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Peers Inc

How People and Platforms Are Inventing the Collaborative Economy and Reinventing Capitalism

By Robin Chase
12-minute read
Audio available
Peers Inc: How People and Platforms Are Inventing the Collaborative Economy and Reinventing Capitalism by Robin Chase

Peers Inc (2015) provides an insider’s look at how the modern sharing economy is changing the way companies and consumers do business. It also explains how this economy may be a cure for the planet’s many ills, from rising temperatures to dwindling resources.

  • Readers interested in Zipcar, Airbnb and similar companies
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Climate-change activists

Robin Chase is an entrepreneur and cofounder of Zipcar, the world’s largest car-sharing company. She has served on the board of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and worked on a federal transportation advisory committee. In 2009, Time magazine named her on its list of the world’s 100 most influential people.

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Peers Inc

How People and Platforms Are Inventing the Collaborative Economy and Reinventing Capitalism

By Robin Chase
  • Read in 12 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 7 key ideas
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Peers Inc: How People and Platforms Are Inventing the Collaborative Economy and Reinventing Capitalism by Robin Chase
Synopsis

Peers Inc (2015) provides an insider’s look at how the modern sharing economy is changing the way companies and consumers do business. It also explains how this economy may be a cure for the planet’s many ills, from rising temperatures to dwindling resources.

Key idea 1 of 7

A successful sharing platform makes it easy to share resources.

You’re probably familiar with the expression “sharing is caring,” right? Well, it’s not just a lesson for preschool kids anymore; today, it’s valid for the modern business economy too.

The concepts of sharing and collaborating are the backbone of a successful new business model that relies on excess capacity.

Excess capacity refers to anything owned that isn’t being used all the time, or to its full capacity. This might be a car, a second apartment or even tools and appliances that are just sitting in storage.

When looked at critically, owning is an inefficient concept. It comes with costs and hassles, and the phenomenon of everyone owning one of everything is pushing the planet’s resources to the limit. Clearly, it’s time to find a better way.

The benefits of a sharing economy can perhaps best be seen by looking at car ownership. You have to pay for parking, insurance and maintenance. Plus, every car adds to the traffic jams and toxic emissions that already plague most major cities.

So why own a car when you can share it? This is the question that the author, Robin Chase, asked in 1999. Chase had realized that people didn’t use their cars to their full capacity and launched  Zipcar to help them share this resource.

But having an excess capacity of something is only the root of a good collaborative model. There also needs to be a platform to make sharing easy and efficient.

After all, people borrowed cars from friends long before Zipcar was around. But coordinating that exchange wasn’t always easy. Zipcar’s platform offers a simple way to find out when every nearby car is available.

In conclusion, a successful sharing platform will do two things: identify the excess capacity and provide the necessary hardware and software to make it easy to share that resource. In this way, the business becomes a valuable service that does something that would take individuals a lot of time and money to do themselves.

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