Welcome to the 'Shared Economy' – and what it means for your wallet
People have become stuffaholics! Some call it ‘just-in-case’ disease. We own kitchens filled with utensils and appliances, in case we need to make some food. We own toolboxes full of tools, in case we need to fix something. We own closets jammed full of clothes, because ‘you never know when you are going to wear that.’ I know a couple that has purchased a complete in-home gym, because they are ‘most definitely’ going to start working out.
We accumulate things to no end. We are addicted to more and more stuff. Why would you need a standard size mouthwash when you can buy the ‘gas can’ version at Costco? Think of how fresh your breath will be for the next 10 years?
Nigel Marsh, author of ‘Fit, Fifty & Fired Up’ sums it up well when he says, “There are thousands and thousands of people out there leading lives of quiet, screaming desperation, where they work long, hard hours at jobs they hate to enable them to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like.”
The ‘Shared Economy’ is here
In response to the ‘just-in case’ disease, there has been a revolutionary shift in the economy in the last few years to the ‘just-in time’ mindset. This new business model, called the ‘shared economy’, is growing in leaps and bounds and revolves around ‘other people’s stuff.’ Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb, summed it all up well when he said, “There are 80 million power drills in America that are used an average of 13 minutes… Does everyone really need their own drill?”
Some people may feel the ‘shared economy’ is just a fad, however, there is evidence to suggest it is here for the long haul. These start-ups are part of a new ‘disruptive’ force that has recently revolutionized the business landscape. They are called ‘disruptive’ because they displace the current business models of traditional companies and more importantly – they’re wildly successful! ‘Disruptive companies’ such as Airbnb and Uber have recently been valued at $10 billion and $18 billion, respectively.
Why Job Seekers Should Take Note of the ‘Shared Economy’
Job seekers need to take notice of the ‘shared economy’ for the simple fact that there are many exciting job opportunities in this new type of industry. Many of the positions within ‘disruptive’ companies are freelance in nature and great for those wishing flexible, non 9 to 5 working hours. The new ‘shared economy’ has attracted job seekers who can think outside the box. Think about ways that you can apply your education and skills to be part of this innovative movement.
Here are four examples of ‘disruptive’ that are hugely successful:
Date Launched: 2008
Industry Disrupted: Travel (e.g. Starwood Hotels, Marriott International, Expedia)
Competition: 9Flats, Couchsurfing.com, HomeAway
Airbnb is an online marketplace that allows people with furnished units, extra rooms, or even a couch, to rent to others visiting their city. The company has more than 600,000 listings, in 34,000 cities, in over 190 countries.
Date Launched: 2010
Industry Disrupted: Transportation (e.g. Taxi Companies)
Competition: Hailo, Lyft, Sidecar, Zipcar
Launched in San Francisco, it started as a black car service. The company then added SUVs and compact cars to its service, and now operates in 25 countries.
Date Launched: 2012
Industry Disrupted: Pet (e.g. Kennels, Dog Daycares)
DogVacay is a service that connects pet owners with dog sitters in their area. These are real homes with real pet owners who will take good care of Sparky and Gizmo for you. It’s cheaper than a kennel and gives dogs a more comfortable place to stay.
Date Launched: 2000
Industry Disrupted: Transportation (e.g. Hertz, National, Avis)
Competition: Autoshare, Car2Go
Industry pioneer Zipcar has calculated that one of their cars replaces 15 private cars. They now have 1.7 million car-sharing members in 27 countries and were recently acquired by the Avis Budget Group for $500 million.
The ‘shared economy’ is about to change the way many of us work in the future. Don’t neglect this new world of co-operation in your job search. It may offer opportunities that you never even considered in the past. For me, with great summer weather upon us, I’m hoping that someone thinks of starting SplitMyPool.com – now this is a ‘disruptive’ company that I can grow to love!
Kevin Makra is the President of Sentor Media Inc., and founder of DirectoryOfCareers.ca. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.