Collaborative Economy Market Update, June 8, 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.

Understanding the On-Demand Workforce: Who is the on demand workforce? What do we know about them? These questions have been answered in separate studies and surveys conducted by Stanford graduate students and the Wall Street Journal. A thumbnail review indicates that:

  • They earn an average hourly wage of $18 per hour.
  • More than 25% either have a full-time job or operate another business.
  • There are nearly three times more men than women engage as independent contractors
  • Nearly 70% of the on-demand workforce is age 34 or below.

Check the May 20th article on for more information and links to both the study and the survey.

R Street Institute Presentation to the FTC: The free-market think tank recently had the opportunity to participate in the Federal Trade Commission’s Sharing Economy Workshop and to speak to issues of regulatory concern to the FTC. Whilst recognizing that “startup firms … are at once dynamic and naive by their very nature,” R Street also recommended that consumer protection mechanisms be narrowly tailored so that the subjects of protection and safety are directed at consumers rather than competitors. This salient insight alone can have a positive impact on development of new regulations at all levels of government. The transcript of the entire presentation is available on R Street’s website.

Merriam-Webster Makes ‘Sharing Economy’ Official: The terminology is included and defined in the latest update to their unabridged, online dictionary (along with 1,700 other officially recognized words and acronyms). The official Merriam-Webster definition of the Sharing Economy is, “Economic activity that involves individuals buying or selling usually temporary access to goods or services, especially as arranged through an online company or organization.” The scope of the Collaborative Economy goes well beyond that definition, but the important fact is the the term ‘Sharing Economy’ is worthy of inclusion. That speaks to its increasing consumer impact. Read the article at, or, if you have the time, read the Merriam-Webster dictionary and find all of the newly included words.

Mary Meeker Delivers Annual “State of the Web”: The former Wall Street analyst, turned venture capitalist delivered her annual “State of the Web” presentation at the Core Conference in Rancho Palos Verde in May. Her 126-slide presentation is an analyst’s dream come true. Here are a few, random takeaways to whet your appetite:

  • 1995: 80 million mobile phone users. 2014: 5.2 billion users.
  • 1995: 0.06% of the world population use the internet. 2014: 39.0%.
  • 1998: Internet sales were less than 1% of total retail sales. 2014: Now 9%.
  • 2008: Average time/American adult/day using digital media: 2.7 hours; 12% on mobile.
  • 2015: Average time/American adult/day using digital media: 5.6 hour; 51% on mobile.

Meeker’s in-depth report reveals an abundance of amazing statistics as well as insights into where the Sharing Economy is taking us. An overview is available at The entire presentation is available in slide format at

Sharing Promotes Sustainability: Reuters recently published a ground-breaking story on the Sharing Economy that, along with the usual synopsis, shared some uncommon insights. It also gave Millennials a label of “NOwners” that accurately describes their propensity for sharing versus owning. When 77 million NOwners embrace sharing, the result can have a significant, positive impact on the environment. Many of them not only recognize that potential, but are also driven by it. One particularly amazing insight is that the one thing that Millennials do buy and keepis their smartphones – the number one platform that enables sharing. The Sharing Economy is not just the right idea; it is the right idea at the right time. For more information and insight, read the entire story.

Caterpillar Invests in Yard Club: Catalyst Companies has been an evangelist to large corporations, urging them to see the coming disruption of sharing startups as an opportunity to be embraced rather than a movement to be resisted. Caterpillar was named as a major contributor to Yard Club’s most recent investment round. Although equipment rental companies have been around for years, Yard Club allows contractors to earn income on their own equipment that would otherwise be sitting idle between jobs. Caterpillar’s investment not only lends credibility to the currently regional rental platform, it partners in and promotes Yard Club’s growth. A Caterpillar vice-president noted that their dealers “will use this tool as another avenue to strengthen customer relationships by increasing the utilization rates of heavy equipment and lowering the total cost of equipment ownership.” That’s exactly what we’ve been talking about. To learn more about the Yard Club/ Caterpillar relationship, check the story on CNBC.

Australian Government Clarifies Tax Rules for Sharing Economy: On May 19th, the Australian Taxation Office issued a clarification concerning the tax responsibilities of people participating in the Sharing Economy. The communique was specifically “most relevant for people providing the service, not organizations that facilitate bookings.” The advisory differentiates between income and sales tax obligations. Generally, the income tax appears to be cut-and-dried, but the sales tax rules are more complicated. The Australian tax law differentiates between an enterprise and a business. with each having a their own tax basis. The actual clarification is available in its entirety at the Australian Tax Office website. It is an interesting read for anyone in the Sharing Economy.

Image by Pexels used under Creative Commons license.


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