The Weekend Wonk: Ron Williams of Snap Goods
September 30, 2011
This is the smartest, most engaging conversation you will hear this week.
It’s great to listen to someone who is genuinely inspired by a cool idea, and is making it work.
If you’re stuck on a project, and need some inspiration, check this out.
SnapGoods CEO Ron J. Williams discusses the “access economy”. Just like Zip Cars offers consumers personal transportation, rather than car ownership, – as a service, – SnapGoods (“Own Less, Do More” – could this be a perfect slogan for a more sustainable society?) facilitates the use and sharing of goods through social communities. (You may not be able to justify buying that gadget – but what if you could get one just for that project this weekend?….)
“The SnapGoods consumer is very much a New Consumer,” says Baranowski. “It was exciting to talk with Ron about a shift we’ve been tracking over the last few years, from an ownership mindset to one of collaborative consumption—which is, of course, easier on the wallet and better for the environment. We believe the ‘access economy’ will create opportunities for innovative, more sustainable business models.”
SnapGoods allows users to exchange, lend or borrow goods from each other. In addition to providing an exchange network, Williams says the year-old company fosters cooperation between community members while allowing consumers to test-drive products before committing to buying them.
But he adds, “I’ll tell you a secret: The goods are secondary to our system. It’s about facilitating human connections. We’re not saying ‘share because you have to.’ We’re saying share because of the relationships you form. There’s karma in the system. As you build karma, it comes back to you.”
Williams insists that although the access economy revolves around the consumer, traditional retailers and suppliers still play an integral role in the process and can participate in a way that’s beneficial to their bottom line. And he offers advice for aspiring social entrepreneurs: “Somebody’s already working on your idea. If you’re the person who can pull it along, get your butt in gear; don’t spend six months on crafting the perfect idea.”