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Technology Stocks
Peer-to-Peer, Gig and On-Demand Economies
An SI Board Since May 2014
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Emcee:  Glenn Petersen Type:  Moderated
One of the most significant economic developments of the last decade has been the emergence of the sharing economy, a new category of business in which individuals rent their private property (beds, cars and other underused assets) and spare time to individuals who are more often than not complete strangers. The transactions are generally done on a peer-to-peer basis, often facilitated by mobile phone apps.

A subset of the sharing economy is collaborative consumption, a class of economic arrangements in which participants share access to products or services, rather than having individual ownership.

The sharing economy allows individuals to turn their “dead capital” into valuable commercial assets.

The element of trust is important and many of the sharing economy companies have developed elaborate systems to vet and monitor both the individuals providing access to their personal assets and time and the customers paying for the use of those assets and services.

Much of the work on these systems was pioneered by eBay. In a Wired Magazine article by Jason Tanz, Mr. Tanz noted that in the late nineteenth century businesses developed sophisticated centralized systems of codified safeguards to protect both customers and businesses. Mr. Tanz went on to note that, But the problem with institutionalized trust is that it can be, in tech industry parlance, a high-friction affair. eBay couldn’t require everyone with a few extra Beanie Babies to go through the regulatory rigmarole of establishing themselves as a licensed shopkeeper. So over several years, Chesnut’s team built its own trust infrastructure. It began monitoring the activity across the eBay marketplace, flagging potentially problematic sellers or buyers, providing its own payment options, and eventually guaranteeing every purchase. In so doing, eBay evolved from a passive host to an active participant in every transaction. Like the explosion of institutional banking and insurance in the early 20th century, this new system acted as a trust proxy; it didn’t require people to trust one another, because they could rely on a centralized system to protect their interests.

Introducing people to one another may encourage them to behave better—it may reduce insurance payouts and help a company’s bottom line. But it also makes for a radically different experience than we’ve come to expect from our service economy. In my conversations with Lyft riders and drivers, practically everyone said some version of the following: “I like dealing with real people.” Of course, the licensed cabbie is a real person. So is the bellhop, the line cook, the kennel owner. But when we interact with them, they are operating as agents of a commercial enterprise. In the sharing economy, the commerce feels almost secondary, an afterthought to the human connection that undergirds the entire experience. (This is due in part to the fact that the payment itself so often happens electronically and invisibly.) In this way, it suggests a return to pre-industrial society, when our relationships and identities—social capital, to use the lingo—mattered just as much as the financial capital we had to spend.

That’s the carrot side of a more intimate economy, the idea that treating people well will result in a better experience. There is a stick side as well: Act badly and you’ll be barred from participating.’

Elements of the sharing economy have been aggressively resisted in certain cities by entrenched legacy interests (particularly in the hotel and taxi industries).The sharing economy is one of the great unforeseen benefits of the digital age. Cities should not ban it but welcome it.

Examples of companies involved in the sharing economy include:

, which was recently valued at $10 billion and is the poster child for the sharing economy, allows travelers to rent a room or a whole home from a private individual. Airbnb website:

Uber, Lyft and Sidecar have created mobile applications that connect passengers with drivers of private vehicles for hire and ridesharing services. Uber website: Lyft website: Sidecar website:

DogVacay allows dog owners to place their digs with host families in lieu of the dogs being boarded in a kennel. DogVacay website:

Chegg specializes in online textbook rentals (both in physical and digital formats). Chegg website:

TaskRabbit is a marketplace for people to hire people to do jobs and tasks, from delivery, to handyman to office help. Founded in 2008, the site has 4,000 Taskrabbits on the service nationwide who bid to do tasks that are posted by people looking for a service. All the "rabbits" are interviewed and have their backgrounds checked before going on the system. TaskRabbit website:

Fon operates a system of dual access wireless networks. Members agree to share a part of their bandwidth as a Wi-Fi signal, so that they can connect to other members' hotspots. Consumers who choose not to share their Internet connection can buy Wi-Fi access passes or credit from Fon. Fon members whose hotspots are used to access Wi-Fi by a paying customer can receive part of the revenue. Fon website:

allows individuals to list the clothing in their closets for resale. Poshmark website:

Lending Club
is the world's largest peer-to-peer lending platform. It was the first peer-to-peer lender to register its offerings as securities with the SEC and to offer loan trading on a secondary market.. As of November 2013, the platform has originated over 3 billion USD in loans, and averages $7.8 million in daily loan originations. Lending Club website:

Feastly is an online marketplace connecting passionate cooks with hungry eaters to offer homemade meals and food experiences prepared and served in a cook’s home, but not limited to – think inventive warehouse spaces, rooftops, store pop-ups and more; we’re indie meals and social dining at its best. Feastly website:

is the leading social platform for peer-to-peer borrowing and lending. Need a ladder? Borrow it from your neighbor. Have a bike collecting dust in your closet? Lend it out and make a new friend. By sharing with your neighbors, you can save money while reducing waste and strengthen your local community in the process. NeighborGoods website:
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718 Uber drivers are freelancers, not employees, federal labor lawyer says AnotherGlenn Petersen-last Tuesday
717Those pictures represent Amazon's idealized vision of their future delivery Glenn Petersen-last Monday
716Hi Glenn: That type of Van, new probably costs $33 to 40k (Ford Transit 150) plLogain Ablar-last Monday
715A new twist from Amazon: Amazon offers employees $10K and 3 months’ pay to starGlenn Petersen1last Monday
714Probably a good idea for a person in that situation to quit and find another jobJoe Btfsplk1May 10
713Amazon does not have a good history when it comes to the treatment of their gig Glenn Petersen-May 10
712I had a container of WetOnes delivered to my house. Amazon used Purolator. A CSI Ron (Soup Nazi)-May 10
711I Delivered Packages for Amazon and It Was a Nightmare Amazon Flex allows drivezax1May 10
710Can Bird build a better scooter before it runs out of cash? By Sam Dean and Glenn Petersen-May 5
709Uber may have pioneered the ride-hailing business, but its Asian clones have kicGlenn Petersen-May 5
708Airbnb Spawned an Ecosystem of Startups That Sweat the Details so Owners Don’t HGlenn Petersen-May 2
707How China’s ‘Unicorns’ Shook a Bicycle Town Bike-sharing start-ups brought prosGlenn Petersen-April 29
706The Airbnb Invasion of BarcelonaIn the tourist-clogged city, some locals see theGlenn Petersen-April 28
705When Workers Control the Code Clive Thompson Wired August 22, 2019 [graphic] Glenn Petersen-April 28
704Postmates has launched in 1,000 new cities since December Kate Clark@kateclarktGlenn Petersen-April 23
703Airbnb Leads New $160 Million Funding for Short-Term Rental Brand Lyric Deanna Glenn Petersen-April 18
702LFYT was priced at $72 and opened at $87.24. Message 32092996Glenn Petersen-March 29
701American consumers spent more on Airbnb than on Hilton last year That means AirGlenn Petersen1March 26
700A old industry (temp workers) given a digital marketplace-oriented makeover: JiGlenn Petersen-March 24
699Inside Airbnb’s ‘Guerrilla War’ Against Local Governments Paris Martineau WiredGlenn Petersen1March 20
698Zeus raises $24M to make you a living-as-a-service landlord Stealing Airbnb'Glenn Petersen1March 17
697Police State Miami Beach: City Turns Cameras on Tourists in Home-sharing CrackdoTimF-March 12
696Overwhelming Support, Victory for Home-Sharing Rights in Nebraska by Heather CuTimF1March 12
695Contently Reverses Course, Says 'Sorry,' and Tries to Rebuild Bridges wiRon-March 11
694The Servant Economy Ten years after Uber inaugurated a new era for Silicon VallGlenn Petersen-March 7
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