is a French startup (yes they exist!) with a really cool idea for
gastronomically-influenced yet budget-minded people like me. It’s a
website where you can sell portions of your own cooking with other
people or buy portions of other people’s meals. It’s mostly in French as of
now, but from the looks of it, English translation is underway.
Economically, this is genius. If you’re already cooking, the marginal
cost of making an extra portion is really quite low - in terms of
money, but also in terms of time and effects on the environment. Why not
have people pay you to piggyback off of your fixed costs and compensate
you at rates that are mutually beneficial? (i.e. cheaper than going out
to eat for the consumer but enough to pay back the cost of the meal + a
bit of profit for the cooker)
From an urbanist perspective Super-Marmite.com is exploring another facet of this new life-share-renting phenomenon
which is almost socialist in its philosophy yet capitalist in its
methodology. People are realizing that if they open up their lives a
bit and share (read: rent) out a place in their house (Airbnb) or a place in their car (Zimride) which would be underutilised anyway, they can:
a) make a profit;
b) get to know people and make new friends!
From the consumer perspective, one also gets the double benefit of:
a) acquiring services or goods at or below the market cost;
b) getting to know people and make new friends!
Arguably b) is the more important thing in both cases, but often a)
can be a powerful motivating factor to get people to join or subscribe. I
haven’t used super-marmite.com yet (the prospect of having to converse
with people completely in French for any extended period of time scares
me a bit) but I will try it out this week! Let me know if you’ve had any
experiences with Super-marmite, Zimride, or Airbnb and what you think
about these new developments in social network realization.