Recently, I had the privilege of meeting Shareable’s founder, Neal Gorenflo, at the Collaborative Economy Conference in San Francisco. Thanks to Ranan Lachman, the Founder of the Sharing Economy Forum (which Neal and I are members of), I received a last-minute invitation to share the insights from my new in-depth research report, The New Era of Economic Abundance. Unlike many of you, I am a relative newcomer to the sharing/on-demand economy, as it was only back in May of 2014, when I travelled to New York City for business with my husband and baby, that I experienced Airbnb and Uber for the first time. And, as I discuss in the video below, that is when the dots connected…
Back in 2011, I launched Brady Capital Research (named after my now nearly five-year-old son) to research companies making a positive difference in the world. My thesis was that companies with “heart and soul” (e.g. lululemon, Starbucks, Chipotle Mexican Grill, and Whole Foods) were uniquely positioned in the new social era to leverage the high level of enthusiasm and psychological attachment people had to their greater purpose. But, unfortunately, it was difficult to find listed companies (ones that trade on a stock exchange) with heart and soul, as most big companies focus more on profit rather than purpose.
This is why I love the sharing economy. In my research, I discovered a third of the 75 companies were founded by “rebels with a cause” with social missions revolving around accessibility, sustainability, and community. For example, Turo (formerly RelayRides) is a personal asset-sharing company with an accessibility-focused social mission “to connect vehicle owners whose cars would otherwise be idle with people who need a car.” Yerdle, a general goods company that is also a B Corp, has a sustainability-focused social mission “to reduce the durable consumer goods we all need to buy by 25 percent.” And Airbnb is a personal asset-sharing company with a community-based social mission “to imagine a world where you can belong anywhere.”
It is great how the sharing economy companies enable people to earn passive income by sharing their under-utilized assets and goods and generate active income by monetizing their expertise and skills. However, I am concerned that although on-demand economy companies enable people to monetize their time by performing commodity gigs, some are more focused on providing convenience and could be sparking a race to the bottom wage-wise. Ultimately, I believe the companies that will thrive will be those with a social mission that empower their providers to deliver a high fidelity experience.
I look forward to working alongside you to help influence how these companies transform how we travel, live, work, play, and consume for the better and usher in a New Era of Economic Abundance.
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