Tech Leader, Lisa Gansky, Launches The Mesh Directory, the Essential Guide to the New Sharing Economy

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Online companion to forthcoming book highlights more than 1500 businesses powering the new wave of information-enabled commerce.

The Mesh

“Businesses as big as Netflix and as small as a guy in LA who rents Christmas trees, have figured out that access trumps ownership. The Mesh provides a blueprint for reshaping how businesses go to market while improving our communities and our planet.

Lisa Gansky, co-founder and CEO of multiple Internet companies, including GNN and Ofoto, today launched The Mesh Directory (http://www.meshing.it), the companion website to her forthcoming book, The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing. In The Mesh, being published by Portfolio / Penguin Group in Fall 2010, Gansky reveals how there is real money to be made and trusted brands and strong communities to be built in helping customers buy less but use more.

The Mesh Directory is being launched as a compilation of more than 1500 businesses worldwide that are helping to create the “sharing economy” by using technology to give people convenient access to goods and services. With the goal of expanding the Mesh that Gansky describes in her book, the directory invites participation from Mesh businesses to connect to one another. Additionally, by providing an official platform for declaring themselves a Mesh business, companies are able to validate their participation in a movement that venture capitalist David Hornik of August Capital says is important for “anyone who cares about the planet or is looking to make a ton of money.”

“Businesses as big as Netflix and as small as a guy in LA who rents Christmas trees, have figured out that access trumps ownership,” said Lisa Gansky, author of The Mesh and creator of The Mesh Directory. “At a time when we’re increasingly conscious of how we’ve raced through our personal, financial, and environmental assets, The Mesh provides a blueprint for reshaping how businesses go to market while improving our communities and our planet.”

From gifts and gardening to education and energy, The Mesh Directory provides a searchable index of the companies that are creating, sharing and using social media, wireless networks, and data crunched from every available source to provide people with goods and services at the exact moment they need them, without the burden and expense of owning them outright.

Examples of well-known “Mesh” companies include Zipcar, FedEx, Amazon Web Services, and craigslist. Other lesser-known companies found in the book and the directory, include:

  •     thredUP enables mail-in kids’ clothing swaps. One year after launching, they have 10,000 members exchanging more than 14,000 items per month.
  •     Kickstarter connects artists who need funding with small donors who want to support them. The firm has helped hundreds of projects raise as much as $200,000 without the usual angst of fundraising.
  •     Groupon harnesses collective buying power to offer daily discounts to its five million subscribers. Sixteen months after inception, they’ve raised over $170 million in venture capital.

To access The Mesh Directory for free, or to add your own company to the directory, go to http://www.meshing.it.

The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing is available now for preorder at Amazon.com, 800CEO READ, Barnesandnoble.com and borders.com. The Mesh will be available Fall 2010 wherever books are sold.

Advance praise for Lisa Gansky’s The Mesh:

"Every so often an idea comes along that challenges your preconceptions and forces you to see the world anew. The Mesh is one of those ideas. Lisa Gansky makes a compelling case for the new competitive logic of sharing -- and shows how to build not just a single company, but an entire business ecosystem, around this concept. If you want to understand the future, and maybe even help create it, read this book." – Daniel H. Pink, author of DRIVE and A WHOLE NEW MIND

“This is a brilliant, important book. Lisa Gansky has put her finger on one of the most important trends that will shape our culture over the next decades. She puts social media in a broader economic, cultural and environmental context, predicting the disruption and opportunity that will come as new forms of network-enabled sharing penetrate the offline world and transform our economy.” – Tim O’Reilly

"Lisa Gansky is the ideal tour guide and provacateur for this big idea. The Mesh will have you taking notes (and then taking action).”- Seth Godin

Lisa Gansky has been a founder and CEO of multiple Internet companies, including GNN and Ofoto. She currently advises and invests in several social ventures, including New Resource Bank, Squidoo, Convio, TasteBook, MePlease, Slide, Instructables, and Greener World Media. She is a cofounder of Dos Margaritas, a conservation-focused social venture. She lives in Napa, California.

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Dana Smith
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