Archive for August, 2013

Quick Guide: The Collaborative Economy Body of Work for Corporations (Updated March 2016)


In the shadow of the himalayas

March 2016, with newer posts added.

The Collaborative Economy is a powerful movement that shifts power away from corporations.  Over the last several months, I’ve focused my research efforts on the Collaborative Economy a new economic model where there’s shared ownership and access among people, startups, corporations, and governments.  They’re using social networks as a conduit to get what they want from each other –rather than inefficient institutions like failed subway systems, taxis or un-interesting hotels. They’re also Making their own goods and products and selling or giving it to each other, unlocking core skills that all humans in villages used to have, but not using technology to learn, share, and distribute beyond physical borders.   The impact this can have to opportunity markets all across the globe can offer them new ways to generate income, share what’s valuable, and reduce their dependency on others.

This body of work is focused on answering the following: What role do corporations play, when people get what they need from each other? 

To best understand it, I’m living in the collaborative economy.   I’ve also conducted field research, using the services myself such as staying in strangers homes, and even let a stranger drive my car for a weekend.  For business purposes, I use oDesk, Taskrabbit, CrowdSpring, Zirtual and other crowd based services to get what I need on demand for cheaper.  I’ve also made a conscious effort to reduce my consumption of physical goods, I seek to use what I already have, then if I need it, I’ll try to get it used.  I keep a purchase log (not including food, personal/health care, business travel) of what I’ve purchased and it’s less than 10 items since June 10th.  Yesterday, I visited ScootNetworks and rode their on-demand scooters in SF, and last week PopExpert a service that connects experts to students regardless of location, had drinks with the founder or RelayRide, visited the new AirBnb HQ and two weeks ago took a class on 3D printing at the TechShop a place for Makers.

Body of Work: Index of Collaborative Economy resources for Corporations
To best find this information from one single post, I’ve sorted it into a logical order, rather than rely on search, or the reverse-chrono order that blogs list as a default.

Macro Perspective

Glossary and Terms

Inventory, Indexes

Investor and VC Analysis

Case Examples
Business Disruptions
Business Opportunities
Expert Interviews
Business Strategies and Models
Studies:  Interviews with over 35 experts, input from over 34 individuals, analysis of 200 startups, and VC data.
Speeches and Storyboards



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Collaborative Economy Honeycomb 2.0

Above Image: Honeycomb 2.0, click and access multiple sizes stored on Flickr, Please share widely, with attribution, non-commercially.

The first version had six industries –now it’s twelve


Above: Version 1.0 of the Collaborative Economy Honeycomb

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(Above: The New Rules of the Collaborative Economy, Oct 2015, PDF Report)

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Above: This mature sheet features a comprehensive aggregation of funding in this market, which has ballooned to over $10 billion in a few short years. The workbook has multiple sheets for viewing by market and industry type, funding size, trends by date, and more.

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Above: This newly-birthed sheet is still in its infancy. The goal is to collect stats for 2014 and enable it to be sortable for easy reference. I conducted a similar project in 2013, which is outdated, but serves as a useful benchmark for the early days of this market.

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Above: Over a year ago, I started a timeline of brands (first edition) deploying in this market, launched an updated (second edition) version, and designed it to convert into a Google sheet that can be scored and used to derive case frequency information. The analysis is completed and graphs will emerge, shortly.

Infographic: A Day in the Life of the Collaborative Economy (Ver 1.1)


Collaborative Economy Technology Stack

Above: The Collaborative Economy Technology Stack, Version 1.0.

The Future of Business Models #FutureOf from Jeremiah Owyang

The above storyboard clearly encapsulates the business disruptions and opportunities in a clear way for business folks to understand and move into action.

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Above: “Massive” Funding Table of Startups

Above: How do these new business models impact retailers?

The above report, partnered with Vision Critical surveys 90,000+ people on how they share in this new economy.

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Above image: The Collaborative Economy marketplaces in the maker movement, sharing economy, p2p lending are quickly on the rise


Spectrum of Political Perspectives on the Collaborative Economy
Above Graphic: Spectrum of Political Perspectives on the Collaborative Economy

Above Slideshare: Spectrum of Political Perspectives on the Collaborative Economy, detailed

Video: Power of sharing
In each of the above, there are even more links to additional studies, books, reports, videos, and other resources to guide you in this journey.  Feel free to add links below to other bodies of work as we all collaborate together.   I’ll be adding to this on a periodic basis to keep it update.   Photo used with Creative Commons licensing by Matthew Aubry


Corporations in the Collaborative Economy

Corporations Will Emulate Collaborative Economy Startups


Dallas Skyline Reflection
Just as this Dallas skyline casts a similar reflection from the water, we see the same pattern in the web industry as corporations copy the startup space to catch up with customers.

My career mission of Web Strategy is to help companies connect to their customers using web technology.   I see a rift occurring between companies and their customers.  My mission is to help companies close that gap.

There’s a Natural Order to Things.  
Death begets life, winter moves into spring, and corporations follow what consumer startups do.  This pattern, which we’ve seen as uncountable at times, is a predictable one.  As Friendster, MySpace, Bebo and Facebook arose, we witnessed the rise of corporations building their own branded communities using software from Jive, Lithium, Mzinga, Telligent, and a ton of other players.  We also watched as Mark Benioff of Salesforce declared the “Facebook Imperative” and launched an internal enterprise version, Chatter, to solve inter-personal communications inside of the largest companies.

Pattern Analysis: 1) The internet emerged, then corporate websites (past), 2) Social media, then social business (present), and 3) Sharing startups, then collaborative economy (future). 

The Collaborative Economy Startups Have Risen.
Over the last few years, we’ve seen the rise of the Collaborative Economy, thousands of sharing startups that are enabling people to share, gift, lend, build, develop, store, and transport goods and services to each other.  They’ve used tools like Etsy (co-develop), Quirky (co-ideate), Kickstarter (co-fund), Airbnb (co-live), Lyft (co-ride), LendingClub (co-loan) Sharedesk (co-workspace), oDesk (co-work), Shapeways (co-3D print) enable the crowd to get what they need from each other rather than through traditional corporations.

Get Ready for the Enterprise Versions to Emerge.
Now, we must be prepared as enterprises and corporations seek to build their own programs to catch up to their departed customers.  Savvy enterprise-thought leaders at solution providers have shared their ideas, from Dion Hinchlifee at Dachis Group on the Enterprise Irregulars, or long time IBM executive, Irving Wladawsky-Berger, who sees the path, top Salesforce system integrator, Magnet 360, sharing their recap, or Deloitte’s John Hagel and John Seely Brown, who write about this new market opportunity, and acclaimed economist, Tom Friedman, in his New York Times post.  The corporate thought leaders see the opportunity and are preparing for this next phase of the internet.

Breakdown: How the Collaborative Economy Ecosystem Will Emerge 
We’ve seen this pattern before as social media birthed social business.  With that pattern in mind, expect the following to happen

  1. Venture Capitalists Fueling the Movement.  While VCs sometimes have been wrong about prior movements, we’re already seeing an increasing number of them who are dedicated to, and focused on, this category, they include:  Collaborative FundAndreessen, and new firms, like Structure, fueling the way for new growth.  Social business VCs, like Emergence, August, Sequoia and others, will help cascade the enterprise versions further forward.  Read my analysis and meet the investors of the collaborative economy.
  2. Brand Pages.  Just as Facebook and LinkedIn launched their own brand pages for corporations, I expect to see these same consumer-focused, sharing startups offer a dedicated location for brands to participate.  Imagine if Airbnb offered brand pages for local properties at exotic resorts from a top name hotel chain?  What if top real-estate property managers could have their own listings on shared office space players like Liquidspace?
  3. White-Label Software.  The term “white label ” is a term that describes offering brands the opportunity to skin software to match their brand identity, just as Lithium can be customized for any brand look.  Expect to see marketplace software or Etsy-like software that can be branded for any corporation, providing a customized experience.  Imagine MarriottBnb or Macy’s allowing their own customers to create and share products among each other.  Right now, I know of one open-source, Kickstarter tool called Selfstarter (by Lockitron) that’s available for anyone to download and use.   I expect a new class of entrepreneurs to emerge to address this opportunity.
  4. Social Business Software Platforms Reconfigure New Features:. I’ve spent time with a variety of social business platform players (and have more on the calendar) to tell them about the next phase of features that must emerge.  Any community platform, collaboration platform, insight platform, or brand monitoring platform is ripe for emulation and joining this next phase.  In social business, we know these players as IBM, Jive, Lithium, Bazaarvoice, Salesforce, Adobe, Oracle, and Telligent, for example.
  5. Developer Platforms and an Ecosystem of Applications.  Expect big players like Uber, Airbnb and Lendingclub to offer Application Programming Interfaces (API).  Heck, oDesk briefed me that they already have some read/write APIs available that enable companies that use their services to manage large batches of online jobs.  Expect that the rest of the players will launch their own platforms, allowing a thousand flowers to bloom as a new developer ecosystem emerges to create new value out of these large communities.  We witnessed this when Facebook launched its own platform at its f8 conference.
  6. New Analytics Players and Integration Software.  Just as we saw the rise of social brand monitoring, social sentiment and new forms of index players like Klout, Kred, and PeerIndex emerge, expect to see new forms of analytics players emerge as well.  As APIs emerge from the startups (for example, Airbnb has massive amounts of data), expect a new class of data brokers to emerge, just as we saw in social, like Janrain and Gigya.
  7. An Effort to Standardize Data and Reputation Systems.  Already, in the startup space we saw TrustCloud emerge, which sought to standardize reputation among the various startups.  I expect the collection of startups involved in (an advocacy group for the movement) to foster discussions that will lead to new forms of data standards.  In general, I’m bearish on these standardizations happening, as I’ve seen many efforts in the past launch, but fail to obtain mass adoption.
  8. System Integration and Consulting.  All of this new software requires integration.  New players will emerge and existing players will have to obtain new skills.  I’ve spent a lot of time with Magnet 360 which has hired me to speak at their conference, and to clients who have already published their thoughts on what this next phase could mean.  Management consulting firms will also make the move, offering new, larger solutions for business model transformation during this big change, providing embedded consultants years of work at large corporations.
  9. Agency and Interactive Capabilities.  I’ve spoken extensively to innovation leaders at Wunderman and Kelby Johnson about the opportunities.  Just yesterday, I spoke with digital agency T-3, which sees the opportunity to help their clients with a planned roll-out of their own programs.  These agencies can provide strategy, consulting, content, implementation, branding, and ongoing management through community management, analytics, and other various support services.
  10. New Conferences and New Thought Leaders.  Expect new conferences and workshops to emerge that will help corporations and their partners build these programs, along with a new class of thought leaders that will help guide the industry forward.

Closing Thoughts: These Patterns Occur Every Few Years

These patterns are inevitable:  Startups, fueled by VCs create new efficient tools and technologies.  Customers move, companies follow, and a new industry is born.  Then the process repeats itself.  It’s as inevitable as the tides, sun and moon, and rotation of the planets. I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Please comment below.  If you want to dive in deeper, read the full research report, and see the Slideshare storyboard on the Collaborative Economy.  Based on patterns in other markets, what do you expect to see as this next phase of internet business emerges?

Above image used with creative commons licensing by lnmeares


Collaborating with the Crowd in your Company’s Supply Chain


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Above Photo: The London Eye contains an intricate network of people, in capsules, networked in a wheel, delicately suspended above the ground in equilibrium. As companies connect to crowds, they too, must balance people and process.

How can corporations learn from Uber, oDesk, Lyft, and ModCloth, to enhance their business functions, like the Supply Chain? Let’s explore that question in this Q&A. Welcome to the new Collaborative Economy Expert Series, where I interview leading thinkers from various business functions regarding the impact of this concept across entire corporations.

Right now, the crowd is getting what it wants from each other. People are using social media to talk to each other. They crowd is using sharing startups like Airbnb, Uber, and, to deliver goods and each other’s services to their peers. They’re also starting to build their own products and services in the maker’s movement. In each of these cases, the crowd is becoming more empowered and enabled to get what they want from each other.

To adapt to these market changes, corporations must adopt the Collaborative Economy, where customers are integrated into every business unit, from marketing, to sales, to innovation . One area that requires more explanation is how product components are sourced, assembled, and then delivered to each other.

This area of supply chain is a focus of my former business partner and close friend, Lora Cecere (twitter), who has started a research firm called Supply Chain Insights that is focused on this topic. She recently allowed me to pose a few questions to her on the subject. I want to bring this to the Web Strategy audience, as these upcoming changes will cross many product lines in your company. The better we reason together, the stronger we’ll all eventually be.

In Sept, I’ll be speaking at Lora’s conference to Supply Chain experts on the Collaborative Economy, and we’ll both drive new ideas and business models with attendees at the Supply Chain Global Summit.

Q&A with Lora Cecere on Supply Chain and the Collaborative Economy
For new readers, read the research report, the collaborative economy, to find out how people are getting what they need from each other –rather than from traditional business models.

Jeremiah of Web Strategy: Where are we on the evolution of the intersection of social and collaboration with supply chain processes?

Lora, of Supply Chain Insights: The average CEO at the typical company is scratching his head. Corporate growth is slowing, supply chain complexity is increasing and most companies are unable to improve operating margins, inventory or working capital cycles. The marketing-driven programs used to shape demand in the last decade have become less and less effective. The rise of mobility, social and ecommerce capabilities offer promise to redefine business models, but most organizations are stuck in an archaic business model. Meanwhile the CEO is trying to sort hype from reality.

The answers are not easily discovered. In most organizations, social data is entering the marketing functional domain, but is not shared with the larger organization. Companies are so used to broadcasting and controlling their message, it is hard for them to move from inside-out thinking to outside-in thinking, a scenario where companies listen, test and learn, based on market signals. There seems to be no place to integrate social data into traditional supply chain architectures.

The Collaborative Economy and the evolution of new business models to drive value-based outcomes offer promise. The change starts with understanding the consumer of the supply chain and mapping the supply chain from the outside in, and asking the question, “What could be redefined in channel relationships to improve value?” And, “How could the use of new technologies be used to redefine business models?”

Jeremiah: We see the crowd using tools like Uber, Lyft, oDesk and Airbnb to activate idle resources, how does this tie to existing models? Is this really new?

Lora: An interesting example of the Collaborative Economy is Performance-Based Logistics (PBL) in the Aerospace and Defense industry. In this supply chain, global governments had a problem. The cost of an airplane and its subsequent maintenance costs were increasing and outpacing budgetary constraints. So a new business model was proposed to the major assemblers of airplanes. It started when the US Army, Air Force and Navy asked if they could move from purchasing airplanes to purchasing “time” on the plane and paying for “up-time.” An analogy in the consumer supply chain would be shifting from selling cars to offering rental car services. The major aircraft providers started adapting their processes. A new business model emerged that has been adopted by NATO. This was a shift in performance-based outcome that changed the production of aircraft from a “cheaper design” to a “built-to-last” mentality.

Jeremiah: Interesting, Performance-Based Logistics (PBL) isn’t too different than some of the activation of idle inventory that we’re seeing in the car-sharing space such as Uber (idle town cars and even ice cream trucks), oDesk (idle workers who can be hired on demand, as needed), and Flightcar, which rents idle cars parked in the long-term lots at major airports. The aircraft illustration parallels something in my last research report. We also found that consumers also want products that are “built-to-last,” as this will impact ability to rent and resell in secondary and tertiary markets.

Jeremiah: How do you see the role of the crowd being involved in supply chain? Are there any examples of this already happening?

Lora: This is a great question. There’s a gap between what is currently happening and the untapped potential, leaving opportunity for first movers. Let me start with where crowd involvement is driving differentiation. Then, I will close with my thoughts on the future potential of how the crowd could drive and differentiate future supply chains.

Apparel and Crowd Sourcing of Design (Modcloth): An early example of the successful use of the voice of the crowd was in the development of customized assortment and input on apparel design. The best example is Modcloth. The company was founded in 2002 and has just recently hit $100M in revenue.

Hallmark’s Use of Crowds to Better Understand Humor: I love Hallmark’s use of social to understand humor and to customize the launch of card programs for demographic regions based submitted card programs. This has allowed Hallmark to streamline card development and assortment based on a more insightful program based on social input.

Test and Learn Strategies: A beginning step for many companies is the use of test-and-learn strategies. As ecommerce sales grow for consumer packaged goods companies, those companies are able to use rating and review data from online sales as an early indicator of product success to adapt the launch of those products into traditional channels based on customer feedback. The feedback from ecommerce sales is received within days and weeks, while feedback from conventional channels takes weeks and months.

Jeremiah: What are the top entry points for supply chain professionals to work with the crowd, either in social media or beyond?

Lora: The first step for the supply chain professional is to walk across the hallway and establish a discussion with their digital marketing team (often a sub-group within marketing) and begin to ask the questions about how social technologies could be used to sense demand, shape product offerings and drive new business models. They need to brainstorm “what could be” as though starting with a blank sheet of paper, leaving archaic, preexisting thinking out of the discussion. The potential is very promising, but if organizations cannot break out of working deep within their existing silos, they will be unable to unleash the potential.

Jeremiah: In the new space, the Collaborative Economy, we are seeing startups that are enabling the crowd to get what they want from each other. Startups like, DeliveryCrowd, Nearbors and Taskrabbit enable the crowd to deliver products to each other. What impact does this have on supply chain?

Lora: was in South Africa last month and heard a fascinating presentation on mobility in Africa. The race is among consumer products companies to successfully build distribution channels into countries in Africa where the average wage rates are low. The presentation was on the use of a mobile application for farmers. The design was to enable collaborative economy model for the sharing of expensive assets for farming. The mobile-enabled co-op allowed farmers to jointly own expensive farm equipment and share maintenance costs. The application also enables the sharing of information about product usage and crop yield.

Avon and Amway, with their use of in-home sales channels, were early forms of the Collaborative Economy. As consumer products companies adapt channel models for the African economy, they are aggressively considering the use of collaborative economy concepts in the design of the channel. Mobile wallets, sales from home, and the sharing of inventory investments are key considerations.

Jeremiah: What do you forecast as the future of the Collaborative Economy and supply chains going forward? Where can we learn more?

Lora: Just as Amazon used ecommerce to successfully build a new business model, I think that there will be new players who will seize the potential of the collaborative economy. Economics is driving it, but the barriers within the traditional organizations are going hinder companies from easily seizing the opportunity.

It takes a whole new mindset with a “blank sheet of paper.” Having a blank sheet of paper does not mean using it to write down the same, worn-out concepts.

We will be talking about the emergence of new technologies and the evolution of new business models at the Supply Chain Insights Global Summit on September 11th and 12th. I am pleased that you are a speaker. I would encourage companies to visit our website and register for the event. Visit our website at Supply Chain Insights for more information.

I’d like to thank Lora for her time in answering these questions. If you’ve further comments, questions, or reactions, please leave a comment. Also, what type of other experts do you think should be on this Q&A Expert series? I’m considering legal, regulatory, economic, and city-level topics are in order.

3D-Printing Clunky, But Shows World-Changing Promise


I wanted to know how 3D printers will impact corporations, so I took a class.

I find value in hands-on field research
In the aim for further understanding the impact of the empowered customers to corporations, I took a class on 3D printing at my local Techshop, where regular folks can learn cutting edge skills. Previously. this spring, I visited Maker Faire where thousands of people who want to make their own products (rather than buy them from corporations) assemble to share, hone, and show off their skills.  The big winner was the large pavilion of 3D printers, which I shared my findings.   I’m also living the collaborative economy movement, I’ve reduced buying physical goods, and prefer to rent or get on-demand, and even allowed a stranger drive off in my family car.  In all these examples, I’m trying to live and experience to understand, rather than just be a casual observer.

I see three movements: social business > collaborative economy > makers movement
I’ve found that there are three major movements in our direct view, some more obvious than others.  The first is the social media movement. where the sharing of ideas and media have democratized information, spreading power to the crowd, to date most companies have joined in from marketing and customer care departments, but struggle to go further.  The second movement is the collaborative economy, where people can share goods and services directly with each other –rather than buy them from corporations. The third movement, approaching quickly on the horizon, is the maker movement, where people can make their own goods and products, rather than buy at all.   If you look carefully, the disruption increases in each movement, with some folks building their own cars.

What I learned:  These early days show great future
To couch my experience, I only took the 101 class, and I have much more to learn, but here’s my early experience. I attended this class with Vivian Wang, Kenny Lauer, and Korman R.

  • 3D printers show great promise.  These technologies have the ability to enable production and manufacturing anywhere, radically changing business logistics, power, and empowering those who use them.   Some of the materials we saw printed were plastics, and biodegradable corn-based materials.  There was even water-soluable materials that could be used as ‘filler’ to hold the model up while it was being printed.  At a recent meeting of the minds at Stanford, we explored how these 3D printers could emerge at UPS locations, retail outlets, Kinko’s and then eventually move into garages, homes, and kitchens.
  • My limited experience concluded a clunky experience.  Maybe I’m just new to it, not techny enough, or didn’t have enough experience, but I found the overall setup of the 3D printing complicated and klunky.  There were 12 pages of instructions we went through, including learning to use the unforgiving software, finding files online to use, configuring the printer, heating the plate, affixing the spool, using an SD card, and managing a build time that could be over an hour.   I’m no luddite, but at the same time, I don’t want to over-hype this technology, it requires some learning, skill, craft as a proper hobbyist should.  Visions of playing with dot matrix computers in elementary school came flooding back.
  • They are on path to advance to advance to become consumer-ready.   To go mainstream, this needs to move out of the hobbyist or prosumer hands and get into homes, this will require easy plug-and-play setup, access to files, ability to quickly manipulate and rapidly produce in a safe way.  While Staples already sells an entry level 3D printer called “The Cube” it’s not clear how successful it is, with a single review (and Amazon only has 5 reviews).  I imagine future versions are cloud based, with a thin client on a laptop, and a large easy to access marketplace of designs and a service marketplace of people who can help you customize for a fee.

What it means to Corporations:  Even more opportunities and disruptions ahead
I’m meeting with some of the experts at Autodesk soon, who’ll show me some of the advanced setups, but in my limited experience, I think there’s still a ways to go for this new technology set.

  • 3D printings on horizon, but not dominating… yet. While maker movements have been around since people were in our earliers villages (with surnames like “Smith, Potter, Tanner”) these early skills gave way to mechanization of the industrial revolution.   Now, with communities like Etsy, Quirky, and Shapeways who provide 3D printed items, there’s an opportunity to grow new businesses of highly personalized, on-demand products.
  • Those who use these tools will have more power than others. Just as we saw corporations adopt the internet to regain communication power, and then adopt social media to regain reputation control, corporations will also need to integrate these on-demand production machines at work, at partner locations like retailers, and at homes.   Brand that move in now can establish an ecosystem to ensure their designs are properly used, perhaps with license fees,  a community and marketplace of designers who build together, and those that provide higher quality materials.
  • Physical good companies that don’t get involved risk disruption.  These machines often have 3D scanners that can scan any item, then replicate it with the printer, just like a facsimile machine did with paper.   In the hands of massive production, these copied designs can quickly be shared online in new napster-like networks, enabling the crowd to build on top of them, improve them –without the corporation involved.   Companies that make simple physical goods must learn how to enable this technology before it gets ahead of them.

Select photos from the class:

Above: First things first, getting to know the 12 page instruction sheet, I took copious notes to learn the new terms, phrases, file types, software applications, and printer units.TechShop
Above: My view, in class. Each student had an IBM laptop, and in the center was a Makerbot Replicator 2

Above: Behold the beautiful Makerbot Replicator 2, the center build plate is heated, and colors of printer indicate status, heat, and more.

Above: ReplicatorG software with a pre-loaded STL file (mine was a cookie cutter, in the shape of a christmas tree)

Above: Each time the printer is turned on, and ideally before each item is used, you should adjust the build plate to ensure it’s level with 3-4 small knobs

Above: The Replicator G software had many configuration fields for printing type, time, speed, quality, support and more. For a novice user, a class, and lots of experimentation is required for each print.

Above: A spool of 3D printing filament, this one, I believe is PLA, which is biodegradable as it’s corn-based, pricing ranges in $30 price area. The plastic material is ABS, which can be more durable but less flexible. Each material prints with different attributes: from density, shrinkage, heat resistance, and stability. They come in thousands of colors, including glow-in-the-dark.

Above: A small jar in the clever shape of the TechShop logo was on display in the front lobby

Above: A 3-D printed whistle (with a floating pea inside that was inserted mid-print). Below the whistle is ‘support’ which can be used to print complex structure and then is removed post-print with a knife, and a ‘raft’ which stabilizes advanced prints.

Above: On display, an advanced model of a small intricate artifact was featured in the front of the shop.

Above: Look closely the cross-hatch ‘Infill’ determines the quantity of the interior material used in this batwing, this one was set at 30%, I believe. These took about 18 minutes to print, but the expert instructor had it optimized, some builds could take hours.


Closing Thoughts: Much more to learn in this nascent field
I hope you enjoyed learning about my experience as much as I enjoyed sharing it. It’s safe to say, I’m no expert, but will continue this journey of knowledge and wanted to share with you my early findings in my continued field research as the crowd continues to become more empowered.  Love to hear your questions, thoughts, and comments below.  I look forward to returning to TechShop to continue to learning and experiencing more.


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.




Story Board: The Collaborative Economy for Corporations (Slideshare)


Are you trying to help business folks understand what the collaborative economy or sharing economy means to their companies? Are you overwhelmed by the amount of news on this topic from NYT, Economist, Forbes, and don’t know how to translate it to your work? Are you seeking a clear set of examples on how it’s happening and what a company should do? If you said yes to any of these questions, the embedded, slightly campy storyboard is just for you.

In the above storyboard, you can mouse click on the right arrow, then click on your right arrow key on your keyboard to quickly advance.

For corporations, this movement is very similar to the ‘social media revolution’ we all felt in 2005-2009.  Then corporations adopted by launching their own blogs, forums, communities, and Facebook pages.  Fast forward today, companies are still institutionalizing social.  Hold onto your hats my friends, another movement is happening again, and they’re also using social technologies.  Instead of just sharing media and ideas, they’re sharing goods and services, and in many cases, they’re avoiding corporations to get what they need.   This is a direct disruption to corporate revenues, as people share products with each other –rather than buy anew.  If you’d like to to go deeper, read the full research report, which this story board was based from.

Six Things You’ll Learn From This Story Board

  1. How the next phase of social business is the collaborative economy.
  2. A definition of the collaborative economy, a new economic model of shared ownership and access.
  3. Examples of how people can get what they need from each other –rather than from corporations.
  4. Three solutions for companies, using the Collaborative Economy Value Chain.
  5. Real-world case examples of what innovative corporations are doing now.
  6. An overview of the market challenges and business benefits of joining this movement

Thank you Rexi Media for the assistance on the production, and the Slideshare team for your continued support.  If you found this slideshare useful, feel free to embed it, tweet it, and share it on with others, so we can all learn.