The Third Wave of the Internet Powered by the Sharing Economy
This past January, Brian Chesky Co-Founder and CEO of Airbnb presented his views on the sharing economy and his future vision for Airbnb during his keynote at DLD 2012 in Munich. A native New Yorker, he gave many comparisons of peoples’ natural tendency to share. Dating as far back as 45,000 years ago, people were ‘hardwired to share’ and this was how tribes survived, according to Chesky.
"Before World War II, people shared. Following that timeframe, Americans were told to spend and to help stimulate the economy…and eventually people stopped sharing. Over the last 50 years we have consumed more than in the entire human history before that period."
Now 60 years in the future, the ‘new’ movement is coined the sharing economy. In his keynote, Brian Chesky states, “the average person uses one-third of every paycheck to cover their housing, and another $8,000 annually for car expenses”.
The sharing economy enables people to make extra money with the assets they aren’t using. Chesky asserts that in 1995, the first wave of the Internet brought consumers online while the second wave connected them together through social networks. He refers to the new wave, the ‘third wave of the Internet’ as the convergence of online with the offline world; people become more social and share offline experiences.
Examples found in the sharing economy:
Space Share - Airbnb, Loosecubes, Coworking spaces
Car Share - RelayRides, Zipcar, Getaround
Task Share - Taskrabbit
Peer-to-Peer Marketplaces - Farmers Markets, Tradepal, ThredUP
Experience Share - GuideHop
In view of the revitalization of sharing, Chesky stated,
"We used to try to keep up with the Jones’ and now we are sharing with the Jones’."
Chesky shared his company’s vision to stimulate local businesses by enabling access to spaces. He hopes Airbnb will be the “protagonist” in helping expand the sharing economy by allowing people to ultimately gain access to any city, and be able to share any asset, any space within the next two years.
In contrast to the green movement of the early 2000s, the sharing economy is not evangelizing that we must sacrifice in order to save the world, but Chesky suggests,
"What if it was actually better for us. We could save more money, have a more social life, share more and make the environment better."
In closing, Chesky asserted that with a broader currency of trust, where we all have online reputations, we all could have access to more. In 2011, 5 million nights were booked on Airbnb. Access is more powerful than ownership.