Future of Sharing: Exploring the Honeycomb of the Collaborative Economy

Jeremiah Owyang, Founder of Crowd Companies, thinks that the sharing economy—though he prefers the term collaborative economy—could exceed PwC’s projections of $335 billion in revenue by 2025. “There’s really no question whether it’s going to happen or not,” Owyang said of the high rates of adoption of peer-to-peer platforms. “The question [for cities] is – what are you going to do about it? Cities need to move forward and embrace these models.” Owyang’s company helps larger companies incorporate aspects of the collaborative economy into their businesses. He created the popular honeycomb model of the collaborative economy, which breaks down its various subsets, from vehicle sharing, to health, to learning.

Owyang defines the collaborative economy as “an economic model where commonly available technology enables to get people what they need from each other.” Owyang believes “sharing economy” is a misnomer, because the majority of the time, money still changes hands. Owyang spoke about the incredible sums of venture capital that have been poured into the collaborative economy—$32 billion since 2008, compared to $9 billion invested in social media companies in the last 15 years—and suggested ways to mitigate the disruption these companies have caused. Owyang thinks that collaborative economy companies should follow the Etsy model and share equity with participants of the platform. “It’s in the interest of the platforms to share the wealth now in order to keep people happy,” Owyang said.