Collaborative Economy Market Update, June 23, 2015


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.

The Federal Trade Commission Holds Workshop on the “Sharing Economy”: Constitution Center in Washington DC was the site of a daylong FTC workshop on June 9, 2015, the subject of which was “The Sharing Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulations.” Representatives of the commission, established businesses, the Collaborative Economy and academia participated with forums and presentations “to consider the government’s place in overseeing those businesses.” According to The New York Times, the conversations were not without controversy. Established businesses advocated regulation whilst sharing startups advocated self-regulation. The middle-ground position promoted a “wait-and-see” approach before instituting regulatory action, especially at the federal level. Check the FTC event page to view the entire agenda, speaker bios and presentation slides, and videos of the complete workshop.

Maker Movement Celebrated by White House: Celebrating the anniversary of the first-ever White House Maker Faire, the week of June 12 – 18 has been declared “The National Week of Making.” At the official kick-off event, administration officials and leaders of the Maker community and private sector businesses gathered to inform others and celebrate together over the progress made toward creating a “Nation of Makers.” The National Maker Faire was held in Washington DC during the week. Of particular note, the White House has dedicated an entire, robust web page to the Nation of Makers. This is a must-read for members and followers of the Maker Movement.

Uber Driver Ruled an Employee. Questions Arise on Industry Impact: This is potentially the start of a long set of lawsuits. California Labor Commission has deemed a single Uber driver, also known as “partner” – is actually an employee. This spells significant ramifications across the entire Collaborative Economy as other workers could be impacted. It raises many questions regarding insurance, hours, wages, off boarding, job tools/cars, hiring, background checks, liability, communication, healthcare and other worker rights. What happens to Uber could have a “spill over” effect for other on-demand services, marketplaces and startups all across the Collaborative Economy honeycomb, which, in turn, could set precedent. Read more about this case on Techcrunch and Uber’s response.

Fraudulent Kickstarter Campaign Makes Headlines: An Oregon man has allegedly bilked over 1,200 backers out of $122,000 in a fraudulent Kickstarter campaign. The advertised objective for the campaign was to raise $35,000 to fund the production of a board game called The Doom That Came to Atlantic City! Typical of crowdfunding campaigns, donors were promised selected rewards based on the amount of their contribution. Ultimately, the only person who got anything was, Erik Chevalier, the gentleman who launched the project. The FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection fined Chevalier in the amount of $111,793.71, but the fine was suspended due to his inability to pay. To learn more about the story, read the post at re/code or click on the link to the Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Bloomberg Publishes Brief on the Sharing Economy: On June 15, 2015, Bloomberg published a brief on the sharing economy that included salient overviews of some of the most significant aspects and concerns about the growing space. Beginning with a well-developed explanation of the movement, it proceeds with articles, charts, Q&A, and infographics that include explanations, insights, and forecasts. Subjects include everything from economic implications to time banking. In between, the brief considers topics like workers and users, P2P lending, regulation, the expected trend in M&A, and funding. Here is a direct link to the Bloomberg Brief.

Big Businesses Are Getting It, and Getting In: From our inception 18 months ago, Catalyst Companies’ goal has been to build a bridge of cooperation and collaboration between established corporations and sharing startups. In the world of commerce, the right decision of “fighting them or joining them” has often been the difference between success or demise. Newsweek recently ran a story that highlighted a number of big business entities that have recognized that “investing in and building partnerships with emerging startups” prevents disruption and promotes greater success. Read the Newsweek story to find out how big businesses like Hyatt, Enterprise and BMW have benefitted by being resilient and open to accommodating the new wave of the Collaborative Economy.

Must the Sharing Economy Be a Servant Economy?: One of the bruises that the sharing economy has received is that, in some highly-publicized cases, the usual corporately-provided entitlements are not available to employees of sharing startups. The sharing economy concept is closely aligned with entrepreneurship. People are empowered to create and share their own goods and services. Just because people are empowered, that doesn’t mean that they all will venture out on their own. Some just want to enjoy the “security” of working for someone else, including working for startups. In perspective, “Most economic and health policy experts agree that attaching health insurance to having a job is a terrible idea.” It is also worthy of note that rarely, if ever, have small companies been able to provide the perqs and benefits that large corporations have. While the size of one’s paycheck does matter, what matters more is how those wages are spent, and that is always up to the individual, whether an employee, an executive, or an entrepreneur. For additional insight, read the article at The Week.

Image by Pexels used under Creative Commons license.


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