Sunday, January 18, 2015

Unfair Competition? Is the sharing economy based on an alternative business model or just operating outside a legal structure?

In 1999 Napster started a revolution, sharing music not only turned out to be cool and cheaper than buying CDs but also allowed more choice.  Even though Napster turned out to be operating in a legal grey zone, the sharing model started a revolution which seems to have gained considerable traction in the past 5 years.

The traditional business model where a company employs staff directly and utilizes it’s own vehicles or buildings to deliver a particular service is quickly fading and is being replaced by a “sharing” mentality where resources are shared.  Sharing goods or services has long been a tradition between family and friends and in fact most of the companies operating under this business model started out between a group of friends who shared their resources and eventually evolved in huge social networks operating internationally.