I’ve noticed something that goes on a lot between friends in my social circle. It goes kind of like this:
Friend #1 is bitching about some problem they have, for example, not-having a job and having a hard time getting their resume into top form
Friend #2 says they understand exactly what friend #1 is looking for in the job marketplace, and that they happen to be good at resumes and would be happy to help.
Friend #1 says something like Oh no – I couldn’t ask you to help me with the awful job of making my resume kick-ass
Friend #2 (who does want to help but has a busy schedule) says Well, we could do a trade?
Friend #1 says YES! I know you like arts and crafts and I just got this really cool digital craft cutter. You can come over and get crafty with me and we’ll make stencils and you can use whatever supplies of mine you want to make something cool.
Friend #2 says Word! Sounds like a plan! Let’s do it this Thursday.
Friend #1 says Awesome! Looking forward to it.
And on Thursday evening Friend #1 and Friend #2 get together. Friend #1 gets help with their resume and actually sends out to a few places. And Friend #2 has a fabulous time making a mess in Friend #1’s craft studio. At the end of the day, both friends have accomplished something and they are better friends than they used to be. And they will tell their other friends all about it.
Like I said, scenarios such as this happen a lot in my social circle. The fact that a lot of my friends are die-hard burners (i.e. they have gone to Burning Man every year since they were twelve) may explain why there is so much bartering going on between them off the playa. I think that bartering is under-used and I would like to see more of it going on. But not bartering of stuff. Bartering of work, of experiences and outcomes.
Imagine if you really liked building websites but didn’t have much of a resume because all the projects you have done are low-budget and for idiots who demanded crappy websites. And you really want to create fantastic websites for fantastic people. What if you found a network where you could barter your art? And by art I mean, your passion for making great websites for great people. You wouldn’t get paid in cash, but you could trade your work for something else you need – like a vacation rental in Tahoe for a week.
Now turn your imagination on full blast and picture this: The bARTer network has become so big and fantabulous that you are now able to bARTer your work for almost everything you need in life. You do web work for an apartment rental company so your rent is taken care of. You built a website for an organic grocer so you get your produce there without any exchange of money.
You built a website for a used car salesman (that one guy who sees his work as an art and has integrity – there must be one out there, right?) and got a great deal on a car. You like working with your hands sometimes so you sweep up outside your local gas station once a week in return for the gas you need. Can you see how awesome that would be? No taxes and getting everything at cost would also be a major perk. And so would the relationships you build with others who do what they love and love what they do.
This is the network I want to create in a form like that of a social commerce website. I don’t even care if it works as much as I think it should be there for people who want to work and live this way. It may be a trifle idealistic but I like it. What do you think?