When I grew up in Scotland, warm water was a bit of luxury. Baths were often a bit too cool, and topped up with kettles of boiling water that never seemed to make much difference. Who got into the bath first was a bone of contention. The sharing economy has been familiar to me, ever since childhood.
A warm bath has always been a singular luxury, so imagine my delight at having a swimming pool that sometimes reached 38 degrees. That was the temperature of our apartment block’s pool in Hong Kong. It was glorious. Actually, to be honest with you, sometimes the pool was even a little too hot…
We had a great time in that pool. My son learned to swim and we were often in the pool twice a day… but then it came time to leave Hong Kong and return to London. I was sitting by the pool with my son diving to the bottom of the little jacuzzi pool and I wondered, how am I going to get this in London?
Around the same time I had a number of professional interests that had my brain popping. The Sharing Economy was fascinating, the idea of bringing ‘lazy’ assets online and opening them up to a global audience. The phrase that kept entering my mind was ‘there is enough to go round, if only we share’.
The virtualisation of companies was also an interest – just how far can outsourcing be pushed in an age where everything is becoming an API? Software is eating the world and traditional business models are in upheaval.
All of these notions collapsed into one during a forced break from work. It was 38 degrees outside, but I was inside with pneumonia and plenty of time to think. That is when Shwimmer was born – the idea to bring all of the swimming pools of the world online.
Why swimming pools? Are they lazy assets? You bet they are – expensive to build and maintain and woefully underutilized. I always felt sorry for the lifeguard in our apartment building who was lonely for 90% of his time, not a ripple disturbing the empty pool.
I imagined the possibilities that would unfold if the worlds pools were brought online for all to see and explore. A mighty global river of pools that one could swim forever and never reach the end of. The ultimate infinity pool. This is the beginning of Shwimmer, a sharing economy experiment and a quest to bring the pools of the world to the palm of your hand.
Can you help us bring this beautiful vision into the world? Most easily, just share with your friends and ask your favourite pools to list on the site, for free.
And finally, where does the name come from? The ‘Sh‘ in Shwimmer is meant to denote sharing… but the sharing of beautiful pools, and not cold baths!