The success of the sharing economy will result in an accelerated transformation in the distribution of both goods and services. Traditional retailers built their distribution centers to serve their store footprint. Online retailers like Amazon, built their distribution around their customer locations. In the sharing economy, marketplaces will serve as a de facto distribution model for hyper local peer to peer exchange of goods and services where buyers and sellers routinely make own, lease, rent, and share decisions. These decisions will become more common across a growing range of asset classes.
Much like the internet transformed brick and mortar businesses – the sharing economy will disrupt both online and off line businesses over the coming decade.
Peer to peer as a social platform facilitates a transition where instead of corporations or institutions dealing with isolated individuals through traditional methods, directing products to relatively passive consumers, individuals are now connected through peer groups. These peer groups include both pre-existing and intentional networks that are purposely aggregated in order to achieve specific goals.
Social sharing communities form production without a manufacturer, which companies may or may not participate.
If a platform is started by a community, with its own institutional decisions and hierarchy, companies who join will not be in control of the rails of participation. In fact, it is quite the contrary; it is the community which ultimately allows for various levels of corporate contribution.
The sharing economy or “peer to Peer” commerce allows for a type of local distributed design, manufacturing, and distribution by independent individuals using a platform for distributed production and consumption. They may design a product on their own, use a platform to present it to the world or connect with production that can be mobilized of configured anywhere. Such individuals can form networked micro products and services configured in real-time and distributed via social sharing platforms.
To fully connect the models we must recognize the difference between: 1) the direct creation of use or ownership value; and ii) the direct creation of exchange value without traditional corporate intermediaries who would own and direct the production and distribution process as part of their own value chain.
Distributed marketplaces are becoming the mainstay of our economic being, and that these emerging collaborative sharing platforms will significantly change not only our economy, but the very form of our culture and society. To leverage these new dynamics, Startups should focus on business models that facilitate co-design and co-creation – creating a type of open source social sharing marketplaces.