The case for collaborative consumption

This presentation by Rachel Botsman on TED about collaborative consumption is an eye-opener about the power of the Fourth Revolution in the field of consumption.

It gives revolutionary ideas in particular about what to do of the unwanted Christmas presents!

It also gives revolutionary ideas about how our day-to-day behaviors about consumption will be revolutionized.

When you think about it, consumption currently is in the broadcasting stage. The Broadcasting intermediaries are the stores and the department-stores. You buy what they have. They decide which products are being sold. They spend huge money in advertisement to try to influence tastes.

Like publishers will progressively disappear in the field of book and music publishing, so will the broadcasters of consumption. It has started. The infinite shelves of online stores like Amazon reference many more articles, and the collaborative platform of ratings and discussion gives the power to the consumers.

That idea is scary. But so real. We need to understand its intricate consequences.

Consumption broadcasters beware! The Fourth Revolution is on you! If you want to survive, anticipate!


Choice and life purpose – the lesson of Matthieu Ricard

Do you know Matthieu Ricard? Matthieu Ricard

He is a great example to show that one’s purpose in life is often concealed and revealed only later. And also, that one must make real choices to reveal one’s purpose.

If you haven’t heard about him, you might want to take a few minutes to discover this personality. It’s a person worthwhile listening to with great insights for modern life.

One particularly interesting thing is that, being a young scientific researcher, son of a prominent philosopher, fully embedded in modern society’s elite, he decided as a young man to leave everything and seek spirituality as a Tibetan Buddhist monk. He left the comfort of Europe to join a spiritual quest. He became the disciple of great spiritual leaders there. He became prominent in the Tibetan Buddhist community.
Then around the year 2000 he somehow managed to reconcile his scientific mindset and his Buddhist monk experience, by being a key driver into the investigation of the brain activity of experienced meditators. Mind exercise is shown to change significantly the brain!
He is now a bestseller author, writing marvelous books about happiness and a number of other issues, gives talks worldwide.

Matthieu Ricard made a tremendous choice to leave modern society, living for 20 years with very little resources in remote places in Asia. He is finally contributing much more powerfully to the world and our understanding of ourselves than if he had stayed a PhD student and became a researcher like many others in a research institute. He probably could not anticipate this when he made his initial choice.

What a better example than this one to show that one’s purpose in life is often concealed and revealed only later? To show that one must make real choices to reveal one’s purpose? That otherwise it may stay forever latent?.

What REAL choice will you make in 2011?

Do you want to know more about Matthieu Ricard?
There are a lot of resources by him on internet – videos, pictures. You can visit for example Matthieu Ricard’s website or watch one of his videos on Youtube. For example, his video on “changing your mind – changing your brain” is a great insight into brain modification induced by training.


Publication of the first part of the Fourth Revolution manifesto!

The Fourth Revolution Manifesto part I – a short history of humankind – 100,000 years in 3 Revolutions is finally out !

This is also to announce the kick-off of the publication of the Fourth Revolution Manifesto!

Fourth Revolution Manifesto part I cover

You can access the first part of the Fourth Revolution Manifesto – a short history of humankind – 100,000 years in 3 Revolutions by clicking on the link. You can also read and share the Fourth Revolution Manifesto – part I on Scribd .

Don’t hesitate to comment and bring in suggestions in the comments to this blog post!

Note on the future publication of the manifesto

Because of the amount of information and to make it more readable, I have decided to split it into 8 parts. These 8 parts will be progressively released over the next 2 month.


  • Each part will be more readable, being around 30-40 pages.
  • The reader can focus on the sections he or she will want to read… and skip the rest!
  • It is expected that the progressive release of the Manifesto will foster its wide communication.

The first Part of the Fourth Revolution Manifesto is published for the New year 2011 as a good start for an exceptional year!

… and the plan is to publish one part every week for the next weeks, around Sundays!

To discover all parts of the Fourth Revolution Manifesto, here is the link access the Manifesto page on the Fourth Revolution website


Let your light shine. Happy new year!

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?
by Marianne Williamson, American Author and Peace activist, in “A return to love”, 1992

At the time of the new year when we are thinking about the year ahead and possibly forging some new year’s resolutions or writing down our objectives for the year, what could be a better inspirational quote?

Happy new year and I wish you great, meaningful undertakings in 2011.

[…] And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others

Let your light shine. Contribute to the world. And help us get free.


A great example of what developing countries can bring to the world

A great example of what developing countries can bring to the world is explained in the TED talk by Shahi Tharoor on India’s soft power. This great talk is a great example of how developing countries – India in this instance – could bring a different view and approach to the world.

It is also a great example to meditate on the power of the new cheap long distance interaction in the daily life of people, even in the poorest countries.

The interesting paradox is that Shashi Tharoor was finally dismissed from his political position because he was a bit too transparent in his usage of Twitter. Some institutions still have it hard to face modern realities – and Indian bureaucracy is certainly a great example of institutions that will fight modern technology to death.

Nevertheless the Fourth Revolution will prevail. This is the direction of history. Whether the road will be smooth or bumpy is another story. We all can decide on that.

Take the 20 minutes or so to listen to that enlightening talk. It is worth it. It might change your view of the world.


Developed countries are joining the collaborative community

I just return from a trip in one of the World’s poorest countries – Laos (181th country on 229 for per capita GDP according to the CIA’s world factbook). A great country to visit!

What is always amazing in all these countries, on all continents, including Africa, is how well connected people are today. The tuk-tuk drivers and the women selling vegetables on the market all have their mobile phones – and chat often. Cybercafes with reasonably high speed internet dot the urban landscape.

More than that – I could book my internal flight tickets or hotels in advance on the web on very good quality websites.

Cheap long distance interactive communication not only empowers those in developed countries that have something to say but could not publish before (‘the power of the long tail’), it also empowers citizens of developing countries to contribute to the debate. To interact with each other. To open to the world. To contribute without being discriminated against, because in the virtual world, people are much more equal.

We should not underestimate the power of this new interaction. Opening to “developing” countries contribution will make us realize how much these countries have to bring to our too westernized vision of the world. The diversity of their views will be an eye opener. This will drastically shift our worldview.

Are we ready to listen to the developing countries’ people voices? Are we ready for the shift?


Giving is the basis of the new collaborative value creation

Giving always was valuable. It created connections in the real world, and sometimes -rarely- through the post.

The value of giving for free has exploded. Today, more people are giving more value for free than ever before.
giving out to the world
When you post anything on the internet, you give out to the world. The entire world.

I’m sure many people don’t even realize that.

But, why would you implement complex systems to deter people from using what you give out?

Everyday I use contents posted by other people to nourish my thinking.
Everyday I use contents posted by other people to better communicate my ideas to other people.

And, everyday, I give out to the world. On my blog, on the contents of my website, on the links I recommend.

The value of the Collaborative World is based on free giving. What is preventing you from starting, today, right now?


Giving is the basis of thriving relationships

Giving is the base of relationships. Any relationship.


When you stop giving, the relationship fades.

When you give more, the relationship shines.

Connection is through giving first.

You will always receive more than you give. But you need to give first to establish confidence and the relationship.

So, when do you start giving for free?


Overcoming our fear

Failure is free today. But fear is still lurking.

Fear to take the first step into the unknown. Fear to be exposed in the spotlight to the judgment of the crowd. Fear to jump in the unknown.

jump into the unknown
overcome your fear

Overcome the fear. Kill the fear. Ask yourself: what’s the worst that can happen to me if I do this? If I publish my idea? What will my family, boss, friends, colleagues, think about me?

There is just one risk. That they like it because they discover a new facet of your personality.

Go and do it. Lean into our fear.

FEAR is just False Evidence Appearing Real.

Get out of your shell. Contribute to the world. Start today. The first step is the most difficult. Do it.


Failure is now a free opportunity. Grab it!

In the Industrial Age, failure was expensive. Any activity involved material stuff, capital and sweat. You could not fail too often or you would become broke.

Today in the Collaborative Age, failure is free. All it costs is some effort and learning.

The Fourth Revolution website cost me 10$ to setup – the cost of securing the domain name. All the rest is free including the hosting. It will remain so until I decide that this initiative is worthwhile, well received, and it is worth investing a bit more money in improving the service for its followers.
If the initiative does not work, then I’ll shut it down and the only thing it will have cost me is my time. And actually I will have learned so much from the experiment that that’s more an investment than a cost.

20 years ago, to pass my message across, I would have had to write a book or newspaper article, try to find a kind publisher who would have looked at my background and decided whether he would take the risk.

So, failure is not only free today, but it is an opportunity. We can go quickly through failure cycles, learning in the process until we find the right product, idea, message.

We still don’t embrace systematically free failure because of our Industrial Age mindset. And because of our fear.

We often read about improving a little bit every day so that the compound improvement gets significant.

When will you decide to fail once a day so that the compound investment and opportunity becomes significant?


How can we hope to understand the Collaborative Age?

We have been raised in the Industrial Age. Our parents lived in the core of the Industrial Age. Our mindset and world-view has been shaped by years and decades of Industrial Age formatting.

Revolutions take often at least one generation to spread, because it involves a drastic mindset change.

Embedded in our Industrial Age conditioning, how can we hope to get a glimpse, understand, the Collaborative world?

Only two approaches are possible.

  • Analyze previous Revolutions to understand typical constants and transformations, and extrapolate to the Fourth Revolution
  • Examine Fourth Revolution precursors and follow their direction towards the Collaborative Age.

The way to understanding the Collaborative Age is hard and dangerous. But it is necessary. Only by anticipating transformations can we thrive through them and find a meaning to the world.

Are you ready to go down the arduous path of trying to understand the Fourth Revolution?