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BBC新闻重点讲解:借入与借出网站 (2009-9-30)

Borrowing and Lending Website THE HOST: 'Neither a borrower or a lender be' says a father to his son in William Shakespeare's famous play, Hamlet. But actually borrowing and lending is all part of family life and of the interaction between friends. How many of us have never borrowed or lent a book or a record or some money to a mate? However, and I am certainly speaking from experience here, most of us have probably forgotten to return stuff on occasions and this of course can lead to all kinds of tension. Well, the latest community website has found a way to make lending and borrowing much easier, or so they claim. Bill Monk offers you and your friends a chance to keep the record of all things you borrow online. So if you need that piece of music but forgot who has it, it's online for you and your group of friends to check out and sort out. But is this taking the trust out of friendship? Culture Shock's Jason Fips spoke to Bill Monk's co-founder Gaurav Oberoi and began by asking where they got the idea for the website from? GAURAV: In 2004 myself and 3 of my friends took a nine-day vacation to Europe and before we got off the plane we decided that we would keep track of all the bills that we split, so for example, buying movie tickets or train tickets, meals, all sorts of stuff. And we did this. So every time we spent a big bill, we would write it down in a book and when we got back, I put all this data into a spread sheet and emailed it out to the guys and we emailed it back and forth with corrections and additions until we got a final number and then we wrote each other cheques. It was actually very useful because there were hundreds of dollars that ended up having to go back and forth. The great thing was that while on the trip no one worried about pulling out their credit card and paying for something and we didn't have to take out a lot of cash from the ATMs so that we could split bills as we went along. At the time I thought this would be a great service to have online especially for budget travellers like myself. And later on talking to Chuck, we realised that if we had a cell phone component, if you could send an SMS into our service whenever you split a bill, you wouldn't even have to carry that book around. So we actually quit our jobs from Amazon last year in August and launched the site in mid-January. People are using the site for travelling as we intended but for lots of other things like room mates splitting wedding gifts, birthday gifts, concert tickets, all sorts of stuff. JASON: So the library is a place where these groups of friends literally list the things like CDs, or books or DVDs that they have lent to each other. And also you have a facility where people can actually put up a little list of recent things that they've bought that they might want to lend out to their circle of friends. GAURAV: With the library we actually intended it very pragmatically: I lend you a book, I don't want to forget so I'll just note it in the system. But then we realised that if you have been through the trouble of actually adding that book, why not we keep a list around of all the books you own? That way later on your friends can log in and see hey what books does Gaurav have? Maybe I want to borrow something. Then we expanded this to say hey maybe when you log on, you can see everything that all your friends have and search for things in there. So the cool result of this is you have this ad hoc community lending library forming. JASON: You've been online like you've said for 6 months or so. So you have got some statistics about the people who are using the site. Is it a global thing? Are lots of people round the world using Bill Monk? GAURAV: Yes, when we launched we only supported the US dollar as far as currencies go. Today we support well over 50 currencies with 30 actively in use. So what we found is about 75% of all bills still occur in the US dollar so we are very US-heavy still but we are growing elsewhere. The UK, we have a lot of users recording bills in British pounds as well as in the Euro. Probably our fastest growing areas are India and China, India is a little bit faster. And then we have got people as from far off places as Kazakhstan using the website. It's great to see how quickly it's spread all over the world. And it is also interesting to see how this problem of borrowing and lending money and stuff pervades or supersedes all cultures. 来自:VOA英语网 文章地址: http://www.tingvoa.com/html/20090930/7002.html
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