Thoughts after the climate march

Looking at the pictures of the climate march that took place here in NYC this past Sunday, September 21st, I feel reinvigorated about the mission of NeighborGoods and my belief that at the end of the day, it is the actions of individuals and communities that will foster real change in this country and around the world.

The one area that is (mostly) under our control, is how we live day-to-day and the decisions we make as consumers. After all, it is often stated that consumer spending accounts for 70% of the U.S. economy, so how we choose to spend will ultimately influence what is so hard to influence through the ballot box, regulations, or pressure on corporations (through actions like divestment) and why more than 300,000 people took to the streets of NYC yesterday.

Every time we share goods, we are reducing the need for one more good to be produced and distributed for sale or rental and in effect sending a message to companies and governments that continue to promote the status quo that the ever increasing production and consumption of new consumer goods is essential for "economic growth." We are starting to change that paradigm!

So I feel positive, and you should too, every time you loan and borrow a good with a neighbor, friend, community group, or even a small business. Let's keep building what we've started here and spread the word that goods-sharing is good for the climate and good for our communities.

Alan P. Berger

0 comments | posted by alanpberger


A Spring Message

Margaret Mead once famously said: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

I live by these words both as an individual and in many of the things I choose to get involved in both in my work life and home life. I believe that NeighborGoods.net can play a part in helping to bring about real change in the way we live--in case you didn't catch it, this piece from Sunday's New York Times sums it up nicely:

I took this job with the belief that if we, in neighborhoods and communities all over the country, banded together to share goods, that we could create local economies that would result in all the benefits sharing brings, but we'd also be helping to create local and resilient communities of people and organizations who could act on problems and issues that were important to them to effect change.

But it all starts with us first. I encourage all of you to use this service--loan and borrow goods, list as many items as you can on your inventories, and join and grow existing sharing groups, and create new ones, to unite the people and organizations around you towards a common purpose. And spread the word to other individuals and groups that would benefit.

Let me know how I can help you. I'm at your service.


Executive Director

1 comment | posted by alanpberger


Message to all members

Dear NeighborGoods Members,

This year I began working on NeighborGoods as its new Executive Director. Before this I started and ran Brooklyn Free School for ten years: www.brooklynfreeschool.org. The school was dedicated to a community-based, collective approach to decision-making and empowering students to take charge of their own education. NeighborGoods has a similar mission--empowering members to take more control over their own lives by actively sharing goods and services that they need and building more cohesive and self- reliant local communities.

I want to thank and honor the Founder, Micki Krimmel, for her vision, courage, creativity, and all the hard work she put into this site and concept since its inception. Going forward Micki will still be on the site sharing with neighbors and friends and advising us.

I'm reaching out to all of you to introduce myself and let you know that I'm dedicating myself to the mission of increasing the number of members actively using the service and working on ways to improve the site and the sharing experience for everyone.

Whether you're an individual sharing with other individuals, part of an open group or private group, I want to hear from you! Send me your suggestions and ideas for how we can make this site and the sharing experience better.

Let me know too if there are any groups, neighborhoods, or communities that you think would be great to introduce to this concept and I'll contact them.

Thanks and I look forward to working and sharing with all of you!

Alan P. Berger

Executive Director

5 comments | posted by alanpberger


NeighborGoods has been acquired

NeighborGoods has joined forces with Socius Labs, a Brooklyn-based investment firm and startup incubator. We’ve been working for months on this collaboration and we are excited about what it means for NeighborGoods.

NeighborGoods now has additional financial and human resources to put toward building the safest, most efficient, and most fun sharing platform for friends and neighbors.

On a personal note, founding this company has been the most rewarding experience of my life. I’m so honored that each and every one of you chose to be a part of the community - and it’s still growing! NeighborGoods is at the forefront of an emerging Sharing Economy that will change the world for the better. I am excited to continue this work with the Socius Labs team.

As we move forward, we want to hear from you. Share your feedback with us so we can make NeighborGoods the best it can be. Reply to this email or email us any time at support@neighborgoods.net. Happy sharing!

Micki Krimmel
Founder, NeighborGoods

62 comments | posted by Mickipedia


NeighborGoods Update

Howdy Neighbors,

Its been a busy month and we’ve made some improvements to the site that we are excited to share with you.


There’s been many changes related to groups. Most notably, groups are now free! That’s right all groups, all the time, free of charge. We also fixed some issues with the group search tool and how lists are sorted in groups and removed some unnecessary things from the group management tool bar. Go ahead, create a group and invite your friends!


If you’d like to help spread the word about NeighborGoods in your community, you can click the ‘Grow your community’ image in the sidebar or click here to access our sharing tool kit with printable flyers and tips on creating a successful sharing group. We also created a GetSatifaction thread where you can introduce yourself to other group owners and swap ideas about what’s working your community. Go say hi!


Next, all verified members have been changed to over to pro members, and we will no longer sending out verification kits. Pro members receive all the same benefits including access to more items on the network. Upgrading to pro is one of the best ways to help support the community and keep NeighborGoods strong.


And finally, if you’d like to help support NeighborGoods you can also click the ‘Donate’ button on any page or click here.

We’d like to thank every one of our users, followers and friends for helping us to create such an amazing community of people who shared our vision of building stronger local communities. Our path has not been without bumps, but we cannot express our appreciation for your continued support and how happy we are that NeighborGoods is living on, across the country and across the world.

Thank you and happy sharing!

5 comments | posted by jessicasomething


The Future of NeighborGoods

A few months ago we shared the news with you that we would be closing down NeighborGoods in order to shift our attention to our new project, Favortree. Now I’m writing to share yet another shift in plans. If you want to skip the details, the short story is that we have been unsuccessful in launching the new project. Meanwhile, many new members have continued to join NeighborGoods and have used the service to share with their neighbors. We’ve decided not to close the site. We will continue to maintain NeighborGoods.net for your use.

For a bit of history, NeighborGoods launched publicly for the first time in 2009. The company very quickly attracted press from hundreds of outlets including Techcrunch, Fast Company, NPR, Oprah Magazine, and NBC Nightly News. NeighborGoods was at the forefront of an emerging industry that is now the hottest trend in Silicon Valley, Collaborative Consumption. We were even mentioned in the book that coined the term. It was clear that our vision of connecting neighbors to share physical goods was resonating with people. As we iterated the product and grew the community, the accolades continued. We were honored as one of the 100 Most Brilliant Startups of 2011 by Entrepreneur Magazine and we won the award for Best Bootstrapped Startup at the Startup Competition at SXSW that same year.

But we were still having trouble raising money. We raised enough cash from angels to keep our small team working but we never reached the point where the company was interesting to VCs. Eventually, the money ran out and the team moved on to other things. Then I heard from the Knight Foundation. They were interested in the potential for NeighborGoods to build stronger local communities by connecting neighbors to share with each other. They suggested that I apply for funding through their Tech for Engagement program. What passionate entrepreneur wouldn’t jump at a second chance to make their company work?!

I saw this as an opportunity to explore what was working and what wasn’t working with NeighborGoods. This was my chance to refocus and rebuild my vision. I reached out to my friend Daniel Hengeveld who I had known both personally and professionally for the past 8 years. We started brainstorming what the next generation NeighborGoods might look like. The funding came through and we set on a course to building a startup that investors could get behind.

We made a list of things we’d learned and tried to boil down our offering to its most basic values. First and foremost, friends and neighbors help each other because it feels good, not to make money. Financial transactions work best between strangers and when the value is clear (and high). But when you’re doing something to be helpful, mixing financial requirements into the transaction muddies the experience and makes it less fulfilling for both parties. When is the last time you accepted cash for letting your friend borrow a video game, or offered money to a colleague for giving you career advice? It’s just not how the world works. We were confident in the knowledge that friends and community members like to help each other. They want to lend their stuff and be helpful. Getting people to share was not the problem. What we needed was to find a way to encourage more borrowing.

People don’t like asking for help without having some way to reciprocate. Asking to borrow something is actually much harder than offering to others. We started exploring social currency and complementary currency systems. We hypothesised that if we created a fun and engaging social currency, we could smooth the social friction of borrowing from others while rewarding folks for sharing at the same time. We were very excited about this new direction and we began pitching it to our advisors and close investors. We kept getting the same advice. “NeighborGoods is old news. You can’t raise money by adding social currency to your old idea. You need to start fresh.”

What we should have realized at that point was that we already had money. We were so worried about Knight Foundation’s small investment running out that we set our eyes on one goal: to raise more money. Our goal should have been to increase activity on NeighborGoods. Our goal should have been to better serve our community by improving the product and making it more useful by working to build critical mass. We already knew our idea was hot. We already knew people were passionate about NeighborGoods. We had thousands of users and the support of the Knight Foundation - who had reached out to us to give us money.

Instead, we decided to throw out all that value and start fresh because we thought it would be more appealing to investors. We thought we could take what we learned on NeighborGoods and build a whole new product and a whole new community and make it appealing to investors with $250k. After a couple false starts with the product, the money was draining quickly, much more quickly than the first time around. And with that effort, we have learned the same lesson as countless entrepreneurs before us. Our job is not to please investors. Our job is to delight our users. Period.

We were already half way there with NeighborGoods. But we got caught up in the desire to build the next hot startup and the next new thing rather than building on the value we already had. We certainly made things difficult for ourselves.

And now we find ourselves back where we started six months ago. We’re a passionate team with a very small bank account and a growing community of users who believe in the benefits of sharing with their neighbors. In all, that’s not a bad place to be. It’s an honor to have the support of many thousands of people who believe in NeighborGoods enough to register and be a part of this community.

Our goal now is not to raise more money. Our goal is to keep NeighborGoods up and running for our community. We’re going to be making some improvements to NeighborGoods in the coming weeks, mostly by removing unnecessary features. We’ll also be adding a donate button so our community members can help us cover the costs of hosting and upgrades moving forward. If you would like to help out in other ways, feel free to contact me directly at micki@neighborgoods.net.

Thanks, as always, for sticking with us on this journey - missteps and all.

- Micki Krimmel, Founder and CEO

53 comments | posted by Neighbor Al


Goodbye NeighborGoods; Hello Favortree!

Sharing Vacuum

Dear Neighbors,

Our team has very big news that we want to share with you. After three amazing years, 25,000 incredible neighbors and over $4.5 million of inventory being shared, NeighborGoods.net will be shutting its doors. We would like to share what this means for you and your account.

Over the next three weeks we will be preparing for our shutdown which will be happening July 31st. We strongly encourage you to complete any open transactions by this date. After today we will no longer be accepting group subscriptions or account verifications.

Although this is goodbye for NeighborGoods we are excited to announce that members of our team have created a brand new sharing tool, Favortree. Favortree is a 'play it forward' trading game for universities, faith communities and local neighborhoods. Members can help each other by sharing goods and completing small favors. By helping your friends and neighbors, you earn rewards which you can exchange for help when you need it.

We would like to invite NeighborGoods users to pre-register for early access to Favortree. By pre-registering for Favortree, you will be among the first to try it out! You will also be given the opportunity to import your NeighborGoods inventory.

We can’t possibly express our gratitude for all that this community has done for us and for each other. Thank you for your continued support over the last three years and through this transition.

The NeighborGoods Team

77 comments | posted by Neighbor Al


NeighborGoods is Hiring!

Howdy Neighbors!

We've been a little quiet lately, but for good reason; we've been super busy working on exciting new things for NeighborGoods! Now we are looking to bring someone new to our team, so if this sounds like you email us.

Mobile UI/UX Designer

NeighborGoods is looking for a great designer to turn our prototype mobile product into a polished, easy-to-use application. We have the concept and basic functionality, but you'll have the opportunity to deeply refine the UX as we iterate with our early test users.



- User experience design: Analyze and improve screen flows, wireframes etc to take us from existing prototype to polished final experience.

- Visual design: provide comps generate assets, etc. to support the UX design.

Nice to have:

- Front-end implementation - produce mobile HTML/CSS in collaboration with developers

To apply:

Email Micki directly at micki@neighborgoods.net with a little bit about yourself and some links to projects you've done UX/UI work on.

2 comments | posted by jessicasomething


NeighborGoods at SXSW 2012

There's just one more day until thousands of tech, film and music lovers descend upon Austin for SXSW 2012 and this year's event is bigger and better than ever. With so many presentations and panels its easy to miss out on some amazing speakers and we want to make sure that you know where you can find NeighborGoods this year.

Our co-founder Daniel is going to be speaking at a couple events and they are filling up fast! First on the agenda is NEED TO KNOW, a cocktail party hosted by PSFK on Friday March 9th, discussing the five key trends every SXSW attendee needs to be on the lookout for. PSFK has named 'Co-Sharing' one of these, and Daniel will be on stage providing some great insight on this trend and talking about how NeighborGoods has been an innovator in this space. The event is sold-out, but you can keep an eye open to see if any spots open up. You can also check out Daniel's pre-SXSW interview with PSFK and follow the NEED TO KNOW trends on the PSFK website.

Next you can catch NeighorGoods at the Omni Downtown Sunday afternoon at 3:30 pm on the panel 'What Civil Society Can Learn from Social Web.' Daniel will be presenting alongside BenBerkowitz (SeeClickFix), Doug Matthews (City of Austin), Kathryn Fink (Meetup) and Lenny Rachitsky (Localmind). The panel will be discussing the ways in which the social web has transformed civil society and how these tools are creating more infomed and engaged communities. These dynamic speakers are going to bring some great information and you definitely don't want to miss it, so get there early to grab your seat!

If you're heading to Austin this weekend we hope you have a great time and be on the lookout for NeighborGoods, and be sure to say hi to Daniel!

5 comments | posted by jessicasomething


NeighborGoods Featured on NBC Nightly News

Howdy Neighbors,

We hope your year has been off to a great start! There have been exciting things happening here at NeighborGoods and 2012 is already keeping us very busy. We are thrilled to share with you that NeighborGoods was featured Sunday evening on the NBC Nightly News! Its a great little segment featuring an interview with Micki and a couple of our amazing LA neighbors Cris and Jory.

As Collaborative Consumption gets more attention from major media outlets like NBC its means great things for NeighborGoods, and other sites who were also mentioned in the segment like Spinlister and TaskRabbit. It also is a great thing for you, the users, because it means there are going to be more people to share with and when you invite your real life neighbors to join your NeighborGoods group, they'll already know what you're talking about!

3 comments | posted by jessicasomething

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