The People's Disruption: Platform Co-ops for Global Challenges conference took place Nov. 10-11 at The New School and Civic Hall in New York City, New York. This annual event — now in its third year — brought together a diverse group of experts who are pushing the platform co-op movement forward. While past conferences have sought to popularize the concept of platform co-ops and develop an ecosystem to support their growth, this year the goal was to "zero in on ways that platform cooperatives can help to address some of the world's most urgent challenges."
What exactly is a platform co-op? It's a digital platform — a website or mobile app that is designed to provide a service or sell a product — that is collectively owned and governed by the people who depend on and participate in it. That includes those who deliver the underlying service by contributing labor, time, skills, and/or assets. Where corporate "sharing" platforms extract value and distribute it to shareholding owners who seek a return on their investment, platform co-ops distribute ownership and management of the enterprise to its participants — those working for the platform or those using the service. You can read more about it in our in-depth explainer. We also published a feature story this year that explored the emerging funding models for platform co-ops.
If you missed the conference, you can watch recordings of the talks and panel discussions here.
Editor's note: This piece was updated on Nov. 14.