The Collaborative Economy APIs Mean Changes to Commerce



Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 11.35.45 AM

The Collaborative Economy continues to mainstream –with at least two of the key players launching APIs; this spells significant ecosystem change that will impact commerce, this post will attempt to answer what it means to the greater ecosystem.


[This is as significant as Facebook launching their API and Platform.
This will spur thousands of apps, APIs and new businesses models]

News: Uber has launched an API, with key launch partners, including traditional companies like Hyatt (Disclosure: Hyatt is a Crowd Companies member). Hailo also announced an API a few hours after

  • Emerging startups will gravitate toward Uber: This also means that Collaborative Economy Startups that circle Uber’s orbit (there are over 9,000) are more likely to adopt Uber’s API as a way to quickly launch their service on the Uber Network. This fosters more gravitas regarding Uber, creating more pressure on Airbnb and Lyft to quickly follow suit.
  • Established startups, like Airbnb and Lyft, pressured to launch own API: Expect Lyft and, potentially, Airbnb to signal their API platforms, in this winner-take-all scenario. Several years ago, Twitter, Facebook, Google, Open ID, Plaxo, BestBuy and a few other varieties launched their own APIs, but in the end, Facebook won the war and, therefore, our interest. Airbnb has an entire ecosystem of startups built around them, but must launch an API to keep them connected.
  • Large Companies get in on the game, revealing mainstream integration. Several large corporations were part of the initial Uber API launch, including TripAdvisor, Hyatt, Starbucks and United Airlines, which signals that crowd-based, on-demand models can enhance local commerce. Uber’s new partners (Hyatt and United) mean that you get seamless travel without waiting in any taxi queues. This deal enhances their overall customer experience by extending to end-to-end travel and logistics, making it easier to do business with these big brands.
  • Agency and consulting teams should evaluate on-demand business models for clients. Interactive agencies, digital agencies and consulting firms involved in online commerce should sign up for the Uber and Hailo API consideration form to evaluate tying their own clients into these new delivery models.
  • Social Media Management Systems will seek to integrate. Over the last several years, I’ve closely covered the enterprise social media software players and witnessed the emergence of software companies that connect FB, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networks to enterprise systems, CRM, and corporate websites.  It’s – happening – again.
  • Incumbent transportation and logistics companies displaced, again. While it’s obvious to most that this continues to threaten existing taxi companies, travel booking and courier systems, as Uber partners with other businesses that require logistics and transportation, the bigger threat is to traditional commerce.
  • The biggest threat is to companies like Amazon. In the end, this is a significant threat to Amazon, as Uber can quickly partner with local retailers for push-button delivery, including harnessing the power of their largest investors to tie to Waze, Wallet, Google Delivery and more. Instead of three-day delivery, Uber + local retailers = instant delivery at the local level.


[Any startup, retailer, hotelier or restaurant can now integrate mobile savvy, affluent, Uber customers on their apps and websites.]

Potential Comparison: Facebook to Uber API

This comparison isn’t apples to oranges, but helps to bridge how we think of dominant Facebook connect with potential Uber API features.  To be really clear, these Uber API features don’t yet exist, but are possibilities that could be launched in the future. This matrix was added about 24 hours after this initial post.

Social Networking API Collaborative Economy API (again, some of these don’t exist today, but could in the future)
FB Connect: Register new users in a few clicks. Access to over a billion users. Uber Connect: Instantly get Uber’s many customers on your physical doorstep.
Graph Search: Find things my friends like. Uber Ride Search: Find locations my friends like to frequent.
Find Friends: Isolate content that only my Facebook friends like. Vett Uber Customers: Isolate only five-star riders (the best customers).
Facebook Commerce: Buy credits, gifts and more. Uber Commerce: Any website can now use Uber’s credit card system.
NewsFeed: Share on Facebook my experiences from other website interactions. Social network connections: Share my Uber experience on on any social network.

The big takeaways: Quickly get customers to and from your doorstep, period. Uber and potentially Hailo’s API means that local commerce can now benefit from instant ecommerce –and extend end to end customer experience from transportation, hospitality, commerce and more transportation for customers. Any company that wants more customers in their physical location, or wants a delivery service, should evaluate this API for business model extension.

Update: Additional discussion is happening on my newsfeed, with the business community.

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.

Crowdfunding is the Highest Form of Loyalty: Shared Destiny


10 Reasons Why FriendFeed is a Better Place to Browse Flickr Photos Than Flickr ItselfHarvest a thousand ideas. Above photo from popular photographer, and my friend, Thomas Hawk.

Crowdfunding is the highest form of loyalty, but only a few big companies have deployed this crowd strategy.

Big companies can learn from Indiegogo, and Kickstarter.
You’ve heard of Indiegogo, Kickstarter, and other crowdfunding platforms for the tech savvy, but what does it mean to corporate product development and marketing strategy? Today’s crowdfunding projects include a panoply of products that never make it to the shelves. I jokingly refer to this as “this decade’s home shopping network,” due to the proliferation of oddball products you didn’t realize you needed. These “long tail” products, are examples of grassroots market innovation offering an opportunity for entrepreneurs to get pre-orders, pre-funding, and free marketing to support future business.

U-Haul Investors Club spurs crowdfunding strategy.
For years, marketers have told themselves that repeat sales are the highest form of loyalty, but I’d like propose that we’re now seeing a greater form of loyalty in crowdfunding. Yet, it remains largely an untapped opportunity for large companies to recognize and develop. Take U-Haul Investors Club for example, where the crowd can finance and own parts of the loading equipment, often at better rates than traditional banks. In return, they receive periodic revenue from the performance of these vehicles. It’s safe to assume, that when it’s time for folks to move, U-Haul Investors will use U-Haul’s services, as well as advocate U-Haul to their friends.

GE taps crowd innovation from Quirky.
With that said, this is just the first phase of the crowdfunding movement. Expect more refined versions to appear, akin to GE’s Quirky program, where the crowd submits ideas, a smaller team selects the best, then GE’s massive production and supply chain creates and distribute at scale. The inventors who submit ideas benefit from their name being on the box, shared revenues, and a chance to see their brainchild on store shelves – without even going to a fabrication plant.

What are the benefits of Corporate Crowdfunding?

  1. A nearly limitless supply of fresh innovation and ideas. Struggling to get fresh ideas to market? Is your company mandate to foster outside-in innovation? Tap into crowdfunding sources to start your journey for crowd innovation.
  2. Backers pre-pledge to go on the journey with you. These backers are telling entrepreneurs, and even large corporations, that they’re committed for a long period of development in exchange for early access and other perks or financial benefits.
  3. They’re engaged with product development. This engaged community can be counted on for active feedback, although they may likely be representative of a passionate contingent, not necessarily a mainstream audience.
  4. A built-in set of early adopters. In both Kickstarter and Indiegogo, most benefits include perks, which include special services, recognition, or gifts. Some provide early access and a period of exclusivity for the product being funded. Tap these early adopters for feedback and word of mouth.
  5. They’ll naturally advocate the product. Being engaged means to commit fully. These crowd-based backers are invested in your future product with time, money, and even reputation. Assume they’ll advocate your products to their network and beyond.

Opportunities for corporate product strategy.
Using the same consumer-type strategies as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, allow the crowd to suggest products, then fund them for potential development, akin to GE’s successful Quirky program, which has now extended beyond consumer electronics to appliances. Allow the crowd to drive the initial discussions and ideation. Allow a system for IP protection, rights and rewards to be shared between independent inventors and your company.

Below Graphic: Crowdfunding behavior set to double
Result of 90,000 respondents from my recent research with Vision Critical show that Crowdfunding will double in adoption by the U.S., UK, and Canadian general population.

Corporate crowdfunding is newly charted territory.
What’s the one major downside of Crowdfunding programs? Many project don’t see the light of day and, if they do, they may not become a global success. Additionally, some companies are afflicted with the “if it’s not invented here” syndrome, which limits innovation to only engineers and scientists. Here’s where established brands can help make the right choices, apply the right resources and help both crowds and companies win. Corporations can adopt this new strategy to create a shared destiny with the crowd, fostering a higher form of loyalty through crowdfunding.

Crowdfunding is the highest form of loyalty: shared destiny

(Disclosure: GE is a founding member of my company, Crowd Companies, an association for business leaders at large companies.) 

Collaborative Economy Markets: Platforms, Providers, and Partakers


Marketplaces. They’re all the rage. In fact, the media can’t stop talking about thempeople can’t stop searching for them, and investors have deployed $2.4 billion in just the last seven months.

So what’s a marketplace all about? First of all, it’s not a new concept. It predates Airbnb and even the birth of the Internet. The ancient Greeks called them Agoras. Marketplaces go back to the earliest civilizations when farmers and villagers gathered at a common location, usually in a town square. We get the words “agriculture” and “agoraphobia” from the original koine Greek word.

Above Image: Click to see a sample of dozens of marketplaces in six major verticals, read the full post.
These marketplaces can exist anywhere, through mobile, social, Internet of Things, and payment apps. Today, the most common marketplaces, like eBay, Airbnb, Etsy, Lyft, CustomMade and Lending Club, allow just about anyone to offer goods, food, services, transportation, space, and even financial solutions to each other. These are now called “two-sided marketplaces,” which means there are two distinct positions that anyone can take on each trading platform. In fact, any one individual or entity can actually take both positions on some platforms. For instance, people who sell on the eBay platform usually also are buyers on that same platform. The two sides in the two-sided marketplace are

1) Platforms, a system that enables this trade in an efficient manner
2) Providers of resources, someone who offers them.
3) Partakers of these resources, someone who receives them.

Marketplace Examples: Platforms, Providers, and Partakers
Here’s a few examples to help illustrate, using the same categories as the Honeycomb image above.

Industry Platform Providers Partakers
Goods eBay Merchants Buyers
Goods Etsy Makers Buyers
Food Feastly Cooks Feasters
Food Cookening Host Guest
Services Taskrabbit Tasker Customer
Services eLance Freelancer Client
Transporation Uber Driver Rider
Transporation Lyft Driver/Friend Rider/Friend
Space Peerspace Venue Host Guest
Space Airbnb Host/SuperHost Guest
Money LendingClub Investor Borrower
Money Kickstarter Campaigner Backer
Money Coinbase Merchants Users


You may wonder why these marketplace companies (the Platforms) are performing so well. It’s because they enable seamless transactions, regardless of locations or social relationships, and they take a cut of the revenues at scale. They have recurring revenue without owning most of the liability – they are efficient, money-making machines.

Additionally, these platforms offer a number of features that enable smooth transactions, including, but not limited to, inventory management, profiles and reputations of Providers and Partakers, payment systems like Stripe or Braintree, matching software, and marketing services to amplify all services involved. They also offer on-boarding services, customer care, insurance, and lobbying at the government level to further empower their business.

Big corporations won’t stand by idly and allow the market to displace them. We’re already seeing big companies host their own marketplaces, turning a two-sided marketplace, into a three-sided one (Providers, Partakers, and the Brand Product), offering value added service) like Patagonia’s Common Threads marketplaceGM and RelayRides enabling used cars to be shared, and Coca Cola offering a workforce marketplace with Wonolo.

In summary, marketplaces aren’t new, but they are now being created for just about every vertical niche, location, and need. They’re becoming more efficient as they utilize emerging, new technologies to find idle resources on demand. And they are heavily funded. Not all marketplaces will succeed. Recently, Menlo Ventures hosted an event where we shared the lessons learned regarding what works, and what doesn’t.

I hope this post provided additional clarity, to dissect how this growing market works.

Disclosure: Coca Cola is paying member of my company, Crowd Companies.



Why Investors are in Love with the Collaborative Economy


Money Dollar
Continued analysis of market funding in the Collaborative Economy. Yesterday’s stunning news of European ridesharing company, BlaBlaCar prompted me to tally up the funding in 2014. Along with help from industry experts Lisa Gansky of Mesh Labs, Neal Gorenflo of Shareable, Mike Walsh of Structure VC and Michelle Regner of Near-Me. I tallied funding if the startup was over $1 million and there was a public record of the funding. I’ve published my analysis of funding in this movement before, from the banner funding month in Aprilthe frequency of top VCs and my larger body of work looking at funding in the Collaborative Economy and Social Business.

[2014 funding has increased 350% in deal size mainly due to large investments in Uber, Airbnb, Lyft, Lending Club, and BlaBlaCar] 

Exactly one year ago, the average funding amount was $29m. In July 2013, I surveyed a sample of 200 startups (read full report). I found that 37% had been funded, with startups receiving an average of $29 million in funding. The 200 had received over $2 billion in total funding, which is a very high amount for a largely undeveloped, pioneer market.  Interviews with several of the Venture Capitalists in this space indicated that they favor two-sided marketplaces that are scalable and have low inventory costs

[In 2013, average funding was $29 million. In 2014, the average funding amount is $102 million due to outliers, like Uber, receiving over $1.2 billion] 

In the first half of 2014, the average funding amount, is a whopping $102 million. The findings are stunning. I’ve not seen this much investment in tech startups for some time. Some data highlights: In seven short months, there’s been at least 24 distinct funding instances of at least $1 million or more in investment funding. Of those, Uber received the lion’s share of a whopping $1.2 billion in investment for global growth and product expansion. On average, $102 million is the common amount, but if you strip off the Uber investment, Airbnb, Lyft, and Lending Club are lower in investment amount, bringing the average closer to $52 million, which is still very high.

Collaborative Economy Funding 01


Last Seven Months of Collaborative Economy Funding by Date
You can access the Google sheet with this data by date, industry, and size. Please note the numbers are shifting as new data is being added.

Date and Source Startup Amount
1/10/2014 Sidecar $1,000,000
1/20/2014 Hailo $26,500,000
1/29/2014 Zopa $22,700,000
1/30/2014 Scoot $2,300,000
2/18/2014 Postmates $16,000,000
2/24/2014 Deliv $4,500,000
2/28/2014 SkillShare $6,100,000
3/20/2014 Pley $6,800,000
3/26/2014 CircleUp $14,000,000
4/2/2014 Lyft $250,000,000
4/8/2014 Airbnb $500,000,000
4/10/2014 Pivotdesk $3,600,000
4/14/2014 Storefront $7,300,000
4/26/2014 Yerdle $5,000,000
4/28/2014 OurCrowd $25,000,000
4/29/2014 LendingClub $115,000,000
4/30/2014 MakeSpace $8,000,000
5/4/0140 Prosper $70,000,000
6/4/2014 Sidecar $3,100,000
6/6/2014 Uber $1,200,000,000
6/16/2014 Instacart $44,000,000
6/24/2014 Cargomatic $2,600,000
6/24/2014 RelayRide $25,000,000
7/1/2014 BlaBlaCar $100,000,000
7/3/2014 Traity $4,700,000

Last Seven Months of Collaborative Economy Funding by Amount
Above image is the same data.

Uber $1,200,000,000
Airbnb $500,000,000
Lyft $250,000,000
LendingClub $115,000,000
BlaBlaCar $100,000,000
Prosper $70,000,000
Instacart $44,000,000
Hailo $26,500,000
OurCrowd $25,000,000
RelayRide $25,000,000
Zopa $22,700,000
Postmates $16,000,000
CircleUp $14,000,000
MakeSpace $8,000,000
Storefront $7,300,000
Pley $6,800,000
SkillShare $6,100,000
Yerdle $5,000,000
Traity $4,700,000
Deliv $4,500,000
Pivotdesk $3,600,000
Sidecar $3,100,000
Cargomatic $2,600,000
Scoot $2,300,000
Sidecar $1,000,000

Data Summary

  • Total investments from in last seven months: 24
  • Average deals per month in 2014: 3.4
  • Average funding amount in June 2013 study: $29 million
  • Average funding amount in last Jan-July 3, 2014: $102.6 million
  • Median funding in last seven months: $14 million
  • Average Funding Amount (excluding Uber) in last seven months: $52.6 million
  • Total Amount of Funding in last seven months: $2.46 billion
  • Increase in funding amount per investment in 12 months: 351%

Conclusion: Investors love the Collaborative Economy – But will it bust?
So, why are investors betting big on the Collaborative Economy? These scalable business models run on top of highly adopted social and mobile technologies. They offer a high frequency of transactions, with low operating costs. They are also disrupting traditional corporate business models, as they are more efficient by leveraging internet of everything, mobile devices, apps, and payment platforms. Neal Gorenflo reminded me that these startups cause the incumbents to wail in the media, creating incredible low cost PR value, which in turn attracts more customers.

In summary: Investors expect these startups to be highly profitable and are betting down big.

(Photo Credits, used with Creative Commons)

12 Collaborative Services for Success at Work


This post was originally posted on Shareable, the leading website on the growing movement. Top photo credit: Yusuke Kawasaki.

The collaborative economy empowers ordinary people to share their unused resources, such as time and goods, often in a peer-to-peer commerce model. We tend to think of this model impacting us as individuals, as illustrated in the popular Honeycomb graphic. However, shared services (many of which I use) aren’t limited to personal use. The collaborative economy model is expanding to include these strategies and technologies at the B2B level. See my quick guide on how companies are integrating them into their own strategies.

This successful expansion of applications begs the question, “Can the sharing model work for individual professionals?” Not only will it work, it already does work. Now that these services are available for personal use, we’re also seeing them expand into the business world. These services help professionals outsource tasks in their work life so they can focus on their core responsibilities and competencies.

Here’s a list of collaborative economy services targeting business professionals. As you’ll see, this market isn’t just about ride sharing and home sharing. If you know of other similar services, please share them as comments below.

Fon hotspots in Paris, France. Photo credit: NRKBeta.

  1. AirPR: On-demand PR professionals in two-sided marketplaces of providers and communication buyers, AirPR tracks actionable insights into what is, or is not, driving engagement.
  2. CloudPeeps: On-demand community managers, ready to help your company scale up for launches or during seasonal periods. CloudPeeps provides the services of experienced professionals to assist with everything from startups and small businesses to mature enterprises on an as-needed basis at a fraction of the cost of a full-time manager.
  3. PeerSpace: Does your team need a creative or inspirational workspace? PeerSpace offers both sides of the unused space sector, bringing together those who need workspace with those who have unused space. There’s even an app for that.
  4. Zirtual is a virtual executive assistant service that matches busy people with dedicated personal assistants to manage details so that you don’t have to.
  5. Trunk Club: Are you a busy, male executive who wants to present yourself as stylish and professional?Personal stylists are available to help you look your best. Trunk Club sets up a profile for you, then saves you time by sending you a new “trunk” of clothes selected especially for you on a regularly scheduled basis. Keep and pay for what you like. Return the rest. It’s shopping at its best.
  6. Refashion your clothes. Female executives have access to a million dollar wardrobe, yet keep expenses low and closets manageable. See ThreadflipBag Borrow or Steal and Rent the Runway.
  7. CrowdSPRING and 99designs can help create your new website, microsite, logo, or PowerPoint presentations and make them look amazing using crowd-sourced experts.
  8. oDeskthe world’s largest online collaborative workspace, and Elanceproviding access to more than two million skilled, independent contractors, bring together savvy professionals and professional freelancers, offering a large market of workers that can help you with copy editing, online research, translating, digital production, programming, administrative work and much more.
  9. Breather. Need a place to work? Executives will like Breather, an online repository of beautiful, private places to work, meet, or relax in several big cities. This is a step up from the more pervasive Regus (over 2,000 locations worldwide) or a loud coffee shop.
  10. Sprig delivers inexpensive hot meals on demand to you or your employees, or you and your boss, or you and your family, within a few minutes in the San Francisco area. This is not fast food. These are hand-crafted meals created by former Google executive chef Nate Keller. And, yes, there is an app for this service, too.
  11. Fon offers free, shared Wi-Fi in over three million locations.
  12. Shapeways: Get custom-made, 3D printed, products, or gifts for your customers and colleagues including jewelry, miniatures, desk accessories, and art.

The collaborative economy is exploding, reaching into all areas of life and work. These services enable any professional to have access to a broad marketplace of talent without having to hire them on a full-time basis. On the flip side, it enables the providers to set their own schedule, work on projects they want, and have more control over their work life balance. Even the invention of sliced bread was not as good as this.