I write critically about the rise of global software platforms.

From 2013 to 2018 I focused on the Sharing Economy. My 2015 book “What’s Yours is Mine: Against the Sharing Economy” was one of the first on the topic and was translated into five languages; my collected data on Airbnb listings in cities around the world has been used by numerous journalists and academics.

My 2006 book “No One Makes You Shop at WalMart” is a left wing game-theoretical investigation of individual choice that has been used in university economics, sociology and philosophy courses.

I have a PhD in theoretical chemistry from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. After spells doing postdoctoral research at the universities of Oxford and Waterloo, I moved into the computer software industry, where I have had a long career, most recently as a product manager with SAP.

Born and bred in the UK I now live in Waterloo, Ontario with my wife Lynne Supeene. We have two admirable adult sons.


  1. Hi Tom,

    I spotted your name on an old post on the Open Data “movement” that made it to Hacker News just now. I’ve been picking away at the subject of Open Data for some time (http://purl.org/UKPARLIAMENT/2008/11/ukppschema.owl) and have been on the fringes of the open data community in the UK. I can privately share some first-hand observations that you might find interesting,. Whimsley introduced me to Stiglitz’ “market for lemons” example of the consequences of asymmetric information which has subsequently been a core theme of my personal work. I’ve long since lost your email address, so if you’re interested in some (albeit relatively trivial) gossip, ping me a reply at the above address.



  2. How can we contact you about an article repost? Please give us an email!

  3. Done (above). Thanks for pointing out the omission.

  4. Hello, we are doing research in Los Angeles but we are have a little difficulty getting your survey to work here. I have the database running but I am having a problem running the script. Which python compiler did you use?

    • It needs python 3, but also Airbnb has made some changes to its web site structure so the search doesn’t work at the moment. I’ll see if I can patch it up this weekend and upload something new (no promises unfortunately).

  5. Hi Chris, I have updated the script and it is now in https://github.com/tomslee/airbnb. It should handle the new Airbnb site format. Let me know if I can help you getting going.

  6. Thank you for this amazing website!
    If you read in French and are interested in tech and politics, this monthly newsletter from the french socialist party might interest you as the last article is always dealing with this subject.


  7. Dear Mr. Slee,
    My name is Enrico, 24, from Italy. While looking for some material for my thesis (title: defining tourism within the sharing economy), I found your document “Some Obvious Things About Internet Reputation System”. I found it very interesting so I was wondering if it was later on pubblished in any accademic Journal or even magazine. If not, have you pubblished any other articles concerning the sharing economy? Thanks in advance for your attention and congratulation for your blog which is full of useful information.

  8. Pingback: Threats and Challenges to Cooperative Economies: Platform Cooperativism Conference | Grabber

  9. Hi Tom,
    I really like the work you have been doing. Thanks so much for making this all publicly available.
    I’m working on a research paper on airbnb. I was wondering if it’s also possible to scrape data from the host ratings i.e. the number of “stars” a user has e.g. communication, cleanliness etc.
    I appreciate your response.
    Thank you!

  10. I can’t figure out how to comment on an article. So I came here. While the 1099/independent contractors may at first glance make taxicab companies happy, the same analysis makes their drivers employees too. I understand that in many cities drivers are indeed W-2 employees. But in most places (Chicago, NY, Miami, FTL) they pay to lease a cab. This was not always the case. So the medallion-holders glee is likely to be short-lived as they get dunned for employer taxes.

  11. Hi Tom:

    Just read your excellent article about Uber on Alternet.

    Just curious – does your critique of the mainstream sharing economy extend to efforts like that of “Shareable” and alternative sharing arrangements such as Charles Eisenstein’s “gift economy?”


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