To have or to share?


While I was in college back in Brazil we’ve learned the german philosopher Erich Fromm and his book “To have or to be?”. In it Fromm spoke about the change of behaviour and culture following the appearance of new technologies. Back in 1976, when the book was published, the society values changed from having a respectable profession as a doctor, lawyer or an accountant, which is the ‘be’ to the power of acquisition of goods, the ‘have’. Didn’t really matter if you had a ‘respectable’ profession as long as you knew how to make money – and to spend it well.

A while after the book was published a lot of people started talking about ‘looking’ as well. That is a consequence of social media and the glamour of a lifestyle. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the money to buy it, as long as you can purchase it somehow. The 2008 economic crisis is a good example of the extensions of this. We transform our own reality and we are chocked when it comes back to bite us.

Well, it’s time for a new change of behaviour. One that will surprise us in a great way. The technology is obviously growing, so much that for something to really impress the generation that grew up with a launch after the other is extremely hard. What this generation likes to see it’s how it is being put to use. Let’s take augmented reality as an example. AR has been around for years already and we weren’t that impressed by it, util someone mixed the technology with nostalgia for this generation creating pokemon GO. I don’t have to tell how this story ends, right?

When we think about the companies that are growing not in numbers, but in fans, we can see they all have something in common: a purpose. No, that doesn’t mean they forget about profit. It solely means that they get their profits from something that benefits not only them, but society as well. Tesla became the most wanted car by being not only a top design. It is by being the first electric car that was stylish and can be updated, just like your smart phone. Airbnb profits on something that has been going on for a long time but in a small scale. It simply connects people who wants to go somewhere to the people who are already there. Like Tesla and Airbnb there are thousands of startups making a good use of technology.

More and more people started feeling the benefits of sharing. You have access to what you usually wouldn’t have and you can share what you already have with others and profit from it. What began as a solution for a period of crisis is becoming the new cool. This is when the ‘have’ switches to ‘share’. And the possibilities are infinite. In the last year I lived out of 2 suitcases, I gave away or sold most of what owned. I never needed a car even in a city as big as São Paulo and I’ve been to 5 different countries without checkin in a hotel even once. I’ve shown people the magic of sharing the abundance and testified the wonders of it. And life has never been so fun.