A few days ago I was reading Josh Mahar’s post on CHS Blog about how Seattle First Covenant Church is looking for community input on what to do with the old University Honda Space. Among the possible uses for the space that Josh suggested was a tool library. This gave me pause because that sounds kind of like how I described Metrix in a writeup on I did for CHS Blog and just like how I described Metrix in a post here earlier this week. Mind you, we don’t have every tool under the sun (no shovels here, sorry), and it’s definitely a tool reference library (please don’t run off with our tools), but we certainly have tools for people to rent out. Things like soldering rooms and lasers that are too big or expensive for most of us to have in our home. So why wasn’t there at least an aside in Josh’s article about our friendly neighborhood basement workshop?
I suspect this is because Metrix-Create Space’s resource-sharing business model is a new enough concept that people are still figuring what it is and what it can do well. Resource-sharing (material/ideas/etc.) is as old as the existence of social animals, but the rise of the resource-sharing business model still looks new and different. I suspect that Zipcar and Office Nomads had the same discovery and adjustment period that we’re having now.
I’m not entirely sure why resource-sharing is such a new and revolutionary concept. Libraries are still a common and important feature of community life in the US. But a lot of other collaborative/community/sharing activities aren’t so common anymore, like quilting bees and barn-raisings. I actually don’t know of any urban or suburban equivalents of these rural examples.
Perhaps these new resource-sharing businesses are the urban/21st century equivalent of barn-raisings - 21st century because of the needs served, and urban because a business is be easier to start than a tight-knit community in an urban center where the population is large and mobile. That said, just because a resource-sharing model is set up as a business doesn’t mean that it won’t end up as a community. I know that’s what we’re working on here at Metrix.