Facts – present and future
There are different names out there: sharing economy, peer-to-peer value exchange – and “people-powered markets”. The last title is from Vanessa Miemis, who has done a great job to collect and sort 60 (!) of that markets (emergentbydesign.com). There are some more facts from her research:
- There are over 2.8 million couchsurfers in 80,317 cities across 246 countries
- Over 820 coworking places are active worldwide
- Car sharing will be a 6 billion annual business by 2016
You might ask: People Economy – is that communism reloaded? Definitly not! Just in the opposite direction. Yes, it has to do with re-wiring the value chains, but to give people more power. It is about empowerment. The leftist ideologies often did show that they have no real trust in people. When they have acquired power they have again and again build massive control structures – to keep themselves in power and keep people powerless. They even did hate freedom of speech, freedom of thought. The new “people economy” is quite the opposite: It accepts your economical empowerment, conceives you as an entrepreneur, encourages you to monetize on your ressources.
Airbnb story as an example
“Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique spaces around the world online or from an iPhone device.” (techcrunch.com) The company is funded with 108 million USD. The competitor wimdu.com has got 90 million USD. (techcrunch.com). And if you check the growing directory of Lisa Gansky you will find dozens of platforms in the travel category alone ( http://meshing.it/categories/29-Travel ). By the way the directory has 32 categories.
It is the unfolding socio-digital “matrix” again
Why is this happening now? In the US context there might be an influence of the ongoing economical crisis, but the primary driver is the maturity of the “socio-technological complex”, the matrix of highly inter-connected people – technologically supported with digital mechanisms of trust and reputation, with the habit to connect and interact. We will see this spread and gaining momentum in the coming years. While this trend is about sharing some posessions or skills there is another disruptive trend in close company: microwork crowdsourcing in the real world. Curious? Check out Gigwalk, the “first ever distributed workforce”: “We turn the world’s iPhones into your instant mobile workforce.” In the moment available only in US .