May Your Days Be Meshy and Bright

May Your Days Be Meshy and Bright

Disturbed by the sight of dead Christmas trees lying on the curb after the holiday, L.A. landscaper Scott Martin had an idea. Why not rent people living Christmas trees? It was a great idea, and he ran with it. Scott figured out a clever way to share Christmas trees and give customers access to trees precisely when they wanted them.

What if we went a step further and applied Scott's logic to gifts themselves? Many companies want to show their appreciation to customers, employees and colleagues during the holiday season in innovative and sustainable ways. Why not make holiday gift giving more convenient for your company, and better for the planet -- by sharing? Sharing is, after all, what the holidays are all about.

Enter the Mesh. That's what I call the rapidly growing network of sharing-based goods and services. Mesh companies create, share and use social media, wireless networks, and data crunched from every available resource to provide people with convenient access to what they need and want, but at less cost, both personal and environmental.

So Mesh businesses are fundamentally sustainable? Yes. Mesh offerings are based on using resources more efficiently. They use information-enabled sharing to extract additional value from physical resources -- to turn waste into profit. Just as in natural systems, waste is never wasted in the Mesh.

Mesh companies model nature in a second way, by using structures and materials that endure. Of course, the most durable shared bike, car, watch, or other product does have a finite life cycle, even if well maintained. But the goal is to start with good quality (non-toxic and truly recyclable), conserve the core materials, and preserve the virtues of the product as it goes through its life cycle. Thoughtful product design conserves nature by reducing the carbon footprint and lowering waste.

As citizens on the planet, we should all want this -- reduced waste and increased value. And that's what celebrating the holidays in the Mesh is all about: giving rich experiences, not just more stuff.

So when you spend company money on holiday gifts this year, choose meaningful experiences your customers and colleagues will never forget. Here are some gift ideas straight from the Mesh:

Maybe your partner is a wine aficionado? Get her a gift certificate to Crushpad, so she can crush her own grapes and enjoy a custom bottle next year. Or perhaps your valued customer who loves to cook? Sign him up for a Meetup where he'll learn to whip up five star Paella or join Books of Cooks. Or are a few of your employees are looking for a hip, sustainable way to commute? Get them a membership to a local bike or car share service and give them the gift of reliable transportation with no insurance or maintenance required.

This year's holiday season is particularly ripe for opening up to the Mesh, I've curated a list of hot ideas to get you started in this Mesh Holiday Gift Guide. It's where access to local Mesh services and rich, shared experiences can last all year long -- with less stuff, less waste, and more value.

Now that's joy to the world.

Photo CC-licensed by Kelvin Kay.