How the Sharing Economy is Winning
Need something done? There’s an app for that!
The sharing economy is an economic system where goods and services are shared rather than individually owned and it's largely operated online. There are thousands of services being offered on websites or apps that can make your life simple, save time and money, and reduce stress.
More importantly, sharing goods reduces the environmental strain that comes from resource extraction and pollution. For example, we can opt to share cars and rides, which would reduce the amount of cars purchased, cars on the road, gasoline used, unavailable parking spots and traffic tickets, especially for those of us living in or near cities. Not having a car in the suburbs is a bit more difficult. I used to live in the 'burbs and owned a car which was a huge headache and cost A LOT of money. But now I live in the city and don't own a car, and it has been an incredibly freeing experience.
At the same time, if we buy and sell existing items, then there will be less of a demand to produce more, you can make and save some money, the item has renewed value, and it's not just thrown into the garbage where it ends up in a landfill or the ocean.
There's a sense of empowerment that comes with partaking in this sharing model, knowing that you are creating value for someone else by participating in a decentralized economic model. This way, more people can be rewarded rather than just a few people at the top. It kind of sounds like communism, I know. Communism sucks when it's forced, but when you borrow one principle on your own free will then it's not 100% awful. Free-market capitalism itself has its flaws causing all sorts of social inequality and environmental problems that we as a society need to figure out. But, I digress. Back to the topic at hand.
Ebay and Craigslist are the mothers of internet sharing economy trends, but they are all-encompassing with many categories and dull user experiences that can be difficult to sift through. Companies that offer services for specific things have risen in the ranks like Airbnb (hotel alternative) and Uber (taxi alternative). The valuation of these companies are off the charts. Airbnb itself is valued at $13 BILLION ahead of staff stock sale, and Uber is crushing it with its $40 Billion valuation. Not too shabby for sharing sites.
Here’s a list of other popular apps that you can incorporate into your daily living.
Note: Some of these services may not be available in your location. If not, maybe you can start your own. It’s fairly easy and quick to design your own website or apps with template sites like Weebly and ShoutEm. All you need to do is clear some time in your schedule and come up with a good idea that’s lucrative (that’s the hardest part, I’d say).
If you want to check out the latest sharing economy companies, visit Mesh.
What’s your experience with companies like these? Do have any questions or comments? Share below!
Written by: Erum Azeez
Follow @erumazeez on twitter
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