Archive for the ‘Matrix’ Category

Ecosystem Guide: The 12 Players of the Collaborative Economy


The Collaborative Economy is a complex ecosystem composed of many unique players.

These many players are jostling about, partnering, competing, and disrupting each other. It’s key to understand the many players in this movement before blindly stumbling into this market. This post took weeks to prepare, and it’s my attempt to catalogue a very complex market that has broad, global economic impacts being felt by many people. By no means is this market breakdown complete, so I seek your feedback in the comments.

This space is diverse.

There’s a wide range of political groups: from grandstanding politicians, to left-wing sharing communal hippies, to conservative incumbents resisting the movement, to libertarians seeking as little government regulation as possible as possible. There’s a wide range of social ideologies: There are environmentalists, to people’s rights activists, to technologists fascinated by the latest trends, to local neighborhood leaders, to federal regulators and government leaders. There’s also a wide range of economic classes: from billionaire investors, to bootstrapped entrepreneurs in their 20s, to the working class, to retirees forced to host strangers at their home to avoid foreclosure.

It looks complex to the outsider.

It’s impossible to analyze this market and expect to put each person into one single box. Life is complex, and nearly every person can fit into multiple categories. The sections below are categorized into four major groups: 1) The People, 2) The Technologists, 3) The Established and 4) The Influencers. Each specific group contains a breakdown of its constituents. Thanks to Robin Chase, who provided additional insight into the nonprofits in the space.

This guide will help distill a complex movement.

Ecosystem Guide: The 12 Players of the Collaborative Economy

Times Square Crowd

The People

Players Examples What they want What no one tells you
Providers Makers, Airbnb hosts, Uber drivers, Lyft friends, TaskRabbits and others who provide services, space or resources to others. Get more detail on Providers, Platforms, and Partakers. They seek to make a living, to have a lifestyle where they control their own destiny and have the rights and benefits that should accompany doing so. They’re potentially at risk of not being insured, protected or providing benefits similar jobs have. Expect them to move closer to organizations, like the Freelancers Union, which offer health and wellness services, retirement options and other resources.
Partakers People who buy Etsy goods, Airbnb guests, Uber riders, Lyft passengers and others who purchase the services from Providers. Our research found that these folks seek ease of use and pricing above all, followed by unique experiences and achieving altruism by helping others or participating in a more sustainable lifestyle. Our research found that the rate of adoption will double this year alone, with more folks using these services sooner than previously thought.
Displaced Taxi drivers, hotel workers, traditional manufacturers, and others who are losing their jobs as providers assume their positions. Want their jobs, rights, and lives back. In some cases they’ve taken to protests, violence or joining unions. Many taxi drivers have become Uber or Lyft drivers because of the opportunity to achieve a more flexible schedule, although their rights, wages and benefits are still up for discussion.
Non Profits, NGOs The Freelancers Union, Shareable, Sustainable Economies Law Center, OuiShare, People who Share, and Peers. Focused on the empowerment of people or advancing sustainability, these offer education, resources, and more to this growing market. These groups are pro-movement, but many are partnered with the startups (Platforms) and large corporations to yield benefits, as well as work closely with regulators to drive action and change.


The Technologists

The Players Examples What they want What no one tells you
Platforms The startups. Airbnb, Lyft, Etsy, TaskRabbit, oDesk, Uber, Lending Club and more. There are over 9000 startups, many regionalized in specific countries or cities. They want to provide a scalable, two-sided marketplace of buyers and sellers offering value added services. They must protect their interests, those of the partakers and providers. Many are heavily VC funded and have goals for adoption and valuation. These startups are less altruistic than one may think. Advocates have criticized them for becoming the new lords of feudalism. There are over 9,000 startups, as indexed by the Mesh Directory, hosted by industry leader, Lisa Gansky.
Investors Angels who’re getting the platform going, traditional VCs, often from Sand Hill, and Corporate Venturing, like Google Ventures, who’s invested in Uber. In the last 8 months alone, there’s been over $2.5b of funding, with over $2B the years before. Maximum return on their investments. VCs are known to often want to achieve 5-10X return after 5-10 years of investment. The requirement for return on equity puts pressure on Platforms to monetize the marketplaces they manage, which, critics suggest, will minimize the abilities of both providers and partakers.
Advocates Sharing advocates include both lobbyists hired by the Platforms and non-profits like Peers. To achieve market acceptance of the benefits of the maker movement, sharing and the impact it has on society, people and the global economy. They seek to educate, foster grassroots and lobbying support, and achieve change from the established. There’s been scrutiny about where funding actually comes from in this category. It’s quite clear that Uber has hired traditional DC lobbyists to advocate for their issues to regulators at the federal level.

Chicago Skyscraper

 The Established

The Players Examples What they want What no one tells you
Incumbent Corporations Taxis, hotels, banks, retail, consumer goods and more. To protect and advance their business models. There have been over 90 instances of traditional corporations who’ve deployed in the collaborative economy (see timeline graphic). At the same time, a lobbying group for hoteliers has formed to battle Airbnb specifically.
Lobbyists Hoteliers and taxi commissions have formed associations or hired lobbyists. To protect the interests and rights of the industries, owners or workers they represent and to ensure a level playing field so that startups do not gain an unfair advantage by avoiding regulations and taxes paid by incumbents. Multiple journalists have told me that advocates and lobbyists against the movement provide them with stories, data, and research, both for and against this movement.
Governments Municipal, state and federal governments and departments, like the California Public Utilities Commission or the European Union. To find the balance between supporting innovation and new business models, while, at the same time, protecting the vested interests of industries, current systems, safety and security and to yield taxable monies. Governments are not all reacting the alike. Some cities adopt quickly. To wit, Airbnb now pays 14% hotel tax to the city of SF. Some cities ban it all together, as Vegas has banned all ride sharing. Feds are also looking at the issues of crowd-based funding and of crowd-created currencies like Bitcoin.


The Influencers

The Constituents Examples What they want What no one tells you
Press and Media The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Salon, TechCrunch, INC, Wired and SFGate, have deployed journalists and columns dedicated to this topic. To be the leading coverage of this new market as it breaks, providing insight to the impacts and outcomes. This industry recognizes and distinguishes disruption from collaboration. It was disrupted from peer-to-peer social media over the past 15 years. Now it reports by having adapted to P2P.
Thought Leaders Lisa GanskyNeal GorenfloMark HatchRachel BotsmanChris AndersonDale DoughertyRobin ChaseArun Sundararajan, Jeremy Rifkin, and many, many others. To lead the discussion in the market about the benefits and risks of these global and economic changes. Their business models tend to inform and influence by means of writing, speaking, consulting, forming associations, and advancing their investment portfolios. This is just the start. Expect a wave of thousands of Collaborative experts to emerge, just as we saw the rise of ninjas, gurus, and samurai in the social media space.

Closing Thoughts and a Request for Feedback

In the future, we should expect new players to emerge as unions form for worker rights or new co-ops that enable a new type of startup that straddles both technology and people. Use this guide to help maneuver this ecosystem, rather than blindly charging in. Conducting this market breakdown isn’t easy and the results are not necessarily perfect. I look forward to your feedback in the below comments.

Creative Commons: Image by DivyaImage by Chicago CellImage by LukeW, Image by Mkeefe

Edits were made 12 hours later, added People who Share and tweaked language in other sections.

3D Printing Business Models Spell Ecosystem Change


Above: MakerBot 3-D printer from MakerBot Flickr account.

This blog is focused on the relationship between large companies and their communities (customers, partners, and more) as it relates to new technologies. Emerging markets generate a desire for large companies to integrate new technologies to scope out new business models, scenarios and plans. Within this context I propose four major scenarios for large companies to offer 3D printing and scanning technologies within their business ecosystem.

New business models are emerging, transforming retailers into manufacturers and service providers, offering customized products at scale, and reconfiguring supply chain and logistics into new business entities heretofore unseen and into others we’ve yet to see.  As a primer, before you read on, be sure to read the impacts of 3D printing to corporations, then read the five different roles large companies can play in this market.

Examples Print Quality Capital Investment Fulfillment
4) Industrial 3D printing $500k industrial printers that print complex, advanced materials or multi-materials, ideal for medical and industrial use. Example: aerospace parts are being printed by GE, and BAE systems is printing fighter jet parts. High High Slow High
3) 3D Printing as a Service In this scenario, expensive 3D printers are housed in a central location and orders are received online. The finished products are mailed to the customer, taking days or weeks. Currently, Shapeways offers this service, printing using high quality metals, plastics and other substrate materials. High High Moderate Low
2) Retail 3D printing The potential exists for retail stores, big box electronics, shipping, and office supply services to offer print on demand, much like the old Photomat business model. Mid Mid Moderate Mid
1) Home 3D printing Cube, Type A Machines, and MakerBot, already offer consumer-grade machines that may be used to print in 3D in your own home. Low Low Fast Low


3D printing requires business model change.
The big trend is that people and businesses are becoming empowered by new technologies for funding, design, modeling, manufacturing, and shipping goods on demand.  While most goods are currently simple items, technology will continue to advance, demanding major shifts in today’s manufacturing ecosystem.

  • The game shifts when anyone can manufacture goods.  First of all, my mom isn’t ready for 3D printing. I’ve taken classes at TechShop, and I was stunned by the complexities involved.  However, 3D printing as a service (like Shapeways) enables anyone to produce 3D goods without configuring printers, filaments and dealing with 3D files. Production, even on a limited scale, starts to become democratized.
  • New services emerge for customized products.  3D printing isn’t just about printing goods on demand or at a local level. It also allows people to print out customized products for their own lives, bodies, and homes. Expect new design services to emerge to produce custom-fit products for bodies. In fact they already exist. A logical starting point is jewelry, then practical gadgets, mechanical devices, consumer electronics, automotive components.
  • Logistics, supply chain, and shipping are impacted.  With goods being produced at local levels rather than at production facilities, in country or offshore, supply chains are disrupted, as 3D Printing takes global hold. With that said, China is already investing in 3D printing, according to USAToday.

Thank you to the Ben Simon-Thomas and Scott McGregor from SoundFit, a 3D scanning provider who fleshed out this diagram with me.  If you are a large company and want to discuss these topics with experts and your peers, I recently launched a company dedicated to these and similar game-changing topics. See Crowd Companies, a brand council for the Collaborative Economy.

The Alliances Form in the Collaborative Economy Battleground


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Above: Screenshot from the story board on how corporations can fight or join the collaborative economy.

Taking a look back at last two week’s event show some interesting twists, the crowd is continuing to organize around getting what they need from each other, rather than from corporations. For the advanced corporations who’ve entered the collaborative economy,  they’ve formed partnerships to strengthen their own ecosystem.


[Business models and tempers change as the crowd gets what they need from each other –rather than corporations]


It’s important to state that this is a continuation of social business. The next phase of social business isn’t just sharing ideas, but the sharing of goods and services.  People can share goods and services with each other  (like Lyft, Airbnb, Yerdle and more)–without having to purchase from corporations. Notice the trend? Social media dis-intermediated corporate communications –and now the same trend is happening to goods and services.

One of my desires is to look for patterns, and I’m seeing these tension points arise as power shifts hands, here’s four distinct events in the last two weeks that highlight the energy in this growing space:

  1. Taxi drivers unify and protest against peer-to-peer ride services.  SF taxi drivers who’re losing money from ride and car sharing services revolt, they picket and protest at SF City hall.  I’ve met Lyft drivers (regular citizens who will drive you around like a friend, for a tip) who have been yelled at, spat on, and called “Scab” by angry taxi drivers.   It’s impossible to stop this trend, as newly arrived UberX cars are driven by regular people, and have no distinguishing marks.  Read the analysis on brand sentiment comparing Uber vs Taxis –the crowd sentiment favors peer ride services over Taxis.
  2. Yet California Public Utilities Commission proposes legal approval.  California lawmakers are discussing legalizing peer based car rides, even as SF Mayor engages with a sharing program around emergencies.  This movement seeks to legitimize peer to peer car rides, by applying some standards, and I’ll assert this is a direct way to obtain additional tax revenues.   Once this landmark battle is addressed, it will set precedent for home sharing, money sharing, good sharing, food sharing, and beyond.
  3. Established Regis and Zipcar (by Avis) form a partnership.  Massive praise to innovative Zipcar (owned by Avis) and Regus (we’re a client) who’ve partnered up to allow customers of on-demand car sharing to now receive discounts at on-demand office spaces.  This bodes well, and I could expect to see other forms of on-demand food, workers, and hotels on demand emerge to suit this same vein.  This is a smart move for corporations to align with each other, offering additional value peer to peer sharing can’t.
  4. Sharing startups form alliance, with big implications, called  Watch this group,, closely.  I was able to talk to founder Natalie Foster, who was a former digital strategist on the Obama campaign (famed for grassroots online democracy), who shared with me the mission of this advocacy group, containing 22 collaborative economy startups like Airbnb, Lyft, TaskRabbit, Shareable, and more (Businessweek has more).  This group will enable people to post their causes online, and then generate global advocacy for the sharing revolution.  They also can help the startups themselves built a massive network that could content with corporations.
Breakdown:  Crowd and Corporate Alliances in the Collaborative Economy
Crowd Alliances Corporate Alliances
Definition The sharing startups: Like Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, NextDoor, Lendingclub, Liquidspace Fortune 1000 corporations like BMW, Marriott, Regus, Avis, Enterprise Holdings, WellsFargo, and beyond
Examples enables the sharing startups to work together forming a powerful collective of shared voice, and potentially market strategy. Corporate alliances like Zipcar and Regus are the first phases, expect other lobbyist to provide power and corporations to get involved.
Strengths Fast and flexible, crowd-powered, VC-backed. Break the rules, barter for forgiveness later. A people’s movement ties in with democracy, empowered individuals, and Occupy movement themes. Trusted and established brand. Large set of loyal customers. Massive distribution and resources. Working capital.
Challenge Fragmented set of companies, some directly competitive. Lack a trusted long term ‘brand’ like established corporations, lack an established customer base, lack systemized infrastructure, lack standardized experiences. Slow moving companies, with first instict is to fight a disruption, rather than adopt. Saddleded with regulations, they lack flexibility, and innovation. Some standard services may not appeal to those seeking local and personal experiences. Often more expensive than crowd-based services.
Opportunity Standardize reputation and ecommerce systems for fluid transactions for people to use all services seamlessly. Tap into the infrastructure, distribution, and supply chain of large corporations. Tap into the crowd for innovation and reduce costs by leveraging the crowd by collaborating. Reduce costs of goods by providing new business models such as on-demand services, a marketplace to yield new transactions and sell new value added services.

What this means to corporations:

The crowd isn’t going to wait for a corporation to get their social media center of excellence in place to get what they need, these disruptions are happening at the pace of the crowd’s desires. Corporations must quickly realize the following three insights:

  • Energy is shifting from institutions to the crowd.  Angry taxi drivers, hotel lobbyists fighting Airbnb, and aggressive marketing highlight the friction as power, and money shifts from established groups to the crowd-based groups.   One reason I’m so focused on this movement is when I see customers move away from corporations, I run (not walk) to this disruption to uncover what’s happening, in hopes to help corporations catch up.
  • A battle is being fought at individual city, state, and other levels.  The natural reaction of institutions, businesses is to fight it.  The pattern of attacks are illegal activity, unsafe, poor quality and unreliable.  As a result, the sharing revolution starts to self-organize their own advocacy (and potentially crowd based lobbying group) through to self-organize.
  • Innovative corporations who seek to thrive will collaborate.   Companies don’t need to fight this unstoppable internet movement, but instead can collaborate with this movement and make their products available on demand, motivate a marketplace around them, or provide a platform for customers to build on top of them.

The future could mean a connected collaborative economy ecosystem –disruptive to corporations. Do watch, who could align the collaborative economy ecosystem into a single force.  With the 22 (and more coming) startups that are part of the collaborative economy,  they could standardize currency, profiles, reputations, and enable people to get homes, rooms for rents, office space, jobs, goods, food, and more from each other –rather than buying from traditional corporations.   If you want to learn how your corporation can be involved, read the full report on the Collaborative Economy, read a curation of stats, a list of startups, and a list of corporations who’ve moved in.




Provide a Platform for the Crowd to Become Your Company


Screen Shot 2013-06-21 at 5.00.13 AM
Above Image: Screenshot taken from keynote presentation on the Collaborative Economy.
I’m about to tell you that in the most advanced form of the Collaborative Economy, the crowd becomes the company.

To set the context, this post is the most advanced form of the Collaborative Economy, and is only part of my ongoing coverage of this next phase of social business.  Read the definitive research report or peruse all the posts on the Collaborative Economy topic. Let me restate the definition of this movement:

[The Collaborative Economy is an economic model where ownership and access are shared between people, startups, and corporations.]

Disruption: The Crowd Is Already Replicating Company Functions
The Collaborative Economy is where people get what they want from each other, bypassing corporations.  They fund, ideate, design, develop, produce, distribute, market, sell and support products on their own.  As proof points, here’s a list of over 200 startups across various sectors, industries, and geographies.

Corporations Have Two Options:  Fight or Adapt Movement
As with social media, disrupted companies have realized they must use the same technologies to regain power.  Similarly, corporations have one of two options: 1) Fight this revolution by trying to ignore it or by trying to introduce or influence regulation. 2) Collaborate with this new economy, invite the crowd in and unlock new business value for all.

For the corporations that want to explore the second option, read on.

Adapt:  Advanced Collaborative Economy – The Company Provides a Platform
In our research on the Collaborative Economy, the most advanced use case is when corporations allow their customers to participate in core business functions.  We call this Provide a Platform (software, services, solutions), whereby companies make available a dedicated area for customers to join in.

The Rollout:  How Corporations will Deploy This Concept
In my analysis of this industry, I am seeing business functions from every sector being taken on by the crowd.   They will do one of two things:  1) Partner with the startups that offering this, or, 2) Host the available enterprise software on their website.

The below breakdown shows how it’s already emerging

Collaborating with the Crowd in Many Business Functions

Business Function:  
Element of a company that can collaborate with crowd
Disruptors and potential partners to corporations
Enterprise Software: 
SW providers that enable corporations to self-host the experience
Brand Examples: 
Who’s doing it now
Co-Employment oDeskTaskrabbit for business, Crowdflower ManpowerKelly ServicesRobert Half Many companies are already tapping into on-demand work
Co-Ideation and Co-Design Quirkly UservoiceSpigit, Crowdtap, BrightIdeaNn the design side, CrowdSpring and 99 Designs; potentially Adobe Creative Cloud Starbucks Ideas, NikeID product designer
Co-Funding Kickstarter SelfStarter by Lockitron, Ignition Deck (Tx Tanya) Dodge Dart Registry
Co-Development and Production Etsy3D Printers Industry Unknown Unknown
Co-Delivery DelivPostmates Google Shopping Express Wa-Mart considered crowd delivery, but no movement sensed.
Co-Storage Lockitron Lockitron RelayRide partnered with OnStar for instant inventory
Co-Marketing Customers organically share in social channels Extole, BuddyMedia by Salesforce, Wildfire Social marketing examples exist in great supply
Co-Sales In a limited way:  LivingSocial, Groupon Affiliate programs Reseller programs with verified partners already exist
Co-Support Customers do this informally now, often in social networks. Get Satisfaction has been active on this topic; LithiumJive Social support examples exist in great supply
Co-Resell Marketplace EbayCraigslist, and many vertical specific, like Gazelle (electronics) While unproven, the following have potential:  Oracle CXSalesforce, IBM Social BusinessAdobe Experience and social commerce platform, Bazaarvoice Patagonia partnered with eBay on Common Threads; Scottevest points to eBay market
Co-Facilities and Office Space Companies can rent office space to each other:  Liquidspace, Sharedesk, Pivotdesk While many examples are startups, these platforms are open to enterprise corporations too. Some corporations offer innovation labs, opening their doors to the market.
Co-Support Customers do this informally now, often in social networks Get Satisfaction has been active on this topic; LithiumJive Social support examples exist in great supply
The process repeats


Note: There are other business functions, such as sharing revenue and IP that could also be extended to the crowd; this is only a small sample of what’s possible.

Challenges Await for all Parties
Rife with opposition, the road ahead will require a business transformation and, with it, a series of more challenges await.  Challenges over liability, IP ownership, revenue sharing, information security, and concerns over quality lay ahead.  Don’t assume that all startups will want to work with corporations.  I interviewed Airbnb for this research, and asked them point blank if they would partner with hotels.  They made it clear that’s not a part of their current roadmap.

Expect New Enterprise Software to Emerge
Expect that many social business suite players will get wind of this space and seek to build or acquire players in this space to assemble a suite.  I’ve briefed a number of the small and large software companies associated with this booming movement and informed them of the opportunities at hand. Expect for now that point players will continue to emerge and, eventually, provide an opportunity for acquisition cycle.  But for now, we’re just at market identification stage.

Conclusion:  Soon Customers and Employees Will be the Same
Corporations that adopt these methods and invite the crowd to be part of the company will benefit from a more efficient workforce, reduced costs, and tapping into loyal customers from product ideation to delivery.  In this new model, it will be difficult to tell the difference between customers and employees, as the ownership of core business functions are shared with customers.

In the very near future, the crowd will become the company.

The Many Forms of Transaction in the Collaborative Economy


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Above Image:  An advanced view of the Collaborative Economy Value Chain in an ‘exploded’ view.  This exclusive image, which was not included in the seminal report on the Collaborative Economy, shows a potential new business model that taps into new transactions beyond traditional selling.  In the final phase of “Provide a Platform,” the crowd is building new products.


[The Collaborative Economy is an economic model where ownership and access are shared between corporations, startups, and people]

First, it’s key to read the full report and watch the 18 minute video of the highlights of the research report, the Collaborative Economy.  The report defines the movement, gives quantified examples of disruption, indicates the three market forces that are driving this trend, and offers solutions for corporations who must adopt the value chain.  Once you’ve done this, we can explore the advanced model (above), which proposes a hypothetical model that we created in the market where new forms of transaction emerge and the end state is where the crowd starts to design and build the company’s products.


[For corporations that adopt the Collaborative Economy Value Chain, this results in market efficiencies that bear new products, services, and business growth]

Exploring the Above Graphic:  The Collaborative Economy Value Chain (Exploded View).
Starting at the top at the products and moving clockwise, let’s explore the three major use cases of the Collaborative Economy for corporations.  In each phase, a shift is required as products become services, services become marketplaces, and marketplaces build products.  I have named each of these phases, and then I have given real world examples of these phases already happening.  In the table below, I give further definition to the transaction types at each phase.

  • In Company as a Service products become services.  In this advanced model, companies move beyond traditional selling and transform their products to services. I call this, “Company as a Service.”  To date, both BMW and Toyota are renting their cars from their dealership lots in San Francisco in order to serve the growing car-sharing trend.   For those familiar with Netflix or Salesforce, this business model isn’t new, and it’s a good entry point for corporations.
  • In Motivate a Marketplace services become a marketplace.  Companies evolve their services to an entire marketplace, called “Motivate a Marketplace,” which taps into peer-to-peer markets that are already trading goods and services a traditional company involved.  The difference here is that corporations must join this marketplace, rather than stand aside and be disrupted.  One notable example today is Patagonia, which partnered with eBay to encourage customers to buy used goods, rather than buy new.
  • In Provide a Platform, marketplaces build your products.  The last phase, where marketplaces shift to products, means that corporations allow the crowd to collaborate on core business functions, such as design, funding, marketing, development, production, delivery, and sales.  We’re already seeing examples emerge in pieces (Kickstarter for funding, Etsy for production, Quirkly for development, and Deliv for delivery).  I see copious, open, market opportunities for brands to transform their businesses by being involved in the Collaborative Economy.

Transactions in the Collaborative Economy
Now that we’ve identified the phases in the Collaborative Economy Value Chain, we are free to explore the many transaction types that have already emerged in the industry.  I’m thankful in particular to Neal Gorenflo, the founder of Shareable Magazine (the premiere media site in this space), who spent a few afternoons with me to map out the transaction types during my research process.  The table below was featured in the appendix of the report.

Model Description Example Ecosystem Impacts
Sell Not new — but more and more individuals are empowered to provide goods and services directly to consumers online. Crafters sell their wares on Etsy; virtual workers get hired on oDesk and Elance. Traditional selling as we know it has morphed as disintermediation has occurred.
Resell For payment, a seller offers used goods for purchase. Craigslist and eBay are household names, but Apple’s refurbished products also count. Most non-consumable goods
Rent For payment, a provider offers a product for use. RelayRides enables consumers to rent cars from anyone. Rent-a-Toy allows parents to rent toys for their children. High-cost or low-usage goods
Subscribe For a recurring payment, a provider offers repeat products or services. Zipcar offers a month-to-month subscription plan with tiered pricing. Renewable goods, goods that require seasonal storage, repeat services
Co-Own/Co-Op Two or more own or share a product or service together. Applies to individual and business. Sharing babysitting services on Sitting Around. High-cost or low-usage items
Invest/Loan Consumers become investors or banks, or invest in or lend directly to each other. Kickstarter enables the crowd to fund and help products to market. Lending Club, Zopa, FundingCircle, and Prosper facilitate peer-to-peer lending. Financing at reduced rates
Swap For no payment or a nominal fee, two parties trade goods or services directly. 99dresses allows women to trade fashion. HomeExchange facilitates home swaps. All goods and many services fit into this category.
Lend For no payment or a nominal fee, a provider offers a product that will be returned. NeighborGoods facilitates loaning of household items, and more. Most non-consumable goods
Gift/Donate For no payment or a nominal fee, a “gifter” provides a product or service to a receiver. Reciprocation may be a requirement. Freecycle facilitates gifting of goods. GiftFlow’s mantra says it all: “Give what you can. Ask for what you need. Pay it forward.” Most non-consumable goods

Counterintuitive: Let go of your company to gain the market.
This macro view of how a corporation’s business model must change beyond the traditional selling model may be foreign to sellers of durable goods, CPG, retailers and wholesalers.  When you look closely, however, large tech companies like IBM, Cisco, Microsoft, Salesforce and others are already activating many of these use cases.  We expect that some companies will eventually incorporate at least one of these major use cases, but the really savvy ones will activate all use case scenarios to tap into their marketplace and glean a share of the new market transactions that are already happening without them.  We looked closely and found that, on average, the sharing startups like Kickstarter or Uber are taking about a 20% transaction fee.  We believe corporations can do the same.  Without a doubt, the biggest challenge is the of the major paradigm shift that is necessary for corporations to let go of old methodology.  The only way for business leaders to advance to this phase is to “let go” of your company to gain the market.More: Read all my posts tagged the Collaborative Economy for additional information.

Internet Phases: Past, Present, and Future


Thanks to you, last week’s Report on the Collaborative Economy was readily received, and has been viewed over 26,000 times.  The media and bloggers alike have picked up on it.  As we digest what it means, it’s important to recognize that this is the next phase of the internet and the next phase of social business.  An interesting finding is that the second era (social) and the third era (Collaborative Economy) use the same social technologies but, instead of sharing media and ideas, people are sharing goods and services.  This is all part of a continuum.  We need to understand how our careers will progress as the market moves forward with us.


[Social technology enabled the sharing of media and ideas called social business –The same tools enable sharing of goods and services called the collaborative economy]

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Internet Phases: Past, Present, and Future

Attribute Brand Experience Era Customer Experience Era Collaborative Economy Era
Driving technology CMS and HTML Social technologies Social technologies
Years 1995: Internet had 14% American adoption 2005: Business blogging disrupted corporations 2013: AirBnb, TaskRabbit, Lyft, gain mainstream attention
What is shared Vetted Information Personal Ideas and Media Goods and Services
Who shares Few Many Many
Who receives Many Many Many
What it looks like Brands and media talk, people listen Everyone talks and listens Buy once, share many, need to buy less
Who has the power Brands and publishers Those who use social Those who share goods and services
Who is disrupted Traditional mediums: TV, Print Corporations, governments Corporations, governments
What must change Media models Communication and marketing strategy Business models
How corporations responded Created their own corporate website Adopted social tools internally, externally Learn to share products, enable marketplace
Software needed CMS and design tools SMMS, monitoring, communities Marketplace, ecommerce, communities, SMMS, Monitoring
Services needed User Experience, Design, Content Social strategy, community managers, communicators Agencies that help with trust, customer advocates, ?
Who wins Those who adopt Those who adopt Those who adopt

What it means to your career, clients, and company:
Change in our careers is good.  It leads to new opportunities, growth, and even fun.  It often requires us to step out of our comfort zones and be prepared to adopt new paradigms.  With that said, here are three insights to remember as we enter into this next phase.

  • Prepare for the next phase in your career as we shift eras.  The internet continues to evolve and, with, that our careers do as well.  The mid 90s saw the blistering heat of the “dot bomb” era.  As the internet became a dominant force, it subsided with the global recession and industry implosion until we saw the second phase emerge.  We dubbed it “Web 2,” where information creation and consumption was democratized by all.  The next phase uses the same principals of sharing and democratization, but involves goods and services.
  • Take what you’ve learned in social business and apply it to the Collaborative Economy.  If you’re in social business, you’re in a good spot.  The same rules apply about letting go of control, shifting to engage, and connecting with customers.  Learning to listen for understanding, engaging with customers, developing programs where customers become your advocates, and applying scalability,  all topics I’ve researched deeply, will apply to this next phase.
  • Change is in inevitable.  Prepare for this next phase now.  The next phase has already begun.  Last week’s LeWeb received international acclaim, and funding to sharing startups is on rise.  Even cities like Amsterdam are opening up to the potential of companies like AirBnb.  Mainstream media is covering this movement.  We must prepare for the next phases of our careers now.  We can and will do this together.

I hope this graphic and matrix help to clearly articulate our next phase.  Save it, share it and activate on it now.  If you’d like to join me on a webinar to learn more and ask questions, you can register on this page.


Remember, those who adapt, win.