Do we need more stuff?
I just got back from a long weekend in Escondido, staying in the above-pictured mansion. When you split a place with 11 people in an Airbnb you can live like a king for the price of a hotel.
I woke up standing on a balcony overlooking a lake, mountains and the house pool and hot tub.
And I didn’t feel any different.
This was someone’s second home, judging by how empty the fridge and other amenities were. Although the library shelf was stocked with family photo albums, of which we browsed a few.
That’s the funny thing about Airbnb, you really make yourself at home…
So what is this, privilege talking?
They say you can’t truly be rich spiritually until you’ve gotten rich enough monetarily and then recognize for yourself that you feel no different.
But in the access economy, you can test this out this lifestyle without ever actually having the funds. Like those renting Ferrari’s in Vegas for $250.
So I’m at this mansion in Escondido and I’m feeling the exact same as I do in my room back home. Maybe a little worse, I don’t know where the shampoo is and my clothes don’t come stocked in the closet. Then again I’m enjoying the company of friends, and yeah, it is nice to have space to spread out and the view is wonderful.
Used to be you’d have to work for 30 years to finally buy that house, finally buy that boat or that car. These purchases were your crowning achievement that proved it was worth it.
Now you can rent for a fraction of the cost and you’re left seeing that the only thing that mattered was the time spent with others.
Like how we played charades late at night, or “Punderdome.”
So are we at peak consumerism or is it only going to get worse?
And how will the access economy affect our inclinations to pour our wealth into trophies and status signals?
Millennials are crushed by debt, so they rent. And in the process of renting, and over-selfie-ing, they land somewhere in between understanding they really don’t need much, and that the stuff they do own has to be great.
It’s like some type of Quality-Minimalist.
At least that’s what I aspire to be…
So if you think I’m against wealth or against spending, you’ve got me all wrong. In fact, there’s a reason to spend large sums for craftsmanship. Sure, this can go overboard and fall into the status-signaling territory, but handcrafted, perfection built from the human spirit deserves high value in return.
If you care about the niche, the details, the craftsmanship and go all in on a product I understand.
But most often people just want the status without the extra effort.
Hence you buy.
Because what is a brand after all if not a way to purchase affiliation?
To pay to feel as if you’re part of a lived ideal, built from someone else’s vision?
So we’re all kings and Queens now – if you’re reading this you’re connected to the internet and everything is at your fingertips.
I’m sitting on a balcony with a beautiful view, and yet as I look into my phone and see the same screen I always do; my pocket reading list and a tab open, of which I’m using to write this to you…