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What is Peers and why we share the same mission

Today, Peers.org launches to “mainstream, protect and grow the sharing economy”. Here we tell you more about Peers and why OuiShare is one of their early supporters and partners.

As the sharing economy is on its way to become a global phenomenon, yet it is sometimes facing hostile reactions from disrupted industries and legislators. A few months ago already, we met Airbnb’s Douglas Atkin to discuss with him the idea of creating a global movement to support the users of the sharing economy. Within a few months, meetups and house parties happened in cities across the globe to discuss what this movement could become. Those meetups revealed that the people who share theirs cars, homes, skills and time are willing to get together to find new opportunities to share or overcome barriers.

And today, these reflections may have given birth to an exciting project called Peers.org.

Peers.org, a grassroots organization to support the sharing economy movement

Natalie Foster

Peers is born with the following idea: provide the users of the sharing economy with a platform where they can join together, share their stories, and if needed, make their voices heard by legislators.

We discussed with Natalie Foster, director of the project and previously director of President Obama’s digital campaign and Milicent Johnson, director of partnerships (previously involved in Shareable) about where they would like to take Peers and how OuiShare could support them.

“Peers is an organization built by and for the users of the sharing economy” Natalie told us. “We are building tools (like petition tools) that people will be able to use to protect and grow the sharing economy. We want to become the change.org of the sharing economy”

Good news for the sharing economy

To our view, the birth of a new organization sharing our vision and concerns for the future is always good news. If we want collaborative consumption and more broadly collaborative economy to be part of a new economic operating system, we need coordination at a global level. And the more people involved, the higher the chances of success.

It is worth noting that Peers is explicitly designed to enable individuals (not companies) to advocate for the sharing economy and this is precisely what is needed now.

We want to make sharing the defining economic story of the 21st century — Natalie Foster (Shareable.net)

Independence is key

To fulfill such a task, independence and neutrality towards existing companies are of course absolutely critical. We discussed this with Natalie and Milicent on several occasions and shared those concerns, and we felt like independence means a lot to them.

If the birth of Peers would not have been possible without the help of sharing economy companies, Natalie insists that Peers is and will remain an independent organization (its initial funding was possible thanks to financial support of individual donors, large and small, as well as foundational support). For instance, the new organization is backed by thought leaders such as Lisa Gansky and Rachel Botsman as well as major sharing economy companies.

For almost two years now, OuiShare has succeeded in maintaining neutrality while working with as many stakeholders as possible, and today, we are proud to support the launch of Peers. And we are looking forward to closer collaboration in the future.

What we could do together in the future

OuiShare and Peers differ in many aspects. The fact that our approaches are likely to complete each other is also good news. OuiShare has always been doer and thought-leader centric more than user-centric. And our scope has expanded to the maker revolution, P2P finance, alternative currencies and open knowledge. However, OuiShare and Peers share what matters most : a common goal. Accelerate the shift towards a more horizontal economy and a more collaborative and sustainable society. In the course of our discussions with Natalie and Milicent, we started identifying areas where we could partner in the future, such as collaborating to produce research and hosting common events. The list is likely to expand in the forthcoming months.

In the next weeks and months, we will share more details on how OuiShare and Peers will be able to work more closely together. Meanwhile, we would love to hear your thoughts on Peers and ideas on how our two organizations could support each other.

Antonin Léonard & Arthur De Grave