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Toolster

FROM: neil yashinsky

What NEED does this meet?
The need am I serving is enabling every day home and community maintenance. It is always easier with the right tools, think of a community snow blower used by people in the neighborhood vs one person using his snow blower and all his neighbors using their shovels.

Sharing tool enables personal and community productivity and development. It is built off a common practice used by people everyday aronud the world. A recent example is I bought an expensive ergonomically designed shovel that moves snow well while not causing you to hurt your back. I lend it to my neighbors, because as long as they don't misuse it they cannot use it up.

Another example is sharing a broadcast spreader used to spread grass seeds or fertilizer. This can't be used up, and actually everyone's property values will grow up because all the lawns in the area are likely to improve if it becomes easier to maintain a nice lawn.

If my neighbor shared his paint sprayer back to me I could paint my house more easily and might not let the appearance get so run down before paying someone to paint it. The money I save from not needing a painter I might use to fix up my porch.

What is the APPROACH?
It lends itself from napster of course, which showed how sharing can become very popular with music, because it can not be used up. My approach extends that plan to tools that cannot be used up either.

They do wear down and need replacing eventually which is why I might suggest a very minimal usage fee to be collected for purchasing more collective tools to be shared. This might be optional because in most situations people won't mind sharing, in fact they probably would already be sharing if there was something to enable sharing.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
By sharing tools that will make work easier, everyone becomes more productive. That will naturally benefit everyone involved. Common interests and areas such as property values, side walksand interests are improved. It might be the opposite of the tragedy of the commons which said that it should be expected that an unregulated resource will be used in an unsustainable manner. Instead toolster works to share private resources in a more efficient and thus sustainable manner.

What is the COMPETITION?
None that I know of.

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
You will need to develop some software, but the functionality is very basic. I would imagine this be either centrally hosted like a yahoo discussion group or run locally by each tool community or group of tool communities.

The hardware required to centrally host would not be too expensive and might even be considered a shared tool for which user pay a minimal fee to maintain or not. The processing power needed to run such a simple application could easily be handled by a pc ala napster

November 15, 2003 in Connecting People, Helping Your Community, Matching System, User Created Content | Permalink

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Comments

Excellent idea.

Why don't we share everything in a similar way?

Peace,

Josef.

Posted by: Josef at Nov 16, 2003 12:14:58 AM

The obvious competition is hire shops, which people tend to prefer over borrowing from neighbours - partly because the commercial outfit will have a bigger range of kit (so they'll have the very thing you want, without which it's not much of a system), and partly because things get awkward if you accidently bust your neighbour's floor sander - which wasn't of "industrial" build quality or performance, being he only bought it on account of that was cheaper than hiring the proper tool for the job...

Posted by: FumbleFingers at Jan 31, 2004 2:12:38 AM

Toolster is a great idea. I believe sharing is one of the characteristics that differentiates civilized human animals from those that aren't.

I think that one of the challenges to Toolster will be liability issues. Unlike digital media, physical tools could be broken by one of the borrowers limiting the loaners use of the tool.

A possible answer to the question, "Who's going to pay if it gets broken?" is to "Poolster."

Have people join a Tool Pool (or any other non-consumable Pool) and contribute towards the replacement cost of the tool prior to using it. Perhaps each person could pay 1/(the total number of people in the pool after joining) into the pool. People already in the pool get (1/(the total number of people in the pool before the new person joins) * (the new person pool contribution). The prior pool members could get cash or credit towards joining another pool.

Cheers,
-Philip

Posted by: Philip F at Feb 7, 2004 1:40:36 AM