Road Trip Update and Next Steps for Shareconomy the Film

Welcome back!

Last fall we wrapped up our Indiegogo campaign and started planning Shareconomy's next steps. Through crowdfunding we raised an incredible $15K which allowed us to travel across the United States and complete several key interviews. This trip broadened our sphere of influence and got us to places in America where the sharing economy is making an impact.

These additional interviews and those we completed before will be the foundation for Shareconomy the film. It was especially important that we capture the varying stances on the collaborative economy. We interviewed everyone from platform founders and users, to state assemblymen, to sociology experts, to people we met on the streets. By investigating every side of the sharing economy we can better determine it's progression and future impact.

We also integrated ourselves in the sharing economy community as much as possible. We stayed with Airbnb hosts, were fed by strangers, and tried our best to use collaborative platforms when we could. This was not only a great way to travel, and lots of fun, it also put us in the shoes of those using the sharing economy every day.

So after 10,000 miles and six cities we are back in Seattle and ready for the next steps in completing the film. Currently we are rolling into post-production. We are very excited to be working with Killer Infographics who will create the motion graphics for Shareconomy. 

We thank everyone for all the great support we've received and can't wait to finish the project. In the meantime check out some of the photos we took on our trip.

Thank you!

Era of Meaningful Independence

The way we work in the United States is undergoing a fundamental shift. Out of the manufacturing age workers have learned the hard way that the traditional stable 9 to 5, isn't so stable. Now, independent work is giving Americans a chance to secure happiness in the work place.

via LA Times

via LA Times

Currently, a third of the nation's workers are freelance. This number is expected to hit 40% - 60 million people - in the next decade. LA Time's Sara Horowitz's recent piece America, Say Goodbye To The Era Of Big Work talks about why this employment shift has been a long time coming. 

A number of factors both economic and cultural are causing the independent workforce to swell. Technological advances and globalization have greatly contributed to the erosion of traditional work arrangements. The private sector’s need for speed and adaptability is increasingly incompatible with maintaining a large, full-time workforce. And of course, the Great Recession has put to rest the notion that there is such a thing as a stable full-time job.

Despite all these factors, it seems like the number one reason persons choose freelance work is for the flexibility. Horowitz quotes a recent survey done by oDesk who found that 89% of freelancers prefer work flexibility to a traditional corporate career. And over half of millennials prioritize job flexibility over pay. This is such a cultural shift from the era of corporate life and Horowitz believes she knows why.

In reality, millennials tend to value experiences more than things. Their consumption habits are driven less by what kind of job they have and more by their pursuit of ever-evolving technology, brands that align with their ideals and sustainable and social purpose purchasing.

While the government struggles to catch up with this new era of work, freelancers thrive. Check out the rest of the LA Times Article and let us know what you think. Are you considering a shift to the freelance world? And if you have already, was it worth it?

Formula For Success In The Sharing Economy

Investors are starting to take notice of the ever growing sharing economy. With a consumer peer market worth $26 billion that continues to develop the sharing economy has some serious potential. This week Raj Kapoor of TechCrunch gave us a comprehensive review of what a sharing economy start up needs to succeed. 

It seems like there are new start ups daily, especially within the shared economy. Kapoor points out that, like in other businesses, those who do best are usually scratching an itch that consumers haven't been able to reach.  

Sharing economy models work great when there is a high degree of consumer pain. As the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In a lot of markets, consumers are happy with the status quo, and it will be hard to get user adoption.

Kapoor believes that is why ridesharing and fitness have done exceptionally well:

For ridesharing and fitness, the consumer pain is more obvious. Until Uber and Lyft, it was impossible to hail a taxi in most cities, a huge pain to force drivers to accept your credit card, and an all-around unpleasant experience in the car.

When you look at the fitness industry, it’s generating $75 billion each year on gym fees, yet 60 percent of people who belong to gyms don’t even go and our nation’s growing obesity and inactivity problem are evidence the solution isn’t working. Lyft and fitmob hack these pain points by creating an experience that is fun, accessible with the push of a button, and affordable giving consumers clear benefits that are lacking in traditional services.

Kapoor also cautions start ups to be aware of the watchful regulatory eye, currently challenging the sharing economy daily. Lyft, Uber and Airbnb are a few of the many sharing platforms that are constantly under fire for violating the law. Kapoor wisely recommends that you should work hand in hand with the government to create a win-win for all parties. 

To see what else is needed for your sharing economy start up needs to be successful, check out the full TechCrunch article and let us know what you think.

Cooperative Jackson Works to Transform Mississippi

Shareable's Cat Johnson recently covered Cooperative Jackson, an organization promoting economic justice in the nation's poorest state. Mississippi has a median household income of just over $37,000 and almost a quarter of residents live under the poverty line. Cooperative Jackson hopes to change that by developing a strong network that encourages economic democracy and equality.

 

via Shareable

via Shareable

Shareable interviewed the Coordinator of Cooperative Jackson Kali Akuno, to talk about the organization's goals, challenges and the impact they have had on the community.

Founded in 2005, Cooperative Jackson is a network that includes a training center, a cooperative bank and several other established cooperative institutions. Aside from teaching people about the importance of cooperatives, they also provide education on how to create one. Recently they hosted Jackson Rising: New Economies Conference, a successful event that attracted international attention. 

While well-received by the majority of residents, not everyone is pleased. Campaign contributors to Jackson's new mayor have shown opposition, but that does not discourage Akuno. "WIthout question, the arms that are open to us are far more powerful than the few detractors when they act as a unified front. But, the detractors presently control much of the economy of the city and region, so we have a fight on our hands."

Jackson aims to lead the south in creating a new economy, and perhaps even the US.

We believe we are in prime position to do many things that have not been done to scale in the U.S. overall as it relates to cooperative development and solidarity economics. The greatest challenge we have is securing the resources to fully capitalize our vision. That is our challenge. But, we have thousands of individuals in our community who ready and willing to work to make our city a beacon of the cooperative movement.

Cooperative Jackson aims to have a minimum of 10% of jobs in Jackson be drawn directly from the federation of worker cooperation. If successful, Jackson would set an example for the influence the sharing economy could have on struggling economies. 

Check out the rest of the interview on Shareable and let us know what you think. 

 

The Sharing Economy Meets Healthcare

Healthcare has found the sharing economy. Israel-based app HelpAround, connects people with diabetes in the immediate area and is the first 'sharing economy' app to hit the healthcare world.

Founders Yishay Knobel and Shlomi Aflalo started HelpAround last year after a friend forgot his diabetes test strips at a sporting event. The app provides users with a local support group of nearby helpers who could be of assistance. A person could share in the app forum that they don't have their supplies, are feeling unwell, or need help with using equipment. Other users in the area can connect with them to provide assistance or support.

"Here at HIMSS [Health Information Management Systems Society] it's all about hospital-to-patient, doctor-to-patient, nurse-to-patient. Why is no one talking about patient-to-patient?" Knobel said during a recent interview. "Especially when research has shown that peer support drives medical outcomes."

The app has been quite successful so far, with thousands of users and about a 90% response rate to questions. As Knobel mentions, higher levels of social support are associated with better diabetes and other illness self-management. Additionally, studies suggest that providing social support may result in health benefits comparable to - or even greater than - receiving support. 

With an increase of focus on patient satisfaction and aftercare, peer support apps such as HelpAround can help medical facilities better educate and support patients. 

"Diabetes management is exhausting for both patients and caregivers, yet there hasn't been a healthcare industry after-care solution that helps patients by connecting them to each other," Knobel has said. "HelpAround premise is: the best resource for a patient is another patient. We harness the superior trust, empathy and camaraderie within the diabetes patient community, allowing members to discover peers who truly 'get it'."

We are interested to see what other healthcare based sharing economy platforms spin off of HelpAround. Check out Mobi Health News' recent article on HelpAround and let us know what you think. Where else could you see a peer-support app being beneficial?

Airbnb CEO Tells us His View on the Sharing Economy

Brian Chesky is not only the CEO of home-share platform Airbnb, but also one of the first to become a billionaire off the shared economy. Last week he discussed his predictions for the Sharing Economy at the Atlantic Aspen Ideas Festival. Considering Chesky's success his bold predictions are worth paying attention to.

He explained that society started on micro-entrepreneurial roots:

"Cities used to be generally villages, and everyone was essentially kind of like an entrepreneur, before there were factories. You were either a farmer, or you worked in the city as a blacksmith, or you had some kind of trade. And then the Industrial Revolution happened." 

Throughout the interview, Chesky makes several predictions about the future of the sharing economy and its impact on society.

Chesky predicts that not only will the industry be able to create upwards of 100 million micro-entrepreneurs, but it will also save us from future recession and robot-worker society. We'll also be living in a world where people can become businesses versus the traditional work-for-the-man archetype. He also predicts that everything will be small with less big chains and outright ownership. "You're not going to have big chain restaurants. We're starting to see you have farmer's markets, and small restaurants, and food trucks. But, soon, restaurants will be in people's living rooms."

While worth the watch, If the 1 hour video is too long for you check out the recap from Venture Beat. Gregory Ferenstein's article "Airbnb CEO Spells Out the End Game For the Sharing Economy in 7 Quotes" breaks down the main points of Chesky's interview.

Let us know what you think. These are pretty bold predictions and the one thing we'd love to hear is a timeline. Is this the future of the Sharing Economy? Will we see it in this lifetime?

Taxi Protests Gridlock Downtown Washington DC

A caravan of angry taxi drivers gridlocked downtown Washington DC this Wednesday. The source of their anger? Ride-sharing services such as Lyft, Uber and Sidecar.

A taxi caravan of hundreds drove slowly and honked car horns as they held up traffic on Constitution Ave on Wednesday. Photo via Washington Post

A taxi caravan of hundreds drove slowly and honked car horns as they held up traffic on Constitution Ave on Wednesday. Photo via Washington Post

Photo via Washington Post

Photo via Washington Post

Cab drivers all over the world have been protesting these new ride-sharing services claiming they have an unfair advantage over traditional taxi drivers. Cabbies must follow strict regulations and require special licensing to operate. Regulations on ride-sharing apps are still being decided and at best, a gray area. 

Wednesday's gridlock has been the newest form of protest from the taxi-industry and it wasn't just in DC. Drivers in London, Paris, Madrid and Berlin brought traffic to crawl earlier this month, honking their horns and waving signs denouncing the local transportation agency and taxi apps.

Wednesday's protest shows that cab drivers will not back down and raises concern as to just how far they will go. Considering that some of these protests have gotten violent, the question now is how (and how quickly) regulators will respond. Driver's voices have been heard in some areas including Virginia, who recently issued a cease and desist letter to Lyft. Where in other cities, such as Seattle, ride-sharing apps have been welcomed as competition to local taxi services. 

"Authorities said Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest opened in both directions around 1 p.m. The roadway had been closed from 15th to 9th streets Northwest because of the protest. The street closure caused other delays in the downtown area. Ironically, because of the protest, some people reported difficulty hailing cabs."

Check out the Washington Post article and let us know what you think. Are these protests getting out of hand or are they warranted? 

Share NY

Today Greg and Jillian headed to the inaugral Share NYC conference at NYU. Hosted by Arun Sundararajan, Luke Williams, and Cynthia Franklin, #ShareNYC featured speakers and panels discussing current hot topics in the sharing economy. The event joined together "entrepreneurs, government leaders, academics, business executives, VCs and students for a unique day of discussion and thought leadership about the emerging collaborative, peer-to-peer and sharing economies." Unfortunately the event was not live-streamed, however Twitter gave us a pretty decent play by play on the main points of discussion.

The first Share NYC conference seemed to be a success and continues to confirm the interest society has in the sharing economy. It's excellent to see such a young economic model hashed out by groups of educators, regulators and enthusiasts while still in development. Did you have an opportunity to attend #ShareNYC? What did you think? Are these conferences developing the sharing economy or not?

Some Setbacks for the Sharing Economy

"Scrutiny of the so-called sharing economy seems to increase every day" and today it's in San Francisco, one of the collaborative economy's model cities.

The San Francisco city attorney sued two landlords Wednesday, claiming they illegally converted residential housing into short-term rentals that were advertised on Airbnb and similar services. The former residents, two of whom were disabled, were evicted using the Ellis Act, a controversial California law that allows landlords to reclaim properties for their own personal use.

Jim Wilson/The New York Times  Dennis Herrera, San Francisco City Attorney

Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Dennis Herrera, San Francisco City Attorney

Ouch. While Airbnb states that this particular landlord has been banned from the using the site, it doesn't mean it won't happen again.

This isn't a new discussion, especially in San Francisco who is currently in the midst of an affordable housing crisis. "Housing advocates say the law is often abused by landlords seeking to cater to the lucrative tourist market".

Ride-sharing also continues to be a topic of constant scrutiny and platform Uber is currently under investigation by New York attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman for illegal price-gouging  (selling goods at higher than reasonable or fair prices). Schneiderman is also seeking information from Airbnb which ended in court (again) this last Tuesday. 

Check out the rest of the article from The New York Times Blog and let us know what you think. Are these setbacks only the beginning? How can a sharing economy services such as Uber and Airbnb prevent users from abusing services? And how should the law respond?

Could the Renting and Sharing Economy Save Indian Cities?

Some seem to think so. Gautam Bhatia's recent article in the Times Of India talks about how government planning (or lack of) has failed Indian cities and the Sharing Economy has the potential to fix that. 

"If our cities have lived up to the expectations of our planners, it is because there were none. The current city is merely an agglomeration of accidental forces - migrating labour, entrenched middle classes, daily human toil, public expectation, random division of physical space, and attempts at law and order. "

Bhatia believes that Indian cities should follow China's lead in discouraging private home ownership and instead create rental housing.

"The Indian city needs similar serious physical and psychological measures. Buying a home in the centre of town and private car ownership are now both archaic and unfeasible. The future city can no longer be seen as a collective of purchasable products, but rather, as a service: a dense habitation where all facilities - home, car, office, shop - are available on rent. A permanent place where residence is impermanent. "

Check out the rest of the article here and let us know what you think. 

 

Why are people Sharing?

While the Sharing Economy has become increasingly popular you may have wondered why people are choosing sharing over ownership. In the Report "Sharing is the New Buying, Winning in the Collaborative Economy" by Jeremiah Owyang, Vision Critical and Crowd Companies they asked over 90,000 people why they share goods, services, space, transportation, and money. They found that the top reasons people participated in sharing was because it is more convenient, it has better value and it's a unique experience.

Check out the rest of study here and the recent dissection on why people share here and let us know what you think. Why do you share?