It did! The sharing economy saved my dinner. In less than four hours I found somebody willing to loan me three most needed chairs! Not a friend or even a friend of a friend. A complete stranger! How was that possible? Read this post if you want to know everything about how an imminent disaster took me in a great journey through the power of community.

Sharing instead of buying

It all started with my idea to launch The Sharing Experiment. It led me to schedule a Feastly dinner, where I would try the sharing of food. My food, at my house… a house with not enough chairs to accommodate the five guests that quickly made my dinner sold out!

My first impulse was to buy extra chairs – in fact, stools to seat my guests at the counter. Isn’t it our first impulse, to just buy the stuff we need? But than I remembered that the sharing economy was suppose to be the guiding line of my life during that 75 days period of my experiment.

With the help of this presentation and this video, I covered a bunch of sites/platforms that aim to rebuild the power of community. I remember growing up in the country side of Brasil and whenever my mom needed something she would asked me to run to the neighbor’s house to see if we could borrow… some sugar, a blender, eggs, chairs… In a time when we rather run to the stores than knocking on the next door (who lives there, anyway?), the sharing economy leverages on the power of technology and Internet to recover that sense of closeness and trust. I’m talking about sites/apps such as YerdelCraigslist, Snapgoods, Neighborgoods and Nextdoor.

The power of community

Sharing-Economy-Stuff-Things-NextdoorIt was Nextdoor that saved me dinner. I joined my little Emeryville’s community (less than 150 neighbors) at about noon that Wednesday, and posted my cry for help. Nextdoor spread my word across my neighborhood and nine others close by.

In a matter of hours, not only I was being virtually welcomed by fellow neighbors (heart warming feeling ;-)) like Rob and Angel-Max (this one even took the care to write his message in my native Portuguese), I was offered 1 stool by Vicki and 3 by Jones. I took Jones’ offer, and then assisted Vicki in spreading her Craigslist posting of the chair she is trying to sell. I also helped another neighbor, Esther, with information about renting a room for a meeting; I welcomed new neighbors.

By 4pm I had connected/helped/being helped by at least 6 people that I never knew existed. And I also learned a lot about what is going on in the community (transport, the Public Market, etc). By 4 pm, thanks to the sharing economy, my upcoming dinner was saved! I was completely amazed.

Sharing-Economy-Stools-Nextdoor

Few days latter, I met Jones to collect the stools. He lives just five streets from me, but I  would probably have never met him if it wasn’t for Nextdoor. It turned out that not only he is a good neighbor, we also share interests in strategy, technology, design and dogs. Because his son was sound asleep at that moment, we agreed to talk more when I stop by to return the stools.

New behaviors for the new sharing economy

All this would never have being possible if I wasn’t aware of and willing to explore the tools of the sharing economy. Like with any change of behavior, embracing the idea of sharing takes some effort, you gotta be open to turn off the auto pilot and consider new ways of doing things. Like my dear friend Rose mentioned in her comment, there surely are forces that might hold back the growth of the sharing economy. I’ll talk more about this in my next post.

For now, I invite you to think about sharing instead of buying in the next time you need something. And, of course, share your story by commenting bellow.

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How the sharing economy saved my dinner
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