Archive for April, 2014

Graphic: A Timeline of Corporations in the Collaborative Economy


Crowds are on the rise, backed by powerful technology.
The collaborative economy is a powerful movement. People are sharing goods, services, space, and money with each other. Also, they are crowd funding and making their own products outside of traditional factories. They are using powerful technologies, including social networks, mobile devices, the internet of things and mobile payment systems. In all cases, they’re getting what they need from each other, rather than from inefficient corporations. This peer-to-peer commerce economy is enabling the crowd to become like a company, disrupting traditional business models. It’s also going to double in adoption, says our recent report.

Companies are joining the movement, partnering with the crowd.
Innovative and bold brands have already joined in the movement, leading the charge to integrate the strategies of crowd funding, sharing and making into their own business models. Some early adopters, like REI, share the company revenues and equity with the crowd in their coop models. Other companies, like West Elm, Nordstrom and GE are allowing the crowd to design their products alongside them. Companies like Ford partner with Uber to give drivers discounts. Walgreens tapped TaskRabbit to deliver goods to homes, extending the brand promise.

[Over 80 leading brands have joined this peer-to-peer Collaborative Economy, tapping the crowd as a partner.]

Lists are helpful in tracking industries. They help us to organize, analyze and predict where markets are headed. As such, I’ve been keeping a list of brands in the collaborative economy for about a year (along with help from submissions from the crowd, naturally). About ten years ago, we used to keep similar lists in the social media space. We used to track companies that started blogs, twitter accounts and more in the nascent “user generated content” movement.

Fast forward ten years, the next movement is among us. As companies were disrupted by social media, they adapted. Companies disrupted by this new peer economy are also adapting. We’re at the start of another ten year run, and I’m 100% committed to helping corporations through this movement, as I launched Crowd Companies, an association for big brands only, to help them get involved, learn, and lead.

Graphic: A Growing List of Crowd Companies:
The timeline graphic you see below isn’t complete. There are many other submission that are coming in, and more that I’ve missed. To help keep it updated, you can leave a comment on this post, or send me an email at To see this same graphic as a frequency chart, you can see the growth as companies quickly move in.


Swisscom and partnered for crowd-based services related to telecom.
Gap offers shared workforce solutions with local bike sharing
Metlife partners with Lyft to provide insurance to drivers and riders
Media company Dominion Marine partners with Boatbound

Thank you, Vladimir Mirkovic and Julie G., for your help in production and research. Thanks to Lisa Gansky, Fred Neil, Alexandra Samuel, Terry Young, Angus Nelson, and Vivian Wang for your insights.

Want to learn more? Collaborative Economy Resources:


Brands On the Rise In the Collaborative Economy


140 character summary: Brands joining the collaborative economy at a rapid pace as a P2P economy rises.

Corporations in the Collaborative Economy

The above frequency chart (up till April 2nd, 2014) shows the instances of corporations who’ve deployed in the Collaborative Economy, based on this growing list.

The Collaborative Economy Empowers Peer 2 Peer Commerce.
I’ve written a fair amount about corporations in the Collaborative Economy, and have even started an association for large companies, called Crowd Companies. , so tracking this space is not just a passion, but core to my work. In a future post, I’ll list out the specific instances in a timeline, so you can further see how companies are moving into this space.

  • Forecast: 2014 promises increased growth as the movement prospers. This P2P movement is growing. The graph below shows the Google Insights trends of people searching for this market, with a strong uptick to the right. Don’t expect corporations or their agencies and consulting partners to stand idly by. They’ll use the same tools and strategies this coming year and beyond. 2013 showed a 550% growth rate in some instances. If that rate continues, we could expect a whopping 242 new instances of corporate movement into this space in 2014. If current patterns repeat, we should see a bolstering in this space in the last quarter of 2014.

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 8.03.46 AM
Above: Google Insights, which tracks how people are searching for terms, indicates a rapid rise in people searching for the terms sharing economy and maker movement, the two key trends in the collaborative economy movement which will trigger brands to follow the action. See the live graph.

Summary: Companies will increase partnerships with the empowered crowd
The first phase of sharing was social media. People created media and shared it, bypassing corporate-created content. In the second phase, the Collaborative Economy, people are creating products and sharing them without having to buy from companies. Read the full report on their behavior change. Companies must adjust their business model to partner with the empowered crowd.

Thank you, Vlad and Julie G., for your help in production and research. Thanks to Lisa Gansky, Fred Neil, Alexandra Samuel, Terry Young, Angus Nelson, and Vivian Wang for your insights.