The ‘Sharing Economy’ or Sharing Econo-you? [some thoughts from Europe’s LeWeb conference]








‘The idea behind this year’s central theme, “The New Sharing Economy”, turns the principle of capitalism on its head, proposing consumer access to goods and services is more important than owning them.’

Although the idea of sharing resources and services is not particularly new, what is new is how mainstream it is becoming in certain sectors. Although this comment from Jeremiah Owyang [an analyst at Altimeter Group, named as one of 2010’s “Five Most Creative Small Businesses” by Fast Company] brings up one of the topical questions at the moment:

“The sharing economy is actually the next phase of the internet. The first phase of the internet, people shared information. The second phase people used social media and anybody can share. Now we’re here today with the sharing economy which is the third phase of the internet. People use the same tools to share products and services and it is actually a very disruptive trend to existing corporations, governments and businesses.”

Is big business going to take this lying down or what kind of backlash or counter-attack can be expected? In this previous post we featured here on Two Cents, we shared how New York regulators and courts were in the process of shutting down or taking legal action against a number of companies in the sharing economy business.

This article brings up some questions and we would love to get some dialogue going here on Two Cents [as the name itself suggests] so please let us know what you think in the comments section on one or more of these:

[1] How nervous do you think existing business and companies need to be with this whole lean towards  ‘Sharing Economy’? Do you see this as something that is only going to affect a small percentage of people that will in a sense work alongside the mostly status quo of how things have always been?

[2] Looking at the three phases of the internet that Mr Owyang highlights, it seems clear that phases one and two have both exploded into being and become commonplace. Is it as likely to think that phase three will continue the trend or is there a difference once it requires a less virtual, more physical inserting of goods and services into the process?

[3] Ingrid Sanders, [founder and CEO of San Francisco’s Popexpert] was quoted as saying this:

“The sharing economy in a lot of respects, I think, is transitioning us into new ways of thinking. In the older economic models a lot of the focus was on what you can buy or consume, in the sharing economy we have shifted and people are thinking a lot about what they can give. They are coming from a place of giving first rather than taking, I think it’s a really interesting transition.”

How valid do you think her assessment that we’re moving from a Taking-based to a Giving-based economy is? If you would disagree with her statement, then where would you suggest the ‘Taking’ aspects are going to be dominant in this new emerging ‘Sharing Economy’?

We would love to hear from you.

Brett Anderson

Brett "Fish" Anderson from South Africa (the country) is passionate about seeing the church live out what it says it believe in all areas of life. He is married to the beautiful Val (tbV) and hates raiSINs with a different kind of passion.
  • Gayle Evers

    I would love to think that this third wave of global sharing will become such a threat that there would be a seismic shift in business-as-usual. But I believe there would have to be a seismic shift in people’s hearts first. Technology cannot create the willingness to share; that willingness must exist in the heart first. Our “two-cents” is to make it as easy as possible for people to share whose hearts are already in that wholesome place.

  • Gayle Evers

    It will be interesting to see how much of a pushback (and from whom) there is in the corporate community.

  • Ben Younan

    I think Saunders’ comments offer an interesting thought to ponder on, though I think she is not quite on the mark. She says, “…in the sharing economy we have shifted and people are thinking a lot about what they can give. They are coming from a place of giving first rather than taking, I think it’s a really interesting transition.”

    I agree that a significant transition is happening around the way goods are exchanged and what access people now have to certain things, but the current wave of collaborative consumption centers entirely around two “receiving” perspectives.

    The first is from the consumer, looking for a more thrifty or efficient or ecological way to consume a product. The product could be a place to stay, renting a movie, getting a ride to the bar, etc.

    The second perspective is what I think Saunders is referring to, which is, “What do I have in excess that I can give away or let someone borrow in return for something else?” (a fee or points of some kind)

    I think we have a long way to go to really, honestly say we have become a culture “coming from a place of giving first rather than taking.”