Archive for the ‘Upper’ tag
Apple continues to seek patents for the designs of its one-of-a-kind flagship retail stores, with the latest application related to the curved glass roof of the Upper West Side location in New York City.
Today’s featured workspace is a loft within a home with enormous floor-to-ceiling space. This lofted home office, suspended above a living room, has ample room for a large monitor, task lighting, and storage on the side. More »
Five years ago, I would never have considered renting my apartment out for a few nights to a complete stranger. And yet three months ago, I filled out a profile on AirBnB offering my “quaint” studio apartment on the Upper West Side for rent to travelers visiting the Big Apple. Without realizing it, I’d taken my first step into the world of microsharing.
The world of sharing through online means has grown quickly. You can now share anything from cab rides to your beach house in East Hampton through the internet. The practicality, safety, and money-making opportunities are starting to turn some heads.
Couchsurfing.org has been offering people couches, hammocks, and beds to crash on for years. Whether you’re traveling to another city or another country, you’re sure to find a free place to rest your head through their ever-growing membership, the thought being that those offering a place to sleep are often looking for places to stay and the goodwill they offer will karmically come back to them when they travel. Similarly, AirBnB gives those with a little extra room a great way to make some extra money. AirBnB users set a fee for travelers wanting to stay in their extra bedroom, on their couch, or in their pied-a-terre.
A whole crop of taxi cab sharing companies have sprung up offering strangers an easier way to split fares. Companies such as FareShare allow you find other cab seekers headed in your direction. If you have a car of your own, or you have your sights on your neighbor’s ride, WhipCar is the perfect place to lend out or search for privately owned cars near you.
Remember books? Remember when you had to go to something called a “library” to find one? Despite the digital e-book revolution, there are still some people who prefer reading words printed on actual paper. Like a library but without the card catalogs and disapproving librarians, BookMooch.com is a site that allows you to send out books you’ve already read in return for books from other users. The only cost is the shipping.
Because I live in a very small apartment in New York City where space is a luxury, I’ve had to forgo a lot of essentials — most notably, basic tools. Luckily, NeighborGoods.net allows me to see what items my fellow citizens are lending while also giving me the chance to lend something of mine out to them. As of yet, no one is clamoring for my collection of porcelain woodland creature figurines.
The big question behind all of this sharing is “how do you know who to trust?” Sure, you’ll lend your car to someone, but what’s to say it won’t come back missing a side view mirror? Conversely, how do you know your neighbor is being honest with what they’re offering? There’s a fair amount of self-policing that goes on with these micro-sharing sites, of course. Another company, TrustCloud, acts as a mediator (disclosure: I’m an investor and helped start TrustCloud). Determining a user’s social reputation using an advanced algorithm, TrustCloud assigns users a score based on the user’s “trust” online. Users with higher scores are more trust-worthy, giving you greater assurance that boat you lent them will come back in one piece.
With the economy still in flux, and the increasing trust users have in all online commerce, the rise of the microsharing isn’t surprising. While big-box online retailers aren’t going anywhere soon, the market for niche lenders is sure to grow even more in the coming years.
Are you involved with microsharing? Are you willing to exchange books based on good will? Open your home to strangers from the internet? What’s the next stage in microsharing?