- Airbnb released a study they commissioned, entitled The Airbnb Community’s Economic Impact on New York City. Carried out by HR&A Advisors, the study claimed that “Airbnb generated $632 million in economic activity in New York in one year”. The study was written up, together with the conclusions, in Business Week, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, as well as TechCrunch, AllThingsD, and many more.
- But wait! It turns out the study is all of 300 words with no indication where the data comes from, what “economic impact” means or how it was calculated, what it means that Airbnb “supported 950 jobs in the outer boroughs”, where the tourist spending figures came from, or anything else. Truly strange.
- Meanwhile, some developers are notifying their tenants that they should not sublet their rooms through Airbnb and other sites, as
- Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund has invested $200 million in the company.
- I can sympathise with people like Kimberly Kaye who find Airbnb helpful,
- but despite these cases, it looks like buying an apartment specifically to rent out is becoming increasingly common (see the interesting discussion at Hacker News, where it is the top post).
- and leading, unsurprisingly, to the rise of management firms,
- and concerns like these from the San Francisco Bay Guardian persuade me that Airbnb is not a bonus for a city,
- as does this thoughtful essay by Miriam Axel-Lute at rooflines.
- If you are pretty enough, you can always go to LoveRoom instead.
- More on the Sharing Economy
- Kevin Roose in New York Magazine: In the New Economy, Everyone Is an Indentured TaskRabbit
- while Nancy Scola asks Are We TaskRabbiting Ourselves to Death?
- Darwing Bond-Graham in Alternet: Uber and Lyft Get a Lot of Hype – But Ridesharing Is a Parasitic Business Model
- In Governing, J.B. Wogan asks How Will the Sharing Economy Change the Way Cities Function?
- Lobby Group Peers hosted a set of dinners,
- and Businessweek’s Joshua Brustein went to one, concluding that The Sharing Economy Isn’t Quite a Kick to Capitalism’s Crotch
- Meanwhile, in The Atlantic Cities, Emily Badger has a good piece about The Rise of Invisible Work.
- An older post that is worth a read: The Phantom Cab Driver asks: 100,000 Uninsured Rides and Counting: In Good Hands with Lyft and Sidecar?
- Payments is a key component for “sharing economy” companies, and it turns out it’s largely handled by Stripe.
This Week in the Sharing Economy
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Almost this week… an 11 minute video from Reason.tv Uber Wars: How D.C.Tried to Kill a Great New Ride Technology
Lots of interesting articles.
I’d add that the “parasitic” article misses something. Lyft, like Ryanair and Easyjet is profiting from a short-term devaluation of the capital goods of the industry. A few years down the line (as we’ve seen with Easyjet and are beginning to see with Ryanair) the normal capital costs start to come back into the equation and all the talk of disruption starts to look pretty hollow. Meet the new airline, very similar to the old airline.
In Lyft’s case, this is that you have this reserve of underemployed people who own cars. So you have a twofold change over time. First, some of the underemployed will find other things to do as the economy picks up and others will have to sell their car as the income doesn’t actually cover the costs that well…
Airbnb has similar issues, but they are less easily analysed because as noted, the new crop of Airbnb’ers aren’t “normal individuals” at all, but large scale landlords – businesses, some of them quite large.