The Rise of the Peer to Peer Economy

The conversation about the sharing economy, or peer to peer economy, is a regular one amongst those who love to wax poetic about the shift in marketing, the evolution of consumer behaviors, anyone who is about to pitch you on their latest idea for an app (no, but seriously bro, you gotta hear this one…), or those that just love to tout the phrase “damn the man.”

That said, as a Creative Director I always push my teams to constantly know what’s out there in order to bring the best ideas to the war room, so we thought we’d highlight a few of our favorite peer to peer economy services – some old, some new, some foreign – and reignite the conversation…also, “damn the man.”
1. tringy tringTringTring – Sadly, this service hasn’t made it to the U.S. yet (Pop Up City did a great recent article about it), but here’s why we love it: It solves the issue of “what are we going to order in tonight” with a healthy solution that allows small, independent food stores and restaurants to capitalize on Amsterdam’s bike-oriented culture and in doing so, it democratizes the delivery world. In short, you order healthy food and your neighbor with a bike goes and picks it up for you. Sure we have similar peer to peer economy systems in the U.S., but none of them frame their service up as employing virtually anyone with a bike to go out and burn some calories in order to save their neighbors from consuming too many calories (Postmates gets an honorable mention here – same idea, but with a touch more courier service and they allow cars).

2. provider1Plowz & Mowz – True, I am partial to this company because it was founded by other Syracuse alum, but I’m more-so intrigued because I grew up in upstate New York where mowing the lawn and shoveling the driveway stole countless hours of time, which I could have better spent at the pool club or conquering the constantly refreshed snow pile in the local cul-de-sac. But I digress. Put simply, this genius little peer to peer economy service, which currently is in 36 markets and absolutely slayed it during Boston’s Snowpocalypse last year, is a rapidly growing community that allows consumers to request mowing or plowing services at the click of a button. When the snow hits the plows are on the road, not sitting by the phone. So what better solution than to take the Uber model and allow drivers to respond in real-time, based on their geo location? Plus mowing the lawn sucks, so they win that round too.

3. airpnpAirpnp – Although some of the initial reviews of this app weren’t that stellar, this is the stuff that George Costanza’s dreams were made of. I’ll let you deduce the name, but let’s just say that this little baby now let’s those with IBS or just a fear of public restrooms to sit upon their neighbors’ porcelain throne when they’re out and about and looking to answer nature’s call in a clean environment. And what do you get in return for allowing a stranger to foul your favorite decorative soaps? Why cold hard cash, of course. If there is anyone that doesn’t see the basic genius in this idea, then clearly you’ve never illegally whizzed on the side of a building or did the pee pee dance as you spastically try to locate your keys to unlock your front door while at the same time reserving enough mental fortitude to try and not shame your undies back to pre-school, in which case I’m not sure we can be friends.

4. vayableVayable – Although we’re still firm believers that the best way to experience a new city is to get lost and just wander about, our 2nd favorite method would be to do it as a local. That’s essentially what this peer to peer app launched in 2011 does, it allows locals with a unique perspective on their city to become tour guides for travelers, charging them for one-of-a-kind excursions, experiences and activities that they aren’t going to find in a guidebook. Here’s how we’d equate it to our home city of Denver: A guide book is going to tell you to go on the Coors Brewery Tour, while a Vayable host will drive you around to the top 5, barely findable, but totally worth it brewery gems hidden around Denver. Or if you want the NYC version, the guide book will tell you to get good Italian food in Little Italy…while the rest of NYC will tell you to burn that guide book. Go with Vayable.

5. fonFon – Short and sweet, you submit your WiFi password to the Fon community in exchange for access to over 17 million other WiFi networks while you’re out and about. The part of us that frequents Starbucks regularly while on business trips kind of wants to hug the cheap bastard genius behind this. Only downfall: For security reasons you’re required to purchase a special Fon router to join (*Millennials everywhere simultaneously groan*).

6. Feastly – We’ve seen at least 3 other peer to peer economy apps try to navigate these waters and sadly fail (a moment of silence for HomeDine, SupperKing and Melba, please….), so we’re pretty stoked that there is still a peer to peer dining app out there. Enter Feastly: If you’re a charming extrovert who appreciates the love found only in home cooked meals, this is a hell of a way to meet people and eat like a king. Unlike EatWith, which curates meals with professional chefs in their homes (also rad), Feastly allows home cooks and those without professional experience (i.e. your grandmother with the insane hand-rolled perogi recipe) to become Feastly chefs, host meals and break bread with both friends and strangers (after being heavily vetted of course).

7.just park - peer to peer economyJustPark (formerly ParkAtMyHouse) – Born out of the UK, but gaining traction here in the U.S., JustPark allows those with extra spaces to sell them to their neighbors in exchange for a cheaper (by about 60%), stress free parking experience that you can book prior to leaving your house (for hours, days and even weeks at a time), then rest easy knowing that your dented 2008 Honda Accord won’t get another ticket.

8. peertopeereconomyfoapFoap – In the simplest terms, in the most convenient definition: Turn your photos into stock photos, selling them to the greater web for their marketing and professional purposes. The result of which isn’t just making money for your bevy of amazing cat photos, but you can now start telling chicks at the bar that you’re a part-time professional photographer (huge bonus).

That’s what we got, but what other peer to peer economy apps or communities did we miss?

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