Thursday, 21 January 2016

WE-COMMERCE: The sharing economy's uncertain path to changing the world

Peer-to-peer collaboration is gaining ground and changing the economics of the future, but there are questions to answer and obstacles to overcome.

Here's a typical story you're hearing about the sharing economy: Millennial needs ride to music festival. She lives 15 minutes from downtown, which has hardly any parking, and her city doesn't have an efficient public transportation system.

No cabs are available. She remembers the ride sharing service Lyft recently came to her city and downloads the app. Three minutes later, a guy who drives a neon green Dodge pulls in her driveway.

She finds out the driver had just started his shift after a day of work at his full-time job at a health insurance company. He likes the extra money, but he also enjoys meeting people and helping them out. There's no pink moustache on the front of his car like most Lyft drivers — it attracts too much attention.

They arrive at the music festival, she tips him, bids him well. She probably won't see him ever again, but for a short period of time, they had a mutually beneficial relationship.

That anecdote is likely one of the many reasons the "sharing economy" is still considered a hippie movement by some, and a yuppie San Francisco trend by others. Why would a Lyft ride be important for the future of global business?

The answer: trust.

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