Remember the saying, “The only things that are certain are death and taxes”? Let’s add the word “disruption” to that quote.
Every day, we see the impact of disruptive technology. Our lives have been turned upside with the proliferation of social networks like Facebook and Twitter while our work is enhanced via networks developed on LinkedIn and SAP Jam. These networking applications/solutions give us the power to collaborate, create influence and be influenced.
The term Networked Economy sums up all these connections. It’s a way to describe the interconnection of personal (P2P), business (B2B) and machine (M2M) based networks. Combine these networks with the power of mobile technology and you have the potential for disruption with increasingly compressed timelines.
Ride sharing company Uber and room/house rental company Airbnb are the current poster children for the Networked Economy. These companies didn’t exist seven years ago. Uber owns no vehicles and carries an estimated market capitalization of $18 billion; Airbnb doesn’t own any property and carries a market capitalization of $10 billion. Each company provides users with disruptive value and they continue to innovate with a new focus on the corporate market. These valuations are supported by the value they supply – just a few clicks on your mobile device and your ride from Madison Square Garden to that trendy bar in SoHo is booked and paid for. Just look at the disruption to the status quo these companies have caused over the past few months. The headlines scream disruption with taxi strikes in Europe, questions about housing shortages in San Francisco, and regulatory battles in Virginia and Philadelphia.
Embrace disruption, don’t protest
Banning and protesting this innovation will not work. In a recent post on WIRED, Marcus Wohlson suggests that Uber’s strategy might make itself too big to ban. Wohlson notes, “The most powerful political leverage comes in the form of popularity.” The cabbies in big cities across the world need to come to grips with the situation. The adage “adapt or die” does apply. USA Today writer, Michael Wolff, goes on to speculate that this “may be just the beginning.” Uber is now available in 40 countries across the globe and six out of seven Continents. We can only speculate when Uber rolls out service in Antarctica.
As part of evolution, taxi specific apps like Curb, mytaxi, HAILO, and Taxi Magic are gaining traction to combat Uber. This is innovation at its best! Disruption is spurring innovation, all for the benefit of the customer.
Whether you are a taxi driver, deliver groceries, rent cars, own a hotel, or maybe even work in Digital Marketing for SAP, it’s time embrace disruption or get run over. The power of the Networked Economy empowers individuals to become their entrepreneurs and leverage excess capacity, whether it’s a spare seat in your car or a spare bedroom in your house.
What are the boundaries for the Networked Economy? None, just constant disruption combining excess capacity, new capacity, the network effect (personal, business, machine to machine), sprinkle in some mobility and we have solutions for the ages.
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