Simple economics suggest that we should have no problem clearing Newton’s sidewalks. There’s no doubt there’s plenty of demand, and many have hypothesized that there’s no shortage of supply of reasonably-priced labor out there, especially on snow days when kids are home from school. Yet the shoveler list on the city web site, if you could even find it, has failed to match customers with the workers. Last year there was a single shoveler in all of Newton Highlands, and now city hall is giving up. Perhaps the medium was the problem. Paper registrations had to be mailed or faxed in to the city, and the help was contacted by telephone. My kids don’t even use the telephone anymore, who has time for US mail? Could technology be used to do more to than post a PDF containing a list of names once a year? Would the right opportunity “going viral” on social networks encourage kids to get out there and make a few bucks while helping their community?
Newton resident Brian Hodgson says his kids made good money working through snow storms and his phone starts ringing the night before a storm, to the point where he had to start recruiting other kids. The tagline of his new site, Solocho, is to connect local neighborhoods and communities to get stuff done. Could this be exactly what Newton needs? Visit the website or follow @ChoreEconomy on Twitter or Facebook.