Tag: The Sharing Economy

Reluctantly cut from my digital sociology paper Indeed, as Srnicek (2016) argues, this dynamics is integral to the nature of the platform itself, as a business model premised upon maximising opportunities for data extraction through situating itself as an intermediary between the interactions of existing actors. Each platform has an epistemic privilege in relation to […]

From Uberworked and Underpaid, by Trebor Scholz, loc 1290: I am using the term “platform capitalism,” introduced by Sascha Lobo77 and Martin Kenney, to bypass the fraudulent togetherness of terms like “peer,” “sharing,” and “economy.” How can we talk about genuine sharing or innovation when a third party immediately monetizes your every interaction for the […]

From Uberworked and Underpaid, by Trebor Scholz, loc 1290: I am using the term “platform capitalism,” introduced by Sascha Lobo77 and Martin Kenney, to bypass the fraudulent togetherness of terms like “peer,” “sharing,” and “economy.” How can we talk about genuine sharing or innovation when a third party immediately monetizes your every interaction for the […]

An admirably concise definition by Trebor Scholz on loc 432 of Uberworked and Underpaid: This term can be briefly described as follows: First, it is about cloning the technological heart of Uber, Task Rabbit, Airbnb, or UpWork. Platform cooperativism creatively embraces, adapts, or reshapes technologies of the sharing economy, putting them to work with different […]

One of the most interesting things about so-called sharing economy companies is their mobilisation of users in defence of their political objectives. This is something which can prove uniquely urgent because of the sheer number of municipalities in which they operate, leaving them exposed to regulatory backlash particularly given their tendency to self-righteously disregard laws […]

From The Upstarts, by Brad Stone, loc 3490: In January 2013, Chesky hired a new head of community who shared his devotion to the cause —Douglas Atkin, a former advertising agency executive who had written a 2005 book, The Culting of Brands: Turn Your Customers into True Believers, that drew business lessons from devotional sects […]

I liked this snippet in The Upstarts, by Brad Stone, describing how Belinda Jones went from consultant to being airbnb’s first in-house attorney. From loc 3212: She then won Chesky’s trust, in part by enthusiastically embracing the company’s sense of its own virtue, its near religious certainty of its position in the vanguard of a […]

Reading this section in Brad Stone’s The Upstarts, it occurred to me this faith* displayed by the airbnb founders is an interesting example of what Nick Couldry describes as ‘the myth of us’. From loc 2171: EJ had also raised fundamental questions about the safety of users on its site and Airbnb’s role as an […]

This was back in 2012. There have been many more since and will be many more in future. From The Upstarts, by Brad Stone, loc 2871-2887: But Uber was going to need more than Tweets to sway the DC city council. First, colleagues remember, Kalanick sought the backing of the DC tech community and tried […]

One recurring theme in Brad Stone’s excellent The Upstarts is how technological assumptions encoded into legislation become focal points for conflicts with ‘disruptive’ companies. For instance, as loc 2348 illustrates, the novel dispatch system used by Uber complicated the distinction between taxis and livery cars: Stressing that Uber cars were not hailed or even electronically hailed […]

There’s an interesting extract in The Upstarts, by Brad Stone, concerning discretionary effort: what could your employees do if they were properly motivated? I’m fascinated by this concept because of its open-ended character. Once one begins to think like this, it’s always possible to imagine your employees doing more. The full actualisation of discretionary effort is a vanishing point and this […]

When the Uber co-founders recount the story of their project, they stress the importance of the consumer to it. This might seem like familiar rhetoric but I want to suggest it reflects a deep (and problematic) commitment. In The Upstarts, by Brad Stone, we see how the early idea for Uber came to Garrett Camp when he […]

From The Upstarts, by Brad Stone, Loc 1519-1533: In late 2009, a few months after it had graduated from YC, Airbnb appeared to create a mechanism that automatically sent an e-mail to anyone who posted a property for rent on Craigslist, even if that person had specified that he did not want to receive unsolicited […]

From The Upstarts, by Brad Stone, loc 771-786: On a separate night in Paris, the group went for drinks on the Champs-Élysées and then to an elegant late-night dinner that included wine and foie gras. At 2: 00 a.m., somewhat intoxicated after a night of revelry, they hailed a cab on the street. Apparently they […]

This struck me as an interesting case that reveals a broader truth about the sharing economy. A description of the very early merger of two companies offering city wide access to unused capacity in fitness classes, from Sweat Equity, by Jason Kelly, loc 1343: “When you look at quality fitness inventory in each city, there aren’t […]

A really interesting suggestion from loc 3681-3691 from Douglas Rushkoff’s Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: In terms of fully decentralized commerce, these platform cooperatives are still just steps along the way to digital distributism. As long as there’s a central platform—a Web site or other hub to maintain—there will always be a need for central […]

A question I’ve been asking myself since I reluctantly started using Uber a few months ago: what makes the sharing economy go round? ‘Uberness‘ does: Uber rides require some “Uberness” from both the client and riders. We’re commited to making sure to work with quality drivers and do our best to keep your rides as […]

From Misbehaving, by Richard Thaler, pg 136: Uber has defended surge pricing on the basis that a higher price will act as an incentive for more drivers to work during peak periods. It is hard to evaluate this argument without seeing internal data on the supply response by drivers, but on the face of it […]