Dear Brands, Our New Relationship Awaits

Letters with tilt shift

Dear Brands,

My last two heartfelt letters have been awkward for our relationship.

But they had to be written.

I told you that customers don’t need brands, since we get products and services directly from each other using the sharing startups.  In my first letter, I wrote about how I wanted to have an open relationship. Then, in my second letter, I confided in you what it felt like to have my own relationship disrupted.  The good news is that I see a solution for us to finally be together.  The only way is for us each to “give a bit” to grow into something bigger.

It may be difficult for us both to adjust, but we’ll end up in a better place.

Even though some customers don’t want to own your products, you can still give us access to them.  Even though we customers will want to share your used products with each other directly (and not have to buy from you again), we see a place for you to be involved.  Even though we want to build our own products, we see that you can help provide us with a way to do it.

I still need you, but you’ll have to meet me half way.

It will require you to give something to the relationship to get more in return.  The only way for us to maintain our relationship is for both of us to give a bit to grow something together.  We can have a fresh new relationship and be part of a collaborative economy together.  It all starts in a few days.

In my next letter to you, I’ll show you how we can be together in the Collaborative Economy.

Our new relationship awaits.  I’ll write to you in a few days.



Jeremiah Owyang
Speaker, Writer, Business Owner, Consumer


  • Brian Connolly

    Dear Jeremiah,

    I’m seeing someone else now. She’s traditional. She doesn’t harp on made-up theory and revolution all the time. I can count on her.


    Good luck starting your collective.


  • Matthew West

    Which companies (or kinds of companies) are you directly addressing? Thinking about this, it seems that this kind of activity really only applies to a very small percentage of companies that make goods capable of being shared–cars, software, lawn equipment, etc. Thinking of my own family shopping trips over the weekend, most of what we bought were consumables. Household goods, food, beer, etc. How would you see the collaborative economy affecting brands like Tide laundry detergent, or Coppertone, or Bounty, or Sierra Nevada? We also had dinner at Johnny Rockets (the kids wanted it). How might restaurants be affected by this? How about companies making industrial equipment like jet engines or packaging machinery?

  • There’s some significant impacts to B2B as well, look at office space, as well as the service space B2B and B2C. See liquidspace, pivotdesk, taskrabbit and odesk. The report comes out soon, and we’ll show the impacts.

    Also note, the impacts have far reaching impacts to the chain. A single shared car not only reduces opportunity for car revenue, but also taxes, loans, gas, services, parking, and bridge tolls.

    Looker deeper, there’s a ripple effect.

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