Sunday, January 27, 2013

Oh, fungibility!

Crowd resource models continue to grow as “on-demand third-party asset rental platforms” become their own sector.

Some of the most familiar names in fungible resource marketplaces are on-demand automobiles (ZipCar, Getaround, and Uber), apartments (AirBNB), and local marketplaces for physical-world task outsourcing (TaskRabbit, ViaTask), products (CraigsList, Peddl), and services (Zaarly - e.g.; cooking, organizing, personal training).

Some nice new verbs could arise like "I AirBNB’d my house, and I getaroundt or getarounded (grammarians?) my car." Payment structures are emerging to support third-party asset rental, stalwart models like Paypal and newly-launched Flattr (social micropayments) - "Just flattr me that dinner payment..." Other neologisms are needed for new situations like where you list your asset only to find a market surplus already exists in your area, like the over 400 user-owned Getaround cars currently available in Berkeley CA (Figure 1). The 'amazonification' of pricing is also an issue as the market may be flooded already with similar items and how low are you willing to go to price your asset.

 Figure 1. Over 400 Getaround cars available in Berkeley, CA!

Future Implications
Third-party asset rental is a nice intermediary step towards other imaginable near-future scenarios like on-demand driverless transportation pods and portable housing through mobile airsteading modules. Soon enough, some level of resources may be automatically fungibly allocated without human intervention.

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