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Hoverboards? Whatever. Uber and TaskRabbit literally keep this human being alive
Some people are all about hoverboards, and that’s cool. Other people might be bullish on virtual Facebook reality and Apple smartgizmos. And maybe, just maybe, someone really believes that crowdfunding campaigns will eventually replace venture capital.
That’s all well and good, but my mind is somewhere else: This year, I’m thankful for the sharing economy.
Why? Because my life depends on it.
How else would I feed myself? How else would I have a place to live? How else would I have multiple incomes to pay for my San Francisco apartment? (Don’t call it a closet!)
Without the sharing economy, how would I get across town in a matter of minutes? Certainly not by driving my own car or my girlfriend’s car, both of which are relatively safely parked for the rest of the week in one of the last streets in San Francisco where you can still leave a car without a residential parking permit. (No, I won’t say where.)
Seriously though, I’m thankful for Uber’s contribution to the world. They forced the entire taxi industry to actually arrive when you need them, to accept credit cards, and to not throw a hissyfit when you say you’re going to the Sunset.
Even more so, I’m thankful for Didi Kuaidi, BlaBlaCar, Lyft, Ola Cabs, and the hundred other ride-hailing companies that provide just enough competition to keep market prices low. If it was up to Uber, I’m sure they’d be price-gouging all of us already.
I’m also thankful for Airbnb, bless their hearts, for their charitable $12 million donation to the city of San Francisco, earmarked for cherished public institutions like the Public Library, Public Works, and the Board of Education. (Okay, it was actually a tax they’d evaded for several years before the city finally wised up. And, yes, the costs are actually just passed on to Airbnb hosts. But still.)
Again, in all seriousness, thank you Airbnb for letting me make some extra cash by renting out the dirty couch in the living room that none of my roommates would ever consider sitting on. And I’m so thankful that Airbnb made it possible for me to rent a room in Paris last summer without sacrificing my entire travel budget. Who cares that the roll-out bed was a little broken?
When it comes to time-saving services, I’m incredibly thankful for Instacart for delivering groceries to my house… though honestly I never have time to cook. If any food delivery company is looking for more market opportunity, here it is: I wish they’d provide an option to deliver a chef to my kitchen or maybe just a large trash can at the end of the week for all the spoiled groceries.
Thankfully, I still manage to eat because I can just order food from DoorDash, Postmates, and their millions of competitors who deliver hot and fresh meals straight to my mouth. Now I just need a startup to solve the need of my having to log into an app, decide on what to eat, and place the order.
Oh wait! TaskRabbit! Thank you TaskRabbit for cleaning my house for me, assembling my furniture for me, sitting on the furniture for me, hanging out with my friends and hosting a dinner party for me, and writing this Thanksgiving-themed editorial for me! (Just kidding.)
I’m thankful for WeWork because, as a freelancer, how else would I enjoy excessively chic office space, endless background chatter, and all the other perks of working in an office? I’m thankful for Lending Club because borrowing loans from a legitimate bank is so 20th century. And I’m thankful for Ecomodo Crowd Rent Share Some Sugar Thingloop OhSoWe SnapGoods NeighborGoods for (still existing and) letting me borrow a power drill in my neighborhood just when I need it.
At the end of the day, the sharing economy is the most necessary thing I need to survive. Not a day goes by without my pulling out my phone and tapping a couple apps to make my life in this crazy world a little bit easier.
So, thank you sharing economy. This year, I’m thankful for you.
Image courtesy of Chelsea Francis.
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Joined Vator on
Airbnb.com is the “Ebay of space.” The online marketplace allows anyone from private residents to commercial properties to rent out their extra space. The reputation-based site allows for user reviews, verification, and online transactions, for which Airbnb takes a commission. As of June, 2009, the San Francisco-based company has listings in over 1062 cities in 76 countries.
Joined Vator on
Uber is a ridesharing service headquartered in San Francisco, United States, which operates in multiple international cities. The company uses a smartphone application to arrange rides between riders and drivers.