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The Rentership Society

The Rentership Society

The classic American modus operandi: owning a car, a house with a white picket fence, and having 2.5 kids.

Renting: the Anti American Dream (no hyphen intended).

Or, is it?  Wired recently published an article asking its readers to abandon ownership for services such as Netflix and now the Kindle Lending Club, where Amazon users can lend their bought books to anyone for up to 14 days.

Interestingly, this isn’t just an online phenomenon.

Other noteworthy startups like SnapGoods and Zilok allow their users to rent their lawn mowers, blow torches, and even their XBox 360s, for timespans as short as a day.

I was also personally affected. After my wreck that totaled my car, I began to use a new service available in central Austin and Ulm, Germany, called car2go. Drivers in these cities could rent Smart Cars (provided by Daimler AG) by the minute, along with free gas, free parking in public spaces, and free insurance.

I admit, it helped me in the short term as I searched for a new car. That short term turned out to be 5 months.  Although I have a new Chevrolet Cruze (client), I still find value in using the little cars to go downtown and take a taxi back home.

I’m not going to bloviate the issue and say that ownership is going away completely into some misguided utopia (an oxymoron, if you ask me).

But, I will say there will be a mix of services and products that will curve and fluctuate based on the economy, availability of accessible public transportation, and scarcity. Just ask Blockbuster.

2 Comments

  1. Sarah · January 18, 2011

    I checked out SnapGoods – very cool! Hopefully we can get it in Austin soon.

  2. Matt · March 14, 2011

    Yeah, SnapGoods is an awesome product. Hopefully they’ll be here soon.

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