PSFK Conference Speaker Interview: Micki Krimmel

NeighborGoods founder previews her thoughts on collaborative consumption and how sharing can strengthen communities.

Micki Krimmel will be one of the speakers at our upcoming PSFK CONFERENCE SAN FRANCISCO 2011. Micki is the founder of NeighborGoods.net, an online community where you can save money and resources by sharing stuff with your neighbors. Micki has been building these types of virtual social spaces for almost a decade. She founded the interactive department at Participant Media, where she created the first online community for social action inspired by Hollywood films, and led the social media efforts for Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. She also ran the community department at Revver.com and has provided product and social media consulting for numerous startups and media companies. In anticipation of her talk on the story of NeighborGoods entitled How Sharing Strengthens Communities’ at PSFK CONFERENCE SAN FRANCISCO, we bring you a few thoughts from Micki:

When you come to talk on October 6, what story will you tell about the life of your start-up Neighborgoods?

I’m going to share the inspiration behind the idea for NeighborGoods. I will also discuss what we’ve learned about how sharing builds community and how we are working to build the most trusted sharing network on the web.

How has the collaborative consumption trend developed? What products have proved to be the best to be shared?

Collaborative consumption is shaping up to be the hottest segment of the startup industry. Several concurrent trends are creating the perfect storm for The Sharing Economy. In the face of an unstable economy and growing environmental concerns, people are increasingly dissatisfied with a society defined by hyper-consumption. We’re still just at the beginning of this exciting industry as new models are popping up every day.

Since you won SXSW Start Up of 2010, how has your company changed? What key business learning have you made since?

With any sharing company, the challenge is to sort out the right business model for your community. For some transactions, a rental model makes perfect sense. We’ve learned that model doesn’t fit for NeighborGoods. When you’re sharing stuff with friends and neighbors, the motivation to share is social, not financial. I share my power drill with a neighbor because I want to help out and build a relationship with him. My friend Claire lends me her Xbox because we’re friends and she’s not using it. Money actually gets in the way of these types of transactions. But these transactions represent approximately $340 billion worth of stuff that sits around unused in our homes and storage spaces. We’ve done some experiments in the past few months to explore how to best unlock that value for our users and for NeighborGoods. We’ll be announcing our results soon with a new business model and an exciting major partner.

What’s the last product you borrowed through NeighborGoods?

I’m currently borrowing my friend Claire’s Xbox and a bunch of video games from various people. I just lent out a huge bin of costumes and camping gear for Burning Man.

Thanks, Micki!
NeighborGoods
Micki will be speaking at the PSFK CONFERENCE SAN FRANCISCO 2011. Come listen to like minds as they share their ideas to make things better on stage and off. Find out more about the full lineup of speakers at the PSFK CONFERENCE SAN FRANCISCO 2011 here.

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