Back in college (and we’re talking about the early ’80s), I’d thought little about crashing at someone’s pad – even someone I didn’t know when backpacking around. You meet some people you like, and you’re somewhere you’re not too familiar with – so what better way to get to know the place than hang out with some “locals” (even if they too were visitors to the place) – and take advantage of the convenience of being able to flop somewhere and leave your backpack while you’re out investigating.
Nowadays I can’t imagine doing that – and I chalk it up to aging and parenting. Enter AirBNB. This is the peer-to-peer service you’ve heard about whereby you can rent a spot on someone’s couch for the night. Would I do this now? Probably not – but apply that concept to using a car, and maybe I would.
That’s what Getaround is about. Need to use a car? There’s a car rental (peer-to-peer sharing) option that’s essentially a network of personally owned vehicles wired to be accessible for procurement via their smartphone app. Think Zipcar, but in a form that lets car owners leverage the downtime of their own car. Also in the space is Wheelz, which is similar to Getaround, but is focused on sharing within a known community (i.e. students on a campus), and now has Zipcar as an investor/partner. Yet other geographically focused services are RelayRides and Car2Go.
Somehow I see myself more likely to be a user of the crowd-car before the crowd-couch. I guess I’m just more comfortable with the concept of peer-to-peer in this form – perhaps because I’d be awake, conscious and on my own (versus asleep and vulnerable). Call me old fashioned – but I’m trying.
What’s next? Renta-potty?
- The Biggest Potholes in the Path of Car-Sharing (getscaffold.com)
- Let A Stranger Drive Your Car? More Owners Say ‘Yes’ (npr.org)
- Peer-to-peer car sharing service Getaround launches in Austin, Texas (greencarcongress.com)
- Zipcar backs peer-to-peer car sharing startup Wheelz [GigaOM] (gigaom.com)
- Beyond Zipcar: Peer-to-peer car sharing may soon be here (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- The Rise of the Sharing Economy (mashable.com)
- Crowdsourcing is the key to the future (e27.sg)