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Have you noticed……..

March 27, 2013

Has anyone else noticed how the news and media coverage of the Shared Economy is changing rather quickly? Just a sampling of recent extremely well written pieces gives one a moment of pause: From Shareable, an article on “Values” by Rajesh Makwana http://www.shareable.net/blog/values-and-the-sharing-economy; to this piece in the Economist that remains very optimistic despite opening by highlighting some challenges, lhttp://www.economist.com/news/technology-quarterly/21572914-collaborative-consumption-technology-makes-it-easier-people-rent-items. These are delicate days for the Shared Economy, with clear signals to be ignored at one’s peril. Hands down- my favorite recent article just nailing the delicate balancing act ahead was written by Neal Gorenflo picked up by Pandodaily: lhttp://pandodaily.com/2013/03/19/collaborative-consumption-is-dead-long-live-the-real-sharing-economy/

A relatively small and tight knit community of business people and academics comprise strong advocates for this economic sector. For quite some time now, these professionals have been moving in & out of the core Sharing Economy Provider community, sometimes waving caution flags while still remaining true believers. Suggestions that success and growth will bring bumps, maybe even walls, have frequently been brushed aside as if wearing the “Funded CC” badge included a super hero immunity from the economic, political, and regulatory realities that come from seriously messing with someone’s established turf. Did anyone really expect the 200 year old hotel industry, or the 100+ year old taxi industry to just roll-over because these new models are from The Shared Economy?

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My favorite quote attributed to Steve Jobs

Please, understand, this is coming from someone putting it ALL on the line to build a company serving this growing shift in consumer values. All of us, get2kno included, growing this young, and ‘til now, largely unchallenged, economic growth engine are well served to remember the basic premise allowing the shared economy to get this far: every business model is vulnerable. Pretending vulnerabilities don’t exist is the organizational attribute we leverage in others for growth, lest we fall victim to the same thinking. The experience of navigating the increasingly choppy waters from start-up to up-start to true game changers is as iterative as the changes we make based on user feedback. Each of these growth phases is distinct, and each big step requires new skills. I have every confidence the Shared Economy will successfully navigate into a mainstream economic engine with lasting power beyond a prolonged economic recovery. At the same time I hope to remain mindful that growth brings change, not all change is wanted, but these are the inevitabilities of maturation. Success in the shift from a movement known as Collaborative Consumption to a socio-economic way of being called the Sharing Economy resides with those on the inside. Let’s hope a greater degree of sharing among the collaborators leads the way.

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