The founder of NeighborGoods talks about how creating bonds based on sharing goods within a community strengthens its social fabric.
NeighborGoods is an online community for locals to share resources, providing a platform to form real connections offline. Founder, Micki Krimmel, designed a space to save money and share stuff with neighbors. They won the SXSW Best Bootstrapped Startup in the Microsopt Bizspark Accelerator 2011. An idea born from her trip to Thailand, she was eager to borrow a backpack, instead purchasing one for $200 an item she since rarely used. Designing a mission for her brand; Micki wants to build stronger relationships in local communities and increase sustainability.
Kickstarting the session, Micki asked the audience ‘Who owns a powerdrill?’ Revealing that the average power drill is used 12 minutes in its lifetime. Based on the emerging trend of Collaborative Consumption, in times of economic uncertainty, bartering and sharing moves society away from an economy of access versus ownership. Today, neighbors are sharing $4million in inventory across the US with 80% of the stuff owned utilized only once a month. This results in $22 billion in self-storage space. The American Self Storage Association says that there is only 7 ½ square feet of storage space for every woman and child.
Besides the latent value of energy saved and the financial value, Micki discovered that the social capital of sharing with neighbors has demonstrated an improvement of life in local communities, eventually bleeding into the overall economy.
Exchanging visible goods creates trust in local neighborhoods because of the social value of lending. Social capital is the greatest indicator of how communities recover from disasters because of bonds formed through sharing, a movement that improves the social fabric, but also creates a collaborative effort to reduce the carbon footprint of a community.
Micki finally revealed that four elements exist in building a trusting relationship; Vulnerability, Confidence, Risk and Lack of Control. However, building peer to peer relationships centered on risk is what provides the true value. NeighborGoods provies Information, Reputation and Verification to mitigate risk for customers to ensure safety.