When yours is mine


In the beginning, we have the commons: public square and transportation, parks and beaches, museums and metropolitan theatres. Then online, we mesh machines together to have the internet. Now what’s “out there” begins to intrude what’s “in here”. Welcome to the sharing economy. Started in SF and NYC, but now at the city near you (like Paris – where it has to put up with all things American, like Disney Park and McDonalds). First, own your own car, with a chauffeur – Driving Miss Daisy. Then, it’s a self-driving car. And soon, our self-driving car. All technology, no human. With slim job prospects, students are moving back home (on a share ride of course). Soon, even the family couch will be auctioned out for “sharing”. 40 Billion USD for Uber, 10 for Airbnb (about current valuation for AWS). Companies love to split the burden of costs. In IT jargon, it’s Co-location e.g. E-bay, Etsy and Kickstarter, all share common platforms and load-balance their routes. Meanwhile, consumers on this side of MP3 and Youtube, have gotten used to their digital entitlement: why are you charging me for it? What technology wants? It wants to grow up, to be the Internet of Things, to be useful, to be more human (while sadly, Stephen Hawking wants to take the suicide option once he no longer feels useful). Long ago, Future Shock’s Alvin Toffler noticed the pro-sumerism movement. He did not see the perfect storm of technology and globalization. Back in the 80’s, time share vacation was in e.g. cabins and condos “use it or lose some of it”. Most service jobs were outsourced back to the consumers, called self-service. Even work has been in-sourced (telecommuting) e.g. watch your own kids, fix your own CPU and vacuum your own home office (“Hi, nobody is home – and office – please leave a message). Then through digitization, we outsourced and off shored to Indian techies to fix the Y2K problem, while US toy makers farmed out jobs to China. Eventually, groundswell (the cult of amateur) emerged, e-lancers began to come out of the woods (not content with just giving comments and advice). Voila. Putting the two and two together, we got today’s sharing economy: the outsourcing of people, things and money (venture capitalism). When yours is mine, then it’s the new strain of the old OPM  economy: other people’s servers, data centers (Cloud), workers (contractors), capital (loan), expertise (freelancers), contacts (networking and MLM), reputation (endorsement and recommendation), credit worthiness (co-signing), retail space (consignment), home (Airbnb), car (Uber) and friends (social media). When yours is mine. It’s MP3 economy on steroid. Wait and see the full iceberg. (hi! guess where I am: on somebody’s bed, making my own porn – w/ a copy of Bruce Jenner’s Vanity Fair on the night stand). 50 Billion in capitalization (just Space and transportation sectors) can do a lot of wonders. Next come the socialist countries like China who will certainly take it up a notch. Let me borrow Kevin Kelly’s brilliance (and the Amish ) ” To maximize our own contentment, we seek the minimum amount of technology in our lives. Yet to maximize the contentment of others, we must maximize the amount of technology in the world.” (What technology wants). When the sharing economy takes hold, all I am asking is for it to stop at the boundary of “sharing” vs “taking”. Use it, but be kind and rewind.

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