The Sharing Economy


Once again, Tom Friedman got it right.  In his recent piece, “Welcome to the Sharing Economy”, Friedman talks about the birth of Airbnb and its incredible growth and development.

I love reading about these stories, because any time someone says America is doomed, I am always reminded about companies like Airbnb. It was founded by two bright, young, nobodies, who saw a gap in the marketplace, had the gonads to try and fill it and wound up building one of the great success stories of the year. Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple—onlyin America my friends.

Friedman emphasizes that companies like Airbnb succeed because they had the ability to build trust. I totally agree. My first experience with trust came with OpenTable. This is not because of the individual reviews but their brilliance to manage reservations on both ends. If the restaurant doesn’t honor reservations they get dropped, and if consumers don’t honor their reservations they get dropped. This is the ultimate democracy. Yelp does the same thing. It is almost impossible to fake reviews—positive or negative—because the algorithms get you every time.

Virtually every product and service may be disrupted by the “sharing” concept. All to the good. We really have too many things that sit idle. Why not share them among others, benefit financially, and have a more efficient and democratic economy? This makes so much sense and “sharing” will grow exponentially as more bright people disrupt our old economic models. Go for it. I, for one, can’t wait for the results.