Wednesday, March 18, 2015
The Mesh by Lisa Gansky
Basically, The Mesh introduces the concept of, well, the mesh. A "mesh" is basically a business/ecosystem that uses the internet and data to share high-value but (perhaps not very frequently used) things with others. For example, you won't be sharing your old toothbrushes (too low value, too frequently used). But, you may want to swap an old book for a new one (Fairly high value, compared to the toothbrush, at least, and unless you're a serial rereader, you don't read it that many times either). The book introduces the reader to the concept of the Mesh, its advantages, and how businesses can implement it.
About 20% of the book is a "Mesh Directory", which was a bit surprising (I was not expecting the book to end so fast). The value of the directory, for me, was in the little explanations about how you can use the concept of the mesh for different industries.
While the book is interesting, it's published in 2010 and a bit dated. For example, Kickstarter is described as this new and exciting thing, while it's not - I'd actually like more detail on whether it stuck to its mesh roots, or if it deviated. Singapore is mentioned as being a test-bed for Electronic Vehicles, but I don't see them making up a significant proportion of vehicles in 2015 (Google tells me that the first phase of testing is over, but without the infrastructure, they're just going to be doing phase two of testing. So, not really rolled out to consumers yet?)
But, the concept of this book is very alluring. I like the idea of a future where we share things - instead of buying a car, which costs so much in both Japan and Singapore (actually more in Singapore, what with our COE and all), you rent it for the few hours you need, in a location convenient to you. I've been with my seniors when they tried it with Hertz in Japan, but to get to the car was rather inconvenient, in my opinion. Still, I can see how it's useful. And as a bookworm, the idea of swapping books is interesting, though I've had exactly one experience releasing books in BookCrossing, and none finding a book.
I think that this book is due for an update. There's been articles in the papers (Singapore papers, at any rate) about the rise of swapping sites. I'd like to know how mesh networks are doing four years on. For example, I searched for the author's company, Ofoto, but didn't find much. In fact, I've only heard of Flickr and 500px, and Google+ for photos. Ofoto? Not so much.
If I'd read this book when it came out, I'd probably be raving over it. As it is, I like the idea of the book, but quite a few examples feel dated. If the author had an updated edition though, I'd be very interested in reading that.