Here’s another nice story about how to make a more economically efficient use of materials. Its the story of Alex Freid who went from finding furniture in a collge dumpster to starting a campus organization called Trash2Treasure.
“Here’s how it works: They collect usable dumpster-bound items during move out in May. They put everything in storage over the summer.And then — here’s the kicker — they sell it all back to the students the next fall at a yard sale.”
Once again, there is nothing special about selling second hand items. What is special is harmonizing the social cycle with the environmental wastes and economic opportunities. There was a mismatch between demand and offer. Simply putting things in storage for 3 months fixed that problem. Of course, University life has very definite timeframes. There are other social time cycles that we could find that creates. Sports, religions, relationships, jobs, foods, moving dates. Most common cycles have something to do with the weather and seasons. Why do we eat turkey and buy evergreen trees for winter holidays? Imagine what business model we could derive from those consumption cycles?
I’ve heard that people change their mobile phones every 6 months. Others change the decoration of their homes every 7 years. And how long does a washer dryer last these days? What about car leases, 36-48 months? All these products and their users have a social cycle that is unknown to manufacturers. What if manufacturers were to create a business relationship with these clients to understand when they plan on changing appliances? What if they could manage a database of clients and move the materials around to be most efficient?
Imagine an email like this: Dear Mr. Joyce, according to your consumption rates and online searches, it would seem that you are looking for a new 3D television. Could we suggest you calling your neighbour Mrs Green who is looking to sell hers? And Mr Yellow is looking for an upgrade and could be interested in your television, would you like us to alert him about his offer? Should you wish to make these 2 transaction, you will have 3 remaining matches left for this month. There’s a business model based on social cycles and timing of consumption.