More recently, there has been a surge in peer-to-peer sharing, and formal sharing institutions are quickly becoming a thing of the past. It doesn’t require an in-depth analysis to recognize the role of technology in this shift. What started online as the sharing of information has quickly turned into a full-fledged economy, with individuals sharing their homes, cars, and skills with the help of mobile devices.
What started online as the sharing of information has quickly turned into a full-fledged economy. As the sharing economy grows and individuals assume the risk of sharing personal property, they are turning to technology as a way to mitigate those risks. People renting their homes through services like Airbnb are relying on social network profiles and online reputations of potential renters to gauge who they should share their home with, while services such as TaskRabbit link directly into public records that allow them to perform background checks of potential “rabbits.”
“I had a CEO who had offered this new engineer three-quarters of a percent of the company, but he wanted more. He was screwed over at his last startup. And the CEO didn’t know what to do. I asked, ‘What’d you give other guys at his level?’ Three-quarters. So that’s what he should tell him: ‘You’re not going to get screwed because nobody’s talking me into paying more.’ The CEO came back and said, ‘Done deal.’ The engineer didn’t want 1%. He was asking for fair. If you’ve been a CEO, you know. If not, you have to learn the hard way. We make some of the hard way the easy way.”—Ben Horowitz, Cofounder, Andreessen Horowitz, one of the hottest VC firms in the Valley—raising $2.7 billion in its first three years and helping companies such as Bump, Facebook, Foursquare, Groupon, Pinterest, Twitter, and Zynga.
“You look at companies like Motorola and Nokia—these type of guys who are big pushers of being socially responsible. Well, they are not really. Because what you’re doing is you’re just going to a factory that’s giving it to you for five cents less," he says. "But how do you think they got it to five cents less? It’s because they’re cutting corners.”—The former VP of Flextronics—a major electronics supplier—talks about the difficulties of trying to be a responsible company while also delivering on the seductive promises of China’s economy.