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|Articles - June 2013|
|Tuesday, May 28, 2013|
Page 4 of 4
When eBay and Amazon first launched, people balked at the idea of surrendering their credit card information to the Web. But after the system worked enough times, people grew comfortable, and online shopping became so commonplace that brick-and-mortar stores had to adapt their strategies. Now, a decade later, with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the like, most people are exceedingly comfortable sharing personal information with social networks online.
Many expect the same dynamic to take root in the collaborative economy. And as sharing businesses figure out how to build trust and overcome the obstacles they’re up against, an increasing number of mainstream businesses are looking to get in on the sharing action.
In August 2011, Avis began offering Avis On Location, a short-term car rental program on select corporate campuses throughout the U.S. Hertz developed Hertz On Demand 24/7, also a short-term car rental program, in six U.S. cities, including New York, San Francisco and Denver. And the world’s largest retailer, WalMart, is toying with the idea of crowd-sourcing delivery, hiring in-store customers to deliver packages to online buyers.
Commercial sharing businesses, run by regulars like you and me, are incredibly disruptive to the traditional system, says Gutmann. “Peer-to-peer car sharing puts a damper on the demand for traditional car sharing, traditional car rental and, ultimately, on automotive sales,” he says.
At least for now, Avis plans to keep the Zipcar operation completely separate from its existing rental business, according to John Barrows, the company’s VP of communications. Though Zipcar will reap the benefits of Avis’ infrastructure and experience with large fleets, Barrows says, “we view car-sharing as a different business model from our core Avis and Budget car rental businesses, as we serve different customer needs.”
While much remains to be seen when it comes to the merging of sharing and mainstream businesses, most big companies are looking out for opportunities, says the Sustainable Business Council’s Brodwin. “They didn’t dominate their industries by being stupid and backward,” he says. “They will have to ask themselves how they want to respond.”
As sharing and traditional enterprises figure out how they relate to one another, both will have to adapt and adjust, likely meeting somewhere in the middle. A response to the needs and desires that emerged over the last decade, collaborative consumption takes advantage of cutting-edge technology to feed people’s need to save/earn money while simultaneously decluttering their lives, reducing their impact on the environment and positioning them to forge human connections. At the same time, the new system is built around yet-to-be-resolved contradictions — because it monetizes the traditionally moneyless interaction of sharing and converts consumers into entrepreneurs.
But if the path forward is not clear-cut, the core of the sharing model shows no signs of dissolving — especially since so many entities are staking their claims, from startups like Bright Neighbor to big companies like Avis to private individuals like the Jovanovics.
Back on my smartphone, I feel overwhelmed with the borrowing possibilities a finger swipe away. The backyard cottage for rent among a grove of fruit trees on Mount Tabor is very tempting, as is a beefy ’96 pickup just four blocks up the road. I know I’d enjoy using the movie projector, screen and speakers offered by another neighbor, a man half a mile south. And the Old Town canoe with two life jackets included? I’d love to.
Thursday, January 08, 2015
BY CAMBIA HEALTH SOLUTIONS & OREGON BUSINESS COUNCIL | OP-ED
Businesses have a significant stake in the health of Oregonians. In fact, we cannot succeed without it. By committing to using our companies as levers for good health, we invest in our people, our business, our quality of life and our economy.
Monday, January 26, 2015
The day after this issue goes to press, the city of Medford will host its annual business conference. The event features Minoli Ratnatunga, co-author of the Milken Institute’s annual “Best-Performing Cities” report. Preliminary data suggests that Medford is likely to retain its No. 1 ranking among best-performing small cities for having a higher concentration of high-tech firms than the national average.
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
The ongoing labor disputes at the Port of Portland came to a head two weeks ago when Hanjin, the container port's largest client, notified its customers it would be ending its direct route to Oregon.
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD | OB CONTRIBUTOR
Marijuana is big business in Oregon, and it’s about to get bigger.
Thursday, February 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR
Employment in Oregon is almost back up to prerecession levels — and employers are having to work harder to entice talented staff to join their ranks. This year’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon project showcases the kind of quality workplaces that foster happy employees.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
A place-based multimodal transportation plan for Mt. Hood is long overdue.
Friday, January 23, 2015
BY DAN COOK | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN
A real-estate developer and a Lithia Motors executive aim to revamp the city's forlorn downtown.
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