Good morning, All,
First, our next Breakfast with an Angel is tomorrow morning. You can register here.
Tech is an industry that loves its catch phrases and paradigms of the day. “We’re disrupting (INSERT VERTICAL HERE)” or “We’re the Airbnb/Uber of (INSERT VERTICAL HERE).” All well and good, but and like it or not, Airbnb and Uber quietly changed something. They did more than just herald what we’re now misnaming the sharing economy. It’s more than that: they disrupted, they fixed, they make money, and they empower people. Which was always the promise of tech. They raised the bar. And they wrote the blueprint for the possibilities of tech. They built a better mousetrap.
Uber didn’t really disrupt taxis. It disrupted car services – that’s the model, if you think about it. But they built a better mousetrap, and by extension, and disrupted taxis all over the world. Mistakes were made – and addressed. UberX rocks our world.
Airbnb didn’t disrupt the hotel industry. It’s a concierge service for finding available lodging – globally – that, by extension, disrupted the hotel industry.
They both contended with legal blowback, but when you disrupt a traditional industry where money is being made and salaries collected by political appointees (this is true of the TLC), they will fight tooth and nail to protect their fiefdoms.
The point of this is that these two (by way of example) managed to disrupt, innovate, fix – and make money. Without serving ads, and while fostering cottage industries. Technology at its best.
We do realize that those two apps/businesses are different than something like a Facebook, which is basically a global online directory. The phone book gone tech. It’s part of what we’re personally calling Interim Tech: take the familiar and put it online. Imitation may be the highest form of flattery, but innovation wins the race. As does empowering, rather than manipulating and tracking people. If only they would use their powers for good instead of evil.
This, too, shall change.
But without much fanfare, we actually crossed a line into what might be the next phase of tech: the next level peer to peer. Think about it: Uber works because people offer their cars/services, and consumers respond. Win-win. Same with Airbnb. Then again, this is not Uber founder Kalanick’s first time at the carnival (StumbleUpon). Welcome to the next phase of tech. Live and learn. Onward and forward.