Collaborative Consumption: Is the Sharing Economy Here to Stay?
If you had mentioned Uber or Airbnb in a conversation a few years ago, there’s a good chance no one would have had any idea what you were talking about. Today, those two companies — and others such as Lyft, Lending Tree, and TaskRabbit — have become household names. And Rachel Botsman says this first wave of startups is only the start of a much larger, more fundamental economic change.
Botsman, who wrote the business best-seller What’s Mine is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption Is Changing the Way We Live, says the key to the sharing economy is its underlying simplicity. “It’s about taking an underused asset — a skill, a car, a home,” she notes, “and putting it into a collaborative marketplace to enable greater efficiency, empowerment, and access.”
In her view, that simplicity will help lead to greater acceptance of collaborative consumption — and sweeping changes in the years ahead. “We won’t even think of it as a separate thing,” she says. “It will just be part of our everyday lives. We’ll also see that for a lot of big, major, traditional brands this will just become the way of thinking about creating value, deploying assets, and interacting with people. There will be many other billion-dollar companies in this space that will help people realize that this idea will disrupt the way a lot of industries operate.”
To read an interview with Botsman and learn more about collaborative consumption, check out the 2015 Access 25, our list of the people, places, and ideas defining global connectivity. The current issue is available online. Sign up for a free subscription online.