Age of disruption

| Print |  Email
Articles - January 2014
Monday, December 09, 2013

The sharing economy

0114 Disruption 04
An "aquapocalypse" - extreme flooding, drought and groundwater depletion - is "all but certain" to hit the U.S. in the next few decades.
Source: UC Center for Hydrologic Modeling

Robbins, Scherer, Oborne and Solur work in completely different industries. But there are several threads connecting their thinking about the future. First, an array of new technologies — and generational changes — are deconstructing formerly top-down organizations and companies. Along with global environmental and economic transformation, mobile devices and social-networking platforms are also catalyzing innovative business models organized around connection and convergence.

“Most of us here are digital immigrants: people born before computers,” says Solur, speaking to the New Relic crowd. “Our kids are digital natives.”

Solur references a TED Talk claiming the Earth’s carrying capacity will top off at 10 billion people. “We are moving toward a world where sharing of resources is absolutely necessary.” To store data, companies used to purchase large servers; today, they can lease processing power with Amazon. Instead of checking into hotels, a growing number of travelers use Airbnb to rent owner-occupied rooms.

“We are moving,” Solur says, “into an economy of digital hippies.”

On a rainy Friday morning, I met with Steve Gutmann, an entrepreneur who fits easily into the digital flower child category. The former head of business development at Getaround, the peer-to-peer car-sharing outfit, Gutmann recently launched Red Truck, an e-commerce startup. He also rents out his driveway, currently to a New York transplant who doesn’t want to pay for parking in the Pearl District.

“Innovation happens when there is technological change and accelerates when there is economic disruption,” Guttman tells me. “People are looking for new ways to make money, and everybody becomes an entrepreneur.” Gutmann admits to having a short attention span. “My wife rolls her eyes: ‘Honey, you’re always off to something new.’ But to me it’s clear that business as usual is 90 miles an hour down a dead-end street. Why would I want to get a job doing something that is not disruptive? Then you’re on the Titanic.”

It’s an apt metaphor for a transportation guru. Rising gas costs, bike commuting and declining numbers of teens getting driver’s licenses are already changing the urban-transport game. The next stage, says Gutmann, is the merging of car sharing with driverless technology, pioneered by Google and expected to show up on city streets in the next five years.

People tend to think of driverless technology as an add-on to personal cars, Guttman says. But what’s more likely is that city dwellers will view this technology as a service, like calling for a taxi. Gutmann predicts that car sharing company Car2Go, for example, will eventually offer the door-to-door mobility of driverless car travel.

“Instead of walking down the street to get a Car2Go, you’re just going to call it,” Gutmann says. He leans across the table, eyes sparkling. “Here’s the really disruptive part of it: Your kids will be able to take it.”



 

More Articles

On the Road

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

My daughter turned 18 last week, and for her birthday I got her a Car2Go membership. Not to label myself a disruptor or anything, but it felt like a groundbreaking moment. The two of us, mother and child, were participating in a new teen rite of passage: Instead of handing over the car keys, I handed over a car-sharing card — with the caveat that she not use the gift as her own personal car service.


Read more...

6 development projects reshaping Bend

The Latest
Thursday, April 09, 2015
bendthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Bend has reclaimed its prerecession title as one of the fastest growing cities in the country.


Read more...

Power Players

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY ROBERT MULLIN

A new energy-sharing agreement sparks concerns about independence and collaboration in the region's utility industry.


Read more...

Grassroots movement pursues carbon bills

News
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
eventthumbBY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

A partnership of a grassroots environmental organization and a youth group is striving to build community and business support for carbon price legislation.


Read more...

100 Best: The Power of the Worker

March 2015
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR
AND AMY MILSHTEIN | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Technology is empowering people like never before and transforming how employees interact in the workplace. How can companies attract and keep staff engaged in this rapidly changing world?


Read more...

Emperor of the Sea

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD | Photos by Jason E. Kaplan

Pacific Seafood, one of the world’s largest processors, is rebranding as a more transparent and consumer-friendly operation. A controversial CEO and monopoly accusations from coastal fishermen complicate the tale.


Read more...

Meeting Facilities Perspective

March 2015
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

A conversation with Donna Earley, director of sales and marketing for the Salem Convention Center.


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