In the era of Uber and Airbnb, how might we create an online platform for people everywhere to share everything?
A modest goal, to be sure.
Competitive analysis began to point to both a clear market demand for our potential platform, as well as a fundamental issue. Between just 2010 and 2017, at least 17 companies had been created for this exact purpose. All had failed, including Peerby, which accumulated over 500K members and $1B in inventory.
Seeking a human-centered understanding, we used ethnographic interviews to deduce a key insight: People are eager to list objects of their own to share, both for the economic benefit and broader altruism. However, their desire to borrow objects was generally lukewarm.
Frequently mentioned themes induded
Awkwardness of having to borrow from a stranger
Hassle of returning borrowed objects once finished
Ambiguity regarding the economic benefit over simply purchasing new items
Fundamentally, people would rather be a "lender" than a "taker."
Synthesizing our research, I created a new hypothesis:
If people are more interested in the experience and emotional benefits of sharing, than in the functionality of sharing, how might we provide customers with unique, curated rental experiences using a shared, sustainable inventory?
Thus, igby was born.