The Age of the Sharing Economy

One of the most interesting business stories out there currently is the disruption taking place in the taxi cab and limo industries. Yes, I am talking about Uber and Lyft the two startups which are wreaking havoc in these spaces. They enable car owners to become instant cabbies if there’s someone in need of a ride along their route.

Additional players in the people movement business include ZipCar which will rent a car to you if you prefer to do the driving.  Its cars are dispersed all over the city and can be located with a smart phone app. There are also companies which allow people in urban centers to share ownership in a vehicle along the sames lines as a timeshare condo.

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hugh bonneville

My long lost bearded twin?

I don’t recall what piqued my curiosity to watch Downton Abbey a few years ago, but I quickly found myself hooked. This is in large part due to all the very likable characters that populate the Downton Abbey universe such as Mrs. O’Brien and Mrs. Patmore. Who wouldn’t want these wonderful women as friends in real life?  Then of course there’s Maggie Smith as the Countess Dowager who gets all the best lines. Hers is the role of a lifetime. Then there are the men: Mr. Carson the old school butler, Matthew Crawley, Tom Branson, and last but not least Lord Grantham himself played by Hugh Bonneville for whom I am being mistaken with ever increasing frequency these days.

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There’s an old platitude that goes something like this: “When one door closes another opens.” I’m on the run today but felt a need to address this issue after reading a magazine article. I will also share a potential business opportunity with you. (Please excuse the quickie job on this post.)

A Door Closes

Here’s another article, this time from The Economist, on a worrisome megatrend that started back in the late 1970s. That’s when wages began stagnating as American companies started offshoring production. Roughly around the same time technology began enabling companies to replace people with software and robots.

Here are a few highlites from All Around the World, Labour is Losing Out to Capital:

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Here’s a chilling summary of the past 30 years from the NY Times. While a few of us have been tracking this trend for a long time, many people seem oblivious to what’s going on.

America’s Sinking Middle Class

On Tuesday, however, the Census Bureau reminded me how for most Americans 1988 still looks a lot like yesterday: last year, the typical household made $51,017, roughly the same as the typical household made a quarter of a century ago.

The statistic is staggering — hardly what one would expect from one of the richest and most technologically advanced nations on the planet.


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