The Sharing Economy

I was at NEMOA’s directXchange conference in Boston last week . When you attend a conference with great people, you learn in the sessions AND you learn from sitting next to someone interesting and having a great conversation!

So I was chatting with Matt Glerum, former President of The Territory Ahead, about shared-economy businesses and how they are an opportunity and a threat to all businesses. Matt mentioned how Uber is not only changing how people move around in NYC, but how they also put a large bike messenger service out of business – something no one would have anticipated 5 years ago.

Shared economy businesses have a few things in common:

  • They share common resources.
  • They have an IT base for distributing information.
  • They have rating and review systems to help evaluate all players.

I knew about AirBNB and Uber, but after my discussion with Matt, I looked up a few more shared economy models that I thought might spur ideas for you. Each of these new business models could potentially change how and if we purchase goods, as well as how we think about and interact with our neighbors:

  1. Liquid – Share or rent a bike.
  2. SnapGoods, LendingClub, and NeighborhoodGoods – share household items – like cameras, lawn mowers, and snow blowers.
  3. DogVacay – Have your dog stay at someone’s house rather than at a kennel.
  4. Zaarly – Share services – like leaf raking, or pie baking.
  5. Lyft and Sidecar – “Donation” car services to share a ride.

I love that this new business model gives each of us the opportunity to spend less, and to potentially make money outside of “traditional” jobs. What have you got to share?



  • Sarah Fletcher

    It would be interesting to see what catalogers could share with each other. Copywriters, designers, marketers, materials, liquidation outlets. Interesting idea Janie.