Saturday, December 17, 2016

You do what again?

I frequently tell the hipster crowd when they laud some "new" thing as no not so new and I invented it and they owe me a quarter.

I started working in for Temporary Services from the moment I turned 18. I stared as a "Kelly Girl" and then moved to a company owned by two women who worked for Kelly and decided to open their own office and called Parker Personnel. I worked for them on and off for a decade. I worked in Fortune 500 Companies to local small businesses and big law firms. I saw, heard and did it all. It certainly trained me for what I do now the ultimate in temp jobs - Substitute Teacher.

The key to success is not giving a shit and being able to live off shitty wages. You are in a pile of shit today. What was once a professional job, assigned through an agency that took a cut and sent you out to do some gig that you agreed to and were qualified for is today the same gig only now it is all through an app and you never meet your employer, you don't know them, nor they you and you really have no rights, no protections nor opportunities for growth. At least when I was a Parker Girl I heard about jobs, often were offered them after they saw my performance and let go discreetly if they did not and I was not harmed professionally as a result.

Again, I get the idea and I did over 25 years ago, so Postmates, Uber and Task Rabbit are nothing different only well you know actually use your own personal vehicles or devices and you take all the legal and fiduciary responsibility for loss and damage while the task master takes their cut for letting you do your work for others on behalf of them. Confused? No it is Kelly Girls just anonymously and you bring the office equipment with you to the job so you can do the job for the company that hired you through Kelly Girls.

I use Lyft infrequently and I prefer renting cars and dealing with that and oddly I used to use flat fee taxi services all the time and wish they had such here but again the reality is that Nashville is a gig city. From the bars that have singers hitting those covers they work for tips only, the numerous other jobs that rely on Tourists, from the immense amount of valets who again rely on tips and minimum wage to the endless others who rove in and out of the hospitality industry the second largest employment cohort in the city. Those are gigs, they don't provide health insurance, long term growth and training and rely largely on transients, from both employees to customers.

We had food delivery when I was growing up and it was largely Pizza, a Chicken company and Chinese. Do people actually order 3 course meals from delivery? If they do they need to learn to cook.

And the reality is that car rental businesses are suffering thanks to Lyft and Uber which I don't have a problem with as they have always exploited business. And again car share run by Car 2 Go or others have another market share that I have used and miss immensely. I spent quite a bit monthly on those services and felt that it was the answer to having both a robust transit system and alleviating the responsibility and cost of owning a car.

So some of the new concepts in business do force the standard bearers to change, Enterprise whom I rent from has 9.99 weekend rates so for 40 bucks I get a car for the weekend, the insurance I get via my Visa as it is already part of the service and any extra insurance I feel I need I get Insure My Rental Car for 30 bucks.  So this week I rented a car with insurance and my costs were about $250 bucks and the convenience during the cold spell was something I appreciated as a luxury as in reality I did not need it I just changed my routine due to it.   Do I feel I need a car? No in fact it confirmed my belief that it is not something I want or need, driving around Nashville with the morons I see behind the wheel ensures that belief that I do not.

So is this gig economy new and disruptive? On some level yes and that is a coin with two sides.  What I do see is that we are making people rich using our shit in which to do so. Sorry but I would no more bring a copier and typewriter to a law firm than I would bring today an Ipad to a school in order to have technology to use in the classroom.  If they can't afford to provide it, neither can I.

The Whatchamacallit Economy

DEC. 16, 2016

It’s a hip, fast-growing sector of the economy, filled with headline-grabbing companies: Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, Task Rabbit. But there’s a gnawing problem: People aren’t sure what to call it. Many critics dislike the term most commonly used, the “sharing economy,” because there often isn’t much actual sharing going on. Others prefer to call it the on-demand economy, peer-to-peer economy, crowd-based economy, gig economy or collaborative economy.

Uber, Lyft and other e-hailing companies love to say they are “ride-sharing companies,” signaling that they are collaborative and not crassly capitalistic. These companies maintain that their drivers share their cars with passengers and use apps to share information about where they are. But many academics and workers in this sector assert that the business model seems less like sharing than like traditional corporate profit-making that happens to use an app.

Rochelle LaPlante, who works for Mechanical Turk, an internet platform for people to post and find piecework jobs, sees public relations spin behind the term “sharing economy.” “There’s an exchange of money,” she said. “It’s not really sharing if a person’s paying for it.”

Her point: If you’re living in San Francisco and you want to drive to Palo Alto and take a friend with you (perhaps splitting the cost of gas), that’s ride sharing. But if you take an Uber to get to Palo Alto, that seems more like a taxi ride.

Arun Sundararajan, author of the new book “The Sharing Economy: The End of Employment and the Rise of Crowd-Based Capitalism,” said he chose that term for his title because so many people use it. Yet Mr. Sundararajan, a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, actually prefers “crowd-based capitalism,” because a crowd of consumers obtains services by connecting, via a platform, with a crowd of suppliers.

In the early 2000s, the sharing economy generally referred to people with underused assets — whether automobiles, homes or vacuum cleaners — who let others “share” them, usually for a fee. Such sharing was viewed not as a business but as a way to promote sustainability.
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“The ‘sharing economy’ phrase has stuck,” Professor Sundararajan said, partly because it suggests a personal touch — say, an Airbnb host putting visitors up in a spare bedroom. “There’s a connection that people seem to enjoy.” (Even though some say that the Airbnb hosts who own a dozen apartments are not really sharing.)

Rachel Botsman, a co-author of “What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption,” says that Uber and the like are not sharing companies. “The Uberfication of everything brings with it confusion about what is true sharing,” she wrote on Fast Company’s website. To her mind, companies shouldn’t be considered part of the sharing economy unless they have a “clear value-driven mission” and their workers are “respected” and “empowered.”

Ms. Botsman added that some companies can legitimately be called sharing companies, like Turo (previously called RelayRides), which enables car owners to rent out their unused cars, and BlaBlaCar, which connects riders with car owners planning to drive from one city to another.

With the term “sharing economy” under scrutiny, experts are casting about for substitutes. Miriam A. Cherry, a St. Louis University law professor, recommends the “on-demand economy,” but critics say that isn’t exact enough, because ordering a pizza by phone can be considered part of an on-demand economy. Others prefer “gig economy,” but some assert that phrase isn’t suitable for 21st-century app-based companies because gig workers — think jazz musicians — have been around for decades.

Shelby Clark, founder of RelayRides and chief executive of Peers, which advises on-demand companies, prefers “peer-to-peer economy” because individual consumers use a platform to connect with “peer” service providers. But as Professor Sundararajan noted, illegal music and video sharing were once described as peer-to-peer, giving that term a bad connotation.

Some embrace “platform economy,” but Geoffrey G. Parker, an engineering professor at Dartmouth and the author of “Platform Revolution,” says that name is too broad because it includes giants like Google, Facebook and YouTube. Others like the “app-based on-demand economy” (the Abode economy), the “gig on-demand economy” (the GOD economy) or the “platform on-demand economy” (the POD economy), whose workers could be called pods.

Despite the criticism that “sharing economy” is inaccurate and sounds like corporate spin, Professor Sundararajan says we might be stuck with that description because corporations and the public so often use it. When Silicon Valley and Madison Avenue latch on to a phrase, it’s not easy to shake it off.

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