Yoga and The Business of Life
Why the Future of Business is Sharing
BY MAGAZINE EDITOR SUSAN MAIER-MOUL
Just in time to take the foam off Aaron Sorkin’s Facebook movie The Social Network, an inspiring get-your-business-off-its-duff new book by internet business maven Lisa Gansky arrives in stores this week.
The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing invites us to revitalize our lives through a re-evaluation of what we choose to own all the time and what we choose to be in possession of some of the time.
Changes of fortune, and especially the paramount power of word-of-mouth amplified by social media have created a vibrant information sharing network Gansky calls “the Mesh.”
Gansky’s book is a boon for yoga entrepreneurs and all business owners who want their practice to be the foundation of how they live – and work.
Non grasping as the basis for a strong economy
The principle of aparigraha is rooted in not having more than we can use appropriately. Gansky champions the potential of business to bend social media to social good by innovating quality and ease for all of us to share what we have and use what we share comfortably.
Gansky notes the paradox of time spent working to acquire things we don’t have the time to enjoy – because we’re working to pay for it.
What if we sold ourselves a very large but fundamentally wrong story?
When stuff became cheap, and then credit became cheap, we filled our lives with stuff – not the things we really care about.
What if we’re on this overcrowded little hamster wheel that won’t get us to a happy place?
Rather than despairing the excess, The Mesh extolls the tides of change as a longed for opportunity to return to basic values. She cites research supporting widespread hope of a more value-grounded culture:
A survey by Kelton Research, under the heading “People’s Mindsets Are Changing,” reports that over half of Americans (56 percent) see the recession as an opportunity to live a less materialistic life.
“Fundamentally,” Gansky writes, “the Mesh is based on network enabled sharing – on access rather than ownership.” She urges businesses to become data savvy and social-trend wise by innovating services that make it possible to share more and own less.
Durable Flexible Reparable Sustainable
Gansky, is a self-described ““impact junky” with a strong interest in breaking the edges of formerly happy business models and bringing together not-so-likely characters in the form of new offerings, teams and partnerships.”
Using a wide range of examples from Zipcars to Netflix, her goal is to demonstrate the profitability of the bonds of commerce and connection that thrive in the socially networked information that is “the Mesh.”
“The Mesh has a clear pulse,” Gansky says, “And it’s a fast learner.
Cars sit unused 23 hours a day, on average, and many families own more than one. Through car sharing, a person in the United States saves an average of $400-600 monthly on insurance, maintenance, and other costs.
And a UC Berkeley study found that members of one car-sharing service drove 47 percent less after joining.
As a result, the car-share service saves 20,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each day.
“Successful participation in the Mesh requires a product that holds up to repeated uses. One that is highly functional, fun, and easy to use.”
Higher quality, longer lasting products and more environmentally sustainable consuming suggests Gansky, will have powerful efficiency benefits or “triple bottom line” effects, creating create positive social, environmental, and economic change.
In Mesh businesses, Gansky says “The logic of the throwaway culture is completely reversed.” Her book argues for products that are, “Durable, flexible, reparable and sustainable.”
What kinds of things are Mesh-y?
The balance of The Mesh is devoted to supporting Gansky’s thesis, explaining the key principles of Mesh-iness, and offering examples of businesses that get it right.
Gansky writes that while businesses are evolving on a continuum, they are Mesh-successful under these conditions:
1 The core offering is something that can be shared within a community, market, or value chain, including products, services, and raw materials.
2 Advanced web and mobile data networks are used to track goods and aggregate usage, customer, and product information.
3 The focus is on shareable physical goods, including the materials used, which makes local delivery of services and products – and their recovery- valuable and relevant.
4 Offers news, and recommendations are transmitted largely through word of mouth, augmented by social networks services.
Sharing the future
Ultimately, more than defining the Mesh, Gansky’s contribution is to document and demonstrate its already thriving existence. There are over fifty pages of businesses and references at back of the book. There are even more on line at www.meshing.it.
If you think your business is Mesh-centric you can join the growing directory of products and services listed there.
We may publish any content, comments or ideas sent to us.
Name may be withheld by request.
© 2011, The Magazine of Yoga, LLC.