Friday, November 24, 2017

Take the Middle Man Out of More Transactions

Uber and AirBnB are in the vanguard of the P2P marketplace model -- their gradual but ultimately huge success of is opening up breakout growth, heralding an explosion in startups with similar models: Taskrabbit, Fivver and others. Marketplace startups are unique because they aren’t just serving one base of customers. These enterprises connect buyers and sellers, service providers and consumers. Their models work when they ensure users are having a good experience with each other, as well as with the respective companies.

Can you tell I am a big fan of P2P exchange-based marketplaces? Companies like AirBnB and Uber have their detractors — some very legitimate: there are some serious issues around discrimination, harassment and worse that these companies have to continue to address. But they also continue to battle against unfair regulations. Laws need to catch up to this new model, not hinder growth and progress.

Obviously, there is growing interest in services like ride-sharing and short-term rentals, where demand is not easily met by traditional means due to capital investment constraints. These new enterprises are simply too big and popular to be pressured to shut down. Nor should they — each new generation reveals in a new world order with new economic realities. Robot cars (and more disruptive, robot trucks) are *ahem* around the corner. Even money (in the form of crypto-currencies, traditionally controlled by governments, is throwing off the shackles of authoritarian overreach.

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