It doesn’t really matter what you call it – the sharing economy, the gig economy, the freelance economy, the collaborative economy, the networked economy, the peer-to-peer economy, or even the circlular economy – our basic economic model is beginning to shift. This change seems difficult to miss – just look around and it seems as if it is everywhere including the cover page articles in Time magazine to articles in Forbes to ads during the SuperBowl to new apps on your smartphone.
With this change we are seeing a rise of new types of businesses and business models. From traditional and more established businesses like the outdoor equipment company REI or car sharing company ZipCar or even online marketplace eBay to newer businesses like eLance, Uber, and AirBNB – these new companies and business models are changing how we buy and use goods and services.
The sharing economy is here and it is a significant change. According to an article in Forbes, in 2013 it was estimated that $3.5 billion in revenue flow passed through the sharing economy. And my former colleague and friend Jeremiah Owyang over at Crowd Companies has estimated that almost $11 billion in active VC funding has flowed into these startups, resulting in a combined valuation of near $75 billion.
As a result of questions I have begun to receive from different vendors and government agencies, the explosive growth in this area, and inline with my coverage of public sector innovation and transformation, I am going to be spending more of my time looking at this space and the key market and technology questions that need to be examined including:
- Are these companies truly different, and if so why?
- What does the sharing economy mean for government?
- What does it mean when these businesses go multi-national?
- What does this mean for current regulatory models and how do they need to change?
- What does privacy look like in a sharing economy?
- How does this change private-public partnership models?
- What does this mean for current trademark and IP protections?
- What does this mean for government social programs that these companies rely on like the Affordable Care Act?
- How do we measure the contribution?
I already have some research studies in the que, but if there are additional questions you think I should be looking at, feel free to let me know.
Note that this blog post was also posted on the IDC Community.