The On The Sharing Economy Essay

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Airbnb has been on the forefront of what has become known as the sharing economy. The sharing economy can be defined as “an economic system based on sharing underused assets or services, for free or for a fee, directly from individuals” (Botsman, 2015, Para. 8). The sharing economy is also referred to as a collaborative economy, which is an “economic system of decentralized networks and marketplaces that unlocks the value of underused assets by matching needs and haves, in ways that bypass traditional middlemen” (Botsman, 2015, Para. 7). For the purposes of this essay, the term sharing economy, or share economy, will be understood to include the definition of collaborative economy unless otherwise stated. Since the shared economy is a relatively new phenomenon, a brief history of Airbnb will be provided for context. To better understand the concept of the shared economy, this essay will analyze how this is disrupting the traditional economy. Additionally, the shared economy will be examined to determine if it is creating new value for the consumer or if it is just replacing existing business. The idea behind Airbnb was hatched in 2007 in San Francisco by roommates Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky as a means to help pay their rent (Campbell, 2015). With a conference being held in San Francisco and hotel rooms being scarce, Gebbia and Chesky tried to leverage the situation by renting space and air mattresses in their apartment for conference attendees (Campbell, 2015). They

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