10 October 2013 — James Bradfield Moody has gone from heading development at CSIRO and a gig as presenter on the ABC’s New Investors program, to running his own small business, TuShare, an online platform that allows people to share unused household items. And he couldn’t be happier.
TuShare came about as a direct result of a book Moody wrote in 2010 together with science journalist Bianca Nogrady, The Sixth Wave.
The book describes the waves of innovation that have occurred since industrialisation: the waves of water power; steam; electrification; mass production; and information and telecommunications.
These waves start with a period of disruption, transition to stability and end with global economic downturn.
The recent global financial crisis may have marked the transition to the sixth wave, which, according to Moody, is resource efficiency.
The transformative power of resource efficiency has become increasingly apparent in the property space. As one chief executive recently told The Fifth Estate, energy efficiency is the next “supercycle” for the industry, and people are jumping in now to get a piece of the pie.
If recent stories are anything to go by, there’s big bucks to be made.
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So what possessed Moody to move from commanding multimillion projects in a 6000-strong organisation to running a start-up operating on the smell of an oily rag?
The idea came to mind when Moody went on sabbatical from CSIRO after the birth of his two children.
First, Moody saw that the changes he had earmarked in the book were coming to fruition.
There are five rules of thumb to the sixth wave, Moody says:
- waste equals opportunity
- sell the service, not the product
- digital and natural converge
- bits are global, atoms are local
- if in doubt, look to nature
Second, Moody had a desire to go back to being an engineer and “build something again” – the time was ripe to start work on a new project.
Finally, he says, it was time to start practicing what he preached.
How does it work?
TuShare is a online community of people giving household items to one another for free.
If you have something you no longer use or need, you can list it on the site. Another member can then go online to see what’s available and arrange to pick it up.
If they prefer, receivers of items can use TuShare’s door-to-door postage service for a flat fee of $10.
With somewhere between 20 and 100 billion products sold every year, Moody is trying to make a dent in our wasteful ways by extending the shelf life of some perfectly good items that, due to a number of factors, don’t see their full productive lifespan played out.
The four key products on TuShare include life stage items (like baby clothes), media, upgradeables (like mobiles) and fashion items.
Sounds like a noble idea, but don’t we already have online services like eBay and Gumtree people where people can get a bit of money for their unused items?
Moody says these online sites play a role but they don’t comprise the whole market.
“The biggest competition is actually from the rubbish bin or apathy,” Moody tells The Fifth Estate.
TuShare was specifically created to tackle the “convenience” of the rubbish bin, he says.
Being designed around the “giver”, TuShare aims to make giving away items destined for the bin or the back shelf as simple as possible – it’s about minimising the transaction costs, Moody says.
Giving, he says, is also a lot easier than selling. And it changes the ways in which people interact.
“The giving space is really lovely – people behave differently,” he says.
“For example, people will often put new batteries in things they’re TuSharing.”
Trust is another important element, Moody says, and TuShare leverages this by tapping into social networks to create a community of sharers, many of whom have become good friends through the platform.
Another unique feature is that everything that goes through TuShare’s postage system is weighed, so users can get a reading of how many kilograms of landfill they’re saving, and get some positive feedback on how they’re contributing to this new wave.
Moody is hopeful the sixth wave, which TuShare is a part of, can guide the world towards a truly sustainable path.
“I’m a pragmatic optimist,” he said, echoing Westpac’s Emma Herd at the recent Sustainability Drinks launch in Sydney.
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“If you look at the very big megatrends, they are pointing in a good direction.
“Massive inefficiency is a massive opportunity.”
For more information or to share your unused items visit www.tushare.com