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Common Sense Solutions - Starting Now

Air B & B: Sharing Economy

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An 19th Century Idea Returns is a website that lets you find temporary housing in over 27,266 cities, in 192 countries.

Not in hotels, but through people renting out their home or a room. It's transforming the travel industry. It makes perfect sense: as a traveler you can bypass the hotels, spend much less on accommodations, have your choice of neighborhoods and budget, and put some cash in a real person's hand. If you're renting out part or all of your space you can make plenty of extra money on the side, so everyone wins.

On average, people who rent out on Air B & B in New York are making an extra $21,000 a year this way.

People want to share and put money in each others pockets. It feels better.

"We are hardwired to share" says founder and CEO of the site Brian Chesky. He explains here in an insightful speech how the sharing economy is nothing new - it's just that in the last 50 years, we have been spending and consuming way more than sharing in our society and arrangements like this were the domain of college students on a budget. It was considered, well a bit tacky.

His mother, born in 1951, thought the idea was strange and certainly not for everyone, but his grandfather thought it made all the sense in the world because he grew up in an era where people traded, bartered and supported each other naturally. People rented extra rooms to temporary lodgers all the time to make ends meet.

It's an "18th or 19th century idea" he says, coming around again for all the right reasons.

You also end up supporting local economies if you stay in real neighborhoods chock full of locally owned stores and restaurants instead of tourist zones with mostly corporate owned stores.

It all comes back to sharing what we already have, that someone else needs. As Brain Chesky points out, the average power drill is used only 13 minutes in it's entire life.

And millions of us own a power drill, that is just sitting there.

--Bibi Farber


This video was produced by DLD 2012