The sharing economy has skyrocketed in the past year to reach unprecedented heights, but what are the trends that are shaping the different industries within it? Working for Near Me has given me an inside look at the types of marketplaces that are emerging, so here are my thoughts.
Big Data and Predictive Analytics
The term “big data” is being thrown around so much these days that it’s losing much of it’s hype. What’s so interesting about data and marketplaces, however, is how it’s a secret goldmine -- you don’t have to be a data storage company to take advantage of what this information can provide. In a peer-to-peer marketplace, transactions (data) happen constantly between buyer and seller. For instance, Mia connects with Lenny so she can rent a speedboat for her vacation in Barbados. Over time, Mia lists her own apartment and buys camping equipment. Big data is to marketplaces as clues are to the detective -- a map of who a person is based on transactions and has the potential to inform future predictions. The further along you get into predictive analytics, the more you see how it can empower companies with a wealth of analytics. Collecting this data, with real time tracking, will give you the ability to analyze behaviors and predict future interactions.
Technology will be used for good
In 2016 people will be more willing than ever to rent their homes, cars or bicycles as access replaces ownership. Beyond the money factor, some entrepreneurs have a different take on the sharing economy’s purpose. Is it, as Travis Kalanick thinks, a web of interconnected contractors to make him rich? Or is it closer to Irina Frodin’s vision of making transportation accessible for all?
There’s nothing wrong with making a profit -- the main motivation for most business people, but it doesn’t have to always be that way. No Taxi, for instance, is a great example of a ridesharing app that connects drivers with passengers. Irina Frodin is so passionate about making transportation affordable that she’s offering it for free. If what you create is something people need, you might just make a profit down the line.
Associations and marketplaces for professionals
It was such a treat to have Jeff Meyer from Liquidity visit us with his idea. He joined us for a burrito lunch and enthusiastically shared his vision for connecting lawyers in a marketplace. As a lawyer he knows how important it is to stay connected to other lawyers because they might want to refer cases to one another. He explained that in a city you could get a case and refer it to one of your associates, but it’s challenging when you get global. This model could help many other professionals, such as accountants, copywriters, teachers, health professionals and anyone else who wants to network within their profession.
If you had asked me a year ago what peer-to-peer was, I would have given you a vague answer such as, people helping people. But essentially, that’s not too far from the truth. As globalization peaks -- and careers evolve from fixed desk jobs to working remotely or internationally -- the need for marketplaces as professional communities will continue to expand. One of the best parts of my job at Near Me is meeting entrepreneurs who have a vision that connects people in their community through a marketplace.
What’s your community and could a marketplace help bring it to life? Let us know in the comment section below or reach out to us @NearMeCo.