TaskRabbit

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pages: 265 words: 69,310

What's Yours Is Mine: Against the Sharing Economy by Tom Slee

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4chan, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, asset-backed security, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bitcoin, blockchain, citizen journalism, collaborative consumption, congestion charging, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, David Brooks, don't be evil, gig economy, Hacker Ethic, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, Jacob Appelbaum, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Khan Academy, Kibera, Kickstarter, license plate recognition, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Occupy movement, openstreetmap, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, principal–agent problem, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, software is eating the world, South of Market, San Francisco, TaskRabbit, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas L Friedman, transportation-network company, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, ultimatum game, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator, Zipcar

90 Fenske, “After Our Uber Exposé, Their PR Team Tried to Dupe Us.” 91 Reporter, “Uber Sought To Hire Opposition Researcher To ‘Weaponize Facts.’” 92 Geist, “Popular yet Controversial App-Based Car Service Has No Privacy Policy Specific to Canada.” 93 Powell, “City Councillor Asks Federal Taxman to Investigate after Email States Riders Aren’t Charged HST. Uber Canada Says Its Drivers Are Responsible for Collecting and Remitting the Tax.” Chapter 5 1 Crunchbase, “TaskRabbit.” 2 Silver, “The Sharing Economy: A Whole New Way of Living.” 3 Carhart, “The Ten Ninety Nihilists.” 4 Shontell, “My Nightmare Experience As A TaskRabbit Drone.” 5 Raphel, “TaskRabbit Redux.” 6 Said, “TaskRabbit Makes Some Workers Hopping Mad.” 7 TaskRabbit, “TaskRabbit Announces Novel Integration with Amazon Home Services.” 8 Wohlsen, “Google Pours Millions Into New Tech Gold Rush: Housecleaning.” 9 Jordan, “Unpacking the Grocery Stack.” 10 DePillis, “At the Uber for Home Cleaning, Workers Pay a Price for Convenience.” 11 Geron, “Startup Homejoy Works With Public Sector To Find Home Cleaners.” 12 Roose, “Does Silicon Valley Have a Contract-Worker Problem?”

He always posts that it’s four loads of laundry and every time I did his laundry it filled 10 or 15 double loading washers. It was a mountain of laundry and it was all covered in cat diarrhea.4 Leah Busque responded to Shontell, and emphasized that “TaskRabbits take on only the jobs they want to complete. TaskRabbit is an open marketplace. As such, TaskRabbits are free to bid on the jobs they find ­attractive—taking into consideration the amount of time involved, the nature of the work, etc. No TaskRabbit is ever forced into any job or task. One thing to note is one person’s imperfect task is another person’s ideal task. It is not up to us but rather the TaskRabbits themselves to decide which tasks to bid on.” Carhart took up the claim “that violations of employment standards are ‘not our problem’ and ‘not up to us,’ with labor lawyer Catherine Ruckelshaus, who responded: That’s the narrative that employers who misclassify their workers as independent contractors use.

TASKRABBIT The first company in the space was TaskRabbit, which started at the same time as Airbnb, Lyft, and others. The listing for TaskRabbit on the business information web site CrunchBase describes the moment when the company founder had her idea: It was a cold night in Boston in February of 2008 when Leah Busque realized she was out of dog food for her 100-lb yellow lab, Kobe. Leah thought to herself, “Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a place online I could go to connect with my neighbors—maybe one who was already at the store at that very moment—who could help me out?” From this experience, TaskRabbit (formerly RUNmyERRAND), an online and mobile marketplace that connects neighbors to get things done, was born . . . Neighbors helping neighbors—it’s an old school concept reimagined for today.1 TaskRabbit was set up as an “eBay for errands,” and offers a range of services.


pages: 375 words: 88,306

The Sharing Economy: The End of Employment and the Rise of Crowd-Based Capitalism by Arun Sundararajan

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, call centre, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, corporate social responsibility, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, distributed ledger, employer provided health coverage, Erik Brynjolfsson, ethereum blockchain, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, future of work, George Akerlof, gig economy, housing crisis, Howard Rheingold, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, job automation, job-hopping, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Lyft, megacity, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Nature of the Firm, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transportation-network company, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, universal basic income, Zipcar

Similar to Trade School, the babysitting co-op app TimesFree, started by Francis Jervis, a PhD student at NYU, represents a gift economy with some market economy elements to it. Communities set up co-ops with a virtual currency: each participant is issued a set of “tokens”; one earns tokens by babysitting, and one spends tokens on getting sitters. By contrast, labor markets like TaskRabbit and Handy have few, if any, gift economy dimensions. On TaskRabbit, prospective providers (called “taskers”) are hired by clients at hourly rates chosen by the taskers, and can choose filters to ensure that they are only matched with jobs that meet their preferences, such as their minimum hourly rate or the times when they are available. TaskRabbit is thus a matching market for labor services. You might make friends with your tasker, but in the same way you’d make friends with your local grocery checkout clerk. The Sharing Economy and Human Connectedness There are numerous other sectors in which one sees platforms that span the market-to-gift continuum.

After all, why hire a cleaner or repairperson on Craigslist when you can hire one who has been background-screened on TaskRabbit or Handy?2 True, the cleaner or repairperson you hire on TaskRabbit may end up having pretty much the same skills as one you could have found on Craigslist. You may be happy or unhappy with either person. But on Craigslist, there are no checks and balances. You could be letting anyone into your home. If you don’t like the job these providers do, you can choose not to hire them again, but there’s nowhere to launch a complaint if something is damaged or stolen. Of course, this also means that there is less motivation for the cleaners and movers you find on Craigslist to do a great job. After all, while they may lose a potential repeat client, they won’t lose future customers. In contrast, if you hire a cleaner or mover on TaskRabbit or Handy, you not only get someone who has been vetted by the platform but, more importantly, if that person does a bad job, you can give him or her a bad rating.

Table 3.1 provides some dimensions associated with hierarchies and with markets, classifying four popular platforms (Uber, Airbnb, Etsy, and TaskRabbit) along each of 22 dimensions. (I return to many of these dimensions in chapter 8, showing how they may also be useful in assessing ways in which the providers to a platform are “employee-like,” or whether the platforms themselves are supportive of sharing economy entrepreneurship.) Table 3.1 Platforms: hierarchies, markets, or hybrids? *Some Uber drivers are constrained by their auto loans. **In some cities, Uber’s staff may send information to drivers suggesting when to be available and where. ***Airbnb has a pricing tool built into the platform. ****TaskRabbit makes active suggestions, and perhaps restricts many customers from browsing all available providers. My MBA students Andrew Covell, Varun Jain, and June Khin at NYU Stern have helped me classify over a hundred sharing economy platforms using this framework.


pages: 527 words: 147,690

Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection by Jacob Silverman

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23andMe, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, Brian Krebs, California gold rush, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, game design, global village, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, license plate recognition, life extension, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Minecraft, move fast and break things, national security letter, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, payday loans, Peter Thiel, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, pre–internet, price discrimination, price stability, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent control, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Snapchat, social graph, social web, sorting algorithm, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, telemarketer, transportation-network company, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, universal basic income, unpaid internship, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Zipcar

Still, Nandini didn’t have much of a choice, so she dove in and committed herself to TaskRabbit with the same alacrity she had shown toward her job search. She had always liked cleaning, finding it a great stress reliever, so she sought out those jobs, along with food service, cooking, office organization, event hosting, and similar work. She found that many of the people she worked for were gracious, but some seemed to have no idea how to handle a stranger working in their home. One well-to-do NYU student, who hired Nandini to clean the West Village apartment she owned, sat on the floor staring at Nandini as she worked. Other challenges emerged. Because Nandini was bidding for jobs, she found, as many other TaskRabbit workers have, that she had to continually lower her rates in order to compete. That, combined with the 20 percent cut that TaskRabbit takes on every gig, made it difficult to earn much more than minimum wage—a particularly tough prospect in an expensive city such as New York.

What might be most draining is the daily race to find good tasks before the competition does. “You can bid on every single TaskRabbit job and never hear back,” she said. The most she might hear is a one-sentence apology telling her that the task went to someone else. Other tasks offered less than minimum wage or would be frustratingly vague, not listing the time required or explaining the work involved. Still more are downright bizarre: requests for girls to pose as escorts and accompany men to a party; invitations to follow someone’s girlfriend; demands for people of certain ethnicities. A couple of weeks before we met, TaskRabbit had suddenly changed its bidding system, completely altering its mechanics and leaving some less experienced TaskRabbit members in the lurch. Under this new system, contractors such as Nandini no longer bid for jobs—a process which, while it pushed down wages, at least gave her some control and allowed her to seek out work on her own initiative.

The company acts essentially as a search engine or aggregator, bringing the parties together, contributing little, bearing the least amount of risk of anyone involved, and pocketing a nice fee. Uber, for instance, takes about 20 percent of each fare from UberX, its popular, low-budget offering, along with a $1 safety fee. As with online labor markets, the app serves as the ultimate mediator. No one ever has to meet, which is by design. As one TaskRabbit worker remarked: “That’s part of the strategy of TaskRabbit—to keep us apart from one another. We can’t message each other on the Web site. The only way you get to meet another TaskRabbit is if you post a task, and I think they do this to keep us apart because they don’t want us fixing the process. They don’t want us unionizing.” Nor are sharing economy workers ever truly employed in the sense that most people are used to. When a group of Uber drivers assembled outside the company’s headquarters to protest their firing, the company’s general manager said that the drivers weren’t employees and that, when they were fired, it simply amounted to deactivating the drivers’ accounts.


pages: 125 words: 28,222

Growth Hacking Techniques, Disruptive Technology - How 40 Companies Made It BIG – Online Growth Hacker Marketing Strategy by Robert Peters

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Airbnb, bounce rate, business climate, citizen journalism, crowdsourcing, Google Glasses, Jeff Bezos, Lean Startup, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, pull request, revision control, ride hailing / ride sharing, search engine result page, sharing economy, Skype, TaskRabbit

From its initial $500,000 seed money financing to successive rounds of funding well into the millions, Mixpanel has not gone begging. In the wake of a $10 million funding deal in May 2012 Doshi told VentureBeat, “Mixpanel has been cashflow positive for a while, so we weren’t in a hurry to raise funding.” TaskRabbit The online and mobile marketplace TaskRabbit was launched in 2008 in Boston as “RunMyErrand.” It became TaskRabbit in 2010 to avoid perceived limitations in the word “errand” and to go with a name that was more memorable and fun. At the same time, the base of operations was changed to San Francisco. TaskRabbit is a venue for outsourcing small neighborhood jobs to pre-approved “TaskRabbits” who compete for job listings that describe the required task and give an offered price or ask for bids. Dropping the word “errand” from the service’s name helped branding. While users might hire someone to run to the grocery store for them, the job might also be assembling a shelving unit or organizing a closet.

The more all-encompassing word “task” was chosen to open up user’s imagination about why and how they might utilize the service. In May 2011, TaskRabbit secured $5 million in financing with 2,000 TaskRabbits proving the concept was workable. Over the course of a year, the service expanded into four more markets: New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Orange County and also launched a mobile app. A second round of funding to the tune of $17.8 million in December 2011 allowed the company to focus on their product development, including incorporating a gamified approach. Top workers are ranked on a leader board that also displays their average customer reviews. This kind of peer-to-peer sharing involves crafting a perception of trust so users are willing to do business with strangers. Each potential TaskRabbit is given a criminal background check and interviewed via video before they are approved.

The site design emphasizes this guarantee, “Find safe, reliable help in your neighborhood” from “20,000+ Background Checked TaskRabbits.” Sign-up is free and requires only an email address and a zip code, a dead simple method taken from the playbook of highly successful buy low-key sites like DropBox. TaskRabbit founder Leah Busque advocates staying in constant update mode to make sure that users are always having the best possible experience with the product. Every two weeks the company tests its site design, user experience, and other features with A/B testing through Kissmetrics. For instance, the company studies the effectiveness of photos versus illustrations on the front page and determined that photos result in twice as many sign-up. There is a strong emphasis on the company’s culture to ensure that everyone hired reflects the quality of the brand. TaskRabbit values openness with a helpful, collaborative, and friendly approach.


pages: 302 words: 73,581

Platform Scale: How an Emerging Business Model Helps Startups Build Large Empires With Minimum Investment by Sangeet Paul Choudary

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3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, business process, Clayton Christensen, collaborative economy, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, frictionless, game design, hive mind, Internet of things, invisible hand, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, multi-sided market, Network effects, new economy, Paul Graham, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, social software, software as a service, software is eating the world, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, TaskRabbit, the payments system, too big to fail, transport as a service, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, Wave and Pay

That’s why social curation tends to be more inefficient on platforms with higher sampling costs. CURATING SERVICES Services marketplaces like oDesk, Fiverr, Airbnb, and TaskRabbit rely on social curation. In these instances, two additional factors need to be considered to determine the effectiveness of social curation: 1. The ability of the platform to own the end-to-end interaction 2. The service cycle A platform that can own the end-to-end interaction is more likely to succeed in capturing user inputs on quality. For example, Upwork and Clarity enable the exchange of services on-platform, whereas Airbnb and TaskRabbit require the exchange of services to be conducted off-platform. When the actual exchange occurs on-platform, the consumer of services (and, in some cases, even the producer) may be asked to rate the other party within the context of the exchange.

Connecting buyers and sellers directly before charging the transaction cut weakens the platform’s ability to capture value. The party that is charged the transaction cut is motivated to abandon the platform and conduct the transaction off-platform. This problem is further enhanced when the delivery of the service requires the buyer and seller to meet in person. A platform like TaskRabbit enables users to find service providers locally. Since the delivery of service may often involve an in-person meeting, the payments may also be executed in person. This prevents the platform from extracting the transaction cut. Finally, on platforms like TaskRabbit, a client may want to continue using the same plumber for subsequent interactions once he finds a good one. Every time the platform enables a successful interaction, it is reducing its repeatability, as the client and the service provider can connect off-platform for subsequent interactions.

For more details, please visit http://platformthinkinglabs.com/about/sangeet-choudary/ TABLE OF CONTENTS Preface 1.0 AN INTRODUCTION TO INTERACTION-FIRST BUSINESSES 1.1 Building The Next Big Thing 1.2 The Platform Manifesto 1.3 The Rise Of The Interaction-First Business 1.4 The Platform Stack 1.5 The Inner Workings Of Platform Scale Conclusion 2.0 DESIGNING THE INTERACTION-FIRST PLATFORM Introduction 2.1 The New New Value 2.2 Uber’s Drivers, Google’s Crawlers And GE's Machines 2.3 Building An Interaction-First Platform Business 2.4 Uber, Etsy, And The Internet Of Everybody 2.5 Personalization Mechanics 2.6 The Core Interaction 2.7 Pull-Facilitate-Match 2.8 The Platform Canvas 2.9 Emergence 3.0 BUILDING INTERACTION-FIRST PLATFORMS Introduction 3.1 Interaction Drivers 3.2 Building User Contribution Systems 3.3 Frictionless Like Instagram 3.4 The Creation Of Cumulative Value 3.5 The Traction-Friction Matrix 3.6 Sampling Costs 3.7 Trust Drives Interaction 3.8 Uber Vs. Lyft And Interaction Failure 3.9 Interaction Ownership And The TaskRabbit Problem 4.0 SOLVING CHICKEN-AND-EGG PROBLEMS Introduction 4.1 A Design Pattern For Sparking Interactions 4.2 Activating The Standalone Mode 4.3 How Paypal And Reddit Faked Their Way To Traction 4.4 Every Producer Organizes Their Own Party 4.5 Bringing In The Ladies 4.6 The Curious Case Of New Payment Mechanisms 4.7 Drink Your Own Kool Aid 4.8 Beg, Borrow, Steal And The World Of Supply Proxies 4.9 Disrupting Craigslist 4.10 Starting With Micromarkets 4.11 From Twitter To Tinder 5.0 VIRALITY: SCALE IN A NETWORKED WORLD Introduction 5.1 Transitioning To Platform Scale 5.2 Instagram’s Moonshot Moment 5.3 Going Viral 5.4 Architecting Diseases 5.5 A Design-First Approach To Viral Growth 5.6 Building Viral Engines 5.7 The Viral Canvas 6.0 REVERSE NETWORK EFFECTS Introduction 6.1 A Scaling Framework For Platforms 6.2 Reverse Network Effects 6.3 Manifestations Of Reverse Network Effects 6.4 Designing The Anti-Viral, Anti-Social Network Epilogue Platform Scale (n): Business scale powered by the ability to leverage and orchestrate a global connected ecosystem of producers and consumers toward efficient value creation and exchange.


pages: 361 words: 81,068

The Internet Is Not the Answer by Andrew Keen

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3D printing, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, AltaVista, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, Colonization of Mars, computer age, connected car, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, disintermediation, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, frictionless, full employment, future of work, gig economy, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Hacker Ethic, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, index card, informal economy, information trail, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, libertarian paternalism, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, nonsequential writing, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, packet switching, PageRank, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Potemkin village, precariat, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, smart cities, Snapchat, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, TaskRabbit, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, the medium is the message, Thomas L Friedman, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, working poor, Y Combinator

The Battery member and Uber investor Shervin Pishevar expressed this same techno-libertarian fantasy in under 140 characters. “Let’s just TaskRabbit and Uberize the Government,” Pishevar tweeted to his 57,000 followers.63 He might as well have said: Let’s just TaskRabbit and Uberize the economy. Let’s just turn everything into the so-called sharing economy, a hyperefficient and frictionless platform for networked buyers and sellers. Let’s outsource labor so that everyone is paid by the day, by the hour, by the minute. Because that’s indeed what is happening to the Bay Area economy, with some Oakland residents even crowdfunding their own private police force64 and Facebook (of course) being the first US private company to pay for a full-time, privately paid “community safety police officer” on its campus.65 Pishevar probably believes that unions should be Uberized and TaskRabbited, too. But, of course, with freelance Web service platforms like TaskRabbit—which provide such short-term “jobs” as waiting in line to buy a new iPhone on behalf of one of San Francisco’s lazy “meritocrats”—there is no role for unions, no place for anything protecting the rights of the laborer, no collective sense of identity, no dignity of work.

But, of course, with freelance Web service platforms like TaskRabbit—which provide such short-term “jobs” as waiting in line to buy a new iPhone on behalf of one of San Francisco’s lazy “meritocrats”—there is no role for unions, no place for anything protecting the rights of the laborer, no collective sense of identity, no dignity of work. TaskRabbit has even managed to offend traditional freelancers, with the executive director of the FreelanceUnion arguing that “the trend of stripping work down to discrete, short-term projects without benefits for workers is troubling.”66 TaskRabbit calls its iPhone service #SkipTheLine. But actually, the economic system being rigged up is all about the Bay Area’s wealthy techies—who, surprise-surprise, tend to be as white, male, and young as those awesome dudes at FailCon—skipping a more fundamental line.

If you don’t like it, walk, Uber tells its customers, with Kalanickian tact, about a service that uses “surge” pricing—a euphemism for price gouging—which has resulted in fares being 700–800% above normal on holidays or in bad weather.12 During a particularly ferocious December 2013 snowstorm in New York City, one unfortunate Uber rider paid $94 for a trip of less than two miles that took just eleven minutes.13 Even the rich and famous are being outrageously ripped off by the unregulated Uber service, with Jessica Seinfeld, Jerry’s wife, being charged $415 during that same December storm to take her kid across Manhattan.14 Along with other startups such as Joe Gebbia’s Airbnb and the labor network TaskRabbit, Uber’s business model is based upon circumventing supposedly archaic twentieth-century regulations to create a “what you want when you want it” twenty-first-century economy. They believe that the Internet, as a hyperefficient and so-called frictionless platform for buyers and sellers, is the solution to what they call the “inefficiencies” of the twentieth-century economy. No matter that much of the business generated at networks like Airbnb is under investigation by US authorities, with many of the fifteen thousand “hosts” in New York not paying tax on their rental income.15 Nor that TaskRabbit’s so-called distributed-workforce model—whose simple goal, according to its CEO, Leah Busque, is to “revolutionize the world’s labor force”16—profits from what Brad Stone calls the “backbreaking” and “soul-draining” nature of low-paying menial labor.17 “This revolutionary work built out of Silicon Valley convenience is not really about technological innovation,” warns the podcaster and writer Sarah Jaffe about the role of labor brokers like TaskRabbit in our increasingly unequal economy.


pages: 339 words: 88,732

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, access to a mobile phone, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, British Empire, business intelligence, business process, call centre, clean water, combinatorial explosion, computer age, computer vision, congestion charging, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, employer provided health coverage, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, falling living standards, Filter Bubble, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, full employment, game design, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, law of one price, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, means of production, Narrative Science, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pattern recognition, payday loans, price stability, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, six sigma, Skype, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, telepresence, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, Y2K

Alyson Shontell, “Founder Q&A: Make a Boatload of Money Doing Your Neighbor’s Chores on TaskRabbit,” Business Insider, October 27, 2011, http://www.businessinsider.com/taskrabbit-interview-2011-10 (accessed August 12, 2013). 29. Tomio Geron, “Airbnb and the Unstoppable Rise of the Share Economy,” Forbes, January 23, 2013, http://www.forbes.com/sites/tomiogeron/2013/01/23/airbnb-and-the-unstoppable-rise-of-the-share-economy/ (accessed August 12, 2013). 30. Johnny B., “TaskRabbit Names Google Veteran Stacy Brown-Philpot as Chief Operating Officer,” TaskRabbit Blog, January 14, 2013, https://www.taskrabbit.com/blog/taskrabbit-news/taskrabbit-names-google-veteran-stacy-brown-philpot-as-chief-operating-officer/ (accessed August 12, 2013). 31. Johnny B., “TaskRabbit Welcomes 1,000 New TaskRabbits Each Month,” TaskRabbit Blog, April 23, 2013, https://www.taskrabbit.com/blog/taskrabbit-news/taskrabbit-welcomes-1000-new-taskrabbits-each-month/. 32.

In fact, it’s given rise to a large new crop of companies, often grouped together as the ‘peer economy.’ Peer economy companies satisfy their customers’ requests by crowdsourcing them. Some of the graphs you see in this book, for example, were generated or improved by people we’d never met before. We found them by posting a request for help with the task to TaskRabbit, a company founded by software engineer Leah Busque in 2008. Busque got the idea for TaskRabbit after she ran out of dog food one night and realized that there was no quick and easy way for her to use the Internet to find (and pay) someone willing to pick some up for her.28 That same year, Joe Gebbia, Brian Chesky, and Nathan Blecharczyk also launched a website that used the Internet and the crowd to better match supply and demand. In their case, the demand was not for help with a task, but instead for a place to stay.

The site, Airbedand-breakfast.com, allowed people to offer rooms in their homes to visitors; it grew out of an experience that Gebbia and Chesky had offering space in their apartment to attendees of a 2007 design conference in San Francisco, where affordable hotel rooms were scarce. The service they built, which was renamed Airbnb.com in 2009, quickly became popular. On New Year’s Eve of 2012, for example, over 140,000 people around the world stayed in places booked via Airbnb; this is 50 percent more than could be accommodated in all the hotels on the Las Vegas Strip.29 TaskRabbit also grew quickly; by January 2013 the company was reporting “month-over-month transactional growth in the double digits.”30 TaskRabbit allows people to offer their labor to the crowd while Airbnb lets them offer an asset. The peer economy now includes many examples of both types of company. Crowdsourced labor markets exist in specific domains like programming, design, and cleaning, as well as for general task execution. And people now use websites and apps to rent out their cameras, tools, bicycles, parking spaces, dog kennels, and almost anything else they might own.


pages: 270 words: 79,180

The Middleman Economy: How Brokers, Agents, Dealers, and Everyday Matchmakers Create Value and Profit by Marina Krakovsky

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Al Roth, Black Swan, buy low sell high, Credit Default Swap, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, experimental economics, George Akerlof, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, income inequality, index fund, Jean Tirole, Lean Startup, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market microstructure, Martin Wolf, McMansion, Menlo Park, moral hazard, multi-sided market, Network effects, patent troll, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, pez dispenser, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, social graph, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Market for Lemons, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, two-sided market, Uber for X, ultimatum game, Y Combinator

Yet, to reach new heights of fame and fortune, these newly minted celebrities have been signing with professional middlemen—the talent agents who scout YouTube for clients needing an advocate in negotiating TV deals and endorsement contracts.10 Facebook, Twitter, and other social media make it easy to strike up conversations with strangers, but when big stars use Facebook and Twitter to engage with fans, it is typically through social media marketers, publicists, and other middlemen with the expertise to do the job better and more efficiently than the celebrities could on their own.11 Finally, consider the workings of the so-called “peer-to-peer” or “sharing” economy—people selling bits of unused labor or other form of spare capacity—which wouldn’t exist through buyers and sellers acting alone. Everywhere you look in the sharing economy, from Airbnb to TaskRabbit, Uber, and ZocDoc, right in the center is a middleman business. So much for the end of middlemen. Of course, there is no question that the Internet has shaken up entire industries and caused the loss of many middleman jobs: think of the stockbroker who merely executes your trade or the travel agent who does nothing more than take your order. But on the whole, the web’s growth has actually gone hand in hand with a rise in the middleman class, and economic statistics show that middlemen now make up a larger part of the economy than ever.

“One way to look at middlemen,” Maples says, “is that because of the advent of the Internet, the world has become more ‘inter-networked.’”14 More people, companies, and products are connected than ever. In this highly connected world, “things and entities that accelerate connections are going to be more valuable,” Maples believes.15 This idea is self-evident when you think of core Internet technologies and social networking tools that speed up our personal connections; it is also true of middleman businesses Maples has backed, such as Chegg, Lyft, and TaskRabbit, that speed up connections between buyers and sellers. Perhaps more surprisingly, it is also true of many human middlemen, including venture capitalists like Maples himself: great at spotting high-potential entrepreneurial ideas, effective venture capitalists (VCs) command the space between entrepreneurs and the limited partners (LPs) who entrust VCs with their capital. For the LPs, a venture capitalist connects their investment dollars with business ideas capable of generating high returns; for the entrepreneurs with these promising ideas, the venture capitalist channels the LPs’ dollars toward the ideas and also helps entrepreneurs quickly form other important connections—to talent, to trusted advisors, and, if all goes well, all the way to the stock market.16 The rest of us benefit, too, whenever we enjoy the products and services of innovative entrepreneurial ventures, because without the VCs, the most high-flying companies might never get off the ground.

The little boys are with their nanny; child care is not a problem, Thiers jokes because she knows I want to talk to her as the founder of SitterCity, an online service that matches parents with babysitters and nannies.33 SitterCity, which today is successful enough to have allowed Thiers to retire on a chunk of her founder’s stock, struck me as remarkable for two reasons. First, the business started during the dot-com bust—not only before such online matching businesses as Uber, TaskRabbit, and Airbnb had begun to spring up everywhere, but even before the rise of social networking sites. Facebook, LinkedIn, and even now-defunct Friendster did not yet exist in 2000. The other surprise about SitterCity: Thiers is no tech whiz, and she hadn’t taken a single business class; when she conceived of the idea, she was studying opera as a music major at Boston College. The idea for the service came to her when she saw a heavily pregnant woman who had come to the college to post fliers in search of a babysitter, and Thiers couldn’t believe the absurdity of the situation.


pages: 323 words: 90,868

The Wealth of Humans: Work, Power, and Status in the Twenty-First Century by Ryan Avent

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3D printing, Airbnb, American energy revolution, autonomous vehicles, Bakken shale, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, gig economy, global supply chain, global value chain, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, knowledge economy, low skilled workers, lump of labour, Lyft, manufacturing employment, means of production, new economy, performance metric, pets.com, price mechanism, quantitative easing, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reshoring, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, software is eating the world, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, TaskRabbit, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, very high income, working-age population

Part-time work increased in importance during the economic crisis of 2008–9, but has ebbed as economic conditions have improved. Still, there is indisputably the opportunity for significant growth in the future. The question is whether the gig economy will lead to the suspension of the trilemma. The trilemma implies that to scare up enough consumer demand for ‘gigs’, the price – of the Uber trip or the TaskRabbit errand, for example – must be low. That, in turn, means that pay must be low. Uber driver wages can’t rise to too high a level or Uber will accelerate automation. Similarly, TaskRabbit tasks can’t be too expensive, or people will only use the service on rare, higher value occasions, reducing the labour-absorbing power of the service. A suspension of the trilemma means the arrival of a world of hyper-specialization, in which the market-expanding, match-generating power of the web becomes so powerful that most of the world’s billion workers can find themselves a tiny niche that is nonetheless lucrative enough to keep them fed and housed, but which isn’t, in the end, doable with software.

Yet the firm’s business does demonstrate how the technological deskilling of an occupation can lead to both a better experience for consumers and better pay for some workers. Yet the example is not especially cheering. Many more of the digital revolution’s disruptive business models work by reducing employment of less-skilled workers than by creating new opportunities for them. Other labour-intensive apps – such as TaskRabbit, which allows users to hire people for short-term gigs as errand-runners – work not because they make unskilled labour vastly more productive, but because unskilled labour is abundant and cheap enough to make it economical to harness such workers to do unproductive jobs: waiting in queues, for example. Perhaps more importantly, new business models that open up opportunities for unskilled workers by simplifying the tasks done in an industry arguably pave the way for the eventual automation of those tasks.

Ray labour abundance as good problem bargaining power cognitive but repetitive collective bargaining and demographic issues discrimination and exclusion global growth of workforce and immigration liberalization in 1970s/80s ‘lump of labour’ fallacy occupational licences organized and proximity reallocation to growing industries retraining and skill acquisition and scarcity and social value work as a positive good see also employment Labour Party, British land scarcity Latvia Le Pen, Jean-Marie Le Pen, Marine legal profession Lehman Brothers collapse (2008) Lepore, Jill liberalization, economic (from 1970s) Linkner, Josh, The Road to Reinvention London Lucas, Robert Lyft maker-taker distinction Malthus, Reverend Thomas Manchester Mandel, Michael Mankiw, Gregory marketing and public relations Marshall, Alfred Marx, Karl Mason, Paul, Postcapitalism (2015) McAfee, Andrew medicine and healthcare ‘mercantilist’ world Mercedes Benz Mexico Microsoft mineral industries minimum wage Mokyr, Joel Monroe, President James MOOCs (‘massive open online courses’) Moore, Gordon mortality rates Mosaic (web browser) music, digital nation states big communities of affinity inequality between as loci of redistribution and social capital nationalist and separatist movements Netherlands Netscape New York City Newsweek NIMBYism Nordic and Scandinavian economies North Carolina North Dakota Obama, Barack oil markets O’Neill, Jim Oracle Orbán, Viktor outsourcing Peretti, Jonah Peterson Institute for International Economics pets.com Philadelphia Centennial Fair (1876) Philippines Phoenix, Arizona Piketty, Thomas, Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2013) Poland political institutions politics fractionalization in Europe future/emerging narratives geopolitical forces human wealth narrative left-wing looming upheaval/conflict Marxism nationalist and separatist movements past unrest and conflict polarization in USA radicalism and extremism realignment revolutionary right-wing rise of populist outsiders and scarcity social membership battles Poor Laws, British print media advertising revenue productivity agricultural artisanal goods and services Baumol’s Cost Disease and cities and dematerialization and digital revolution and employment trilemma and financial crisis (2008) and Henry Ford growth data in higher education of highly skilled few and industrial revolution minimum wage impact paradox of in service sector and specialization and wage rates see also factors of production professional, technical or managerial work and education levels and emerging economies the highly skilled few and industrial revolution and ‘offshoring’ professional associations skilled cities professional associations profits Progressive Policy Institute property values proximity public spending Putnam, Robert Quakebot quantitative easing Race Against the Machine, Brynjolfsson and McAfee (2011) railways Raleigh, North Carolina Reagan, Ronald redistribution and geopolitical forces during liberal era methods of nation state as locus of as a necessity as politically hard and societal openness wealth as human rent, economic Republican Party, US ‘reshoring’ phenomenon Resseger, Matthew retail sector retirement age Ricardo, David rich people and maker-taker distinction wild contingency of wealth Robinson, James robots Rodrik, Dani Romney, Mitt rule of law Russia San Francisco San Jose Sanders, Bernie sanitation SAP Saudi Arabia savings glut, global ‘Say’s Law’ Scalia, Antonin Scandinavian and Nordic economies scarcity and labour political effects of Schleicher, David Schwartz, Anna scientists Scotland Sears Second World War secular stagnation global spread of possible solutions shale deposits sharing economies Silicon Valley Singapore skilled workers and education levels and falling wages the highly skilled few and industrial revolution ‘knowledge-intensive’ goods and services reshoring phenomenon technological deskilling see also professional, technical or managerial work Slack (chat service) Slate (web publication) smartphone culture Smith, Adam social capital and American Constitution baseball metaphor and cities ‘deepening’ definition/nature of and dematerialization and developing economies and erosion of institutions of firms and companies and good government and housing wealth and immigration and income distribution during industrial revolution and liberalization and nation-states productive application of and rich-poor nation gap and Adam Smith and start-ups social class conflict middle classes and NIMBYism social conditioning of labour force working classes social democratic model social reform social wealth and social membership software ‘enterprise software’ products supply-chain management Solow, Robert Somalia South Korea Soviet Union, dissolution of (1991) specialization Star Trek state, role of steam power Subramanian, Arvind suburbanization Sweden Syriza party Taiwan TaskRabbit taxation telegraphy Tesla, Nikola Thatcher, Margaret ‘tiger’ economies of South-East Asia Time Warner Toyota trade China as ‘mega-trader’ ‘comparative advantage’ theory and dematerialization global supply chains liberalization shaping of by digital revolution Adam Smith on trade unions transhumanism transport technology self-driving cars Trump, Donald Twitter Uber UK Independence Party United States of America (USA) 2016 Presidential election campaign average income Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) Constitution deindustrialization education in employment in ethno-nationalist diversity of financial crisis (2008) housing costs in housing wealth in individualism in industrialization in inequality in Jim Crow segregation labour scarcity in Young America liberalization in minimum wage in political polarization in post-crisis profit rates productivity boom of 1990s real wage data rising debt levels secular stagnation in shale revolution in social capital in and social wealth surpasses Britain as leading nation wage subsidies in university education advanced degrees downward mobility of graduates MOOCs (‘massive open online courses’) and productivity see also education urbanization utopias, post-work Victoria, Queen video-gamers Virginia, US state Volvo Vox wages basic income policy Baumol’s Cost Disease cheap labour and employment growth and dot.com boom and financial crisis (2008) and flexibility and Henry Ford government subsidies and housing costs and immigration and industrial revolution low-pay as check on automation minimum wage and productivity the ‘reservation wage’ as rising in China rising in emerging economies and scarcity in service sector and skill-upgrading approach stagnation of and supply of graduates Wandsworth Washington D.C.


pages: 421 words: 110,406

Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy--And How to Make Them Work for You by Sangeet Paul Choudary, Marshall W. van Alstyne, Geoffrey G. Parker

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3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Andrei Shleifer, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, bitcoin, blockchain, business process, buy low sell high, chief data officer, clean water, cloud computing, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, data is the new oil, discounted cash flows, disintermediation, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial innovation, Haber-Bosch Process, High speed trading, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, market design, multi-sided market, Network effects, new economy, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pre–internet, price mechanism, recommendation engine, RFID, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Coase, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, smart grid, Snapchat, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Chicago School, the payments system, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, winner-take-all economy, Zipcar

Buyers and sellers who find each other on the platform are naturally incentivized to take the interaction off the platform if they can, in order to avoid paying the transaction fee. This problem is especially rampant with platforms that connect service providers with service consumers. With the rise of the freelancer economy and the spread of the online sharing economy, platform businesses from Airbnb and Uber to TaskRabbit and Upwork have sprung up to facilitate service interactions. However, most of them are faced with the challenge of capturing the interaction on-platform. In most cases, the interaction can’t occur until the producer (in this case, the service provider) and the consumer (the purchaser of the service) agree on the terms of the service, which usually requires the two to interact directly. Furthermore, the actual exchange of money often follows the delivery of the service, which also requires the two participants to interact directly.

Do we want to live in a society where those with the most money can claim an ever larger share of the most attractive public goods? These are some of the questions about external impacts that a seemingly simple case like the MonkeyParking story raises. Labor platforms, bulwarks of what some call the freelance or 1099 economy, raise still other issues of social impact and equity. Platforms like Upwork, TaskRabbit, and Washio are fine for people who value a flexible work schedule above all, but are much more problematic for people who find themselves with no choice except to operate as full-time employees on a freelance basis without the benefits and worker protections normally mandated by law. It’s understandable that businesses want to take advantage of the agility and low overhead costs that labor platforms make possible.

It’s a classic illustration of how regulatory debates that evoke majestic concepts such as equity, freedom, and the sanctity of the marketplace often turn, in the end, on nitty-gritty issues of dollars and cents and the political clout that various players bring to the legislative table. Labor regulation. Those who operate labor platforms usually choose to describe their systems as intermediaries that serve solely to match labor with demand for services. In this view, the people who sign up for work through firms such as Uber, TaskRabbit, and Mechanical Turk are truly independent contractors, and the platform bears little legal (or moral) responsibility to the parties on either side of the interaction once the match has been made. However, from the perspective of regulators who are charged with safeguarding the welfare of working men and women, this position is dubious. In the traditional world of offline business, a number of firms that classify full-time, permanent employees as contract labor for legal and regulatory purposes have been drawing unfavorable attention for the practice.


pages: 330 words: 91,805

Peers Inc: How People and Platforms Are Inventing the Collaborative Economy and Reinventing Capitalism by Robin Chase

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Andy Kessler, banking crisis, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, business climate, call centre, car-free, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, congestion charging, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, decarbonisation, don't be evil, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, ethereum blockchain, Ferguson, Missouri, Firefox, frictionless, Gini coefficient, hive mind, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, means of production, megacity, Minecraft, minimum viable product, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, openstreetmap, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Zipcar

Many peer platforms do set rates, like the peer taxi services and TaskRabbit. And how exactly does one define “tool” today? A significant part of the platform’s purpose is to provide access to the tools that make production vastly simpler and easier. Employers control what the worker does and how the worker does it. Quality constraints and standards for participation enacted by the platform (be a good driver, maintain a good rating) make it feel like platforms could in some circumstances actually be exercising a lot of control around work production. But there is a key defining distinction. For any and every engagement with the platform, peers’ participation is wholly up to them. It is opt-in, each and every time. Both Uber and Task Rabbit have at times compelled their drivers or taskers to accept certain jobs, and therefore they are likely crossing the legal line back into employer status.

Like the ride-sharing service Uber, Instacart creates work by connecting affluent customers who have more money than time with part-time workers who have the opposite problem—lots of time, not enough money.”6 At first blush, this way of working seems very democratic. Anyone can participate! But in many platforms, however, participation quickly becomes a meritocracy, and poor performers are rapidly winnowed out through negative comments and poor ratings. The bad or unreliable drivers on Uber, the hosts with dirty apartments, and the errand runners on TaskRabbit who never seem to be on time won’t do much business. Neither will freelancers on Guru, eLance, and oDesk, medical practitioners on ZocDoc, entrepreneurs on Kiva, and food preparers on Feastly if they have bad reviews. High-quality peers are valuable co-creators. A small subset of individuals will have work that stands out because it is so much better than the others’. Jordi Muñoz is clearly one such example.

In my thinking, some platforms are in fact people-centric partnerships, opening up the possibility of a new localized, customized, specialized economy as delivered by the people. Platforms have unleashed the talents of artists and craftspeople (Etsy), musicians (SoundCloud), freelance administrators, accountants, and logisticians (eLance-oDesk), illustrators (Behance), cooks (Feastly), dog sitters (Rover), caregivers and babysitters (Care.com), errand runners (TaskRabbit), editors, programmers, designers, and videographers (Fiverr.com), communities of knitters (Ravelry), and gardeners (GardenWeb). This list could go on for pages, as we all know. All of these people now have newfound agency, new corporate powers, and access to a marketplace. These are examples of platforms that do not simply aggregate a commodity such as spare bedrooms but act as marketplaces for genuinely creative people to find audiences for their work—the same job that record companies and movie studios started out doing.


pages: 199 words: 43,653

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal

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Airbnb, AltaVista, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, en.wikipedia.org, framing effect, game design, Google Glasses, Inbox Zero, invention of the telephone, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Lean Startup, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Oculus Rift, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, QWERTY keyboard, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, TaskRabbit, telemarketer, Toyota Production System, Y Combinator

For many users, switching services means abandoning years of investment and starting over. No one wants to rebuild a loyal following they have worked hard to acquire and nurture. Reputation Reputation is a form of stored value users can literally take to the bank. On online marketplaces such as eBay, TaskRabbit, Yelp, and Airbnb, people with negative scores are treated very differently from those with good reputations. It can often be the deciding factor in what price a seller gets for an item on eBay, who is selected for a TaskRabbit job, which restaurants appear at the top of Yelp search results, and the price of a room rental on Airbnb. On eBay, both buyers and sellers take their reputations very seriously. The e-commerce giant surfaces user-generated quality scores for every buyer and seller, and awards its most active users with badges to symbolize their trustworthiness.


pages: 294 words: 82,438

Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World by Donald Sull, Kathleen M. Eisenhardt

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, barriers to entry, Basel III, Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, Checklist Manifesto, complexity theory, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversification, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, Exxon Valdez, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, haute cuisine, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Kickstarter, late fees, Lean Startup, Louis Pasteur, Lyft, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nate Silver, Network effects, obamacare, Paul Graham, performance metric, price anchoring, RAND corporation, risk/return, Saturday Night Live, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Startup school, statistical model, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, transportation-network company, two-sided market, Wall-E, web application, Y Combinator, Zipcar

Airbnb is among the most successful of the shared-economy companies. Unlike many traditional businesses, shared-economy companies have no single base of customers. Rather, these companies provide two-sided markets that connect sellers (or people with something to share) with buyers (who are willing to pay for the product or service)—like the transportation-network company Lyft, which connects passengers who need a ride to drivers who have a car, and TaskRabbit, an errand-outsourcing company that connects people who need something done with “taskers” who will do the job. For Airbnb, it’s connecting local residents with room to spare and travelers who need a place to stay. To grow, shared-economy companies have to keep both sides of the market—sellers and buyers—happy. And growing matters, because these companies face what are known as network effects—in other words, the positively reinforcing cycle in which more buyers attract more sellers and vice versa.

., [>]–[>] Everest climbers and, [>]–[>] overview/examples, [>]–[>] Start-Up Chile and, [>] strategy (business) simplifying strategy for execution, [>]–[>] “Strategy as Simple Rules” (Harvard Business Review), [>], [>] See also execution of strategy strength coach role, [>] suicides depression and, [>] note authenticity determination, [>], [>] Sull, Donald action research on simple rules and, [>]–[>] background, [>] as bouncer/rules, [>], [>]–[>] Internet study and, [>] Executive Education (London Business School) simple rules and, [>]–[>] program for simple rules/personal issues, [>]–[>], [>] simple rules program (London Business School) and, [>], [>], [>] See also simple rules program (London Business School) Suri, Sanjiv, [>], [>] Talmudic advice (1/N principle), [>]–[>], [>] n TaskRabbit, [>] tax code (US), [>]–[>], [>] Taylor, John, [>] team approach/simple rules and, [>]–[>], [>] thermoballing, [>] 30 Rock, [>], [>] Thirty Years’ War, [>] 3G Capital, [>] Time (magazine), [>] timing rules in competitive situations, [>]–[>] description, [>] event pacing, [>] insomnia and, [>]–[>] overview/examples, [>]–[>] partnerships and, [>] time pacing, [>], [>]–[>] Toy Story, [>] triage rules Boston Marathon bombings and, [>] criteria used, [>]–[>] n effectiveness, [>], [>] explosion example (2004/Iraq), [>]–[>] prioritizing rules and, [>]–[>], [>] Turconi, Stefano, [>], [>] Turley, Shannon background sports diversity/rules improvement, [>]–[>], [>], [>], [>] nutrition/eating rules, [>], [>] Stanford football and, [>], [>]–[>], [>]–[>] Twin Peaks, [>]–[>] uncertainty, [>], [>] n Valentinian III (emperor), [>] values and rules, [>]–[>] variable-threshold strategy, [>] VLS-Group, [>] Wansink, Brian, [>], [>] Weaver, Warren, [>]–[>] Weima Maschinenbau, [>], [>] whales.

The Economic Singularity: Artificial intelligence and the death of capitalism by Calum Chace

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, call centre, Chris Urmson, congestion charging, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flynn Effect, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, lump of labour, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, McJob, means of production, Milgram experiment, Narrative Science, natural language processing, new economy, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, PageRank, pattern recognition, post scarcity, post-industrial society, precariat, prediction markets, QWERTY keyboard, railway mania, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Rodney Brooks, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, working-age population, Y Combinator, young professional

This is an important insight and suggests that jobs will be sliced and diced, with some tasks being automated, and other tasks being retained by the human who previously did the whole job. Some would argue that this process is already under way. Parts of the economies of developed countries are being fragmented, or Balkanised, with more and more people working freelance, carrying out individual tasks which are allocated to them by platforms and apps like Uber and TaskRabbit. There are many words for this phenomenon: the gig economy, the networked economy, the sharing economy, the on-demand economy, the peer-to-peer economy, the platform economy, and the bottom-up economy. Is this a way to escape the automation of jobs by machine intelligence? To break jobs down into as many component tasks as possible, and preserve for humans those tasks which they can do better than machines?

Many freelancers find they have simply traded an unreasonable boss for unreasonable clients, and feel unable to turn down any work for fear that it will be the last commission they ever get. Many freelancers find that in hindsight, the reassurance of a steady income goes a long way to compensate for the 9 to 5 routine of the salaried employee. Whether or not the new forms of freelancing opened up by Uber, Lyft, TaskRabbit, Handy and so on are precarious is a matter of debate, especially in their birthplace, San Francisco. Are the people hired out by these organisations “micro-entrepreneurs” or “instaserfs” - members of a new “precariat”, forced to compete against each other on price for low-end work with no benefits? Are they operating in a network economy or an exploitation economy? Is the sharing economy actually a selfish economy?


pages: 366 words: 94,209

Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity by Douglas Rushkoff

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3D printing, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, business process, buy low sell high, California gold rush, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, centralized clearinghouse, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate personhood, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, Firefox, Flash crash, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global village, Google bus, Howard Rheingold, IBM and the Holocaust, impulse control, income inequality, index fund, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, loss aversion, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, medical bankruptcy, minimum viable product, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, passive investing, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, social graph, software patent, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, trade route, transportation-network company, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, unpaid internship, Y Combinator, young professional, Zipcar

One such experiment, La’Zooz, is a blockchain-managed ridesharing app, where the currency (Zooz) is mined through “proof of movement.”97 So instead of supplying and driving cars as underpaid freelancers for Uber or Lyft, drivers are co-owners of a transportation collective organized through distributed protocols. Could such platform cooperatives catch on? The basic behavior of downloading an app in order to work or rent property has already been anchored in users by Airbnb, Uber, TaskRabbit, Mechanical Turk, and countless others. Using a blockchain is just a small step further, compared to the original leap into digital labor and exchange. It is the disintermediation that all these supposedly disruptive platforms were promising in the first place. Of course, just because we have the capability to employ protocol-based technologies does not mean we have to. We don’t need to resort to blockchains in order to work together fairly.

See investors/investing sharing economy, 44–54, 218 crowdsharing apps and, 45–49 crowdsourcing platforms and, 49–50 employment opportunities, technology as replacing and obsolescing, 51–54 getting paid for our data and, 44–45 great decoupling and, 53 jobs assisting with transition to computerized society and, 51–52 learning to code and, 51 Shift Happens (Hagel), 76–77 Shirky, Clay, 27 Sidecar, 93–94 Silk Road, 145 singularity, 91 Slay, Julia, 58 Smith, Adam, 212–13 Snapchat, 32 social branding, 35–37 social graphs, 40 social media, and “likes” economy, 31–37 Somerhalder, Ian, 36 South by Southwest, 19 specialists, 178–79 Spotify, 218 Square, 141 Stallman, Richard, 216 stamp scrip, 158–59 startups, 184–205 angel investors and, 187, 188 burn rate and, 190 crowdfunding and, 198–201 direct public offerings (DPOs) and, 205–6 Google’s IPO, 194–95 hypergrowth expected of, 187–91 microfinancing platforms and, 202–4 model for building real and sustainable businesses, 196–98 playbook for establishing, 187 reverse engineering of, 184–86 Series A round of investment and, 188–89 venture capital and, 189–95 steady-state enterprises, 98–123 alternative corporate structures and, 118–23 appropriate size for business, finding, 104–5 benefit corporations and, 119 contracting with small and medium-sized enterprises and, 112 dividends as means of rewarding shareholders and, 113–14 dual transformation and, 108–9 ecosystem as model for assembling, 105 employee ownership of company and, 116–18 extractive bias of traditional corporate model, eschewing, 104 family business model and, 103–4, 231–32 flexible purpose corporations and, 119–20 growth, shifting away from, 103–6 hybrid approaches to attaining, 106–12 inclusive capitalism and, 111–12 low-profit limited liability company (L3C) and, 120–21 not-for-profits (NFPs) and, 121–23 open sharing and collaborative corporate strategies and, 106–7 privatization and, 114–16 shareholder mentality, changing, 112–18 technological revolutions, phases of, 98–102 stimulative economic policies, 136, 137 stock market crash of 1929, 99 storytelling, 236 Strickler, Yancey, 198 student debt, 153 subsidiarity, 231–32 supermarket chains, hybrid strategies for, 109–10 Supplier Connection, 112 surge pricing, 86 synergy, 99 Talmud, 208 Tapscott, Don, 49n Target, 142 TaskRabbit, 222 tax anticipation scrip, 159 taxi industry, 85–86 TD Waterhouse, 176 Tea Party, 99–100 technological revolutions, 98–102 creative destruction and, 83–87 destructive destruction and, 100 frenzy phase of, 98–99 government intervention and, 99–100 irruption phase of, 98 maturity phase of, 98–99 synergy phase of, 99 turning point phase of, 99 Thatcher, Margaret, 64 theAudience, 36 Thiel, Peter, 120, 191–92 This Changes Everything (Klein), 135 3-d printing, 62–63 360 deals, 34 time dollar systems, 161–63 toy industry, 85 Toyoda, Akio, 105–6 Toyota Motor Corporation, 105–6 tragedy of the commons, 215–16 Treehouse, 59 Tumblr, 32 turning point, 99 Twitter, 7, 8–9, 195 tyranny of choice, 30 Uber, 4, 93, 94, 98–99, 188, 213, 219, 222, 229 peer-to-peer commerce enabled by, 45, 46 as platform monopoly, 85–87 pricing power of, 47–48 unemployment insurance, 99 unemployment solution, 54–67 guaranteed minimum income programs and, 62–65 guaranteed minimum wage public jobs and, 65–66 hourly-wage employment, history of, 56 joblessness as feature of new digital economy and, 55–56 questioning need for work and, 56–58 real needs, getting paid to address, 65–67 reducing 40-hour workweek and, 58–60 sharing productivity gains with employees and, 60–62 Unilever, 112, 205 United Steel Workers, 220 Upwork, 51, 200 USA Today,173 velocity of money, 140–41 venture capital, 189–95 Vicarious, 119–20 Victorian exhibition, 20 Volkswagen, 106 Wall Street Journal,7, 8, 37–38 Walmart, 47, 73–75, 110–11 Watson, 90–91 wealth inequality.

Frugal Innovation: How to Do Better With Less by Jaideep Prabhu Navi Radjou

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bretton Woods, business climate, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, connected car, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, Elon Musk, financial innovation, global supply chain, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, job satisfaction, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, late fees, Lean Startup, low cost carrier, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, megacity, minimum viable product, more computing power than Apollo, new economy, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, precision agriculture, race to the bottom, reshoring, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, smart grid, smart meter, software as a service, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, women in the workforce, X Prize, yield management, Zipcar

That is the underlying premise of the sharing economy – also known as collaborative consumption – in which participants aspire to share access to goods and services rather than to have individual ownership. Sharing economy firms include Airbnb (sharing homes), RelayRides, BlaBlaCar and easyCar (sharing cars), ParkatmyHouse (sharing parking spaces), BringBee (sharing trips to the grocery store), Wishi or Wear It Share It (choosing clothes), Eatwith (sharing your dinner), yerdle.com (sharing household equipment with neighbours), Skillshare (sharing skills and knowledge) and TaskRabbit (outsourcing small jobs and errands). As we saw in Chapter 1, these services typically take advantage of the web and social media to enable ordinary people to monetise their time, space, knowledge or skills. The sharing economy contributes to environmental sustainability because it reduces individual consumption by allowing, for instance, four people to share the same car rather than having to buy four different cars.

MacArthur Foundation 14 John Deere 67 John Lewis 195 Johnson & Johnson 100, 111 Johnson, Warren 98 Jones, Don 112 jugaad (frugal ingenuity) 199, 202 Jugaad Innovation (Radjou, Prabhu and Ahuja, 2012) xvii, 17 just-in-time design 33–4 K Kaeser, Joe 217 Kalanick, Travis 163 Kalundborg (Denmark) 160 kanju 201 Karkal, Shamir 124 Kaufman, Ben 50–1, 126 Kawai, Daisuke 29–30 Kelly, John 199–200 Kennedy, President John 138 Kenya 57, 200–1 key performance indicators see KPIs Khan Academy 16–17, 113–14, 164 Khan, Salman (Sal) 16–17, 113–14 Kickstarter 17, 48, 137, 138 KieranTimberlake 196 Kimberly-Clark 25, 145 Kingfisher 86–7, 91, 97, 157, 158–9, 185–6, 192–3, 208 KissKissBankBank 17, 137 Knox, Steve 145 Knudstorp, Jørgen Vig 37, 68, 69 Kobori, Michael 83, 100 KPIs (key performance indicators) 38–9, 67, 91–2, 185–6, 208 Kuhndt, Michael 194 Kurniawan, Arie 151–2 L La Chose 108 La Poste 92–3, 157 La Ruche qui dit Oui 137 “labs on a chip” 52 Lacheret, Yves 173–5 Lada 1 laser cutters 134, 166 Laskey, Alex 119 last-mile challenge 57, 146, 156 L’Atelier 168–9 Latin America 161 lattice organisation 63–4 Laury, Véronique 208 Laville, Elisabeth 91 Lawrence, Jamie 185, 192–3, 208 LCA (life-cycle assessment) 196–7 leaders 179, 203–5, 214, 217 lean manufacturing 192 leanness 33–4, 41, 42, 170, 192 Learnbox 114 learning by doing 173, 179 learning organisations 179 leasing 123 Lee, Deishin 159 Lego 51, 126 Lego Group 37, 68, 69, 144 Legrand 157 Lenovo 56 Leroy, Adolphe 127 Leroy Merlin 127–8 Leslie, Garthen 150–1 Lever, William Hesketh 96 Levi Strauss & Co 60, 82–4, 100, 122–3 Lewis, Dijuana 212 life cycle of buildings 196 see also product life cycle life-cycle assessment (LCA) 196–7 life-cycle costs 12, 24, 196 Lifebuoy soap 95, 97 lifespan of companies 154 lighting 32, 56, 123, 201 “lightweighting” 47 linear development cycles 21, 23 linear model of production 80–1 Link 131 littleBits 51 Livi, Daniele 88 Livi, Vittorio 88 local communities 52, 57, 146, 206–7 local markets 183–4 Local Motors 52, 129, 152 local solutions 188, 201–2 local sourcing 51–2, 56, 137, 174, 181 localisation 56, 137 Locavesting (Cortese, 2011) 138 Logan car 2–3, 12, 179, 198–9 logistics 46, 57–8, 161, 191, 207 longevity 121, 124 Lopez, Maribel 65–6 Lopez Research 65–6 L’Oréal 174 Los Alamos National Laboratory 170 low-cost airlines 60, 121 low-cost innovation 11 low-income markets 12–13, 161, 203, 207 Lowry, Adam 81–2 M m-health 109, 111–12 M-KOPA 201 M-Pesa 57, 201 M3D 48, 132 McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) 84 McDonough, William 82 McGregor, Douglas 63 MacGyvers 17–18, 130, 134, 167 McKelvey, Jim 135 McKinsey & Company 81, 87, 209 mainstream, frugal products in 216 maintenance 66, 75, 76, 124, 187 costs 48–9, 66 Mainwaring, Simon 8 Maistre, Christophe de 187–8, 216 Maker Faire 18, 133–4 Maker platform 70 makers 18, 133–4, 145 manufacturing 20th-century model 46, 55, 80–1 additive 47–9 continuous 44–5 costs 47, 48, 52 decentralised 9, 44, 51–2 frugal 44–54 integration with logistics 57–8 new approaches 50–4 social 50–1 subtractive method 48 tools for 47, 47–50 Margarine Unie 96 market 15, 28, 38, 64, 186, 189, 192 R&D and 21, 26, 33, 34 market research 25, 61, 139, 141 market share 100 marketing 21–2, 24, 36, 61–3, 91, 116–20, 131, 139 and R&D 34, 37, 37–8 marketing teams 143, 150 markets 12–13, 42, 62, 215 see also emerging markets Marks & Spencer (M&S) 97, 215 Plan A 90, 156, 179–81, 183–4, 186–7, 214 Marriott 140 Mars 57, 158–9, 161 Martin Marietta 159 Martin, Tod 154 mass customisation 9, 46, 47, 48, 57–8 mass market 189 mass marketing 21–2 mass production 9, 46, 57, 58, 74, 129, 196 Massachusetts Institute of Technology see MIT massive open online courses see MOOCs materials 3, 47, 48, 73, 92, 161 costs 153, 161, 190 recyclable 74, 81, 196 recycled 77, 81–2, 83, 86, 89, 183, 193 renewable 77, 86 repurposing 93 see also C2C; reuse Mayhew, Stephen 35, 36 Mazoyer, Eric 90 Mazzella, Frédéric 163 MBDC (McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry) 84 MDI 16 measurable goals 185–6 Mechanical Engineer Laboratory (MEL) 52 “MEcosystems” 154–5, 156–8 Medicare 110 medication 111–12 Medicity 211 MedStartr 17 MEL (Mechanical Engineer Laboratory) 52 mental models 2, 193–203, 206, 216 Mercure 173 Merlin, Rose 127 Mestrallet, Gérard 53, 54 method (company) 81–2 Mexico 38, 56 Michelin 160 micro-factories 51–2, 52, 66, 129, 152 micro-robots 52 Microsoft 38 Microsoft Kinect 130 Microsoft Word 24 middle classes 197–8, 216 Migicovsky, Eric 137–8 Mikkiche, Karim 199 millennials 7, 14, 17, 131–2, 137, 141, 142 MindCET 165 miniaturisation 52, 53–4 Mint.com 125 MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) 44–5, 107, 130, 134, 202 mobile health see m-health mobile phones 24, 32, 61, 129–30, 130, 168, 174 emerging market use 198 infrastructure 56, 198 see also smartphones mobile production units 66–7 mobile technologies 16, 17, 103, 133, 174, 200–1, 207 Mocana 151 Mochon, Daniel 132 modular design 67, 90 modular production units 66–7 Modularer Querbaukasten see MQB “mompreneurs” 145 Mondelez 158–9 Money Dashboard 125 Moneythink 162 monitoring 65–6, 106, 131 Monopoly 144 MOOCs (massive open online courses) 60, 61, 112, 113, 114, 164 Morieux, Yves 64 Morocco 207 Morris, Robert 199–200 motivation, employees 178, 180, 186, 192, 205–8 motivational approaches to shaping consumer behaviour 105–6 Motorola 56 MQB (Modularer Querbaukasten) 44, 45–6 Mulally, Alan 70, 166 Mulcahy, Simon 157 Mulliez family 126–7 Mulliez, Vianney 13, 126 multi-nodal innovation 202–3 Munari, Bruno 93 Murray, Mike 48–9 Musk, Elon 172 N Nano car 119, 156 National Geographic 102 natural capital, loss of 158–9 Natural Capital Leaders Platform 158–9 natural resources 45, 86 depletion 7, 72, 105, 153, 158–9 see also resources NCR 55–6 near-shoring 55 Nelson, Simon 113 Nemo, Sophie-Noëlle 93 Nest Labs 98–100, 103 Nestlé 31, 44, 68, 78, 94, 158–9, 194, 195 NetPositive plan 86, 208 networking 152–3, 153 new materials 47, 92 New Matter 132 new technologies 21, 27 Newtopia 32 next-generation customers 121–2 next-generation manufacturing techniques 44–6, 46–7 see also frugal manufacturing Nigeria 152, 197–8 Nike 84 NineSigma 151 Nissan 4, 4–5, 44, 199 see also Renault-Nissan non-governmental organisations 167 non-profit organisations 161, 162, 202 Nooyi, Indra 217 Norman, Donald 120 Norris, Greg 196 North American companies 216–17 North American market 22 Northrup Grumman 68 Norton, Michael 132 Norway 103 Novartis 44–5, 215 Novotel 173, 174 nudging 100, 108, 111, 117, 162 Nussbaum, Bruce 140 O O2 147 Obama, President Barack 6, 8, 13, 134, 138, 208 obsolescence, planned 24, 121 offshoring 55 Oh, Amy 145 Ohayon, Elie 71–2 Oliver Wyman 22 Olocco, Gregory 206 O’Marah, Kevin 58 on-demand services 39, 124 online communities 31, 50, 61, 134 online marketing 143 online retailing 60, 132 onshoring 55 Opel 4 open innovation 104, 151, 152, 153, 154 open-source approach 48, 129, 134, 135, 172 open-source hardware 51, 52, 89, 130, 135, 139 open-source software 48, 130, 132, 144–5, 167 OpenIDEO 142 operating costs 45, 215 Opower 103, 109, 119 Orange 157 Orbitz 173 organisational change 36–7, 90–1, 176, 177–90, 203–8, 213–14, 216 business models 190–3 mental models 193–203 organisational culture 36–7, 170, 176, 177–9, 213–14, 217 efficacy focus 181–3 entrepreneurial 76, 173 see also organisational change organisational structure 63–5, 69 outsourcing 59, 143, 146 over-engineering 27, 42, 170 Overby, Christine 25 ownership 9 Oxylane Group 127 P P&G (Procter & Gamble) 19, 31, 58, 94, 117, 123, 145, 195 packaging 57, 96, 195 Page, Larry 63 “pain points” 29, 30, 31 Palmer, Michael 212 Palo Alto Junior League 20 ParkatmyHouse 17, 63, 85 Parker, Philip 61 participation, customers 128–9 partner ecosystems 153, 154, 200 partners 65, 72, 148, 153, 156–8 sharing data with 59–60 see also distributors; hyper-collaboration; suppliers Partners in Care Foundation 202 partnerships 41, 42, 152–3, 156–7, 171–2, 174, 191 with SMBs 173, 174, 175 with start-ups 20, 164–5, 175 with suppliers 192–3 see also hyper-collaboration patents 171–2 Payne, Alex 124 PE International 196 Pearson 164–5, 167, 181–3, 186, 215 Pebble 137–8 peer-to-peer economic model 10 peer-to-peer lending 10 peer-to-peer sales 60 peer-to-peer sharing 136–7 Pélisson, Gérard 172–3 PepsiCo 38, 40, 179, 190, 194, 215 performance 47, 73, 77, 80, 95 of employees 69 Pernod Ricard 157 personalisation 9, 45, 46, 48, 62, 129–30, 132, 149 Peters, Tom 21 pharmaceutical industry 13, 22, 23, 33, 58, 171, 181 continuous manufacturing 44–6 see also GSK Philippines 191 Philips 56, 84, 100, 123 Philips Lighting 32 Picaud, Philippe 122 Piggy Mojo 119 piggybacking 57 Piketty, Thomas 6 Plan A (M&S) 90, 156, 179–81, 183–4, 186–7, 214 Planet 21 (Accor) 174–5 planned obsolescence 24, 121 Plastyc 17 Plumridge, Rupert 18 point-of-sale data 58 Poland 103 pollution 74, 78, 87, 116, 187, 200 Polman, Paul 11, 72, 77, 94, 203–5, 217 portfolio management tools 27, 33 Portugal 55, 103 postponement 57–8 Potočnik, Janez 8, 79 Prabhu, Arun 25 Prahalad, C.K. 12 predictive analytics 32–3 predictive maintenance 66, 67–8 Priceline 173 pricing 81, 117 processes digitising 65–6 entrenched 14–16 re-engineering 74 simplifying 169, 173 Procter & Gamble see P&G procurement priorities 67–8 product life cycle 21, 75, 92, 186 costs 12, 24, 196 sustainability 73–5 product-sharing initiatives 87 production costs 9, 83 productivity 49, 59, 65, 79–80, 153 staff 14 profit 14, 105 Progressive 100, 116 Project Ara 130 promotion 61–3 Propeller Health 111 prosumers xix–xx, 17–18, 125, 126–33, 136–7, 148, 154 empowering and engaging 139–46 see also horizontal economy Protomax 159 prototypes 31–2, 50, 144, 152 prototyping 42, 52, 65, 152, 167, 192, 206 public 50–1, 215 public sector, working with 161–2 publishers 17, 61 Pullman 173 Puma 194 purchasing power 5–6, 216 pyramidal model of production 51 pyramidal organisations 69 Q Qarnot Computing 89 Qualcomm 84 Qualcomm Life 112 quality 3, 11–12, 15, 24, 45, 49, 82, 206, 216 high 1, 9, 93, 198, 216 measure of 105 versus quantity 8, 23 quality of life 8, 204 Quicken 19–21 Quirky 50–1, 126, 150–1, 152 R R&D 35, 67, 92, 151 big-ticket programmes 35–6 and business development 37–8 China 40, 188, 206 customer focus 27, 39, 43 frugal approach 12, 26–33, 82 global networks 39–40 incentives 38–9 industrial model 2, 21–6, 33, 36, 42 market-focused, agile model 26–33 and marketing 34, 37, 37–8 recommendations for managers 34–41 speed 23, 27, 34, 149 spending 15, 22, 23, 28, 141, 149, 152, 171, 187 technology culture 14–15, 38–9 see also Air Liquide; Ford; GSK; IBM; immersion; Renault; SNCF; Tarkett; Unilever R&D labs 9, 21–6, 70, 149, 218 in emerging markets 40, 188, 200 R&D teams 26, 34, 38–9, 65, 127, 150, 194–5 hackers as 142 innovation brokering 168 shaping customer behaviour 120–2 Raspberry Pi 135–6, 164 Ratti, Carlo 107 raw materials see materials real-time demand signals 58, 59 Rebours, Christophe 157–8 recession 5–6, 6, 46, 131, 180 Reckitt Benckiser 102 recommendations for managers flexing assets 65–71 R&D 34–41 shaping consumer behaviour 116–24 sustainability 90–3 recruiting 70–1 recyclable materials 74, 81, 196 recyclable products 3, 73, 159, 195–6 recycled materials 77, 81–2, 83, 86, 89, 183, 193 recycling 8, 9, 87, 93, 142, 159 e-waste 87–8 electronic and electrical goods (EU) 8, 79 by Tarkett 73–7 water 83, 175 see also C2C; circular economy Recy’Go 92–3 regional champions 182 regulation 7–8, 13, 78–9, 103, 216 Reich, Joshua 124 RelayRides 17 Renault 1–5, 12, 117, 156–7, 179 Renault-Nissan 4–5, 40, 198–9, 215 renewable energy 8, 53, 74, 86, 91, 136, 142, 196 renewable materials 77, 86 Replicator 132 repurposing 93 Requardt, Hermann 189 reshoring 55–6 resource constraints 4–5, 217 resource efficiency 7–8, 46, 47–9, 79, 190 Resource Revolution (Heck, Rogers and Carroll, 2014) 87–8 resources 40, 42, 73, 86, 197, 199 consumption 9, 26, 73–7, 101–2 costs 78, 203 depletion 7, 72, 105, 153, 158–9 reducing use 45, 52, 65, 73–7, 104, 199, 203 saving 72, 77, 200 scarcity 22, 46, 72, 73, 77–8, 80, 158–9, 190, 203 sharing 56–7, 159–61, 167 substitution 92 wasting 169–70 retailers 56, 129, 214 “big-box” 9, 18, 137 Rethink Robotics 49 return on investment 22, 197 reuse 9, 73, 76–7, 81, 84–5, 92–3, 200 see also C2C revenues, generating 77, 167, 180 reverse innovation 202–3 rewards 37, 178, 208 Riboud, Franck 66, 184, 217 Rifkin, Jeremy 9–10 robots 47, 49–50, 70, 144–5, 150 Rock Health 151 Rogers, Jay 129 Rogers, Matt 87–8 Romania 2–3, 103 rookie mindset 164, 168 Rose, Stuart 179–80, 180 Roulin, Anne 195 Ryan, Eric 81–2 Ryanair 60 S S-Oil 106 SaaS (software as a service) 60 Saatchi & Saatchi 70–1 Saatchi & Saatchi + Duke 71–2, 143 sales function 15, 21, 25–6, 36, 116–18, 146 Salesforce.com 157 Santi, Paolo 108 SAP 59, 186 Saunders, Charles 211 savings 115 Sawa Orchards 29–31 Scandinavian countries 6–7 see also Norway Schmidt, Eric 136 Schneider Electric 150 Schulman, Dan 161–2 Schumacher, E.F. 104–5, 105 Schweitzer, Louis 1, 2, 3, 4, 179 SCM (supply chain management) systems 59 SCOR (supply chain operations reference) model 67 Seattle 107 SEB 157 self-sufficiency 8 selling less 123–4 senior managers 122–4, 199 see also CEOs; organisational change sensors 65–6, 106, 118, 135, 201 services 9, 41–3, 67–8, 124, 149 frugal 60–3, 216 value-added 62–3, 76, 150, 206, 209 Shapeways 51, 132 shareholders 14, 15, 76, 123–4, 180, 204–5 sharing 9–10, 193 assets 159–61, 167 customers 156–8 ideas 63–4 intellectual assets 171–2 knowledge 153 peer-to-peer 136–9 resources 56–7, 159–61, 167 sharing economy 9–10, 17, 57, 77, 80, 84–7, 108, 124 peer-to-peer sharing 136–9 sharing between companies 159–60 shipping costs 55, 59 shopping experience 121–2 SIEH hotel group 172–3 Siemens 117–18, 150, 187–9, 215, 216 Sigismondi, Pier Luigi 100 Silicon Valley 42, 98, 109, 150, 151, 162, 175 silos, breaking out of 36–7 Simple Bank 124–5 simplicity 8, 41, 64–5, 170, 194 Singapore 175 Six Sigma 11 Skillshare 85 SkyPlus 62 Small is Beautiful (Schumacher, 1973) 104–5 “small is beautiful” values 8 small and medium-sized businesses see SMBs Smart + Connected Communities 29 SMART car 119–20 SMART strategy (Siemens) 188–9 smartphones 17, 100, 106, 118, 130, 131, 135, 198 in health care 110, 111 see also apps SmartScan 29 SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses) 173, 174, 175, 176 SMS-based systems 42–3 SnapShot 116 SNCF 41–3, 156–7, 167 SoapBox 28–9 social business model 206–7 social comparison 109 social development 14 social goals 94 social learning 113 social manufacturing 47, 50–1 social media 16, 71, 85, 106, 108, 168, 174 for marketing 61, 62, 143 mining 29, 58 social pressure of 119 tools 109, 141 and transaction costs 133 see also Facebook; social networks; Twitter social networks 29, 71, 72, 132–3, 145, 146 see also Facebook; Twitter social pressure 119 social problems 82, 101–2, 141, 142, 153, 161–2, 204 social responsibility 7, 10, 14, 141, 142, 197, 204 corporate 77, 82, 94, 161 social sector, working with 161–2 “social tinkerers” 134–5 socialising education 112–14 Sofitel 173 software 72 software as a service (SaaS) 60 solar power 136, 201 sourcing, local 51–2, 56 Southwest Airlines 60 Spain 5, 6, 103 Spark 48 speed dating 175, 176 spending, on R&D 15, 22, 23, 28, 141, 149, 152, 171, 187 spiral economy 77, 87–90 SRI International 49, 52 staff see employees Stampanato, Gary 55 standards 78, 196 Starbucks 7, 140 start-ups 16–17, 40–1, 61, 89, 110, 145, 148, 150, 169, 216 investing in 137–8, 157 as partners 42, 72, 153, 175, 191, 206 see also Nest Labs; Silicon Valley Statoil 160 Steelcase 142 Stem 151 Stepner, Diana 165 Stewart, Emma 196–7 Stewart, Osamuyimen 201–2 Sto Corp 84 Stora Enso 195 storytelling 112, 113 Strategy& see Booz & Company Subramanian, Prabhu 114 substitution of resources 92 subtractive manufacturing 48 Sun Tzu 158 suppliers 67–8, 83, 148, 153, 167, 176, 192–3 collaboration with 76, 155–6 sharing with 59–60, 91 visibility 59–60 supply chain management see SCM supply chain operations reference (SCOR) model 67 supply chains 34, 36, 54, 65, 107, 137, 192–3 carbon footprint 156 costs 58, 84 decentralisation 66–7 frugal 54–60 integrating 161 small-circuit 137 sustainability 137 visibility 34, 59–60 support 135, 152 sustainability xix, 9, 12, 72, 77–80, 82, 97, 186 certification 84 as competitive advantage 80 consumers and 95, 97, 101–4 core design principle 82–4, 93, 195–6 and growth 76, 80, 104–5 perceptions of 15–16, 80, 91 recommendations for managers 90–3 regulatory demand for 78–9, 216 standard bearers of 80, 97, 215 see also Accor; circular economy; Kingfisher; Marks & Spencer; Tarkett; Unilever sustainable design 82–4 see also C2C sustainable distribution 57, 161 sustainable growth 72, 76–7 sustainable lifestyles 107–8 Sustainable Living Plan (Unilever) 94–7, 179, 203–4 sustainable manufacturing 9, 52 T “T-shaped” employees 70–1 take-back programmes 9, 75, 77, 78 Tally 196–7 Tarkett 73–7, 80, 84 TaskRabbit 85 Tata Motors 16, 119 Taylor, Frederick 71 technical design 37–8 technical support, by customers 146 technology 2, 14–15, 21–2, 26, 27 TechShop 9, 70, 134–5, 152, 166–7 telecoms sector 53, 56 Telefónica 147 telematic monitoring 116 Ternois, Laurence 42 Tesco 102 Tesla Motors 92, 172 testing 28, 42, 141, 170, 192 Texas Industries 159 Textoris, Vincent 127 TGV Lab 42–3 thermostats 98–100 thinking, entrenched 14–16 Thompson, Gav 147 Timberland 90 time 4, 7, 11, 41, 72, 129, 170, 200 constraints 36, 42 see also development cycle tinkerers 17–18, 133–5, 144, 150, 152, 153, 165–7, 168 TiVo 62 Tohamy, Noha 59–60 top-down change 177–8 top-down management 69 Total 157 total quality management (TQM) 11 total volatile organic compounds see TVOC Toyota 44, 100 Toyota Sweden 106–7 TQM (total quality management) 11 traffic 108, 116, 201 training 76, 93, 152, 167, 170, 189 transaction costs 133 transparency 178, 185 transport 46, 57, 96, 156–7 Transport for London 195 TrashTrack 107 Travelocity 174 trial and error 173, 179 Trout, Bernhardt 45 trust 7, 37, 143 TVOC (total volatile organic compounds) 74, 77 Twitter 29, 62, 135, 143, 147 U Uber 136, 163 Ubuntu 202 Uchiyama, Shunichi 50 UCLA Health 202–3 Udacity 61, 112 UK 194 budget cuts 6 consumer empowerment 103 industrial symbiosis 160 savings 115 sharing 85, 138 “un-management” 63–4, 64 Unboundary 154 Unilever 11, 31, 57, 97, 100, 142, 203–5, 215 and sustainability 94–7, 104, 179, 203–4 University of Cambridge Engineering Design Centre (EDC) 194–5 Inclusive Design team 31 Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) 158–9 upcycling 77, 88–9, 93, 159 upselling 189 Upton, Eben 135–6 US 8, 38, 44, 87, 115, 133, 188 access to financial services 13, 17, 161–2 ageing population 194 ageing workforce 13 commuting 131 consumer spending 5, 6, 103 crowdfunding 137–8, 138 economic pressures 5, 6 energy use 103, 119, 196 environmental awareness 7, 102 frugal innovation in 215–16, 218 health care 13, 110, 208–13, 213 intellectual property 171 onshoring 55 regulation 8, 78, 216 sharing 85, 138–9 shifting production from China to 55, 56 tinkering culture 18, 133–4 user communities 62, 89 user interfaces 98, 99 user-friendliness 194 Utopies 91 V validators 144 value 11, 132, 177, 186, 189–90 aspirational 88–9 to customers 6–7, 21, 77, 87, 131, 203 from employees 217 shareholder value 14 value chains 9, 80, 128–9, 143, 159–60, 190, 215 value engineering 192 “value gap” 54–5 value-added services 62–3, 76, 150, 206, 209 values 6–7, 14, 178, 205 Vandebroek, Sophie 169 Vasanthakumar, Vaithegi 182–3 Vats, Tanmaya 190, 192 vehicle fleets, sharing 57, 161 Verbaken, Joop 118 vertical integration 133, 154 virtual prototyping 65 virtuous cycle 212–13 visibility 34, 59–60 visible learning 112–13 visioning sessions 193–4 visualisation 106–8 Vitality 111 Volac 158–9 Volkswagen 4, 44, 45–6, 129, 144 Volvo 62 W wage costs 48 wages, in emerging markets 55 Waitrose, local suppliers 56 Walker, James 87 walking the walk 122–3 Waller, Sam 195 Walmart 9, 18, 56, 162, 216 Walton, Sam 9 Wan Jia 144 Washington DC 123 waste 24, 87–9, 107, 159–60, 175, 192, 196 beautifying 88–9, 93 e-waste 24, 79, 87–8, 121 of energy 119 post-consumer 9, 75, 77, 78, 83 reducing 47, 74, 85, 96, 180, 209 of resources 169–70 in US health-care system 209 see also C2C; recycling; reuse water 78, 83, 104, 106, 158, 175, 188, 206 water consumption 79, 82–3, 100, 196 reducing 74, 75, 79, 104, 122–3, 174, 183 wealth 105, 218 Wear It Share It (Wishi) 85 Weijmarshausen, Peter 51 well-being 104–5 Wham-O 56 Whirlpool 36 “wicked” problems 153 wireless technologies 65–6 Wiseman, Liz 164 Wishi (Wear It Share It) 85 Witty, Andrew 35, 35–6, 37, 39, 217 W.L.


pages: 515 words: 126,820

Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World by Don Tapscott, Alex Tapscott

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Airbnb, altcoin, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business process, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, ethereum blockchain, failed state, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, George Gilder, glass ceiling, Google bus, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, informal economy, interest rate swap, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, litecoin, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, microcredit, mobile money, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price mechanism, Productivity paradox, quantitative easing, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, renewable energy credits, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, seigniorage, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, smart grid, social graph, social software, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, unorthodox policies, X Prize, Y2K, Zipcar

Perhaps even a world where we own our data and can protect our privacy and personal security. An open world where everyone can contribute to our technology infrastructure, rather than a world of walled gardens where big companies offer proprietary apps. A world where billions of excluded people can now participate in the global economy and share in its largesse. Here’s a preview. Creating a True Peer-to-Peer Sharing Economy Pundits often refer to Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, TaskRabbit, and others as platforms for the “sharing economy.” It’s a nice notion—that peers create and share in value. But these businesses have little to do with sharing. In fact, they are successful precisely because they do not share—they aggregate. It is an aggregating economy. Uber is a $65 billion corporation that aggregates driving services. Airbnb, the $25 billion Silicon Valley darling, aggregates vacant rooms.

So that if drivers want to set up their own Uber and replace Uber with a pure cooperative, blockchain enables that.” He emphasized the word enable. To him, “There’s a difference between enabling and moving the world in a new direction.” He said, “People still have to want to do it, to take the risk of doing it.”31 So get ready for blockchain Airbnb, blockchain Uber, blockchain Lyft, blockchain Task Rabbit, and blockchain everything wherever there is an opportunity for real sharing and for value creation to work together in a cooperative way and receive most of the value they create. 4. The Metering Economy Perhaps blockchain technology can take us beyond the sharing economy into a metering economy where we can rent out and meter the use of our excess capacity. One problem with the actual sharing economy, where, for example, home owners agree to share power tools or small farming equipment, fishing gear, a woodworking shop, garage or parking, and more, was that it was just too much of a hassle.


pages: 215 words: 55,212

The Mesh: Why the Future of Business Is Sharing by Lisa Gansky

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Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, banking crisis, barriers to entry, carbon footprint, cloud computing, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, diversification, Firefox, Google Earth, Internet of things, Kickstarter, late fees, Network effects, new economy, peer-to-peer lending, recommendation engine, RFID, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart grid, social web, software as a service, TaskRabbit, the built environment, walkable city, yield management, young professional, Zipcar

http://www.guru.com Ideas Culture: Offers a team of Idea Agents to help create a company’s next big idea. http://www.ideasculture.com Spudaroo: Helps you solicit expert advice on your project. http://www.spudaroo.com Squidoo: Passionate experts share advice and direct seekers to best resources. www.squidoo.com Swapaskill: Swap something you can do for what you need. http://www.swapaskill.com TaskRabbit: Service networking. Users network to get their errands done. http://taskrabbit.com SOCIAL NETWORKING The newest wave of information technology enables Mesh businesses to unite people with common interests through social networks. Members of these online platforms can engage in conversation, exchange information, share photos, and form special-interest groups. Other Mesh companies in this category use advanced data capacity for tracking and aggregating information to analyze and report trends that develop on social networking sites.


pages: 209 words: 63,649

The Purpose Economy: How Your Desire for Impact, Personal Growth and Community Is Changing the World by Aaron Hurst

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3D printing, Airbnb, Atul Gawande, barriers to entry, big-box store, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, Elon Musk, Firefox, glass ceiling, greed is good, housing crisis, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, jimmy wales, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, means of production, new economy, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, Ray Oldenburg, remote working, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, Tony Hsieh, too big to fail, underbanked, women in the workforce, young professional, Zipcar

We can find services provided by people in our own neighborhood, read blogs by neighbors in our own community, and borrow money from like-minded people rather than big banks. The technology that created a scale so large as to drown us has now enabled a scale anchored in people’s need for purpose and meaning in their work and lives. It is right-sizing, to steal the term back from big business. From TaskRabbit to Elance, technology is changing the way we can earn a living, but also changing the way employers think about labor. More than 17 percent of the fourteen million self-employed workers in the United States consider themselves independent contractors or freelancers.1 Fractional Labor, as it sometimes called, is concentrated heavily in sales, IT, creative services, marketing, and operations. As Generation X and Millennials have entered the workforce, more professionals of their generations (and even older) have been seeking alternative ways to do work that is meaningful, powered by Internet 3.0.


pages: 903 words: 235,753

The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty by Benjamin H. Bratton

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1960s counterculture, 3D printing, 4chan, Ada Lovelace, additive manufacturing, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, Celebration, Florida, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, David Graeber, deglobalization, dematerialisation, disintermediation, distributed generation, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Georg Cantor, gig economy, global supply chain, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Guggenheim Bilbao, High speed trading, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, industrial robot, information retrieval, intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, linked data, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, McMansion, means of production, megacity, megastructure, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Monroe Doctrine, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, peak oil, performance metric, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, phenotype, place-making, planetary scale, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Slavoj Žižek, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, software studies, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Startup school, statistical arbitrage, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, Superbowl ad, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, TaskRabbit, the built environment, The Chicago School, the scientific method, Torches of Freedom, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, urban planning, Vernor Vinge, Washington Consensus, web application, WikiLeaks, working poor, Y Combinator

If we follow the thread of Alex Rivera's Sleep Dealer (2008), a film in which California's agriculture is served by drone pilot/robot fruit pickers working remotely from behind the sovereign wall separating the United States and Mexico, it is not unreasonable to imagine a further logistic dehumanization of Fresno's on-site population.21 Perhaps the costs of piloting agricultural labor will be held down by global wage arbitrage, pickers in Tijuana competing with pickers in Jakarta and Juneau to provide fast and cheap results. That is, formal national jurisdiction may have far less to do with the economics of Cloud feudalism than with whichever Cloud Polis, enclave platform, or urban camp happens to counts a given worker as one of its Users. The elevation of labor systems like Amazon's Mechanical Turk, TaskRabbit, and Uber to infrastructural scale suggests several paradoxical and even contradictory outcomes, both positive and negative. One of these is well summarized as: “I'm really looking forward to a future in which service employees are leased Google Glass so they can complete courses in for-profit trade schools while simultaneously earning health care vouchers instead of actual currency and Soylent instead of actual food.”22 We should add, however, that the lease terms on that Glass set are conditional on whether the User actually won the bid to pilot-pick avocados.

See also Amazon surfaces, interface design, 230–231 surveillance address, 215–216 apparatuses of, 121, 138, 215 culture of, 363 geolocative Apps enforcing, 243 jurisdiction over, 28, 121 metadata for, 287 NSA/Patriot Act, 35, 120, 287 satellite technology, 90–92 surveillance-sousveillance contravention, 454n75 surveillance state, 8, 106, 138, 192, 327 surveilled, spectacle of transparence for, 452n70 Survival Research Laboratories, 57 swarms, 281–282, 334 swerve, 77 synthetic algorithmic intelligence, 81 synthetic catallaxy, 330–331, 375 synthetic computation, 198, 352 synthetic intelligence, 362 systems theory, 54 tactile technology, 148, 177, 224, 226 tactility of the virtual, 129–130, 148 Tafuri, Manfredo, 304 Tangible Media Group, MIT, 226 tangible user interfaces (TUI), 168, 226 Tarde, Gabriel, 125, 266, 334, 340 Tarde-Durkheim debate, 266 TaskRabbit, 308 Tati, Jacques, 147 Taylor, Frederick Winslow, 254, 285, 297 TCP/IP network model, 61–63, 319 technical-institutional systems, 329–330 technolibertarianism, 312–314, 316–317, 329 technological innovation, 45, 62, 79, 92, 129, 163, 330 technologicization of intelligence, 278 technology accidents of new, 273, 356 borders of, 29 computational, limits of, 78–79 embodying human mastery, 344–345 future of, 303–304, 341 governance and, 7–8 qualities associated with the divine, 172 of social organization, 336 for the Stack-to-come, availability of, 303–305 tactile, 148, 224, 226 for violence, 17, 325 technopolitics, 115 technoradicalism, placebo, 303–304 Tektology, 328 telematic stigmergy, 428n58 telephone line service, 29 telescopic logics, global/local, 16, 101, 178, 197, 220, 229, 235, 266 Ten Books of Architecture (Vitruvius), 254 terraforming, 85–86, 115–116, 181, 187, 404n11 territory addresses defining, 193–195, 296 Cloud layer, 154 elements of, 335 exceptional, 114 geometry of, 25 Google's Grossraum delaminating, 295 intelligent, 198 lines of demarcation, 32 megastructural, 154–155, 176–183 networks producing, 29 as political technology/political technology as, 335 and sovereignty, 97, 114, 119–120, 312, 316 urban interfacial, 155–160 territory of territories, 246–247 terrorism counterterrorism discourse, 324, 355 Mumbai attacks (2008), 17, 242, 247–248, 322, 428n58, 431n70 September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, 321, 363 War on Terror, 320–321 textuality as addressability, 199–200 theo-interfaciality, 239–243 theological imperative of augmented reality, 429n61 theological memory, 240, 297 theology, 125, 149.


pages: 308 words: 84,713

The Glass Cage: Automation and Us by Nicholas Carr

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Airbnb, Andy Kessler, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, business process, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Checklist Manifesto, cloud computing, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, global supply chain, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, High speed trading, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, natural language processing, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, software is eating the world, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

And, like those antiaircraft gunners during World War II, we’ll be compelled to adapt our own work, behavior, and skills to the capabilities and routines of the machines we depend on. * The internet, it’s often noted, has opened opportunities for people to make money through their own personal initiative, with little investment of capital. They can sell used goods through eBay or crafts through Etsy. They can rent out a spare room through Airbnb or turn their car into a ghost cab with Lyft. They can find odd jobs through TaskRabbit. But while it’s easy to pick up spare change through such modest enterprise, few people are going to be able to earn a middle-class income from the work. The real money goes to the software companies running the online clearinghouses that connect buyer and seller or lessor and lessee—clearinghouses that, being highly automated themselves, need few employees. CHAPTER THREE ON AUTOPILOT ON THE EVENING OF FEBRUARY 12, 2009, a Continental Connection commuter flight made its way through blustery weather between Newark, New Jersey, and Buffalo, New York.


pages: 353 words: 91,520

Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era by Tony Wagner, Ted Dintersmith

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affirmative action, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Bernie Sanders, Clayton Christensen, David Brooks, en.wikipedia.org, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, immigration reform, income inequality, index card, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, new economy, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, school choice, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steven Pinker, TaskRabbit, the scientific method, unpaid internship, Y Combinator

* * * For a good example of how the innovation economy is upending traditional models, check out Elance, a rapidly growing online service that enables entrepreneurial freelancers to earn income in hundreds of ways, including as editors, graphic designers, creative writers, software developers, and researchers. Need your logo designed? Go to Elance. Need careful research about an article? Go to Elance. Elance is hardly unique. Millions of people are generating income through the online microeconomies of sites like Care.com, Freelance.com, eBay, oDesk, TaskRabbit, Uber, Airbnb, Lyft, Teachers Pay Teachers, iTunes, Kickstarter, and on and on. These marketplaces represent the wave of the future, where anyone can: • reach lots of customers readily. • build an online reputation through customer feedback and examples of work. • succeed in a world where customers don’t care about education credentials or standardized test scores. • thrive in an economy that values skills (liberal arts as well as STEM) that matter


pages: 292 words: 85,151

Exponential Organizations: Why New Organizations Are Ten Times Better, Faster, and Cheaper Than Yours (And What to Do About It) by Salim Ismail, Yuri van Geest

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23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Burning Man, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, corporate social responsibility, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, Dean Kamen, dematerialisation, discounted cash flows, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, ethereum blockchain, Galaxy Zoo, game design, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, hiring and firing, Hyperloop, industrial robot, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet of things, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, loose coupling, loss aversion, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, means of production, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, p-value, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, prediction markets, profit motive, publish or perish, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, software is eating the world, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, subscription business, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, X Prize, Y Combinator

Gigwalk, which relies on half a million smart-phone-enabled workers, offers an example of how this new world of employment works. When Proctor and Gamble needs to know how and where its merchandise is being placed on Walmart shelves around the world, it can use Gigwalk’s platform to instantly deploy thousands of people who are paid a few dollars to walk into Walmart and check the shelves. Results come in within an hour. Staff-on-demand initiatives similar to Gigwalk are springing up everywhere: oDesk, Roamler, Elance, TaskRabbit and Amazon’s venerable Mechanical Turk are platforms where all levels of work, including highly skilled labor, can be outsourced. These companies, which represent just the first wave of this new business model, optimize the concept of paying for performance to lower customer risk. For talented workers, working on and getting paid for multiple projects is a particularly welcome opportunity.


pages: 598 words: 134,339

Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World by Bruce Schneier

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23andMe, Airbnb, airport security, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, augmented reality, Benjamin Mako Hill, Black Swan, Brewster Kahle, Brian Krebs, call centre, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cloud computing, congestion charging, disintermediation, Edward Snowden, experimental subject, failed state, fault tolerance, Ferguson, Missouri, Filter Bubble, Firefox, friendly fire, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hindsight bias, informal economy, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, license plate recognition, linked data, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Nash equilibrium, Nate Silver, national security letter, Network effects, Occupy movement, payday loans, pre–internet, price discrimination, profit motive, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, RFID, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, South China Sea, stealth mode startup, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, TaskRabbit, telemarketer, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, urban planning, WikiLeaks, zero day

Similarly, no longer would you have to rely on centralized storefronts to accumulate and resell collectibles; eBay connected buyers and sellers directly. It was the same with music promotion and distribution, airline tickets, and—in some cases—advertising. The old gatekeepers’ business models relied on inefficiencies of technology, and the Internet changed that dynamic. It’s even more true today. AirBnB allows individuals to compete with traditional hotel chains. TaskRabbit makes it easier to connect people who want to do odd jobs with people who need odd jobs done. Etsy, CafePress, and eBay all bypass traditional flea markets. Zillow and Redfin bypass real estate brokers, eTrade bypasses investment advisors, and YouTube bypasses television networks. Craigslist bypasses newspaper classifieds. Hotwire and Travelocity bypass travel agents. These new companies might have broken the traditional power blocs of antique stores, newspapers, and taxi companies, but by controlling the information flow between buyers and sellers they have become powerful middlemen themselves.


pages: 497 words: 144,283

Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization by Parag Khanna

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1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, 9 dash line, additive manufacturing, Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Boycotts of Israel, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, British Empire, business intelligence, call centre, capital controls, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, data is the new oil, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deglobalization, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, diversification, Doha Development Round, edge city, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy security, ethereum blockchain, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, Ferguson, Missouri, financial innovation, financial repression, forward guidance, global supply chain, global value chain, global village, Google Earth, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, Hyperloop, ice-free Arctic, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, informal economy, Infrastructure as a Service, interest rate swap, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Julian Assange, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, Khyber Pass, Kibera, Kickstarter, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, LNG terminal, low cost carrier, manufacturing employment, mass affluent, megacity, Mercator projection, microcredit, mittelstand, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, openstreetmap, out of africa, Panamax, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post-oil, post-Panamax, private military company, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Rana Plaza, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, TaskRabbit, telepresence, the built environment, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, transaction costs, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, urban planning, urban sprawl, WikiLeaks, young professional, zero day

.*10 As many large companies either downsize or shift toward part-time models to assemble their teams on an as-needed basis, postindustrial society becomes a collection of digital temps not employed directly by their client but mediated through portals such as Wonolo, which acts as a task-brokering agency for Coca-Cola and other firms but provides employment for only hours at a time at short notice. The fastest-growth category of jobs in America is “perma-temps” who live off assignments garnered from sites such as TaskRabbit or Fiverr (where each gig earns $5). When we speak about countries moving up the value chain, we have to specify whether we are referring to their companies or their people. While America’s tech companies are the world’s most innovative, the most common job in thirty out of the fifty U.S. states is truck driver: non-tradable, but perhaps soon automatable. Technological automation is making millions of even white-collar workers redundant through the growing analytic capacity of algorithms.


pages: 437 words: 113,173

Age of Discovery: Navigating the Risks and Rewards of Our New Renaissance by Ian Goldin, Chris Kutarna

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Bonfire of the Vanities, clean water, collective bargaining, Colonization of Mars, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Dava Sobel, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, double helix, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, experimental economics, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, full employment, Galaxy Zoo, global supply chain, Hyperloop, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, information retrieval, intermodal, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, labour market flexibility, low cost carrier, low skilled workers, Lyft, Malacca Straits, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, Network effects, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, Occupy movement, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, open economy, Panamax, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, post-Panamax, profit motive, rent-seeking, reshoring, Robert Gordon, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart grid, Snapchat, special economic zone, spice trade, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stuxnet, TaskRabbit, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, uranium enrichment, We are the 99%, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, working poor, working-age population, zero day

The old idea—that entrepreneurs assemble firms because it’s more economical than obtaining every good and service they need from the market—is being challenged by digital platforms that drive transaction costs down and make a new range of fractional services possible. New thinking sees the chief value of the firm in the unique set of values and practices it harbors. The nature of work is likewise transforming, from full-time employment to temporary contracts. Since 1995, more than half of all jobs created across advanced (OECD) economies have been part-time, self-employed or freelance.5 Digital freelance platforms like Upwork, Task Rabbit and Thumbtack are booming from Minneapolis to Mumbai.6 In art, the basic division between artist and audience is being broken, and participation in the act of creation is becoming commonplace. But the clearest proof is in the sciences. The genius of the last Renaissance is obvious with 500 years of hindsight, because we can contrast how Europe changed with how other regions of the world, under different local conditions, did not.


pages: 602 words: 177,874

Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations by Thomas L. Friedman

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, affirmative action, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, business process, call centre, centre right, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, demand response, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Erik Brynjolfsson, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Ferguson, Missouri, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Flash crash, game design, gig economy, global supply chain, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, Internet of things, invention of the steam engine, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John von Neumann, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, land tenure, linear programming, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, pattern recognition, planetary scale, pull request, Ralph Waldo Emerson, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, Thomas L Friedman, transaction costs, Transnistria, urban decay, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, Y2K, Yogi Berra

“I can hire a thousand graders in a week from around the world,” said Thrun, “try them out, find the two hundred best, and let the other eight hundred go.” It is a fast way to get high quality. There are Udacity freelance graders who make several thousand dollars a month grading computing projects—like how to build a map from Google’s GPS—sent in from students around the world. “We had one project grader who made twenty-eight thousand dollars one month,” said Thrun. “The gig economy is moving up. It’s not just about TaskRabbit errands anymore.” And Udacity is not just providing intelligent assistance for companies such as AT&T. Its platform is creating intelligent assistance for “the start-up of you”—whoever and wherever you are. In the fall of 2015, I found myself in a small conference room at Udacity’s Palo Alto headquarters interviewing—via Skype—Ghada Sleiman, a thirty-year-old Lebanese woman, who was taking Udacity’s online course to advance her skills in Web-page design.