Friends with Benefits – 5 benefits of sharing with friends

Sharing with strangers is a noble concept, but it’s not a new one. Many religious and ethnic places such as Buddhist and Sikh temples do so, however, on a more personal scale, what about sharing with friends?

friendship and sisterhood

credit: Museum of Public Art

Sharing with friends, while not a totally new or different concept, can help you in many ways that sharing with strangers do not. While sharing is great in both forms, sharing with friends tends to be more intimate, and also helps to strengthen the bonds of friendship. Let’s take a look at the hows, and whys shall we?

1. Sharing creates common goals

When you share things, you not only share physical items. In the process of sharing, you understand that sharing is not just the lending of an item based off trust to your friend. It is also a philosophy, and a way of life that you are participating in.

Both of you understand that sharing is about trust, and about conservation of the limited resources that we have, as well as the practical side of cost sharing and saving on items you and your friend have and share.

2. Sharing creates trust among friends

Friendship is a strange creature, yet it is a vital one in our society. Most forms of lifelong bonds are formed on the basis of friendship. Husbands, wives, and lovers all start out as friends. Even parents are encouraged to be a friend to their children.

Why? Simply because there is a certain form of trust among friends – one that says “I will not harm you, we are in this for mutual goodwill”. Simply put, that is at its essence, that the other person means well, and is, and can be a likeable person in your social circle.

Sharing of course, needs to take place when there is trust. When you share, mutual trust increases, as sharing itself is a a self-propagating mechanism for trust, which acts as a social lubricant in your friendship.

3. Sharing helps you learn more about your friend

Simply put, why does your friend have a wood planer tool? You’ll find out that maybe she was into woodworking while working on her masters, or maybe that her beautiful chestnut and oak table was handcrafted by her?

Perhaps she was part of a recreated Viking expedition, and the wood planer was used in the construction of a longship? Or maybe her father or uncle was a woodworker, and she inherited the tool from them? Perhaps an old ex left it behind?

You never know, since objects each have their own history, and people share them to make the next part in their story.

Now, it can be your turn to add on to its rich and storied history, and to tell it to the next person you share it to.

After all, some antiques gain their value from their historicity, which basically means, where they’ve been and what they’ve been used for.

4. Sharing helps you to learn skills and knowledge from your friend

So maybe your friend has a wood planer, and she did go on the recreated Viking expedition across the Atlantic, and after that she chose to settle down next to you, and she brought it along as a memento.

Then, she started learning how to use it to make furniture, and that’s how you eventually met her, while she was planing her table in the yard. Now, wouldn’t it make for a good experience if she taught you how to safely use the wood planer?

Put in a few hours with that wood planer in her yard, as well as a few other tools, and reciprocate with perhaps a session of jam making and tea in the future, and the both of you can learn how to have jam, on nicely crafted tables together!

A few hours of hard work and fun learning a new skill with your friend is a great way to bond as well as find out more about someone, yes?

5. Sharing lowers costs and opens the way for more shared activities together

Of course, not having to buy brand new equipment and hire a trainer definitely improves the cost of activities. After you and your friends have had a great time hanging out learning from each other’s experiences as well as skills you can embark on shared projects together!

After all, people used to live in smaller communities, and now our communities are made up of our own social circles. Our own social circles are no longer constrained by boundaries such as location or geography, with the advent of the internet and other forms of advanced communications.

The key idea here however, is to get together with a bunch of friends who have varied skills and interests, and embark on a project where they can share not only their tools, but also their skills and experiences, teaching each other and coming to a common understanding and shared goal. That’s how you bond friends with sharing!

We hope you’ve found this article useful, now go out and share with your friends! There’s an app for that: Lendogram 😉

The Sharing Economy in Diverse Places

In many places, people tend to overlook that doing business is a given right. To own a start-up, to be able to legally operate one, as well as find business partners without having to resort to underground or illicit methods in doing so are all taken for granted.

In most countries, sharing economy start-ups fall in between the grey area of semi-legal to being governed by unclear laws, regulations and jurisdictions.

In others, most, if not all businesses are banned or made illegal due to strict property laws (Cuba for example, where property cannot be sold) and sharing businesses as a result pop up to feed growing hospitality and tourism industries.


The two main sectors affected by such developments in the legal landscape are also the biggest by far, ride-sharing and home-sharing or property-sharing. These are sometimes not strictly speaking, sharing economy start-ups, but they do fall under that category.

A point to note is that while the sharing economy has its roots in a non-profit driven model, to operate in a market driven economy and to deal with costs, start-ups have adapted their business model to generate some form of revenue to keep their costs covered.

As such, some have evolved completely from a non-profit driven model to a for profit sharing startup model. While revenue is needed to cover costs, profits should not be the be all and end all goal of sharing start-ups, and many would do well to remember that.

One country to look at where an organic model of the sharing economy has taken root for some years due to an eclectic mix of factors is Cuba. Yes, surprisingly, it’s Cuba.

Cuba has a slow but very steady growing tourism industry, with tourism bringing in hard cash in the form of US dollars and Euros. In Cuba, the monthly government salary is about 10 US dollars a month, with the local Cuban currency being worth a lot less on the international market.


However, since buying and selling property is not permitted in Cuba, as well as development and refurbishment of existing hotels and other residential properties is quite difficult due to the embargo, enterprising Cubans have turned to renting out their houses and villas in a sharing economy style arrangement for profit.

One night at a Cuban villa, paid in US dollars, or the local equivalent can be a monthly salary and more for a Cuban homeowner. The way this is done is simple – the owners of the house get people who usually guide tourists around at the airport to recommend them their rooms, or villas, as well as distributing their business cards to any potential customers.

Casa particular (Spanish for “private house”) is a phrase meaning private accommodation or private homestays in Cuba. As a result of more government action, Cubans are now also allowed to rent out their rooms to tourists. 

Casa Particulars

The difference between an Airbnb apartment and a casa particular is simple – you rent a room online via Airbnb, you get the keys, the owner shows you the house, and then you stay there. It’s a transaction.

Casa particulars however, have their owners still living in them alongside you in an actual sharing arrangement. As such, you can ask them where to visit, or request breakfast or dinner cooked for you at a agreed rate. Perhaps, this is what sharing should have been?

This is not to suggest that the sharing economy should be limited, or that it should be kept small scale and not be able to scale up. But the fact still remains that the sharing economy at its core is meant to serve a very human need – to be able to distribute resources efficiently while putting people in touch with other people, not acting as a platform for just transactions, but also for the human connection.

Ride-sharing done different

A great example of another start-up going back to the sharing economy roots is based in Austin, Texas. Now, if you remember correctly – America is a hot battleground for the two largest ride-sharing app start-ups in the world, Uber and Lyft. However, both companies have been stopped dead in their tracks in Austin Texas, as the saying goes, because the town ain’t big enough for the both of them.

Austin, Texas is really large, it’s just that the city has rules limiting and regulating ridesharing companies. Now, this rule isn’t so much related to worker welfare, or pay at all, but rather was about identification and private data concerning drivers.

Due to this, both Uber and Lyft have stopped operating in the city till now.

Enter RideAustin, a not-for-profit app that follows the regulations as well as has a heart for the local poor and needy. RideAustin has the feature for riders to round up their fares to the next dollar, with the difference in the actual amount and rounded up amount being donated to a charity of the rider’s choice.

There’s also another interesting feature that deals with the revenue and finance side of things – Uber is famous for its surge pricing model, and it’s a model that people think of when they hear of the sharing economy. However, RideAustin has made it entirely optional. Riders who pay the surge pricing of course, get first pick of rides, but riders can also choose to wait it out in the virtual queue of people waiting for a ride.

So far – RideAustin starts all their operations in June, having already had the support of local companies who have prepaid for rides along with donations from private locals to fund this venture.

Perhaps, this time, David will beat Goliath again?


A Green Valentine: Love More, Waste Less


Green Love!

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! What are your plans to show your love?

Before you take the credit card out to show your love with buying stuff, let us suggest something a little different. After all, whether you’ll be going with your regular lover, or someone new this valentines – a change of scenery and focus on love from just between you two will be appreciated, and you’ll definitely find out more things about your date too!

The plan – Helping out the homeless or newly arrived refugees. You’d think that giving out food and clothing would be quite far off from the idea of romance but you’d be wrong!

Why? Simply put, the generosity in you and your date shown and practiced by helping those in need by giving out clothing and food will make them associate you with kindness and generosity, and basically make the both of you view each other in a better light.

On top of that, giving out used clothes repurposed and food to feed those who need it will make your community a kinder and greener place – donations of money can surely buy new clothes, but used clothes in good condition will reduce pollution through wastage, as well as encourage a culture of recycling where you live.

Giving money to the homeless is good, and is needed for shelters as well as soup kitchens, but volunteering brings the concept of helping others in your vicinity into a much more personal space, and isn’t that what Valentine’s is about? Letting others into your personal space to get to know them better?

Spread the love this valentine’s day, and help the needy, for they need your love the most, and your help, as does the environment.

Perhaps you are fortunate to live in an area where the homeless are well taken care of, or you want to choose something else – what about a homely date at someone else’s place?

You could cook, or of you don’t know how to, you could ask a local chef or cook to make something with fair trade and locally sourced ingredients.

Of course, look for locally grown ingredients first, to support your local growers and farmers, since the reduced cost and need for transportation will leave you a lesser carbon footprint. However, it is highly suggested that you DO cook something for the day of the date itself.

Why? You could make one date, turn into two!

How you ask? Well, you need to go to the farmer’s market don’t you? Go with your date! Going to a fresh air market with just the both of you there and friendly farmers will make for good conversation topics, and be less direct and “confrontational” if you were sitting opposite of each other.

It gives you room and space to talk about yourselves, and find out more about each other, without actually having to ask about each other directly, which for some less socially inclined people, will be a much more comfortable situation.

On top of that – you can make a joint decision on what to buy, and engage each other in what to cook with the ingredients you’ve got! Now, just remember, some farmers markets don’t just sell organically grown root tubers and greens, they are also places for local beekeepers, artisans and craftsmen to showcase their locally made and environmentally friendly craft products!

Need an actual beeswax candle? Ask the beekeeper! Need soap? Ask the local soap maker! Or perhaps you need a bag to carry all the stuff you’ve bought? There’s someone spinning hemp and cotton together into large carry bags too!

Now, what will you do with all these? Surprise your date of course! Buy them a gift, or simply, buy things together and then set the table, and the house with those beeswax candles, and give them a body rub lotion of honey and lavender with soaps bought from the market!

So instead of going out of your way to spend a lot of money on flowers, only to be thrown away later, why not make your Valentine’s a more meaningful one, to include the things that matter?

Love is not about what you buy for your lover, it’s about how you make her/him feel. Love is not stored in a box of chocolate with pretty flowers. Love is imperfect, and has many facets. Love exists in this moment but will grow forever if in the right environment. Show your love by making this Valentine’s Day about learning more about your loved ones. Don’t just focus on now, remember the wider community and our earth and the future you want to build with your loved ones.

Love More, Waste Less!

Library of Things

As we head into the new future of consumerism and increased personal gain, are there any places in our communities, lives and homes that we can share? A place where one can lend, borrow, and trust in the goodwill of the neighbour and community to repay in kind with trust and goodwill too?
Well, you’ll be happy to know that places like these are more common than you think.

If you look closely, these places are not just publicly owned in name, but also in deed, meaning to say, some are community run and funded, while others are government funded, but the community usually decides on how to run the organization, what to lend and how.

You see, the key lynchpin to making a library of things, as we call them, is trust. Trust in the community you live in, as well as in the stewards of the library. let us share with you three delightful examples we have found.

ThingsThe public book libraries of Sacramento

The public book library of Sacramento, is a government funded library that actually functions as both a library for books, and a library for things.

The part of the Sacramento Public Library that loans out items is similar to how it loans out books. A member of the library needs to fill out a form to loan the ‘thing’ as they call it, and they can then be loaned out the lender for up to 3 weeks. If that period is not long enough – it can be borrowed up to 6 times, in which case, the need for the item should have passed.

This library chooses what items will be available to the public by how portable the item is, how valuable it is, as well as the number of votes from valid members as to the items that they want.

The items are then either donated, or bought using state money for this public programme to be available for loaning out, or to be used.

A small list of the items available : Board games, Video games, Sewing Machines, 3D printers, button maker, laminators, screen printers, musical instruments, GoPro cameras, a serger for professional stitching, and a bike repair station.

They have a full online catalogue of items available, some items can be used in the library only, such as the bike repair station, the 3D printer, as well as the Serger. For the reasons that they are higher in value and harder to operate and set up, these are kept at the library.

The Library of Things is located at Arcade Library at 2443 Marconi Ave. in Sacramento.

The Library of Things in Berlin

Berlin! Such a place with rich history, always breaking down barriers between people, and they’re doing it again, with the Laila Project, which is a library of things in the purest sense.

The Laila project is staffed by a volunteer who goes by Mr Nikolai Wolfert, who is a volunteer there.

If you ever wonder what the motivations were behind his store, he says “The average electric drill is used for 13 minutes in its entire lifetime – how does it make sense to buy something like that? It’s much more efficient to share it”.

That’s typical German efficiency for you! But apart from that, take a look at Leila on a deeper scale, and you’ll find that he’s actually a member of the Green party, and after they lost their local elections, he decided that he could do something for his community based off his political beliefs for the good of the community.

Thus, the Laila project was born. The Laila project is similar to other library of things – items get loaned out, and items are donated in, and to be part of the project to access items, you need to first donate something. The items range from useful, to quirky – drills to unicycles.

Mr Nikolai emphasises that it isn’t just about charity – it’s about efficiency, for more people, to use less. That’s the way to go isn’t it?

Library of Things in the UK

The Library of Things in the UK  started in West Norwood, South London in 2014, when friends Emma, James and Bex ran a pilot scheme in a library after visiting a borrowing shop in Berlin.

Similar to the project run by the Sacramento Public Library, the initial project by friends Emma, James and Bex met with success and an overwhelmingly positive response from the community, not just as a means of resource sharing and distribution, but also as a means of community bonding, interaction, and learning. Simply put – you can borrow a circular saw, but first you’ll have to learn how to use it from someone who does?

After that, they decided to pitch the idea to the general public online for funding via Kickstarter, and have raised £15,000 for this new library from 248 people.

They aim to set up a new library of things with these funds in South London, as well as making a toolkit to help others start their own library of things.

Do you know of other initiatives on Library of Things? Have you been thinking about starting one in your community? Comment below or contact us: hello{at}lendogram{dot}com.



The intrinsic vs. market value of what you own

Have you ever considered why you pay more for some goods, rather than others, and how the prices for these goods are made, and more importantly: What do they mean?

The answer here; simply put, is value.

Value is such a subjective and fluid term we use these days. Housing values, car values, and for some of us, family values and the like.

But here, we examine what we call, monetary value, and how it does not necessarily equate to the value that is intrinsic and unique to you, and your needs.

Let’s start with the most basic assumption of value – that value is a measure of how much something is worth. A price tag therefore, is then nothing but an equally agreed measure of value in monetary terms.

Or is it? Who sets these prices? Why can’t we agree on prices between the providers of these goods and services between ourselves instead of having to rely on figures that seem to just pop out of nowhere?

Well – here’s a spot of good news, the liberalization of information provided through the internet, and modern communications available through the implementation of the internet and other communication technologies has enabled us to get to an age where it is possible, for you to get what you need at the best possible value.

Do notice I said value, I didn’t say price. Why? Because monetary values fluctuate, and don’t always form a fair and beneficial exchange or transfer of value between both parties involved in the trades, or transactions.

Simply put – you might be paying far more than what something is worth when you really need it. I’m pretty sure that has happened to everyone at some point of time hasn’t it!

Why buy something that’s worth three day’s wages when you only need to use it for a day at best? Why? Because you need it, that’s truth, isn’t it.

But what if – there could be a way that you could borrow what you need for a day from someone you know and then later if they need something desperately, they could borrow it from you?

Let’s say you need to plan a nice dinner for your future in-laws, and you don’t have proper table settings. You really want to make a good first impression. But being the actual frugal and thoughtful person you are, you don’t want to spend a lot of money buying best dishes, silver and tablecloth that will only be used once.

Well, turns out your friends have everything you need and you can just borrow what you need for the night and not have to buy anything you won’t use again.

Right now, the table settings are very valuable to you because you need them more than your friends do. And another day, one of your friends will need the whisking machine that’s sitting in your drawer un-used and they will need it more than you do that day. You can share these items together.

So you see, that’s how intrinsic value of an item can quickly change, but not be reflected in the market value, since when you need the table settings, you’d probably let the whisking machine go for a few bucks. But if you did, those few bucks wouldn’t be enough to cover the cost of buying proper table settings for your family dinner.

So perhaps, we could reflect on the value that exists in our existing network of friends and family and how we can leverage and use it by sharing our stuff more. Something that’s not useful and has little value to us at this moment could be very valuable to a friend who really needs it right now. On top of that, consider if you will, how this shared network of items creates less waste for our planet.

Think creatively when you need something for an event or just a day, show you care for the planet and reach out to your friends and family to borrow what you need. There’s even a sharing app for that 😀
Happy Sharing!