Today an old friend contacted me in a panic saying that she was trying to submit her resume online and kept getting an error. She was wondering if I could help her. It was an easy fix. By changing the file format she was able to upload the resume without a problem. This was something that she had been struggling with for some time and she was so relieved and excited that she wanted to pay me for my help. I refused to which she then offered to babysit my kids. Ah yes! My wedding anniversary is coming up and I wanted to take my wife out which would entail hiring  a babysitter. My friend now offered me a service that was very much needed! I was able to barter my technical knowledge for child care. Perfect. Everyone is happy, getting what they wanted and no money changed hands.

It all tied back to a ‘Where We Live’ episode I recently heard on WNPR that introduced me to the term “Collaborative Consumption”:

Listen on Posterous

All this got me to thinking about engaging in bartering and trade with more people. I have the honor of working in a co-working facility in New Haven CT called The Grove. The collaborative environment lends itself PERFECTLY to bartering and trading goods and services. Need help setting up your email account? How about trading cucumbers from your garden? Need help Google Analytics into your blog? Sure! – I need help weeding my front flower bed! 🙂

Technology is facilitating these exchanges more than ever. Sites such as,, and others make the connections of needs and services online.

Here is a great TED Talk Rachel Botsman: “The case for collaborative consumption”


The term collaborative consumption is used to describe an economic model based on sharing, swapping, bartering, trading or renting access to products as opposed to ownership. Technology and peer communities are enabling these old market behaviours to be reinvented in ways and on a scale never possible before. From enormous marketplaces such as eBay and Craigslist, to emerging sectors such as social lending (Zopa), peer-to-peer travel (CouchSurfing, Airbnb) and car sharing (Zipcar or peer-to-peer RelayRides), Collaborative Consumption is disrupting outdated modes of business and reinventing not just what people consume but how they consume it.

What do you think? I’m looking forward to getting started with being a more active collaborative consumer! How about you?

Addendum: I wrote a follow up post with my collaborative consumption wish list.

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