Collaborative Consumption: Challening the Status Quo

With so many different sharing marketplaces emerging over the years, it’s no wonder the collaborative consumption movement is starting to be met with some growing pains and a struggle to find its identity. Having specialized marketplaces for cars, rooms, and even handbag is what has made it so successful, but they’re not without unique problems, ranging from disturbing the status quo, to trusting someone behind your computer screen. At a glance, the shared economy is a way for anyone to utilize their most valuable assets to make money–assets that aren’t being used one hundred percent of the time, like cars, yachts, spare rooms. At the end of the day though, things like airbnb and Uber are disturbing the traditional way people used to vacation and travel by providing the same service, sometimes cheaper and often times more convenient. This obviously presents a problem: if things like Uber are presenting a [...] Read More

Your new neighborhood: The Internet

There’s a classic scene that can sometimes pan out on tv, the movies, or even in your own kitchen. You’re baking, but realize you’ve made a grave mistake in not having bought any sugar at the store. Worry not! Your neighbor surely has some sugar. So you grab your measuring cup, walk down the hall, and you knock on your neighbors door. Problem solved. Now, in 2013, a cup of sugar has become a car (or a babysitter, or a boat, or even a castle), and your neighbor, conveniently, is the internet. In this analogy, the hallway is the sharing economy which has been making noise for a few years now, and shows no signs of slowing down. But how–and more importantly why–did this grassroots, Burning Man-esque movement (if you can call billions of dollars a movement) come to be? Hiring people to take care of your kids, dogs, and [...] Read More

Does anonymity have a place in the sharing economy?

The Craigslist of 2013 finds itself at the butt of a lot of jokes. The OG peer-to-peer marketplace, however, can be considered the grandfather of nearly all of the P2P services we have today. For nearly every category that Craigslist has, a specialized sharing marketplace has been born. Though the idea between Craigslist and other sharing marketplaces is similar–find strangers online, buy/trade with them–they couldn’t be more different. Craigslist prides itself on anonymity, going as far as scrambling your email address. You may not know if they’re a man or woman until you finally see them in broad daylight. But in the new sharing economy that type of anonymity doesn’t have a place. People want to know what type of person they’re inviting into their lives, to sleep in their beds, drive their cars, and even watch their dog while they’re away. The days of being able to post an [...] Read More

Shared Fears in the Sharing Economy

A few weeks ago my girlfriend set up an interview for a nannying position through Care.com. She and the family in question exchanged a few messages via the babbysitter marketplace before agreeing to meet. No more than a few days later, my girlfriend forced me into the passenger seat to drive 45 minute out to the suburbs to meet two elementary aged kids under the hawk-like gaze of their mother. But why was I going? The short answer is trust. The long, drawn out answer is that both her and I had a very real fear that this family didn’t exist. That she would walk up to the front door, be greeted by a Hannibal Lector type, then swiftly murdered. Me being there was a sort of safety net: in case this family, whose identity hadn’t been verified through Care.com, did turn out to be a murderer, at least I’d [...] Read More

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