Chaz here – I’m one of the Founders at Fat Lama. If you don’t know, it’s a website (soon to become an app) where you can borrow things from people around you and rent out all the stuff that you own but rarely use. We’ve got some very exciting things in the pipeline, like integrated payments, insurance, logistics and user reviews, to make it super easy for you to make good money from your stuff.
But to be quite honest, we’re not there yet. Fat Lama’s current site is just a minimal viable product, so there’s none of the above. That’s why, when I listed my motorcycle on the site, I thought nothing of it.
On Saturday, however, I got a call from a Film producer in a complete panic. He explained that he needed a bike for a two-hour shoot the following day and couldn’t afford to get his one shipped down from the north. Given the minimal UX of the current site, we thrashed it out via iMessage.
Fast forward to Sunday morning at precisely 11am, when I was met at my office by said Film Director who – in return for the agreed hire – gave me £100 in cash and his passport as a deposit. Two hours later, my bike was back in its usual spot just off Old Street roundabout. The film crew had what they needed, and I was £100 richer.
I was even sent a video of my bike mid-shoot. Now, had you told me on Saturday morning that I was going to get paid £100 for a video of a nun riding my motorcycle backwards, I might have called for some context. But as we’ve said before, borrowing so often brings us together in the most unexpected ways.
Ironing Out The Creases
Both the Director and I were thrilled that we had saved and made money through a mutually beneficial transaction. But this was by no means an entirely seamless exchange. In fact, it shed useful light onto all of the creases that we can’t wait to iron out for our Beta-launch in late September.
Saturday’s “iMessage stranger” will be replaced by peer-reviewed, ID-verified renters. (We’re stoked to be rolling out an impressive 3rd party API for this…)
Our fully integrated, instant payments will put an end to the uncertainty of cash-in-hand deals.
That approximated £300 downpayment? We’ll be calculating precise figures instead, and of course providing a facility to hold secure deposits.
Oh, and we’ve got a pretty amazing insurance package on it’s way too, so you can sleep easy in the knowledge that your stuff is protected.
As you can see, there’s plenty for us to be getting on with – I’d better get back to it. But I couldn’t help but share with you this amazing window into what the future might hold. Here was indisputable evidence that even without a foolproof and trustworthy interface, a healthy appetite already exists for a culture of borrowing which benefits all parties.
I got my motorbike featured in one of the strangest pieces of footage I’ve seen in years. Where might borrowing take you?