Access over ownership.
One of the most fundamental changes that we are seeing in the way people spend their time is that they have access to more resources. It was impossible for an average person to become a taxi driver without having to go through the process of getting an expensive medallion. Now, you can sign up to become an Uber driver and be on the road with customers by the end of the week.
We are just at the beginning of the open source future we are heading towards. With the advent of Airbnb, real estate and transportation have become the first industries in the access economy. Once we learn to apply the same processes to all of our products and services, they will become less expensive and more centered around the needs of customers.
Access economy companies find suppliers willing to rent their assets with customers willing to rent them. Mobile apps make it possible to connect these people while charging service charges. Rather than everyone buying their own private property, they can simply rent them whenever they need. It saves the users money and allows the sellers an opportunity to provide a service at a profit.
The biggest change in the way people live is the Gig economy. A much more direct way of valuing someone’s time, the Gig economy allows workers to work by project. There is a fatal flaw that pertains to HR. In the Gig economy, employees have much less access to health care and pension services. Employee benefits are virtually non-existent in the industry.
Basically, it is independent contracting.
The difference is that people are now building platforms that is making it easier to find work. Even though the work people are doing might not be as financially valuable as people in trade work, there is a space for it. Anyone with a cell phone now holds the potential to make money with the resources and infrastructure we are investing in.
Any industry that is touched by the access economy will become less expensive for users. Anything you buy might potentially be available in the same way allowing for people to buy fewer items they never use.
The biggest advantage is that our earth will be cleaner and more efficient. There will be less empty spaces and unused resources and materials. Even though this might sound like a minor change in the way we do things, the impact on the planet it will prevent is what makes it such a dynamic way to do business.
There are definitely industries the access economy does not apply to. For smaller items, it just makes sense to buy one for yourself, especially if you use it all the time. The difference here is, people are going to be able to use things they have never been able to before simply because there are systems in place to make it easier to use for a short amount of time. That is something technology is making easier and is becoming more a part of our reality. The industries the access economy influences today and tomorrow will enable people to take advantage of the world’s inventions better than ever before.
Think of how difficult a specific book was to acquire even just 50 years ago.
Today you can find any book you could imagine on your Kindle and be reading it within minutes. It is truly astonishing when we think about what that will make us capable of doing in the future.
Remember how little you could store on the original iPods? Because of the effect of the access economy, you can now share all of your photos and videos on Google photos for free. Not to mention the music you loaded on them. You could fit a few hundred songs if they were short. Now we can pool together everyone that listens to music to pay artists with streaming.
A major concern is that the artists are not being paid as much. I think this vision is a failure to understand that industries change in the way you need to create value in order to make money. Artists might not be making as much from streaming as they once were when they were selling records and you had to buy the entire thing. Or even, more recently, purchasing for a dollar from iTunes. The access economy in the case of the music industry has made it so much easier for people to go live on tour and perform for fans that know about them around the world. This would not have been possible if they had to purchase the songs one by one or in an album.
Apply this to every industry and things become interesting.
There are so many projects that will be possible now because of this new phenomenon. The modern infrastructure of cell-phones has allowed people to pool together resources rather than having to buy them individually.
The real key in this equation is figuring out the next puzzle piece in the future of this type of innovation. What are you not buying because it is too expensive to own forever, but you would love to try it for a day? When you start to think of things in this way you realize all the untapped potential of people and our resources.
The access economy is definitely going to change the way that people value their time and spend it. In fact, it already has.
Airbnb has made it so easy to go to other places that more people are able to go on vacation. This means more people to populate different economies of the world. The change in culture that we are going to see is that with the Gig economy it will become easier than ever to make money while in an unfamiliar environment. People will be able to be self-sustaining by responding to the needs of the people where they live. Different places are going to have different needs and this will cause micro-economies in every region of the world.
Whether this trend continues or capitalism is dismantled, what we know with certainty is that sharing is caring. Access over ownership will enable humanity to create and innovate more than possible even decades ago.