Sharing economy – a different take on things!

Friday — 14. December 2018

Sie ist hier in der Bay Area in vielen Lebensbereichen angekommen - die Sharing Economy: mit Uber und Lyft mobil werden, mit Airbnb wohnen, mit GoBike das Fahrrad sharen und mit WeWork den Bürobereich teilen.

Here in the Bay Area it has arrived in numerous fields of life - the sharing economy: mobility with Uber and Lyft, accommodation with Airbnb, bicycle sharing with GoBike and shared office space with WeWork.

Welcome homeFord GoBike - Solarpanel

There are various reasons for sharing: Airbnb is often used here in the Bay Area to find any form of accommodation: people would rather move occasionally than be out on the street due to lack of housing. Running your own car is more of a hindrance in this region, where parking fees are astronomical and bikes spend more time standing in the corner than actually being used. In contrast, WeWork and Space are large, cross-regional providers of office space which, in addition to offering their customers workspace also provide meeting rooms, conference equipment and a bar area where the various users can meet and interact.

Shared space

And there it is, that keyword: interact! Yes, the culture here is one of permanent interaction and sharing – with colleagues, business partners, competitors and people who have never met before and have no expectations of each other. During the daytime this communicative interaction occurs in the co-working space beyond the physical borders of companies, continuing in the evening with numerous networking events, that everyone can sign up for, typically free of charge – via app, of course. Information and experiences are swapped here. And because everyone does it, the knowledge gained is continuous and therefore considerable. It is impressive to see how people share their daily professional experiences with those around them, receiving feedback and tips in return. And this feedback is useful!

Venture University - Reverse Demo DayGalvanize Happy Hour

What does it achieve? – this continuous interaction and the sharing of knowledge and experience has a significant learning effect on all those involved. This results in comparatively young team members achieving an advanced stage of development and being able to build upon their own experience and that of others. I have met managers at start-ups here who began a few years ago assisting the founder and now lead large teams, making a key contribution to the fact that these start-ups now have a workforce of several hundred employees.

This continuous sharing of information, experiences and technical knowledge enables organisations to reach a higher level under their own steam – and in a very short time. External training – particularly in the technical field – is significantly less than in Europe and is subsequently enhanced with own and shared experience, acquiring a value that is of use to the company.

Google for Entrepeneurs - Connect, ceate, relax

I would go so far to say that there is little need here for the large number of management consulting firms that we are familiar with in Europe, bringing their often highly-specialised know-how to companies. Instead, here in California companies focus more on having the know-how within the firm itself – either acquired from employees with the matching skill set or developed independently. Here in the valley no-one would approach a consultant for assistance with key or future-related issues – even where time is of the essence – but instead hires an employee with the requisite skills, who subsequently adapts the theme within and for the company.

Get together

I was impressed by a conversation in which a specialist in the area of machine learning, working for one of the major cloud providers, stated that he considers patents to have little worth in the digital world. Instead, he and his company focus on sharing findings at an early stage, to underscore their leading role in the market. At the same time, the publications of competitors are continuously scanned and analysed with semantic machines to identify and comprehend key development steps of their competitors. This is no longer a problem in the age of automated evaluation processes and semantic text analysis by machines. In brief, the trend is towards sharing: papers, not patents.

The author — Marc Natusch.

I am convinced that the traditional strength and professionalism of the German construction and construction supply industry offer significant opportunities for growth both nationally and internationally, if the chances offered by the mechanisation of buildings, the digitalisation of construction processes and the customer journey are used consistently. On my travels I also want to find out what else we can learn from other countries.

More information

Links & Partners