Monday, February 24, 2014

To answer your question :)

Current offer: neighborrow will deliver ANY ITEM YOU CAN THINK OF, LESS THAN $250 in value, for you to use 100% free for up to two weeks. 

neighborrow was not (yet) a success in the sense of what Steve Blank calls a "scaleable startup" but there is still plenty of interest in the vision and there is ongoing value created in the neighborrow as a vehicle for learning and research around startups, social enterprise, the sharing economy, etc. I still receive a number of questions about it and in order to perpetuate the notion of transparency and learning for all, I like to publish the answers to everyone... I hope this is useful.

"Most people do not want to share. They want convenience. "
  1. What experiments did you conduct around sharing incentives, if any? Ex. profit, or other motivators (social  status, charities, etc).  My hypothesis w/o lenders there is no market, so thus my focus. We have tested almost everything. On both sides. Is charity more likely to get people to lend, is safety more likely to get people to lend, is convenience more likely to get people to borrow, is price more likely to get people to borrow, is the "mooch factor" less likely to get people to borrow. Etc. As to your hypothesis, without borrowers - there is no market either. So which one is more easily CREATED. You can create supply. You cannot create demand. 
  2. Was Neighborrow 100% altruistic based?  (I see on FB you encourage value exchange) NO.
  3. Are the alternatives to sharing/lending in your opinion too [sic] good (buy or hire someone, rent from store, do nothing) YES, for now - or people would be more actively seeking alternatives. 
"I am also fairly confident that a supply focused, inventory-based platform for consumer goods like drills and vacuums is not a “scaleable startup,
  1. What fuels your confidence... a lack of willingness by wannabe sharers/lenders to deal with the hassle of creating the inventory, or with the entire act of lending end to end? I do not think lending is the issue. I think borrowing is the issue. Creating an inventory is not a prerequisite for lending anyway. 
  2. Is there any incentive that you think might motivate...or is aggregating the asks just that much easier/less wasteful in the eyes of everyone involved. Don't really understand the question. 
  3. Any companies you see in the space doing a good job in general around connecting neighbors and facilitating sharing (Ex. Peerby, Nextdoor, etc?) I am a big fan of anyone in the space trying to solve the problem. Peerby has an incredibly smart team that gets it and is the first site I am aware of with "liquidity". Nextdoor is clearly doing a good job "connecting neighbors" not sure what the minimum criteria is for "facilitating sharing". 
  4. Did you experiment with sharing/lending services between Neighbors (food prep, tutors, auto repair, home repairs, etc.) Not really. It brings up an interesting question about pivoting your vision. As you may know I am a big advocate of #leanstartup and I teach that now. To me, it was never my vision to share services. The excess capacity is not as wasteful since it is not as tangible and since people with supply can do other things with their time. Plus, there were other companies solving that problem adequately. 
  5. What role if any have anonymity played in stalling sharing/lending?  If any? None really. On the supply side, anonymity may motivate people to lend for security reasons. We would have to prove that. On the borrower side we have a test running where people think they are asking the company for the item rather than the individual, so that would theoretically alleviate the mooch factor.