back to article Californian tycoons stole my sharing economy, says Lily Cole

Big Money has poisoned the utopia of the sharing economy, says the millionaire supermodel and “social entrepreneur” Lily Cole. Once upon a time, unicorns grazed innocently over websites like Cole’s own, the “gift economy” website that was powered only by love (and a gift from taxpayers). Contributors were happy …

  1. hplasm
    Paris Hilton


    How about paying the grants back?

    That's Impossible- dot com.

    1. Martin Summers Silver badge

      Re: Lily!

      And the complete berk who authorised them not once, but twice now should be fired for blatantly throwing tax payers money at a sinking stinking ship.

      1. Preston Munchensonton

        Re: Lily!

        And the complete berk who authorised them not once, but twice now should be fired for blatantly throwing tax payers money at a sinking stinking ship.

        In case you hadn't noticed, the line forms to the left for those in public service that waste taxpayers' money. I might go so far as to suggest that there isn't a politician or bureaucrat for whom this wouldn't apply.

        1. John G Imrie

          Re: Lily!

          And that's a problem because ...

  2. tiggity Silver badge

    And I wonder what the carbon footprint, use of planetary resources of Coles lifestyle is compared to your average UK pleb?

    I so love to be preached at by people who do so much travel outside the UK, I especially think about them flying across the Atlantic as I stand (sardine special commuter train, only the lucky few sit) on my commuter train thinking how unworthy & profligate I am for wasting resources by not walking 15 miles to work.

    1. Triggerfish



      The amount of privileged people who stand there saying we should give up stuff as long as it's not their stuff. Or telling us from one of their many million pound mansions, how we should be helping the homeless or giving them our money to help with the latest charity they have decided to promote in the hope of appearing on the queens honours list or something, all the while having more cash than they actually ever really need to live comfortably.

      Well they can all fuck off.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Adam Hart-Davis once did an interview that pissed me off. I can't remember exactly what was said (it was many years ago), but the basic gist was that we all needed to stop flying, before then telling us all about his fact finding trips to Africa and America. Presumably flying at the front of the place at license payers expense.

  3. Titus Aduxass

    Lily Who?

    Never heard of her before.

    1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

      Re: Lily Who?

      No one has. Certainly no one outside of the UK.

    2. LewisRage

      Re: Lily Who?


    3. scrubber

      Re: Lily Who?

      The Doctor's daughter?

      1. Chris King

        Re: Lily Who?

        Thinking along the right lines, but the Doctor's Daughter was Georgia Moffett.

        Lily Cole was the Mermaid in "Curse of the Black Spot" -

    4. x 7

      Re: Lily Who?

      Who is she?

      She was a green skinned alien witch robot nurse in Dr Who

      She looks like an alien anyway

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nobody is sharing my "under utilized resources". Take the drill as an example. It's a wear component, it will come back from being "shared" fucked up.

    It's like when people ask to "borrow" consumables like paint. May as well just give them £10 to buy a pot of paint.

    Let's limit sharing to Hollywood movie torrents.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, but if you let your mate "borrow" your paint, it gives you another excuse to tell the wife as to why you still haven't painted that fence yet. The paint had been sitting in the garage for a year already, it's not like it was actually going to get used.

  5. Dave 126 Silver badge

    There's a serious thought...

    ...bubbling up through my brain, but it isn't there yet. It the meantime, I'm just thinking:

    'Cause I got a brand new combine harvester and I'll give you the key

    Come on now, let's get together

    In perfect harmony

    I got 20 acres and you got 43

    Now I got a brand new combine harvester and I'll give you the key.

    That, and also Homer Simpson's garage, full of tools and lawnmowers marked 'Property of Ned Flanders'.

  6. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge


    Spoilt rich girl good at spending other people's money is shocked to find the world doesn't work the way she wants it to, complains.

    1. LewisRage

      Re: Newsflash

      Define spoiled little rich girl. Seems to me she had a fairly normal upbringing (according to wikipedia). I'm sure you must know more than I though; I can't imagine you'd make wild claims on the internet without having the faintest clue what you are talking about?

      1. x 7

        Re: Newsflash

        as she is a "model" its more likely she's a despoiled girl than a spoiled girl.........

      2. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        @LewisRage Re: Newsflash

        Define spoiled little rich girl...

        Well first up I didn't say little. That's clearly what you thought when you read my comment - though whether it was just because that's what you expected to see, or whether you tacitly believe that of her yourself and that's a Freudian slip, is unknown.

        From personal experience, people who think the world works the way they want it to have been spoilt as children. Really spoilt. Those who've not been spoilt tend to have a more rounded, realistic outlook. Probably bordering on cynical/pessimism. YMMV of course, and I respect that.

        So it's not a massive leap to believe she was spoilt as a child.

        Am I right? I don't know. Freely admit that.

        You don't know either, as you obviously don't know her personally. Relying on that fount of all things truthful Wikipedia for your information is kinda daft.

        Does it actually matter? Not a damn bit, and it doesn't alter the thrust of my argument in any way.

      3. Gregory Kohs

        Re: Newsflash

        Laughing at "according to Wikipedia". You just don't get it, do you?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Newsflash

      Come on, what do you expect from a history of art major? A nobel prise level comprehension of economics? I do not think so.

      At most you can expect a good professional killer. Though I suspect she does not quite make the grade and the fitness test for that one either.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Come on, what do you expect

        She can probably spell "prize" correctly though....

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Newsflash

        I think this would be a much better example, especially given that it is based on a true story:

  7. Duffy Moon

    Lead by example

    If money is so abhorrent to her, why hasn't she given 99% of hers away? I wonder how much of the planet's resources she uses, jetting all over it. Actually, I'm not sure that she is actually from this planet.

    I do hope that grant money can be recovered and spent on something sensible (ha!).

    1. dorsetknob
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Lead by example

      she could easily recover the grant money to repay and make her Site profitable if......

      If she was to start selling her used underwear

      There are Apparently People queuing to buy her used soiled .................... Oh God where is my credit card

      Paris Cause she knows how to make a buck or two

  8. TheProf Silver badge

    A double first

    in Art History?

    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha etc.

  9. Dabooka Silver badge

    £200,000 for no tangible output

    Who does she think she is, Kids Company?

    1. LewisRage

      Re: £200,000 for no tangible output

      Add a couple of zero's to that figure you could argue she thinks she's ATOS

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: £200,000 for no tangible output

        To be fair ATOS actually managed to get half a dozen people off benefits, granted it was due to them committing suicide but hell it's results that matter.

    2. SVV

      Re: £200,000 for no tangible output

      "After the Cabinet Office creatively interpreted its guidelines to give Cole £200,000 for, an “innovation in giving” grant,"

      So, after redefinig low pay as a "living wage", wasting taxpayers money on meaningless, vacuous crap is now an "innovation in giving"?

      Orwell would have been impressed, although his pessimistic vision of the future wasn't quite right. He saw it as "a jackboot stamping on a human face forever" but it turns out that in reality it's more like a shiny gold trainer.

      1. Yag
        Thumb Up

        Re: £200,000 for no tangible output

        Reminds me of the Orwell Vs Huxley debate.

  10. Natalie Gritpants Silver badge

    Not sure about the tomato

    but give me a drill, a mile of road and an hour of boredom and I could probably do something quite funny.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Not sure about the tomato

      You are Wile E. Coyote, and I claim my £5.

      Meep! Meep!

    2. My-Handle Silver badge

      Re: Not sure about the tomato

      I love the idea of adding a braille translation to each and every road sign

      1. hplasm
        Thumb Up

        Re: Not sure about the tomato

        "I love the idea of adding a braille translation to each and every road sign..."

        That says - "Don't Touch!!"

        1. Peter Simpson 1

          Re: Not sure about the tomato

          Rather like the Braille on drive-up ATM buttons.

          But there's no Braille on the screen...

          // yes, I do realize you can also WALK up to them

          1. Super Fast Jellyfish

            Re: Not sure about the tomato

            Quite a few here in the UK have a headphone socket, so you listen to the responses.

      2. Chris King

        Re: Not sure about the tomato

        You are Wile E. Coyote, and I claim my £5. Meep! Meep!

        So by about 20 minutes into the hour, you expect Natalie to be run over by a bus, blown up with a stick of comedy dynamite and/or squashed flat by an ACME anvil ?

    3. Bloakey1

      Re: Not sure about the tomato

      "but give me a drill, a mile of road and an hour of boredom and I could probably do something quite funny"

      When you were bored, you could take the seeds out of the tomato, drill and plant them alongside a road and grow lead and pollutant laden tomatoes and give them away to the proletariat.

      She does seem to appear a lot in the *cough*, ahem, gentleman's magazines with all her charms on display. That is the last time I type her name into google when it is on pictures.

  11. Chris King

    Oh, poor Lily...

    Sounds like someone clubbed all her Unicorns with the Iron Bar of Economic Reality and threw them on the barbie. (Bonus points for turning a profit on the Unicorn steaks)

    Beer icon, because the "sharing economy" probably won't stretch to a pint, let alone repay those grants.

    1. GitMeMyShootinIrons

      Re: Oh, poor Lily...

      Astoundingly, turning a profit from Unicorn Steak has been tried (well, in a *very* loose sense) -

      1. Someone_Somewhere

        Re: Oh, poor Lily...

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Oh, poor Lily...

      Now you've got me trying to remember what the Unicorn steaks card does in Thunderstone.....

  12. Alistair

    I deal with the sharing economy alla time.

    I keep getting shared to other departments. To clean up their messes.

  13. Tom 7 Silver badge

    The trouble with Firsts from Oxbridge in the arts

    is they may enable you to charm the birds out of the trees and money out of the gullible but, like MBAs, is they cannot help you boil a kettle or make a profit from fresh air. You need to have a towel folder as a friend for that.

    1. hplasm

      Re: The trouble with Firsts from Oxbridge in the arts

      Except in this case - it seems LC can " ...make a profit from fresh air."

      But not keep it up.

  14. JayB

    Fixing the quote...

    But the model, actress and philosopher, whose net worth was estimated at £7m, has realised that some people have become wealthy from doing what she exactly was doing.

    Should read...

    But the model, actress, bumbling idiot and all round hypocrite, whose net worth was estimated as all the kittens and rainbows you can hug, has realised that people have become wealthy from not being wildly credulous and doing what she exactly was doing, but doing it much, much, MUCH better.

    Honestly, how are people like this able to survive in the real world? Has she ever visited the real world? We used to lock people like this up in Coney Hatch, now they get a Govt grant and fly around the world. Please stop the world, I'd like to step off it for five mins.

  15. Uplink

    For starters, I can't get what does from their front pages. It has that neo-dotcom look where it screams "it's great! believe us!" but without actually saying how it works. I'm a software developer. Put an algorithm in front of me or Hulk Smash(tm). What I did get, is that it's something about sharing skills, time, objects (this is buried in the "About Us" page), but as soon as I land all I see is "shop". I can't reconcile being paid in Thanks with shopping in Pounds Sterling, and I've already spent enough time on their site, so I'll stop trying.

    On a tangent:

    Given a very recent past experience where a friend maxed her "underutilised" brand new credit card in two months and then came asking for help, I'm starting to move away from the idea of sharing. I'd gladly help her grow, but she failed so many times (I played the role of creditors to Greece in this play) that I have no idea what else to do. She's willing to cut on food and keep pay tv... and she even got upset when I suggested she does it the other way around...

    If you want to do good in the world, help people grow. But as soon as you realise that they not only don't grow, but abuse the help to fuck their lives up, walk away - find somebody else. This should also be a prime directive when it comes to state benefits: Grow so you stop needing the benefits or fuck off.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "For starters, I can't get what does from their front pages."

      I think you've hit on the problem.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sharing is caring

    Thats why I fart in elevators. Aggressively and with extreme focus.

    I dont need £200k of funding for that.

    Unless I go to the next cloth touching level.

    If you're interested in investing in let me know. Ill set a kickstarter or patreon.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Sharing is caring

      You are a very maladjusted person.

      Have an up vote.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    She's half right

    The actual "sharing economy" of today is terminological bullshit; it's not about "sharing", it's companies using loopholes in the law to avoid regulations and taxes that they would otherwise be subject to. However when it comes to what she seems to think are meaningful alternatives...

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: She's half right

      Maybe somebody ought to buy her a dictionary that actually has the word "Oxymoron" in it......or at least lend her one.

      Paris: For the "vacuous tart famous for NSFW pics" connection.

      1. Doctor Evil

        Re: She's half right

        Maybe somebody ought to buy her a dictionary that actually has the word "Oxymoron" in it......or at least lend her one.

        Isn't that just a moron who consumes oxygen?

        There -- saved you a few quid.

  18. All names Taken

    She is right but ...

    ... that is the way the world is no?

    I was going to type somethi but then couldn't be bothered.

    Then could, so:

    community stuff is not the monopoly of non-profit, not-for-profit or tax-dollar-funded, or ... organisations.

    Big business can and does find models that return a profit and do some good for community and is that a bad, bad, bad thing?

    Big business can and does find some horrid horrible detestable business models and makes mistakes and lose profits and can go out of business if the 'orrible coefficient is sufficiently large to turn profit opportunities into loss makers

  19. BurnT'offering

    She has nothing to complain about

    We seem to have shared lots of our money with her

  20. Herby


    One of the basic tenants of common law (used in most English speaking countries) is that "owning" property is the right to DENY others its utility. She seems to forget that in her discourse. When you "share" you really don't own anything any more. Of course this includes money in various forms as well.

    It seems she needs a basic lesson on how the world works!

    p.s. Politicians please take note as well!

  21. aregross

    Lili Cole: "Here, let me show you what I mean"

    (Fills box with rocks)

    Lili Cole: "See!?!"

  22. Joefish
    Paris Hilton

    "Imagine no possessions - I wonder if you can"

    "No need for greed or hunger - A brotherhood of man.

    Imagine all the people - Sharing all the world..."

    Wrote John Lennon, sat in front of his Steinway piano in his Georgian Country house on his 72-acre Berkshire estate.

    There's a lesson there for all of us, I feel. Ms Cole included.

  23. Mark 85 Silver badge

    "Stole her sharing economy"????

    Obviously, no one stole it. She shared it with them. Or something like that. The bigger question in my mind is: "Why does anyone actually give a rats butt about her, anyway?". She sounds like all the other celebtards out there.

  24. ecofeco Silver badge

    Millionaires complaining about other millionires

    ...about an economic model that makes everyone else poor.

    Irony of titanic proportions.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lots of dissing comments regarding Lily Cole, but very little of actual substance.

    Shame on you commentards!

    Personally, I've never heard of the woman so I really wouldn't know anything about her motivations or her background.

    Interesting thing though. Sharing economies really do work, at least on a small scale.

    The problem that they always encounter is the difference of mindset that are required to understand them, so entrenched we are in the modern, competitive environment in which we live.

    I remember a guy phoned into a radio program explaining his vision of what he called a "gift" economy.

    His point was that when he does something for his family, he doesn't charge them or expect reciprocity from them. He is a cobbler by trade and mends shoes for all his friends for exactly nothing.

    Why, then, do we not extend this ethos to the wider society, he asks?

    Well for a start, he has a genetic investment in his kin, so that explains the difference. However, in purely practical terms, he does have a point. Certainly at the local level, it can be made to work and in older times, this is exactly how things worked before fiat currency came along to replace barter.

    There are certainly problems with this kind of system that would have to work out, especially the problems related to scale.

    However, this over-reliance of competition and of people set against each other for advantage really does foster the kind of evil that we see particularly in the US where people are expected to "stand on their own two feet" and make a life for themselves, even if it is to the detriment of their fellows. Often this is expressed as opposition to social healthcare systems leaving everyone to find their own way, or die/suffer through lack of the right kind of policy or money.

    One of these days, as a race we'll remember that we are only successful as a tribal species. We really do work better when we work and live together for the collective good.

    1. TheProf Silver badge

      Capital idea

      May I suggest you read "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind" by Yuval Noah Harari. I thought he explained why we became a capitalist planet quite well.

    2. Old Handle

      Mainly I think people are annoyed that she took alot of money from the government and accomplished essentially nothing with it... while acting like a superior git. As far as "sharing economy" websites, Craigslist's Free section is vastly more practical. (and already existed) Lets see... right now I could get a futon, aloe clippings, cranberry sauce, pet fish, firewood, a whole bunch of "clean" dirt and a jacuzzi.

      1. x 7

        "aloe clippings"

        you sure you're not misreading "toe clippings"?

    3. Mark 85 Silver badge

      What you say makes sense...however, in the States the IRS got involved. For example.. doctor to doctor courtesy is taxed such that if Doc A does a procedure on one Doc B's family, Doc B has declare that as income. They were starting, at one point, to clamp down on barter clubs and the like but I'm not sure where that is on their priority list. Turns out that cash is easier to deal with.

  26. Commswonk Silver badge

    Am I the only person...

    ... who thinks "Chucky" (of Child's Play) when faced with the photograph at the top of this article?

    Shame on you El Reg*... but funny with it.

    Don't change it.


  27. All names Taken

    It should be apparent to all that .. I've lost all interest in this thread

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To help, Silly Mole's dwindling bank account and all three earths literally at once, I've just purchased 54 of these natty rucksacks at £290 a pop -

    It certainly made a 'talking point' here at home when I explained I might well have to sell the car when the next credit card bill arrives, but I'm just thinking about Africa so that's ok.

  29. x 7

    What pisses me off is that whenever I posted MY wish on her "impossible.con" website the request got deleted and my user account was zapped. Six times.

    Just what was wrong in requesting that "I wish for the impossible.con website to be shut down before it wastes any more taxpayers money"?

  30. x 7

    actually.............I just looked at her website for the first time in months and its changed so much that one would be forgiven for thinking its been hijacked by a commercial sales org

    Previously it held a simple list of peoples wants/wishes, often esoteric (eg I wish for a ton of money, or I wish for a testicle transplant, or I wish for world peace.....)

    Now it just seems to be a cheap tat sales bazaar. But the point is that change in layout and style could only come about due to her control and decisions. Unless in reality she wasn't the brains behind it all....

    Personally it looks to me as if she was the figurehead (or bowsprite) for a fraud

  31. x 7

    somebody earlier asked what she looked like

    moderator note: THE BELOW LINK IS NSFW!

    this may jog your memory

    make sure the wife's not looking over your shoulder

    1. Bloakey1


      "make sure the wife's not looking over your shoulder"

      Damn, caught out twice in two days. It is very warm here on the patio but there is a cold front settling in on my left hand side. She also knows I have a thing for redheads so the pattern has been established, damn you sir.

      1. x 7

        Hey Bloakey, here's a safer one for you

        moderator note - this link goes to a possibly NSFW picture of Lily Cole wearing a slinky leather outfit

        would you buy a used website from this girl?

        More seriously, is she the girl who Roger Daltrey was thinking about when he sang "Pictures of Lily"?

        1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

          Men, if you're going to link to full-frontal nudity and/or NSFW pictures, for pity's sake write NSFW before suckering people in with your obscured bitly links.

          1. x 7

            "Men, if you're going to link to full-frontal nudity and/or NSFW pictures, for pity's sake write NSFW before suckering people in with your obscured bitly links."

            Sorry, I thought the story was a bit thin and needed fleshing out.

            To be honest I thought the warning about wives would be enough. I used because of the length of the links - not to obscure.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I love the first comment on that NSFW link

          "She may have a head like a Mekon, but by God. She’s got a body and bush to die for."

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Money and ownership both seem toxic to Lily Cole..."

    And yet she has somehow managed to accumulate millions of pounds.

    Of which she has managed to retain ownership, using the public's money for her hare brained efforts.

    I imagine all that toxicity has Lily feeling pretty poorly.

    She is a model you say? Of what, may I ask?

    Please don't let it be a modern Major General.

  33. Someone_Somewhere

    What about


  34. Infernoz Bronze badge

    Miss clueless doesn't get that Socialism is an economically bankrupt idea.

    Only nothing is free, everything else has some cost attached which someone has to pay, even just in effort and time. She didn't model for free, did she, and is quite welcome to use her wealth to pay for her stupid ideas...

    The whole idea of capitalism is property ownership and its incentives to do the right things enough to prosper, and fail when you do the wrongs things too much. This would work if Socialist governments hadn't distorted markets so much with disincentives and incentives to do the wrong things, and require wasting resources on pointless junk, so cause new and smaller businesses to die prematurely!

    1. Someone_Somewhere

      Re: Miss clueless doesn't get that Socialism is an economically bankrupt idea.

      "There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." — John Rogers

      "Generally, the work of Ms. Rand is hugely enjoyed by people with the literary sensitivities of 11-year-olds who imagine they have fierce political sophistication." — Rationalwiki

      Just to, you know, put the anarchosyndicalist wetdream of 19th Century laissez-faire Capitalism in perspective.

  35. x 7



    In terms of her own reading habits, she said her current favourite novelists were Vladimir Nabokov, Truman Capote and JD Salinger. And in non-fiction, she said, she was reading books about economics

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021