So everybody was here for my special sharing economy dinner. Having left behind the shock with the filet mignon price, I enjoyed some special hours preparing the meal. Strangely enough, I wanted to please those strangers as much as I would have wanted to please my dearest friends. People asked me, before and after, if I was not anxious or afraid, but I have to be honest: I was not. I was happy and excited instead. I’d be hosting fellow humans and I wanted to be sure we all had a good time.
The group came upstairs at once, and I got to meet – for the first time – Dorian, Michael, Patrick and Christie. The first ones, an adorable couple. The two others, close friends and medicine colleagues. They joined myself, Nancy, who had arrived earlier, and my husband, Rafael.
They all brought something for the host (wine!!!). They didn’t have to, and that is where the beauty of all this sharing meal thing lies: they are not coming to a restaurant, I’m not offering a restaurant experience. We are, together, creating a new, unique experience. It is up to us, hosts or guests, to be open and willing to connect with others, to make this magic happens. As I said before, embracing the full potential of the sharing economy requires you to get out of the auto-pilot and be more aware of your options and actions.
After a quick round of intros, while I began serving the first course of my “Sweet and Salty Journey,” we engaged in a delicious conversation. We talked about the traveling experiences all of us have had. Nancy told us about her volunteering in the heart of Africa, and Rafa and I shared the adventures of our round-the-world tour. And I also told them about the share experiment and how the sharing economy had saved that very dinner.
By the main course time, having two medical doctors in the room, we did not scape talking about the health care system reforms in the US. Opinions diverged, but they all agreed on the flavor of my cooking and made a point at registering a picture of their empty plates. This humble amateur cook-host could not be happier!
After dessert, we all sat on the living room, and the conversation turned to the experience we were having at that very moment: the sharing economy experience. We discussed the risks – from the chance of having a bad moment, not liking the food, not connecting with the others; to the safety risk of opening your house to strangers. We agreed that the sharing economy not being mainstream yet helps filter and select those how are participating. The same benefit is brought by the technology platforms that enable the sharing economy: the personal profiles and ratings allow those involved to have a better sense of whom they’re sharing with. This helps not only in the sharing of meals through Feastly, but also when hailing a Lyft or an Uber, or finding accommodation via Airbnb.
A new key element of the sharing economy
Technology seems to be another of the key elements behind the resurrection of the sharing habit, along with the behaviors I discussed before. After decades of growing apart, of cocooning, we are finally regaining trust in one another. These new people are turning to fellow humans, no only to companies anymore, to find the source of whatever they need. This is a powerful movement – one that I’m experiencing myself and getting more and more inspired by everyday.
It’s also one that is challenging leading brands to embrace, rather that reject, the surge of these empowered people. My dear friend, Jeremiah Owyang, has taken on the task of bridging brands from the traditional economy with those of the new economy through a brand council called Crowd Companies. He has being an endless source of information and inspiration for me – coincidentally, when I was linking his profile to this post I read a super interesting article about “How does the Collaborative Economy Weed out the Jerks?” A great addition to the discussion my guests and I had.
On my side, I’ve taken on the challenge of experiment living the sharing economy and being a source of information and inspiration for you. How am I doing? Leave you comments bellow and stay tuned for the next post, about the sharing of spaces.