P2P Services Part I- 2 mins
In a prior blog post, I made a few statements about P2P businesses. So I still can’t quite articulate exactly what’s so interesting about them to me. My thoughts are getting a bit more coherent on the issue, but they’re not yet fully baked. I’ll keep writing about it until the matter is settled in my head. For now it remains overwhelming excitement and a sense of tremendous potential.
My co-founder and I recently discussed the success AirBNB has enjoyed to this point despite the number of people reluctant to become ad-hoc hoteliers (it’s still early days for the service). The holdouts are apprehensive about a stranger living in their home, or on the other side of the transaction, renting space in a stranger’s home. I suspect that like privacy online, P2P businesses will gradually change people’s thoughts on the matter. In the same way that social networks and mobile services have prompted people to more readily reveal previously private aspects of their life, P2P services will push humanity to reconsider its relationship with one another.
Modern economic systems have tended to favor larger organizations, with their ability to extract efficiency from resource consumption and deployment, over personally produced and offered products and services. Over the next few years more web services that make it easy (and efficient) for people to transact directly with others will emerge. While on the surface they’ll appear to be mere market makers (a somewhat well understood business), their impact on humanity and economic organization will be far more profound. These services will help people meet new friends and bring communities together, while serving a primary practical value. In general, I expect they’ll increase people’s sense of relatedness.It’ll be interesting to see how traditional organizations cope.
I’m fascinated by this progression not only because it promises greater value for everyday people, but also because I’m a human behavior geek (alas, I’m a geek about everything). I’m curious to see if this trend will meaningfully impact the way humans organize themselves for political governance. Unlike social networks whose members frequently self-select connections, many of the coming wave of services will stir the pot, providing slightly more incentives for people of different tribes / groups to regularly interact. Beyond that, I expect some of these services to directly support group action. You can already see the attempts at this with Kickstarter and Votizen. Combined with some sense that other individuals engaged in concerted action are genuine (Reputation) or serious about it, I suspect higher quality activity or outcomes will be the result.
Yep, jumbled thoughts. What do you think?