Where Access Trumps Ownership: The Sharing Economy


According to a Forbes magazine article this January, “The revenue flowing through the share economy directly into people’s wallets will surpass $ 3.5 billion this year, with growth exceeding 25%. At that rate, peer-to-peer sharing is moving from an income boost in a stagnant wage market into a disruptive economic force.”

Innovators like Lisa Gansky, Robin Chase, and Seth Godin are key players in the growth of the sharing economy that Forbes refers to.

According to Lisa, unused value is equal to waste. Technology has enabled us to connect unused resources to those who need them in an ecosystem where everyone involved benefits. In this new economy, access will be more important than ownership. Because today’s populations are increasingly urban, sharing is not only possible but also convenient. Peer-sharing platforms like Uber, Airbnb, and TaskRabbit are changing the relationships between social networks, smart devices, and physical objects in ways that few could have imagined just a few years ago.

The traditional economy revolves around companies who design, manufacture and sell products to consumers who assume sole enjoyment and liability of that product. Lisa Gansky is the founder of Mesh Labs, a community of companies built around a sharing economy and tapping into unused resources. Lisa believes that sharing is the future of business, which allows us to do more while owning less- her tagline: “Better things, easily shared”.

According to Lisa, even jobs could become a thing of the past with technology enabling companies to connect with labor in precise, project-based ways. Mesh innovation brings communities together, connecting people to resources in the most efficient way possible.

Robin Chase, founder of Buzzcar and Zipcar, is passionate about the ways that sharing economy can minimize humanity’s harmful impact on the environment. Zipcar has reduced the barriers and cost of renting a car, making car ownership significantly less attractive for urbanites. After Zipcar, Robin went to France to found Buzzcar, a platform that helps tap into the 22 hours per day that the average car goes unused. This on-demand car rental service that allows drivers to access a car near them and allows owners to earn money off of their car when not in use. Both of these companies have been leaders in the sharing economy and are expanding our imaginations for what is possible in the future.

Then, we have Seth Godin. Seth is the author of 17 bestselling books. He is known as a thinker, challenging most conventional notions. Recently, Seth has been talking about the connection economy. You either connect, or you don’t. In today’s age, almost every digital project exists to create connections. Projects that help us connect are the ones that succeed.

The sharing economy pushes back on the culture of consumption that has been so prevalent in the U.S. and helps us connect with our neighbors in meaningful ways. Travel has become richer and more authentic through Airbnb, ride sharing lets us get where we need while minimizing negative effects on the planet. The possibilities are endless.

Join Robin, Lisa, and Seth at Social Media Week at their talk Meshing Our World: The Sharing Economy Driving Social and Business Innovation. To get your pass for our great lineup of innovators, register here!

Social Media Week