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The new sharing economy 2018 forces us to trust total strangers
The new “sharing economy 2018” forces us to trust total strangers
In 2017, a young entrepreneur based in China and innovative idea and quickly funded a startup to test it in the real world.
He imagined that everything on the street could be shared with the right application and the right facilitation. Purchasing 300,000 umbrellas (after raising $1.6 million US from investors), he spread those 300,000 umbrellas at numerous train stations throughout 11 Chinese cities for less than a dollar an hour.
Trusting users to play by the honor code, he was stunned – STUNNED – to learn that in just two weeks every single one of those 300,000 umbrellas had been stolen.
Industry experts anticipate the current sharing economy 2018 numbers to grow to more than $335 billion US around the world by the time 2025 rolls around. And while companies like Uber and the like have been able to spearhead this new economy, the potential for devastation is very real.
Plenty of people are getting ripped off, but for some reason, consumers are more likely to trust a faceless app and entity than their own neighbors, co-workers, and even banks or government agents.
Breaking down the stranger danger barrier
Right out of the gate, the new sharing economy almost demands that we trust complete and total strangers to:
Rent our places for a day, weekend, week or more and not tear things apart
Drive us from one location to the next safely and securely without any issue
Deliver us food and products we’ve already paid for without ripping us off
… And the list goes on and on.
There are even new sharing economy platforms that get strangers to come into our homes to set up our network, assemble our furniture, and even watch our pets or kids – things we wouldn’t have been considered allowing complete and total strangers doing even just a handful of years ago.
Interestingly enough, this spike and growth in the sharing economy as happened in the face of almost systemic distrust across the board.
In the 1970s, nearly 50% of ALL Americans believed that the overwhelming majority of people, organizations, and institutions could be trusted.
Today, that number hovers at just around 31%.
How are sharing economy companies in 2018 pulling it off?
According to industry experts on the sharing economy, companies are utilizing technology to handle the heavy lifting of building trustworthiness by making them so dependent on other users and their experience while also building transparency into the overall platform.
Ride-sharing customers, for example, can learn just about everything about the individual they are going to have driving them for that particular trip. They’ll be able to read the review left my other real customers, the history of other trips, and a whole host of other information that traditional companies would never have considered releasing freely in the past.
Transparency – through transparency – is changing everything.
Not everything is a pretty picture, however
Any system that depends almost entirely upon collaborative trust between individuals is going to be abused by a small subset of folks only interested in themselves at the expense of everyone else.
A psychological phenomenon is known as the “Tragedy of the Commons”, consumers – some of them, anyway – almost can’t help themselves when it comes time to take as much as possible to protect “their share” from everyone else rather than allow the system to work the way it was designed to.
Savvy sharing economy 2018 companies are fighting back against this kind of behavior by utilizing technology to build the kind of trust that usually only happens between people over time almost instantly.
When we trust the technology used to facilitate transactions we allow that trust to be transferred to anyone we encounter on the platform, whether or not we (in hindsight) actually should have.
It’s a fascinating phenomenon and the sharing economy 2018 is only going to get more interesting and more exciting from here on out. It’s an exciting time for sure, it’ll be interesting to see how things change in just five short years!