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Zach Bell of MyPlace: “Share the emotion”

MyPlace is currently in its beta phase, which has one group of users called the Founding Community. As we move into our full launch, MyPlace will open up so that anyone can share their homes on the platform within a trusted circle, create niche interest groups, and join already existing groups. We aim to make […]

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MyPlace is currently in its beta phase, which has one group of users called the Founding Community. As we move into our full launch, MyPlace will open up so that anyone can share their homes on the platform within a trusted circle, create niche interest groups, and join already existing groups. We aim to make MyPlace a revolutionary social network of like-minded travelers who share their homes with each other.


As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Zach Bell.

Zach Bell is the Founder & CEO of MyPlace — a platform for trusted and private homesharing. As the Founder and Editor of RETURN, Zach hosts, writes and runs an ongoing salon that curates intimate thought leader gatherings with topics focused at the intersection of different cultural movements. Zach is an owner and former Chief Community Officer at HABITAS, an experience based hospitality group that runs a global community, builds and operates hotels around the world. Zach holds a MBA and has a background building and scaling disruptive technology companies in New York City and San Francisco. He has advised Burning Man, The Esalen Institute and top cultural non-profits. He is the Co-Founder of RISE, a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit that builds and activates community, spaces, and cultural hubs in under-resourced locations around the world.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I started MyPlace as a way to share my home with my friends. I didn’t want to turn my home into a short-term rental, but I also didn’t want it to sit empty. So I made a website with my apartment and shared it with 75 friends to let them know they could stay and to see if they wanted to add their place as well — within a short time there were 2500 friends and 500 places, all listed at cost based on our shared trust.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

Since 2008 we’ve been promised the sharing economy. But it’s still no easier today to share anything with anyone I know or trust. All the sharing economy tools we were given have just turned into marketplaces. MyPlace lets users share WHAT they want with WHO they want, HOW they want it. Finally, we get to share!

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I can’t think about a funny mistake, but I can say, however, that I just moved out of my house within hours if someone wanted to stay because I always wanted the initial users to have a good experience. My girlfriend hated that and there were some silly mistakes in there! Better to keep things stable at home.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

Guy Laliberté, the founder of Cirque du Soleil, has been a great friend and he’s always had me in awe of his generosity and how he shares with so many around him. He was an inspiration and guide in how sharing can have such a huge impact on those who receive as well as those who give.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

Disruption for the sake of disruption is a flashy, useless trend. When disruption makes something drastically easier than a heavy incumbent — that is useful disruption. We like when disruptors take the power out of the hands of a few and give it to the many.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

Share the emotion. Everyone feels, there is no difference between a customer and yourself. If you can feel it, share it in the way you feel it.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

MyPlace is currently in its beta phase, which has one group of users called the Founding Community. As we move into our full launch, MyPlace will open up so that anyone can share their homes on the platform within a trusted circle, create niche interest groups, and join already existing groups. We aim to make MyPlace a revolutionary social network of like-minded travelers who share their homes with each other.

Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

“The Gift” by Lewis Hyde. The book teaches about gifting versus selling. When you gift within your community, property moves in a flow and a feeling of abundance is created. Each gift makes the item more valuable and bonds the giver and the receiver. When you sell something, property becomes stagnant and less. It doesn’t move freely and when scaled within a community; it creates a feeling of scarcity. Every website on the internet today is a selling website; there is nothing that accounts for your social connection, bonds and community — they assume everyone is a stranger and to be sold to. At MyPlace we allow communities to share, flow and exchange within their trust circles to create more abundance.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Culture is the arts elevated to a set of beliefs.”

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I’d create a global experience where we were able to see ourselves as one with all life, animate and inanimate on the Earth–all part of a grand dance. Maybe from there we’d all be a lot nicer to ourselves, each other and the planet.

How can our readers follow you online?

You can visit www.myplace.coto find the latest updates or join the waitlist. If you want to get personal, all my links are at zachmbell.com

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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