Collaborative Economy Market Update, Mar 1st, 2015

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Welcome, this industry newsletter shares key market changes, in a twice-monthly publication, curated by Jeremiah Owyang, Founder of Catalyst Companies™, you can subscribe to the email newsletter on the footer of the homepage.

Who Likes the Collaborative Economy – Conservatives or Liberals?: This question is asked, and sagely answered, in a recent column in the Wall Street Journal authored by Jeremiah Owyang and Alan Weber. The question is somewhat mendacious, as the authors demonstrate by explaining that “There’s no clear ideological perspective, as there’s something for everyone in this growing sharing economy.” There is no simple “yes” or “no” answer. Regardless of ideology or political affiliation, there are some parts of the big picture that some people like and some that they don’t. The important thing to note is that almost everyone likes something about it. You may read the entire story at the WSJ.

Waffle House Partners With Roadie in a New Twist on Collaboration: It sounds like Waffle House is using Roadie to deliver meals, but it’s not. Roadie is a new startup that delivers goods and people to predetermined, independent locations where they meet up with a recipient or another person. Waffle House has turned its 1,700 locations into virtual dropoff, pickup and meetup spots. With nearly all locations situated near major intersections and interstates, Waffle House fits ideally with the Roadie concept. Plus, the Roadie service is being promoted with signage at each Waffle House venue. Read more about this new twist on the Collaborative Economy at TechCrunch.

Starwood Hotels and Uber Promote Customer Loyalty: Starwood Hotels and Uber recently announced a cross-promotional program that awards loyalty points to members of the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) program. Members of the program may link their SPG mobile app to Uber’s app to begin earning points and other special amenities and promotions during their Starwood stays. The SPG seamlessly links members to Uber for fast, efficient service. Read the story in USA Today to learn more.

Deutsche Telekom to Pre-Install Airbnb App: Within the next month or two, Deutsche Telekom phones will come with the Airbnb app already installed. How important is that? Deutsche Telekom has 143 million customers in 50 different countries. Airbnb offers over one million listings in more than 190 countries and more than 34,000 cities. Initially, the app will be installed on phones sold in Austria, Albania, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. You can read more at The Next Web.

To Ride-Share or Not to Ride-Share?: That is the question that Josh Waldrum set out to answer during the month of January. The Director of SEO at Zebra, a Texas-based, digital insurance startup, parked his Volkswagen Jetta for the entire month to conduct an experiential investigation of the ride-sharing concept. Spending half the month using Uber and the other half using Lyft, he accounted for costs, assessed employee satisfaction, compared the way the two companies operate, and evaluated the overall experience from a consumer perspective. Waldrum concluded that ride-sharing is convenient and better than expected. But, did he decide to give up his car permanently? The big reveal can be found in his article, “Uber vs. Lyft: 5 Things I Learned From Giving Up My Car.”

A Grand Experiment in Yerdling: In an experiment similar to our lead story, social business consultant, Natascha Thomson made a resolution to quit buying new products for the entirety of 2015. Instead, she is using sharing/ bartering service, Yerdle. She has reached a point where she has already started a list of lessons learned as Yerdle has begun to trickle into her life. Natascha realized that, in order for Yerdle to work, she would have to have a sufficient supply of items to offer in order to gain enough points to acquire. To that end, several friends have asked her to declutter their homes. She already has a pretty good idea about whether one can live by Yerdle alone. One clue: Underwear. See her post on LinkedIn for more information.

Airbnb Feeling the Resistance in NYC: A spokesman for NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio said this week that, “We have a strong enforcement apparatus to pursue complaints of illegal hotel activity. When we have a bad actor putting people’s safety at risk, we’re going to go after them.” The City Council is engaging in an oversight study to determine whether or not the City will permit Airbnb to operate within its limits. The City has already proven that Airbnb has violated a number of city regulations. Airbnb hosts argue that they are bringing revenue into the city. Will NYC buckle and grant amnesty to Airbnb or will Airbnb stop ignoring regulations and conduct its business under the same rules by which others must play? Follow the story at AlleyWatch.

The Collaborative Economy – The Richest and the Rest: If we think that the Collaborative Economy is going to spread the wealth across the general populace, Oxfam would beg to differ. According to their projections, the richest 1% will own 50% or more of all the world’s wealth by 2016. While the attractions of the sharing economy include increasing individual income and spending less of it, most collaborative efforts favor the investors and middlemen who oversee the operations. One example of how the sharing economy gives us a warm, fuzzy feeling while shutting regular people out is crowdfunding. The JOBS Act of 2012 restricts equity crowdfunding to accredited lenders, i.e, those who have a minimum net worth of $1 million or an annual income in excess of $200,000. For many, sharing may mean survival. For a few, it may be supremacy. We invite you to read the entire Oxfam report.

Image by Wrote used under Creative Commons license.

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