The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
When 2008 and 2009 made my being able to retire impossible, I remembered reading about these two young men and their idea about sharing their city with visitors in a new, more personal way. I decided to join them and hoped that it would generate enough income to help make it possible for me to continue to live on my own. It has helped a lot. In addition to allowing me to be independent, it has made my life much more interesting. I have met people from all over the world, people I would never have met any other way and learned that we are have pretty much the same concerns, about our children, about the conditions around the world, about our governments,about our health, and that no matter what we are all the same. I get the opportunity to present my city and country in a more favorable light and dispel some of the nonsense that the media spreads about what California and America are all about. I can suggest places for them to visit that aren't on the usual tourist agenda and that I know they will enjoy. And they do. I don't live in a tourist area and point them to all sorts of small business in my neighborhood where they get first rate service and some of the money they spend stays in my area and helps my small,local businesses. It is a great way to help a lot of middle class, entrepreneurs who own these shops and employ my neighbors. It also presents a side of the US that they would never see any other way, personal, friendly, real people. I find it disturbing that the big, national hotels are so opposed to Airbnb. People who use this service are a self selecting group and do not want the sterile impersonal atmosphere that a hotel provides. There is more than enough for everyone. The cities should be thrilled to have Airbnb hosts. They attract a wider range of visitors who have more money to spend at local businesses if they don't have to pay the high hotel rates and spread the word about how much they enjoyed their stay which, if my experience is any indication, brings their friends to town. This is a win for everyone, I have an income, my neighborhood businesses have customers that they wouldn't have had way other way, the city get a lot of good PR, and (I can't resist, it's that aging hippie thing) maybe my little corner of the world is better. Maybe if more of us got to know the other citizens of the planet on a person to person basis we might eventually get to the point that we can address and work at solving some of the monumental issues in our future. I think Airbnb is a small step in that direction and I'm glad I clipped the article about those two young men.