Thomas Friedman, as always, is right. The success of websites like AirBnB demonstrate how a new kind of economy in our flat, hot, crowded, Friedmany world, is unleashing the wily entrepreneur inside all of us just waiting to break free. People do things like rent out a part of their apartment to strangers for a little bit of side cash because, like the woman Friedman saw in the gutters of Hanoi charging spare change to stand on an old bathroom scale, their entrepreneurial ingenuity is irrepressible.
Remember how in bleak Russian novels, the protagonist, or some secondary character, would live with a sad widow or widower who would rent them a room and serve them crusts of bread and foul soup as a means of eking out enough of an income to stay afloat? Now, that’s being an entrepreneur, because I call it the Sharing Economy.
The only thing shocking about that article is that, atypical for Friedman, he stopped his research just short of the full story. Here are some more tales from the Share Economy that may just inspire you to go out there and entrepregnu (that’s the verb form)!
The meager property interest one has in their lease agreement with a landlord is just one of many potential resources available to the newer entrepreneur (entreprenewer!?). From underemployed college graduates saddled with crippling debt to the panicky recently laid off, lots of people are starting to look inward for capital. And that’s what OrganOrg.Org exists to help facilitate: sharing economying your organs with someone who needs it more, or just as much, or less, but who has more money than you.
You can set your sights on becoming the next Jeff Skilling or Steve Jobs by creating an account with OrganOrg, which is connecting millions of users and organ-havers with dozens of octogenarian millionaires with failing livers or their millionaire heirs who anticipate eventually needing kidneys.
I was skeptical about OrganOrg at first–who would want to undergo an invasive and potentially dangerous surgical procedure just to make side cash? Until that is I struck up a conversation with the livery driver taking me from a regional TED talk to an auction for formally protected federal wilderness land being offered for timber rights or eighth homes. When I told him I didn’t have any cash on me for a tip, he launched into an excited, tear-streaked story about how he’d started sharing his bone marrow on a website to pay down the second mortgage he took out twelve years ago to pay for his son’s unused bachelor’s degree in political science. Sharing economy!
As the owners of AirBnB–you know, the two guys who actually own a company with literally hundreds of employees, or “nontrepreneurs” as I call them–pointed out to Big Mustache, there are 80 million power drills in America that are used an average of thirteen minutes. Does everybody need their own drill? Of course not! Sharing economy that noise!
The proprietors of Sharentercourse.net had an even grander insight: there are approximately 200 million sets of adult genitals in the U.S. that get used an average of an hour a week. Why, they told me in an interview, are we just sitting on our genitals (yeowch!) the other 167 hours a week?
With Sharentercourse.net, no more. By using the internet to connect fallow genitals to interested users, everyone from baleful-eyed undergraduates to dead-eyed unemployed public school teachers can rent out their quiescent private quarters to someone who could put them to better, occasionally soul-deadening and psyche-scarring use, to help pay the rent, keep their COBRA insurance, or, heck, take their best gal or fella out for a Faberge Malt, which is just a milkshake but served in a bored-out Faberge egg and with platinum flakes sprinkled on top that the server skims off and throws in the garbage in front of you. Just like your billionaire mother-in-law used to order be made! Steve Jobs!
Got some room in that stomach? The name says it all. Buzzword!
Registered in Cameroon to avoid burdensome red tape and lugubrious bureaucrats, ForWhateverReasonNotaTaxi.cm is in my view the most American of the Sharing Economy start-ups. Perhaps no other relationship is more American that that of the individual to their car. Getting your first car is a moment on par with graduating high school or losing your virginity–an event that often takes place in your first car, right, Relatibility To Average Person Cliche Bot?
So what better way to start on your path to being the next Steve Jobs or Steve Jobs or even Steve Jobs than Steve Jobs using that car you’re still making payments on to make ends meet! Creating a CarFriendNotACabDriver Account on ForWhateverReasonNotaTaxi.cm takes less than five minutes. You upload a current drivers license you claim is yours and someone probably checks it or whatever! And voila! By simply allowing people in need of a ride somewhere to get in touch with you, request a ride, and pay you based on the distance you take them, you can be a Sharing Economy mogul! Because of trend piece, this isn’t just having a second job as a part-time cab driver!
The Sharing Economy. Watch this space–it’s powerful.