I have a story in today’s Wall Street Journal about an interesting concept that I learned about in part as result of my Sharing Economy story. Around the time I was reporting the piece, I spent the day working in a coworking space to get some focus and be part of “the mesh” (to borrow a phrase from Lisa Gansky, who was a fabulous source for the story). It was around the time that Marissa Mayer had come down on her Yahoo! employees who had been working from home, while simultaneously raising ire for installing a nursery in her office. Something in my head clicked, and I had the thought there should be spaces where adults could find a workspace with childcare attached. Brilliant idea, and naturally I wasn’t the first to have it. Tracking down these women entrepreneurs starting these spaces was fascinating, and this is a concept I really hope takes off.
I’ve always considered myself fairly good at sharing: I play well with others and have no problem lending people things when they need them. But sharing for money is a completely new and intriguing concept. When I first heard about websites allowing people to commoditize their assets—homes, cars, housewares, even themselves—I was fascinated. And admittedly, I also saw dollar signs. Why not make cash for renting out the stuff that you own anyway?
I decided to explore the burgeoning sharing economy for Boston Magazine—out in the May issue now—and found the entire marketplace way more complicated than I anticipated. Questions arose like: What does it mean to own something? What degree of trust do I need to feel secure about sharing? And is sharing for money even really sharing, or is it forcing us to avoid actually sharing with the people we know and love? Suffice to say that there’s way more to say about collaborative consumption, and you can read a lot more of my thoughts about it here.
For the March issue of Boston Magazine, I helped edit our annual Best Places to Live guide. For my part of the packages, I crunched a lot of numbers to put together a market snapshot of real estate trends in Greater Boston (which are a bit scary right now) and also assembled a list of tips for buyers and sellers.
How is it already the end of February? The past few weeks have flown by, in part because I’ve had a few more things on my plate, including few new television spots. The first was a travel segment for the Chronicle focused on Valentine’s day destinations, which was fun to put together (many spots still on my to-do list, click the link to see the spot). I also was sat in for two more segments discussing my Mind the Gap story on the wage gap in Massachusetts, one on Bloomberg News and the other on NECN’s Broadside with Jim Braude. I’m glad to see this issue getting so much attention.
Earlier this month, I was asked to host a panel discussion at the MITx e-commerce conference called Fashion Gets Personal, which looked at several Boston-based companies that create custom-made goods for their clients. The whole idea of “me-commerce” is fascinating, in particular because of the unique challenges these businesses face in the marketplace (as we note, one man’s beautiful R2D2 engagement ring is another’s horrible disaster). The participants were from Bow & Drape, Custom Made, Gemvara, and Blank Label and were all fabulous to speak with. Watch the discussion below.
In the February issue of Boston magazine, I have a story that looks at the wage gap in Massachusetts. After the American Association of University Women ranked the commonwealth 37th in the nation for pay equity, I was pretty pissed off. That means that despite our progressive bona fides, women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man makes here. Fortunately, there are many local women who are finding new ways to keep us aware of that gap, and more importantly, helping us to close it.
It’s over a month since my Good Will Hunting oral history came out, and suffice it to say that the internet loves that kind of stuff. Here’s a few of the biggest hits from where it cropped up online.
I had the chance to talk about my Good Will Hunting piece on Fox last week. The host, VB, was a huge, huge fan.
Every writer has a few pet projects that they kick around in the back of their heads. The kind where you think: If I could take full advantage of my chosen career path, which enables me to call people up and ask questions about their lives, I’d really like to give these guys a call. Suffice it to say that my oral history of Good Will Hunting, which just went up online today at Boston Magazine, was one of those projects. It’s always been one of my favorite films, and I’ve admired the careers of both Ben Affleck and Matt Damon ever since they found their seemingly overnight success with their Oscar win for best screenplay. But if there’s anything I learned in speaking with them, and the rest of the cast and crew, it’s that the work that went into making the film was so daunting that there were many moments when it seemed that the movie wouldn’t happen at all. I’m so glad it did.