Do you remember the moment you realized that the world had changed?
Let me tell you a quick little story that has nothing and everything to do with the future of our world and how you fit into it.
In 1917 the United States faced a huge problem. They were working hard to compete in the industrialized economy and there was a shortage. Not a shortage of oil or coal or other natural resources. A shortage of people, specifically, obedient factory workers.
The solution to this economic dilemma? It was an experiment of sorts. It had not been done before until someone thought of it…mandatory public school. Unfortunately, the initial purpose of the United States Public School System was not to inspire children or generate scholars. And it was not created for dreamers…people who color outside the lines, break the rules, and challenge the status quo. The public school system of the early 1900s was invented to create a nation full of adults who would obediently do their jobs in the factory assembly lines.
Teaching kids to sit in straight rows and scheduling the entire day with the ringing of bells was not by chance. Punishing those that did not conform was purposeful. These were the skills they would need to join the labor force. Intentional or not, this early method of turning dreamers into workers was an investment in the nation’s economic future… and it worked! This then led to several generations of productive, fully employed workers. But it is not working anymore!
Why? Our economy has changed! We do not live in an industrialized economy anymore. We live in a Connected Economy. Right now, there are more users on Facebook than there were people on the planet 200 years ago. Technology has made it possible for us to connect with people, ideas, and information from anywhere in the world instantaneously. And, as a result, our economies have expanded from localized towns and communities to the entire world. We have globalized trade in nearly every way. In the past, the obedient ‘do what you are told without question people’ were rewarded for working hard and putting their dreams aside, in order to toe the line. They were given well-paying jobs that led to long-term careers. They were guaranteed pensions, benefits, and the promise that they would always be taken care of. And they were! But that promise is gone for most of us today.
Even if you have a white-collar job, the majority of white-collar workers are still working in a factory. Instead of operating a sewing machine or welding a widget, they now push pencils, type on keyboards, or process paperwork. It is still factory work because the entire focus of the day is spent on increasing productivity, which leaves little room for creativity, spontaneity, or individuality. The educated hard-working masses are still doing what they are told but they are no longer getting what they deserve!
Even if you do everything you are told to do today… graduate from high school, go to college, get a degree, work hard in whatever job you can find… if you are lucky enough to find one…you are not guaranteed anything!
Companies are being forced to change or die right now. Lay-offs happen much more often than job openings appear and the highest paying jobs are disappearing or heading overseas at an alarming rate. If you have a job where your boss tells you exactly what to do, he or she will always find someone cheaper than you to do it.
Did you know that the average length of a job today is about 4 1/2 years? Contrast that to the 1960s when it was 40 years! The Connected Economy rewards a different group of people. It rewards the people who see things differently, who do not conform, people who have ideas that no one else has, people who are willing to work hard but know that the old way of doing things is broken. The Connected Economy rewards you not for being a cog in the wheel of life but for standing up and reaching out. The Connected Economy rewards the connectors!
Whether it is connecting a person to a person, a business to a business, a business to a product, or a product to a person… those who learn how to connect are the ones who will survive and excel in the Connected Economy!
That is how the world has changed! It is not about to change, it already has! Things are different now and they are not going back to the way they used to be!
Look at Facebook. What is their product? It is YOU…your network, your information, your ideas… they all have value. Does Facebook pay you for the money they make selling your information to advertisers? No! But we still use it because we have an innate desire to connect with people. In fact, neuroscientists have found that we are actually hardwired to connect with each other. Some people know how to leverage this innate ability in today’s economy, but most do not! And because they do not know how to do it, most of them are paralyzed with fear, resisting the shift, despite clear indications telling them it is time to change!
In 1917, a group of people performed an experiment that forever changed the way that we earned a living. The world today is facing another huge problem. We are facing a shortage of our own. Not a shortage of factory workers or consumers…the world has enough of those! We have a shortage today of dreamers and connectors!
And so…we are holding our own little experiment and YOU happen to be the subject of it!
This eight-minute presentation was specifically designed to seek out and find the connectors around us. Those who recognize that we are on the brink of the next economic revolution, who are ready to thrive in the Connected Economy, and who are searching for the best way to do it. The Internet and technology are rapidly changing the way that we do everything today including how we make a living.
It is not too late to embrace the change and find a way to make yourself relevant and profitable in our brave new world and that is why we have invited you here today. We have created something that rewards you for connecting. It pays you for bringing people together behind a cause, product, or idea and we have systematized it and made it so that you can do it from anywhere, with anyone, at any time.
If you are passionate about helping people. If you are passionate about changing lives…If you want to position yourself to be a capitalizing force within the connected revolution instead of just a bystander…Let us start now!
Do you remember the moment you realized that the world had changed? How about the moment you realized YOU could change with it?
Are you ready for the details?
BUILDING A BETTER WORLD THE COOPERATIVE WAY
What if...more people worked together?
What if...our children didn't have to choose between a good deal and a good deed?
What if...a family business was still in the family in 10 years?
What if...a family business was still in the family for a generation?
What if...a family business was still in the family for a lifetime?
What if...people were as important as the bottom line?
What if...your money stayed in your community?
What if...we used US more than ME?
What if...we focused on connections?
What if...we focused on communities?
What if...we focused on creating a movement?
What if...we stopped saying "what if?"
It's time to change.
There's a better way...to live.
There's a better way...to work.
There's a better way...to give.
There's a better way...to prosper.
There's a better way...to connect.
There's a better way...to shop.
There's a better way...to bank.
There's a better way...to grow.
There's a better way...to cooperate.
Building a better world...for members.
Building a better world...for everyone.
BUILDING A BETTER WORLD
Congratulations for taking that very important first step!
Lao Tzu once said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”, and you have just taken that very insightful first step, now we will walk with you the rest of the way.
Welcome to 10 to Infinity, the Doorway to the new Sharing Economy.
What do we mean when we say “Sharing Economy?” The dictionary defines a sharing economy as an economic system in which assets or services are shared between private individuals, either free or for a fee, typically by means of the Internet.
But what does that really mean for you?
In the very informative 10 to Infinity Free eBook you are about to download, you will learn all about the Sharing Economy and what it can really mean for you, personally. Being part of our new Sharing Economy can be life-changing for you, your family, those you know, and even those you do not yet know.
In the world we live in there is absolutely no reason why anyone should go without the things they need and want. And often the reason many people go without is because they simply just have no idea how to begin to develop the mindset and the income necessary to accomplish their goals and their dreams.
But help is on the way and once you truly understand the basics, 10 to Infinity wants to take you beyond the current definition of a Sharing Economy... In fact, we want to take you to Infinity and Beyond!
But first, you will learn all about the HIVE (High Income Virtual Engine) and how to fill one with just 6 people.
And each time you fill a HIVE, you will earn $40 and you can fill an unlimited number of HIVEs at no additional cost to you! Your very first HIVE could possibly secure your financial future.
And with each HIVE, after the first one, you will have the option of continuing to build on what you started with your first HIVE or you will have the option to have your Hive earnings paid directly to you, as often as you want. It is your choice and you can make a better or different choice, at any time! And that is only the beginning, as you will learn more as we go along.
The most important thing to know is that either way, you are potentially securing your financial future and we will be right here with you to help you grow and prosper in our Sharing Economy.
But 10 to Infinity is about so much more than just filling a HIVE. Next, you will learn all about our Monumatic Marketing Machine, the “Triple M” System and why this is considered the heartbeat of our Sharing Economy.
The Large Databases and our incomparable Benefactor’s Pool are pivotal to the smooth operation of the machine that will help to accelerate our entire Sharing Community to new heights. We are currently adding the much-needed fuel to our Monumatic Marketing Machine and do not worry that the tank is not completely full yet.
Once we have added a sufficient number of members to our “Triple M” System, you will begin to see HIVEs fill at an unprecedented rate, you will begin to see Reward HIVEs for every paid Member of 10 to Infinity which will include 2 new members of which YOU will be the personal referrer, and you will also see the ability to PIF (Pay It Forward) for those you do not even know, yet YOU will become their personal referrer.
And finally, everything else mentioned above is a bonus to you as your one-time $10 will give you access to the use of our Sharing Funnel where all you have to do is basically just share your link everywhere and let us do the rest for you.
10 to Infinity is totally automated from the payment in, to the payment out, and everything in between. There will be very little for you to do except to share 10 to Infinity with all those you would like to help take part in our new Sharing Economy.
If you have any projects you need extra money for around the house such as remodeling a room or putting a new roof on your home, your membership can help you.
If there is anything you are saving money for such as a vacation, retirement, or your children’s college, your membership can help you.
If you have financial obligations you want to pay off such as student loans, a mortgage, medical expenses, and credit card debt, your membership can help you.
If there are organizations you want to support financially such as charities, churches, and missions, your membership can help you.
Whether you need additional income to meet your basic monthly expenses or want additional income for personal, professional, or charitable reasons, your membership in our SHARING Economy can help you.
Be sure to take a few minutes to register for free. And once you have registered, you must decide to take the next important step! The final step in this process is what will determine your level of success. If you are used to working alone or having to do everything yourself even though there are others around you, then you will definitely appreciate what awaits you.
And YES, to gain access to everything that awaits you, the cost is only a one-time $10. And unless you become an active participant in our new Sharing Economy, $10 may not seem like enough to you and perhaps, you would feel more comfortable paying $500 or even $1,000! But soon you will learn why paying just $10, one-time, out of pocket will be sufficient for a lifetime.
And while we understand that some will equate the value received to the costs paid, in our Sharing Economy model, we do not need to charge you exorbitant fees for the value that awaits you. You will find that while the cost is only a one-time $10 the value will be immeasurable.
We want to take your income beyond infinity; We want to take your lifestyle beyond what you could only imagine; We want to take your financial education to new heights, And we want your belief in yourself and in us to soar!
What awaits you on the other side is very private and will never be publicly advertised. However, it will have the power to change how you are currently living, for the better. No matter what your lifestyle is right now, at this very moment, we will only enhance it by providing the means to increase your income, at your own will, and show you how to protect what you have so that it can never be taken away from you.
All that is left for you to do now is to download our Free eBook to learn more about the Sharing Economy and how you can benefit, then register for FREE. And you will be that much closer to experiencing what a real, true Sharing Economy is all about. Once you become a paid Member of 10 to Infinity and fill your first HIVE, a whole new world will open up to you and you will be made privy to things that others are not. As the Members work together in a SHARED, collaborative effort to increase the membership, this, in turn, helps all of our Members with their funding needs. This is the beginning of anything you want!
Thank you for watching and remember, the best is yet to come. Believe that and we will see you go beyond Infinity.
There is a movement sweeping across the globe that is making history during these financially uncertain times and because you are watching this video right now, you could very well be a part of it.
If you have financial needs in providing for yourself and your family or a desire to help charities, churches or missions you support, it is no coincidence that you have arrived at a time such as this to become aware of what we are about to share with you.
We have found the solution that has successfully turned the decades-old 97% FAILURE RATE statistic in the ‘work-at-home’ industry upside down to a 97% SUCCESS RATE.
Prior to our ground-breaking and revolutionary discovery, the masses worldwide would become a part of the 97% FAILURE RATE no matter how much effort they put into their online home businesses.
Some of the many reasons were lack of confidence; not knowing a lot of people to talk with; being confused about what to say, fear of rejection, not being able to afford the start-up or ongoing monthly costs, or compensation plans being most profitable for the leaders who brought large groups in with them, which benefitted no one other than themselves or their own team.
If any of these reasons have been your experience in the past, we have overcome every one of them and they are a thing of the past along with the 97% FAILURE RATE statistic!
Are you ready to make “Work-at-Home” history and become part of the 97% SUCCESS RATE statistic?
If so, we are excited to share with you what is rapidly sweeping across the globe financially helping the masses. It is MONUMENTAL in what it does and is fully AUTOMATIC 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and continues working even while you sleep. In fact, it is so revolutionary and one-of-a-kind, a new word was created to define and describe it.
Introducing the MONUMATIC Marketing Machine, also known as the ‘Triple M System’, which is the heartbeat of our SHARING Economy! The Triple M System is our own proprietary technology that helps ensure the success of every Member, regardless of their experience or background.
And you can gain access to the entire Triple M System for a ONE-TIME COST of $10.
The following are just some of the features of our Monumatic Marketing Machine that has turned the 97% failure statistic upside down to a 97% SUCCESS RATE.
There are two main components that contribute to the financial success of all our Members. Large Groups, also known as Large Databases and our unique Benefactor’s Pool.
Some examples of Large Groups are lists from university students (past, present, and future), work-at-home companies that are no longer in business, charitable groups, national and global organizations, churches, and missions.
Our Benefactor Pool is for those Members who have not yet paid or for those who cannot afford to pay the one-time cost of $10.
The ‘Triple M’ System automatically takes individuals who pay from the Large Database Groups and fills the vacant positions, also called cells, in our Member’s oldest incomplete HIVEs. If you have an open-cell in your HIVE, it will be filled by an individual from one of these Large Groups.
An incredibly special feature of the Benefactor’s Pool is called the Reward HIVE! Once a Member completes their first HIVE, they will receive one Reward HIVE with two new paid Members already added, filling 2 of the 6 cells in the new HIVE! These new Members will come from our Benefactor’s Pool and you will become their personal sponsor, at no additional cost to you.
A HIVE, our High-Income Virtual Engine, consists of 6 cells. When your HIVE is filled with 6 new Members, you immediately earn $40! Your HIVEs can be filled by you, those you have shared 10 to Infinity with, and our ‘Triple M’ System. The number of HIVEs you can earn income from is UNLIMITED, there is NEVER an additional cost to you, and each completed HIVE propels you into financial success and security potentially creating a legacy for yourself and your family!
We ask again, are you ready to make “Work-at-Home” history and join with the masses globally who are already a part of our online work-at-home 97% SUCCESS RATE statistic?
With our proprietary ‘Triple M’ System, we have overcome every reason the previous 97% FAILURE RATE existed, and you will no longer have to do all the work yourself. In fact, if you choose, you never have to talk to anyone… as the ‘Triple M’ will automatically build your business for you. The unparalleled power of our Monumatic Marketing Machine ensures EVERY MEMBER’S SUCCESS in our SHARING Economy. Welcome to the beginning of your financially successful journey with us. We look forward to sharing it with you every step of the way and to Beyond Infinity.
Do you remember the time when ownership was everything? It was very important that whatever we had, we owned it. Leasing a home or renting an apartment may have been a way for many to get started, but the ultimate goal was to own your home. Ownership also represented our fundamental rights, as citizens, to independently own that which we wanted or needed. And for some, it will always be that way, but for the extremely wealthy, it is not the ownership that is important, but the access to whatever it is that is wanted or needed. This may sound confusing, at first, but wealthy individuals own very little, in their own name. Instead, they use the protection of a company or a cooperative to gain access.
Before the internet, the option to rent or lease an item or a service was very limited but in today's society, ownership is almost becoming a thing of the past and does not carry the weight that it once did. In fact, ownership has become a very limiting concept when you can gain access to almost anything you want or need, without owning it. If you have ever needed an item for a short amount of time, you probably would prefer the option of gaining access to it, for as long as you needed, then returning it as opposed to buying it and using it once, then having it set on the shelf for years, once you were done.
Although that may sound like simply borrowing, with the help of technology and the internet, it becomes more than just borrowing, as now the entire world is open to you for you to have access to almost anything you need. So that borrowing becomes more of sharing, but it is sharing with a benefit. This sharing can consist of many different assets and resources and has become known as the Sharing Economy and is quickly becoming a way of life for millions of people.
When you have outright ownership of something, in your own name, this is a direct path to the assets you own and to your wealth. And as John D. Rockefeller once stated, “Own nothing, but control everything.” Besides, what you do not own cannot be taken away from you
So, what is the alternative to an owning economy, where everyone wants to own everything? The answer is a sharing economy, where everyone has access to whatever they want or need, without owning it. In this eBook, we will take a closer look into the Sharing Economy and how it is becoming more beneficial for all who participate.
If you are not familiar with the term “shareconomy” it is coined from the phrase “sharing economy” which, to this day, remains to be a blurry concept to some, primarily because of how broad the subject has become. This new economic model is considered to be a step away from the conventional models since it focuses not on ownership, but on access to assets or resources. Sure, it tackles issues such as production, distribution, consumption, supply and demand of goods and services essentially what one would normally encounter in any economy. What sets it apart, however, is the emphasis on the concept of sharing and its application to these processes.
However, before the invention of Internet technology, the sharing economy was not a new idea, as we have been sharing our assets, resources, and services with family, friends, and neighbors for thousands of years. We have been sharing food, housing, clothes, automobiles, etc., all with no money involved. And before the days of big corporations, this is how we helped one another. As we get back to our roots of helping one another, today's sharing economy has become a disruption to businesses and corporations of all sizes. And although not all facets of a sharing economy involve pure sharing, without a fee of some sort, nevertheless, we are getting back to becoming a communal society, one that no longer needs the permission of “big business” to get the things we want access to.
In today’s terms, a sharing economy is an economic model where assets are shared directly by stakeholders after coordination has been conducted over the internet. Think Airbnb probably the name most recognizable when it comes to sharing economy. People from practically any part of the world can now borrow or rent beds, rooms, cars, and other assets. And it is all done via communication among the parties over the internet through a website or an App.
According to The Balance - Small Business, the sharing economy is one of the fastest-growing business trends in history, with investors dumping more than $23 billion in venture capital funding since 2010 into startups operating with a share-based model. Because many of these businesses are private, it is impossible to know the actual size of the sharing economy.
However, there are several clues to indicate its massive impact on our society.
At the end of 2017, Airbnb ($31 billion) and Uber ($72 billion) have a combined $103 billion market cap which would rank them as the 38th wealthiest country in the world.
In 2016, 44.8 million U.S. adults used the sharing economy, and it is expected to grow to 86.5 million U.S. users by 2021.
McKinsey Global Institute estimates that in the U.S. and Europe alone, 162 million people or 20-30 percent of the workforce are providers on sharing platforms.
Sharing economy, or shareconomy, also goes by other names, such as collaborative economy, collaborative consumption peer-to-peer economy, and relationship economy, to name a few. When the idea first became widely recognized in 2011, it was dubbed by TIME Magazine as one of the “Ten Ideas That Will Change the World”.
When eBay was launched in 1995, the world saw a shift in how people gained access to goods and circulated them in the market. The continuous advancement of technologies, particularly those of a social nature, also contributed to the rapid movement of goods and services. The growth was so fast that the market had to find a way to keep up with it. Humans’ natural instinct to concentrate solely on their own self-interest when it comes to acquiring and using resources also had to be taken into consideration. As a result, the depletion of these resources is inevitable. Supplies were low, while demand just kept growing.
The call for action was answered by one simple word: sharing, also known as Collaboration.
In the book entitled “What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption” in 2010, Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers first introduced the concept of shared social and economic activity. According to them, this “social revolution” entails the utilization of “shared and open resources” across “multiple platforms” in order to create or derive value which, in turn, will benefit the community. According to Botsman, this type of economy puts great stock on trust, which is considered to be its main currency. Without trust, collaboration would not be possible, and the sharing economy would fail.
It is safe to say that what cemented this new economic model in place are the major leaps and bounds taken by information technology in recent years, providing more platforms for collaborative consumption to take place.
As the sharing economy began to take root, it then spread onto corporate cultures, introducing concepts such as connectivity, openness, community, and building bridges. Corporations are now recognizing the importance of relationships and sharing in how they do business.
To gain a better understanding of what sharing economy is, it is time to take a closer look.
Efficiency in the utilization of resources is very important in any economy, and it is not different in a shareconomy. Here are some of the guiding principles of a sharing economy that everyone should know about.
Botsman has reiterated on the importance of trust in creating a reputation and building relationships in a sharing economy. In short, for a fair exchange to be successful, the parties to the transaction or exchange must be trustworthy. A supplier must be able to trust its consumers to pay and, in turn, consumers must be able to trust that the supplier will deliver what was agreed upon. Failure on the part of any participant to trust the other and to live up to that trust will lead to the failure of the transaction or exchange.
As mentioned earlier, it is not about owning it; it is about gaining access to it. A consumer no longer has to limit himself to looking for goods that they can own. For example, instead of buying a boat, one can think about renting or borrowing one. In other words, enjoyment of the benefits of a good or service does not require ownership.
It has been said many times before that “unused value = wasted value”. Idle capacity means zero capacity. Imagine a car that is used, say, only one out of five days. This means its utilized value is only up to 20%; the other 80% is a value that is wasted since it is not being utilized to its maximum potential.
Mainly, this refers to the sharing of information in order to enable users to gain access to resources. A classic example would be the Airbnb network, which is comprised of providers of homes and living spaces. It has actively initiated openness of data, making its database available to larger communities of consumers looking for living spaces, thereby allowing for more possibilities of connections between service or goods providers and consumers.
Businesses would not adopt the sharing economy, if not for certain forces that drive them towards making the shift. Here are some of the reasons why more and more organizations are getting in on the shareconomy bandwagon.
It is a two-pronged fork. As the population grows, the demand for goods and services also increases, so there is a need to look for alternative ways to address the increasing demand for these resources. On the other hand, the increase in the population, which is at a fast clip everywhere in the world, also opens more doors and presents more opportunities for sharing and collaboration to take place.
Various crises taking place all over the world inevitably contribute to rising poverty rates. These resulted in corresponding increases in unemployment and underemployment, as well as inequality in income and purchasing power of consumers. In order to adapt, there is a need to come up with alternative business models and economic structures.
The increase of smartphone users is just a small portion of what is now known as the rise of information technologies. Aside from mobile technologies, the huge popularity of social media, and how it figures greatly in consumerism, is also a major driving force of the sharing economy. Certainly, it is now easier for people from different parts of the globe to communicate and transact directly with others.
This is a classic case of “everyone else is doing it, so why shouldn’t we?” To date, thousands of organizations and companies on a global scale are getting a piece of the sharing economy action, realizing large profits and revenues, and still growing at a fast rate.
When adapted to various organizations and businesses, a sharing economy does not have a single model. In fact, shareconomy allows more room for flexibility so organizations and businesses could customize its processes. Here are some of the more common business models adapted in shareconomy.
Quite possibly the most common form of a sharing economy structure, this business model entails the organization or the company acting as a matchmaker, matching consumers or buyers to sellers or service/goods providers, for a certain fee for their matchmaking services.
Example: Airbnb and HomeAway both match guests to hosts. For every reservation booked via Airbnb or HomeAway, a service fee ranging from 6% to 12% is charged. The hosts are also charged a service fee of 3% of the total price, as payment for Airbnb’s efforts in connecting them to guests.
In this structure, an organization or company offers a service, platform, or app for free, but only up to a certain extent. Users are then given the option to upgrade, this time, for a fee.
Example: Swap.com, an online service for swapping, trading or simply giving away used items within the United States, offers its basic swap services free of charge. They even offer free storage of items being traded for a period of up to 9 months. When the 9-month period lapses, however, there are several options with corresponding service fees that are available to users.
Benefits Derived from a Sharing Economy
Circulation of resources. And not just circulation since it also encourages re-circulation. This is certainly welcome news especially, to concerns regarding the depletion of resources.
Full utilization of resources. Thanks to a sharing economy, there are no idle capacities or wasted resources. Resources are maximized and unnecessary waste and consumption are minimized and even eliminated.
Development of a culture of trust. Companies are now recognizing the importance of building bridges yes, even among and between competitors. Since shareconomy is founded on trust among and between the stakeholders and participants, this economic model will strengthen relationships further.
Increase in product or service variation. As more and more are in the act of “sharing”, there is a need to remain competitive. This will then encourage businesses or organizations to come up with variations on their product or service offerings. What sets them apart? What makes them the better choice? What value do they oer that similar companies do not, or could not?
Evolution of the role of organizations or companies. In the past, a company probably only had one identity: as a service provider. With shareconomy, it can further expand its role and become a trusted advisor. Take Airbnb, for example. It could simply be a service that matches guests to hosts. However, it now takes on the role of an advisor, providing additional services to help guests make the best choice and get great value for their money. A sharing economy also brings organizations closer to their target market, which is one of the cardinal rules of marketing: knowing who your customer or market is.
At the moment, the sharing economy is still not fully accepted by everyone, since there are still issues that need ironing out. Still, technology is bound to make more advances in the future, taking shareconomy along with it. Already, there are more and more names pitching in and making their presence felt on the shareconomy playing field. Even governments are joining in on the revolution.
Naturally, the risks and challenges are also bound to be bigger. Innovators and brilliant minds have to be on their toes constantly, coming up with ideas that will maintain the balance of supply and demand in the marketplace.
One thing is for sure, however: a sharing economy is not just a fad or a passing trend. It is one that is sure to stay for years no, decades to come, and we can all expect to see it evolve. We actually look forward to seeing how it will change over time.
The so-called ‘sharing’ economy leaves no one indifferent. As it goes with olives or coriander, we either adopt or passionately reject these platforms which now seem, for better or for worse, ubiquitous. But if they exist, it is because their particular brand of service delivery, such as Uber or Airbnb, meets a need.
One can imagine that those who offer their time and their home through such platforms do so as a way to earn a little extra each month or to profit from the more intensive use of an asset. On the demand side, there are occasional needs that do not warrant investing in depreciable property (such as a car) or a sterile experience (such as a hotel room). The problem arises when these small innocuous transactions inevitably reach the scale required for the survival of the gigantic international platforms that facilitate them. The resulting negative impact on local markets is now well documented.
Consider also the other problematic aspects of these platforms. Service providers’ longevity depends on algorithms they do not control, rendering increasingly precarious an income on which many depend more and more. Terms and conditions that do not uphold users’ safety. Revenue distribution is privatized, while negative spillover is the responsibility of the public. And let us not forget their opaque use of the intangible (and highly marketable) assets these platforms generate, such as personal data and usage trends. In short, in their dominant form, new platforms raise important problems.
It consists in correcting the problems of the platform economy by using a proven formula: cooperation.
As we move from the broader spectrum of a sharing economy to a more cohesive base known as a Cooperative, you will be able to see the benefits of participating in a cooperative and see how the Members actually share with each other. A cooperative (also known as a co-operative, co-op, or coop) is an association of Members who may be both Producers (those who offer products and services) and Consumers (those who use products and services) who collaborate by sharing information and sharing profits.
These Members are united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs through a jointly owned and democratically controlled, decentralized enterprise. And like many of the well-known companies in today's sharing economy, they are based around a platform that connects those with something to offer with those who need it.
But just like the sharing economy, cooperatives are nothing new as they have been around for over 170 years in all parts of the globe. Worldwide, cooperatives employ more than 250 million people and the top 300 Cooperative Associations are estimated to be worth in excess of $2 Trillion, USD. And while a cooperative business falls under the umbrella of the sharing economy, it stands apart in that a cooperative is owned and controlled by the Members, not by absentee investors, and is truly a shared business model.
The hypothesis is that placing the control of platforms’ infrastructure in the hands of those most affected by them could lead to many breakthroughs essential for this new economy to function fairly and viably.
Let us start with the issues consumers and workers are concerned about. First, key elements of any given platform would become matters of particular interest to a board composed of the platform’s users. These include trust-building and service standards, conditions of use, and the algorithms governing indicators which determine the faith of a given platform’s users. Rather than be a technical matter resolved as a marketing, sales, and UX concern, these core elements would be taken up as matters of corporate governance. The function of these platforms could thus be fundamentally transformed. Users, rather than see their fate be contingent on financial results, would dictate the functions of the platforms based on the benefit they seek to derive from them. The instruments of new capital become its agent. The possibility of workers owning capital would be rebooted, effectively fulfilling the original promise of disintermediation made by these platforms.
A Canadian example of this approach is Stocksy, a stock photo site owned by 950 photographers and videographers and a team of about 25 employees and advisors around the world. Contrary to market standards, these photographers still own their photos, in addition to owning and governing the platform that facilitates sales. Another example: Up & Go, the result of a collaboration between co-operative incubators in New York, the philanthropic sector, and an advocacy organization for domestic workers, which supported the development of a home cleaning application owned by these women, all worker-owners of their own co-operatives.
Secondly, placed in the hands of agents who are committed to the sustainability of a company that serves them, the means and impact of the system would be reviewed and corrected. From an environmental, social, and economic standpoint, objectives could be reached collegially, in a work environment where responsibility and authority are shared equally by colleagues. One could aspire to bring into the fold partners who had previously deemed platforms unethical or illegal. This is what Fairbnb is trying to do, working side by side with the elected officials of Venice and Amsterdam to co-create a fair, collaborative, and responsible solution to counteract the ‘Airbnb effect’.
A third significant implication: governed by its main stakeholders, the approval of algorithms, conditions of use, and various other parameters governing the daily lives of users would serve these same users. Their control of the intangible assets, in particular the intellectual property of the codes or the personal data that we voluntarily offer by using these platforms, would be managed in a transparent and non-extractive manner. In fact, many emerging platforms propose to affect change precisely in this area of tech. Think of Savvy.coop and MiData.coop, which encourage citizens to repatriate their medical data and control its sale to pharmaceutical companies that currently obtain it in now-abundant, global data markets. In the agricultural sector, well-established co-operatives such as CBH Group in Australia and SAOS in Scotland are rethinking the use of their members’ data in order to increase the efficiency of their value chains and increase profits to members.
We are at the dawn of an experiment that will be done by and with the people that these platforms serve, rather than at their expense. Everything seems possible, because almost everything has to be created, including the conditions facilitating their success. For example, the value of platforms is notoriously volatile. In addition, their start-up cost requires risk capital that is open to absolute risk, which contradicts the tradition towards conservative investments exhibited in the co-operative sector. Let us also think about platforms’ eventual transition to IPO, an aberration in the co-operative world. Finally, co-operative laws will have to be reviewed to leave space for realities specific to platforms: their delocalization, the complexity that results from a plurality of stakeholder types, and the trend towards distributed and decentralized governance.
Unlike many corners of the world where these platforms are emerging, Quebec boasts a robust history of cooperation. However, innumerable habits and customs of co-operatives will be disrupted in this meeting of entrepreneurial cultures. In order to see this field of action flourish, the institutions that currently make up our co-operative ecosystem will have to become more supple.
Cooperatives are people-centered enterprises owned, controlled, and run by and for their members to realize their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations. They bring people together in a democratic and equal way. Whether the members are the customers, employees, users or residents, cooperatives are democratically managed by the 'one member, one vote' rule. Members share equal voting rights regardless of the amount of capital they put into the enterprise.
As businesses driven by values, not just profit, cooperatives share internationally agreed principles and act together to build a better world through cooperation. Putting fairness, equality, and social justice at the heart of the enterprise, cooperatives around the world are allowing people to work together to create sustainable enterprises that generate long-term jobs and prosperity. Cooperatives allow people to take control of their economic future and, because they are not owned by shareholders, the economic and social benefits of their activity stay in the communities where they are established.
In fact, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives, highlighting the contribution of cooperatives to socio-economic development, particularly their impact on poverty reduction, employment generation, and social integration.
As stated by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “Through their distinctive focus on values, cooperatives have proven themselves a resilient and viable business model that can prosper even during difficult times. This success has helped prevent many families and communities from sliding into poverty.”