The Future of Crowd Sourcing – The Sharing Economy
The Sharing Economy
The “Sharing Economy” Ever heard of it? Understandable if not. The 21st century has seen an explosion of new terms and definitions to categorize every thing imaginable, and the Sharing Economy is one of these new phenomena.
So what is the Sharing Economy? Why do we care about it? Well, because those of you reading this piece have had a serious interaction with it in one way or another. If you’re a member of a coworking community, if you’ve used crowd-sourced apps or services; anything that breaks your dependence from a single provider and makes the community your go-to resource – you are then participating in the Sharing Economy.
What is the Sharing Economy?
The Sharing Economy “Movement” is relatively new, as its growth started with the 21st Century; Ebay, Craigslist and Krrb being the forerunners. The aim of this new phenomenon, also called the “Mesh Economy”, is basically to give “power to the people” in order to move dependence from third-party businesses to deliver goods and services. This movement was made possible thanks to technology which enables connections between people worldwide. More data is now available with smartphones, GPS, and social networks – now individuals can check up on people remotely and handle payments online for billing; all of these resulting in easier, more fluid and interconnected world.
Nowadays, one of the most famous companies which is a part of the sharing economy is Airbnb. For those of you who’ve never heard of it, Airbnb is a website/app service which lists rooms and apartments available for rent by private individuals. Since its creation in 2008, more than 4 million people have used it, largely because it’s cheaper than hotels. This option creates more choices and it provides a sense of being a true ‘inhabitant’ of a city, not just a tourist. In a similar vein, Coworking Spaces are also a part of the sharing economy, as their goal is to provide desks and offices to people who need them but aren’t willing to buy an office. Our aim at Share Your Office is to connect owners who have extra space left, with renters who don’t need a full office while seeking flexibility. The Sharing Economy promotes “people helping people ”.
The Pros and Cons to the Sharing Economy
Environmentally Beneficial: renting cars, sharing spaces, allowing for more efficient allocation of resources reduces cars on the road, allows efficient use of space, and saves people time – all saving the world time, energy, money while reducing pollution.
Security and Accountability: With the growth of social platforms and the free, quick transfer of information, a new era of accountability and openness has emerged, making people think before they act.
Efficiency: Renters pay less, owners make more, less waste, more efficiency.
Community: Expands a sense of community among individuals as groups work together that may not have otherwise.
However with anything, there are also negative aspects.
Regulation and Oversight: Example, individuals who rent out through Air BnB aren’t bound or regulated by the same laws/taxes/requirements that hotel owners are – many individuals believe this creates unfair competition.
Politics: In many cities there’s been a heavy backlash against many sharing movements – such as the ride sharing service Uber – with cities such as Miami out right banning it, citing regulation issues that were previously mentioned.
Despite a few shortcomings, the new Sharing Economy is promising to bring on a new era of efficiency and growth, the likes of which we haven’t seen before. Keep an eye out for the follow up to this piece where we’ll examine the amazing amount of services you can take advantage of in the sharing economy from just your computer.