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November 23, 2010

News & Opinion: The Mesh Holiday Gift Guide

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 6:59 PM – Filed under: Innovation & Creativity

Not sure what to get that special someone for the Holidays this year?
I keep telling my friends in business that Lisa Gansky's book, The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing, is one of the most important reads of the year. It does more than document a trend. It explains a movement in business—a movement away from selling products and services outright to selling access to them, an emerging model she calls "The Mesh." As Gansky explains:
Fundamentally, the Mesh is based on network-enabled sharing—on access rather than ownership. The central strategy is, in effect, to "sell" the same product multiple times. Multiple sales multiply profits, and customer contact. Multiple contacts multlipy opportunity—for additional sales, for strengthening a brand, for improving a competitive service, and for deepening and extending the relationship with customers.
The book itself would make an outstanding gift, but now, just in time for the holiday season, Lisa Gansky has developed something beside it—The Mesh Holiday Gift Guide—for a "different kind of holiday giving." It profiles Mesh companies that you can sign your loved ones up for—"no boxes, no gift wrap, no batterries required."

The advantage for customers are many. We don't have to buy and clutter our homes with all the DVDs we want to watch anymore... we can just get them from Netflix. We don't have to buy a car and worry about the high costs of insurance and parking in our urban centers... we can simply sign up for Zipcar and use one of the many shared cars they offer when we need to. And we don't have to buy brand new clothes for our growing infants every three weeks... we can log onto peace. love. swap and exchange the clothes our children have outgrown for gently used clothes from other families online. Basically, it is a way to have access to everything we need and want without taking on the mental and physical clutter that owning them entails.

So, instead of giving your loved ones more stuff to clutter up their lives (and landfills) this holiday season, why not free them of it by giving them an experience that keeps on giving? I know that one of the gifts I'm most grateful for was the free months of Netflix I received from a coworker years ago (thanks again, Meg!). Head on over to the Mesh Holiday Gift Guide to explore similar options. Your family and friends will be thanking you for for years to come.

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.