Sharing is Caring and Other Truths of a Share-able Economy

Couch

The most meaningful moments in my life spent with other people have one common thread: sharing.

I’ve been a member of the CouchSurfing community since 2007 when I started hosting strangers at my 3 bedroom apartment in Logan Square.  I opened the couch and home I shared with three roommates to these strangers and we shared moments, parties and experiences together.  I connected with people from all over the world through CouchSurfing.  We overcame language barriers together.  We shared food together, talked politics and social norms.  We cut the bullshit of every day conversation and just got to the good stuff.  We learned from each other and ultimately we changed each other slowly – each experience undid all my false perceptions of different cultures, countries or people with truth; with the expansiveness only experience can provide.

I found out about the film: One Couch at a Time, through someone that I had the pleasure of hosting myself who is featured at some point in the film.  In the documentary, the brave Couchsurfer Extraordinaire, Alexandra, hits up 6 different continents and couchsurfs through her way through all of it.

This film was inspiring – not just to the wanderlust escape artist inside of me but also to the wide-eyed young woman full of hope in the midst of all the global and economic crises surrounding young people today.

I remember my first job armed with so much idealism and thinking: Why are we still working this way?  Why can’t we change things?  We don’t have to do things the same way our fathers or mothers did.  We are the leaders we’ve been waiting for!

Then the reality of student loans and bills hits you hard – harder than it ever did for past generations and you lose hope in being able to change the status quo, but this film made me believe in possibilities again.  I don’t have to live this super sequential story board life to have everything I want.  I can have it through community, through sharing, through human connection with others.

The people are demanding transparency, environmentally friendly resources, and innovation with technology as modern-day sharing’s vehicle of choice.  Those who cannot understand this will fail.  A new age is dawning – one that will demand more from all of us.  It will demand better businesses, better neighbors, better communities, better leadership and it is now.

“Opportunities thought impractical because of perceived trust barriers are now fair game.  The examples of Lending ClubCouchsurfing and Thredup show that people are engaging in intimate transactions with strangers driven by technology, new norms and need.  This is the trust frontier.  We have yet to discover how far we can push this frontier.  This is the decade when we answer the question: ‘How much can we share?’”

-Neal Gorenflo, Publisher, Shareable Magazine

I am hosting a screening of One Couch at a Time and discussion on the share-able economy on Thursday, May 16th at 6 p.m. in the South Loop.  Please email me directly if you’re interested in attending.  The screening will be free so long as you bring something to share.  Seats are limited – first come first serve.  See you on the other side of this exciting frontier!

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