If business is fundamentally about people exchanging value, then there’s no question that in a highly-networked world of ubiquitous information, we are all on a level playing field. Individuals today have more opportunity to find work, make contacts and exchange value than ever before thanks to technology and its network effects. And people are doing so at an ever-increasing rate. The Freelancer's Union studied this trend and found there were 53 million or 34% self-employed freelancers in the US currently, and it projected that by 2020, 40% of the workforce will be independent.
Everyone is aware of the attention that Airbnb and Uber are getting for their sky rocketing growth and valuations. Airbnb, which is currently valued at over $20 billion, facilitates the peer to peer exchange of housing, while Uber, valued at over $40 billion, facilitates ride sharing. These companies are the darlings of the so-called Collaborative Economy, which is comprised of several related movements as defined by Rachel Botsman:
In How Companies Become Platform Leaders, Annabelle Gawer and Michael Cusumano describe the difference between products and industry platforms. Products are proprietary and under one company’s control, whereas industry platforms are foundation technologies or services that are essential for a broader, interdependent ecosystem of businesses. Industry platforms need complementary innovations to be useful, and vice versa. In Industry Platforms and Ecosystem Innovation, Gawer and Cusumano state that industry platforms are often associated with “network effects”: that is, the more participants who adopt the platform, the more valuable it becomes because of growing access to the network and complementary innovations.
Welcome to the Next Evolution! This site is a resource for those always exploring what’s coming next. Start here for an overview of the resources available to you here on the site. Read more