While in Amsterdam a while ago I spent some time with Pieter Van De Glind – Dutch Global Curator for Collaborative Consumption at ShareNL. We got to discussing the Sharing economy, global acceptance, trends, scalability, permanence, and the fundamentals upon which it’s success is built upon. Collaborative consumption, also known as the Sharing Economy is indeed the new economy. No 24 hour news cycle happens covering the economical, political, and socio cultural landscape without mention of the sharing economy. Twitter at any given time buzzes with hashtags for the #sharingeconomy #collaborativeconsumption #innovation or #collaborativeeconomy . Not surprising to say the least.
This brief post discusses three core pillars that make the sharing economy what it is, and why the encyclopedic change is permanently on the upswing.
Entrepreneurship and Micropreneurship
Collaborative consumption inherently supports entrepreneurship and micropreneurship in a manner that scales across communities, cultures, language, and nationalities. This is simply a proposition that any lucid human being can relate to. From parking spots, to home swapping, to car sharing, to community supported agriculture, the basic needs of every person can be met in a collaboratively productive manner where everybody wins. If a local has a pickup truck and you need to move some items, you get your move and he makes a few extra dollars. Same with Uber, or Airbnb, it’s a cross pollination between demand and supply….and no special corporate licensing, barrier-creating bureaucratic fees or processes involved.
The Sharing economy and collaborative consumption is inherently democratic and based on a meritocracy. If you provide a good experience to your Airbnb customers, you get good reviews….and good reviews mean more reservations. If you are a good guest you also get good review from your host….which translates to more hosts eager to accept your reservation requests, and perhaps offer you incentives. With positive votes come increasing success, and vice versa. You can ask the couple whose house was trashed by the Airbnb guests, or the Phlatbed IKEA furniture move that resulted in 5 trips back to IKEA. In a democratic meritocracy, every voice is heard and the system is inherently empowered to self organize and improve due to the fundamental basis of trust and transparency.
Simple and Simplicity are two different things. The Sharing economy has a value proposition based on simplicity in comparison to the convoluted bureaucratic traditional economy. Deliver a service that connects people while ensuring each party derives value from their participation in the transaction. That is as fair as any system could be, compared to the traditional economy based on a one way model that inherently ensures winners and losers. The purposeful simplicity returns the human factor to how we do business. Collaborative consumption takes into account community, humanity, people as entities that exist to serve the greater good and benefit fellow human beings, and more importantly a means by which we go back to the purpose upon which commerce was created……..equitable exchange of goods and services. Perhaps it’s an answer to an increasingly demanding consumer base? …..who knows?