Smart City

SF New Tech Crawl: An opportunity to learn more about the sharing economy

The 2nd annual New Tech Crawl took place in San Francisco last week. It was the opportunity to visit some of the city’s most impressive and innovative companies. All of them participate in the same movement: the sharing and collaborative economy in the Silicon Valley. This new economy, built upon peer­to­peer services, is changing people’s daily life while providing a community spirit and a sense of exchange and sharing.

SF New Tech Crawl perfectly illustrated this trend in different fields.

  •  First, the visit started with Prezi, the cloud based presentation tool which allows you to create a more diverse presentation through zooming and customized mapping. Prezi is one of the best example of the sharing economy, because of the worldwide access to everyone’s presentation
  •  The following startup was Medium, the online newspaper which gathers « Everyone’s stories and ideas »: everyone can share stories and have the possibility to earn money from their article.
  •  Then, the 500 Startups Incubator welcomed us and presented their co-working space. The concept of co-working is well known but no one realizes how much they are transforming the economy through such innovative working means. Doz, located within the incubator, took advantage of this visit to present its business model. This startup is also based on the sharing movement: marketer are being introduced to companies thanks to that platform.
  •  TechShop SF, which we visited after, provides makers and thinkers with innovative machines and tools to make launching a product possible.
  •  LinkedIn, pioneer in professional social media and in the sharing of career related data, hosted us in its stunning office. LinkedIn has been elected as one of the best companies to work for in 2013.
  •  Instacart delivers the customer groceries from many different stores, especially local businesses, within one hour and helps each individual contribute to the economy of small businesses.
  •  Style Lend is a great illustration of sharing economy in the field of fashion. Instead of leaving your amazing cocktail dress alone in a cupboard, you send it to Style Lend. They take care of renting it for you (with an insurance) and to return you the money. If you’re a customer, it allows you to rent haute couture dresses at a very affordable price.
  •  Github was the last spot but not the least. Github is an online platform which enables coders to share their code for free

 Thus, sharing economy is a trend that we should definitely follow since it provides many new opportunities to businesses and helps in simplifying people’s daily lives. However, more and more specialists balance this optimistic point of view. Indeed, we have to wonder if sharing economy’s goal is really to help individuals or just to benefit from a way to earn money quickly, sometimes in spite of other workers’ well-being. For instance, if you’re app enables you to go to the restaurant for a very low cost, this is great for you but does the owner have a choice or does he have to do it to resist to the competition even if it carries a huge loss for him? Such cases appears unfortunately to be more and more common.  Sharing economy is a way to share costs, but is it also a way to share profit equally. It seems important to keep asking the good questions.

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