City Discovery & the Sharing Economy

City Discovery & the Sharing Economy

It's a magical world, Hobbes, ol' buddy... Let's go exploring!

- Calvin & Hobbes (and Bill Watterson)

The 2010s will be marked by a collection of mega-trends made possible by innovations in consumer technology: mobile-first development, conscious capitalism, the willing forfeiture of privacy, experiences over objects, and the rise of the sharing economy.

The sharing economy is built on a mentality of, “what’s mine can be yours for a price.” The pioneering companies of the business model enable everyday people to engage in industries that were previously formalized or restricted to them.

These include:

  • Uber & Lyft - “I’ll chauffeur you in my car”

  • Airbnb & Homeaway - “I’ll host you in my home”

  • TaskRabbit & Thumbtack - “I’ll fix your plumbing with my tools”

  • Lending Club - “I’ll loan you money with my bank account”

  • Instacart, Postmates & Lugg - “I’ll deliver your goods with my vehicle”

  • Quora - “I’ll answer your question with my expertise”

This is not a small concept.  The Brookings Institute predicts that the Sharing Economy will grow from $14 billion in 2014 to $335 billion by 2025. In fact, 51% of Americans used a sharing service in 2015, according to collaborative economy analyst Jeremiah Owyang.

In the coming years, we will witness the sharing economy evolve from hard goods to intellectual goods. Plenty of companies are trying to figure out an expert-on-demand business, whether it be for legal services, medical diagnoses, wedding toasts or some other subject matter.

I’m excited about how the sharing economy will continue to transform the travel and local-discovery industries. Up to this point, activity in these categories have focused on transportation and lodging. With a few taps on your phone, you can fly on someone else’s private jet, to be picked up by a chauffeured car, to be dropped off on someone else’s boat and sailed to the front door of someone’s home.

The next frontier of the sharing economy in the travel and local-discovery industries will center on access to prized advice for what to do on-location. Ultimately, that’s usually why people go to new places; the stories people bring back home rarely have to do with how they journeyed or where they stayed. Travel is about experiences: the places you see, the new things you taste, the sentiments you encounter. There is a monumental opportunity to improve the way people discover a city by mobilizing communities. After all, anyone with passion and interest about their surroundings can provide a valuable voice.

To that point, we will be making a big announcement in the coming days. We are building a platform for local insiders and passionate storytellers to share narratives about their neighborhood and beyond. If you are intrigued, come join our mailing list. There is a lot more to come.


Author: Jason Donahue, Co-Founder & CEO

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