Video: The Clothesline Paradox and the Sharing Economy

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


In this video, Tim O’Reilley presents The Clothesline Paradox and the Sharing Economy. Recorded at OSCON 2012 in Portland.

Open source software was one of the earliest successful examples of a sharing economy that has had huge economic impact. But as alternative energy advocate Steve Baer once noted, ecosystem services are often ignored in economic analysis: when you put your clothes in the dryer the energy you use is measured and counted, but when you hang them on the line, they disappear from the measured economy.

As presented to a room full of 3000 open source developers, this was a fascinating talk that may give you pause. The idea that we need to give more than we take from an ecosystem is something that I think really resonates in the HPC community. Download the slides (PDF).

Update: The Economic Impact of Open Source on Small Business: A Case Study uses data provided by Endurance International Group’s Bluehost division to explicate what Tim terms the “clothesline effect.” In addition to the free report, Tim and colleagues gathered for a roundtable discussion of this topic.

You can watch the final day of streaming talks from OSCON today starting at 9:00am PT at


  1. […] der jährlichen Open Source Convention in Portland gab er kürzlich in seinem Vortrag The Clothesline Paradox and the Sharing Economy interessante Gedankenanstöße zur Ökonomie des Teilens. O’Reilly kam dabei auf das so […]