabriel Stempinski. Their book all about sharenomics, It’s a Shareable Life, and the Couch Surfing centric documentary, One Couch at a Time, should both be released very soon and I am quite looking forward to enjoying them.
I really like how Alexandra put it, that living with the sharing economy has allowed her to focus on her lifes’ passions. It doesn’t surprise me in the least to learn that Burning Man would be the catalyst for someone like Casey Fenton to explore his passion for travel and create a more socially minded system like Couch Surfing in the process. Couchsurfing, like Burning Man, helps people have more immediate, de-commodified experiences. Those two terms are both part of Burning Man’s ten principles and hallmarks of most sharing economy services. Even if there is an actual transaction involved, the services seek to have as few intermediaries involved as possible between the service sharer and receiver.
I think that the common thread between Burning Man and what the best of all of these digital sharing economy services aspire to be is that both are community hubs. In some form or method the event or website articulates the value exchange or interests which the community members share or self-identify with as part of their personal philosophical outlook on life. Burners are passionate about art and the immediate experience, WOOFing is for those who want to gain and share organic food skills / knowledge, couch surfers have the wanderlust for travel and on and on it goes. Even those services like AirBNB which have a surface value proposition that focuses primarily on profits allows their members to explore their own passions through reduced financial concerns. As Chelsea so greatly stated “The reason you start to share is to save money, the reason you continue is because it feels good”