OuiShare Fest Edition#4: After the Gold Rush

Hard to believe it’s been 4 years since I got involved with the OuiShare community and attended the very first OuiShare Fest (thanks to a tip from Annie Leonard).

I wrote about that magical first Fest here. Then, at the second Fest, I spoke about Leadership , sharing the secrets I’ve learned from the superheroes and worldchangers I write books with. I reflected on that second Fest here. I had to miss Edition Three in 2015, but this year I’m relieved to be coming back home, May 18-21 in Paris. See the program here.

This year’s theme is After the Gold Rush. Francesca Pick, one of OuiShare’s superstar founders, wrote about the choice:

“When in 2011 TIME magazine proclaimed Collaborative Consumption as one of the top 10 ideas that will change the world, it set high expectations for this nascent movement. After harsh times of economic downturn, it was believed to be able to address social, environmental and economic problems all at once….Now we can only look back fondly at those early times of abounding, and possibly naive, excitement and hope for these new models. For now, it appears only few are benefiting … starting to look suspiciously similar to those they were disrupting – or worse? The gold rush was not profitable for many who set out on the initial journey. And the biggest sacks of gold are going to those providing the picks, shovels and infrastructure, those fueling the gold rush itself.

Yet the problems we had hoped to solve still remain and are growing: refugee crisis, climate change, inequalities. Many are humbly trying to address these challenges, but their social impact is still too small and the value they create is not evenly distributed. Furthermore, the majority of entrepreneurs and innovators are choosing legal, financial and governance structures for their ventures that privilege financial investors only and often fuel the system they are trying to change.

But now is not the moment to despair. The pioneers in the American West may have been disappointed in their quest for gold, but instead they found something else.They arrived in a Promised Land, where they could start over and build something new. The gold rush stimulated trade, spurred technological innovation and ushered in America’s railroad era.



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