Home Back Issues June 2013 The sharing economy

The sharing economy

| Print |  Email
Articles - June 2013
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Article Index
The sharing economy
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4

By Christina Cooke

0613 TheSharingEconomy 01
Milos and Tijana Jovanovic rent out the downstairs level of their Portland duplex on sharing websites like Airbnb for $110 to $130 a night. They're currently booked out three months. "It's nice additional income and not that much work."
// Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

I’m no stranger to borrowing in the most traditional sense. I check out books from the library, rent cars on vacation and forage through my sister’s closet when my own wardrobe seems stale. But I’m a novice when it comes to the modern-day borrowing possibilities — which, on their current trajectory, have the potential to upend long cherished notions about buying and selling.

Known as the “sharing economy” or “collaborative consumption,” the latest form of sharing challenges the status quo with the idea that access trumps ownership — that drilling the hole is more important than owning the drill. Rather than buying items outright, practitioners of the new model purchase short-term access, either from a company with a fleet or a neighbor with a for-rent supply of consumer items or services.

In Portland, for example, more than 500 people rent out spare bedrooms on the space-sharing platform Airbnb — including more than 65 within 15 blocks of my house in an inner southeast neighborhood. More than 1,100 vehicles around town are up for borrow through services like Zipcar, Car2Go, RelayRides and Getaround — including more than 80 within a mile of me this very moment.

On numerous other websites based in Portland and around the country, budding entrepreneurs rent out random oddities like sewing machines, pasta makers and cruiser bikes, and arrange service swaps like, “You plumb my sink; I teach you Spanish.”

Rooted in age-old American principles of community and thrift, today’s sharing economy is a modern-day phenomenon, possible only because the Internet and mobile technology can facilitate frictionless exchanges between owners and renters using “reputation verification” systems, which appraise users’ online reputations, as well as maps and satellite positioning technology. Developed because people could not afford to sustain the hyperconsumptive patterns that led to the global financial crisis in 2008, the sharing economy is also about practicality — and the creation of new business models that capitalize on efficiency and pragmatism.

Collaborative consumption encourages spending at the community level, fulfills people’s desires to connect with their neighbors and betters the environment by squeezing the most out of our resources. Yet because it opposes the well-established American paradigm that encourages individual ownership — house, picket fence, SUVs — sharing faces a number of challenges from the mainstream.

Will this emergent economy be a flash in the pan, or will the monetization of sharing become yet another disruptive business model, radically changing how the country thinks about buying and selling? From my home base in Portland, fertile ground for the new economy, I decide to find out.



 

Comments   

 
Guest
0 #1 Jeff GGuest 2013-06-11 06:18:04
Thanks for this information! This is really interesting. I had no idea any of these services existed. I'll definitely be looking into this. Great article!
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Two sides of the coin

Contributed Blogs
Monday, August 25, 2014
0825 thumb moneyBY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST BLOGGER

Ferguson Wellman’s investment views on the economy and capital markets.


Read more...

Shipping News

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY JENNIFER MARGULIS

In 2012 The Dalles, a city of some 14,400 located 75 miles east of Portland and often seen as the poor cousin to adjacent Hood River, completed a massive project to revitalize its dock.


Read more...

The Backstory

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014

In our cover story this month, Wendy Collie, CEO of New Seasons Market, and Kim Malek, owner of Salt & Straw, discuss their rapidly growing businesses and Portland’s red hot food scene. The conversation provides an interesting lens through which to explore trends in the grocery store and restaurant sectors.


Read more...

Measure 91: What Oregon Businesses Need to Know

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
91 thumbBY DIANE BUISMAN

Some common misconceptions employers have about marijuana.


Read more...

Semiconductor purgatory

News
Monday, October 06, 2014
roundup-logo-thumb-14BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Intel's manufacturing way station; Merkley's attack dog; Diamond Foods gets into the innovation business.


Read more...

The Alchemist

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

David Howitt explains why Portland consumer brands like Stumptown and Voodoo Doughnuts are taking the world by storm.


Read more...

The Rail Baron

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Oil is gushing out of the U.S. and Canada, and much of it is coming from places that don’t have pipeline infrastructure. So it’s being shipped by rail.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS