November 15, 2012

The Third Industrial Revolution

There are a million similar products out there. Products that vary in branding, size, quality, price, color, extra features, you name it, but besides these differentiations, what really makes one stand out from another? And are these mere tangible things really enough for us anymore?

More than ever, a product or service is only as powerful as the connection it creates with its end user. The acts of buying and selling have been completely redefined as more and more companies are challenged to connect with their customers and shift towards a co-sharing approach. Purchasing isn't just about satisfying the need to own something, but a desire to experience a deeper relationship with a brand that translates into the real world. And just like every relationship, the importance lies in the ability to trust.

video via

With that said, this spawn of companies selling co-shared products and services range in everything from carpooling to couch surfing to even office space sublets. You can swap your house with someone in Paris or instead rent a person's apartment for a week in Berlin. Online dating sites and services that match up roommates are more popular than ever. Not to mention, SpaceSplitter goes as far as creating roommate agreements and helping people manage mutual living costs. Whatever the company may be, the point is they all operate on trust based business models. We don't just want mere products anymore, we want something meaningful. It's all about that sense of community and connecting with other people. We just need more.

So how do we get to a point where we feel comfortable trusting? Well, in this digital age, the first place we undoubtedly start is by doing research on the internet! We check out brands' webpages and read product reviews by previous users, which almost every site is equipped with. We do background checks on people using Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. We can even look up where we are eating tonight on Yelp. It's all about credibility and with so much information easily accessible, our first instincts are nonetheless to "google" it! Think about it, the best advertising truly is word of mouth and in the digital age this has obviously been redefined.

video via techcrunch

From the Industrial Revolution to the Digital Revolution, we are right in the middle of a new movement called the Maker's Revolution. Anyone can be a food critic or fashion journalist by creating their own blog, you can independently sell handmade crafts on Etsy or promote your band on Myspace or The point is you can make yourself whatever you want to be and as this digital world continues to grow, the tangible world will have to keep up. The internet connects us with resources from across the globe and more importantly, it gives us an outlet to make our dreams a legit reality. Once the web and manufacturing worlds combine, the possibilities will be endless and we see these virtual things beginning to come to life with the introduction of social media and 3D printing.

As more companies with these philosophies flourish, what does this say about the shift in our ideals as a society? We've been taught how to "work together" since kindergarten but is it finally sinking in? Are we opening up our eyes to the fact that the only way to get ahead is to share our resources and information for the greater good? Or as more and more is accessible to us are we just further pushing the limits to create newness, risk and adventure? Whatever it may be, we don't just own things anymore and our value system is shifting to make things that were own day unacceptable into today, a way of life.

If you are interested in this idea of co-sharing and collaborative consumption and would like to learn more, there are meetup groups scattered around the world that you can join!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License
MBF Trend Talk by MBF Trend Consulting is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at