You are entering the workforce at a time where you can join the taxi company or Uber. Which one do you pick? Uber of course, but take a read below and start to understand that just because you have a good idea doesn’t mean everyone else is going to be excited for you. Very few people are up on the balcony cheering you on like your Mom probably did.
Read this and start to get up to speed on the size of the game that is being played right now when it comes to the sharing economy.
“Give me liberty or give me death.” What does Patrick Henry’s famous line have to do with your ability to rent a taxi?
We are fresh off a week-long trip to Washington DC and Colonial Williamsburg, and our thoughts have turned to Patrick Henry’s commanding line in the Virginia House of Burgesses as the American Colonies marched their way towards Independence. The historical sites such as Mt. Vernon, Monticello and Williamsburg do a fantastic job of recreating the environment and the stimulus that surrounded the beginning of our country 238 years ago.
What hit me coming from the land of innovation and independent thought was that maybe there is a sliver of a connection between the current revolution of “freelance workers” and our founding Colonies. The Colonies suffered under a mercantile system that hemmed in their ability to grow and was set up to fill the coffers of England. Laws like the Stamp Act of 1765 were passed that limited the Colonies ability to accumulate wealth much the way industry regulation over the last 100 years has made it difficult for individuals to participate in a trade vs. companies.
Looking for an example? Just follow the experience and short history of “Transportation Network Company” UBER. In a sense they are just a nice taxi or limo service and really not that many of us have been worried about the number of taxi’s available or the costs of them once you are inside. You either can find a Taxi, or you can’t, and the fees while oddly calculated have a “fixed” price.
That fixed price and the odd fees, especially if you get picked up at the airport are where things start to look like the 18th Century in America, and the fact that sometimes you can’t find a taxi also has a lot to do with regulation. To read more about this click here.
Our focus centers in on the regulation being similar to the Taxes of old. Currently, the regulation that exists in running a Taxi business, a Hotel business, or a School has been built up for the last 100 years by special interest groups funded by the largest companies in those industries.
Competitively you can’t blame them, they are just shoring up a left flank, as it were, to make it hard for new players to enter the market. Yet at the very moment that new players can’t enter a market is the second that choice walks out the door and when choice is gone…..well you can see where we are headed.
Choice has a friend in technology and the future looks interesting. In the past decade venture backed companies have started to leverage mobile technology to connect millions of buyers and sellers of goods and now services. Enter the UBER’s, the AirBNB’s, and The Khan Academies into these old regulation laden service industries and let us watch as the millions of competent individual actors (and some not so competent) come rushing in to serve you; the car riding, bed sleeping, and learning public.
Maybe it is a leap to correlate the two but the next time you are really in a pinch to get somewhere, are you going to stand on the street corner hoping a cab comes by? Or are you going to pull up your UBER app and within minutes have a clean car with a driver who cares a lot about the customer experience rating you are going to post after she drops you off.
Liberty may have many names, we think one of them should be called choice.