With the term Viral Economy I identify a range of businesses founded on P2P networking and leveraging on social media, smart devices and geolocation services. A hall of fame could include: eBay (1995), TripAdvisor (2000), Lulu (2002), LinkedIn (2002), Taobao (2003), Facebook (2004), Twitter (2006), Airbnb (2008), Kickstarter (2009), Uber (2009), VizEat (2014). They spread like viruses and like viruses they mutate, with each of the above mentioned companies to be considered as a different strain: a reinterpretation — from a new standpoint — of the opportunities given by the application of the IoT to our daily lives.
I am a member of that X Generation which has been made famous by Dougals Coupland’s seminal novel. After us, they came the Millenials, and now it will be the turn for the Experience Generation. For them, everything must be connected, tangible, and available. The Viral Economy is the attempt of the previous two generations to interpret their needs.
The Viral Economy could be seen as a subset of the App Economy, but here the App itself is merely instrumental, never being a source of revenues. The digital service is enabling something happening indeed in the real world, where people and things need to be moved around: logistics services will live a renaissance which will push them beyond their known limits.
The Viral Economy raison d’etre is to enable the rise of a micro-entrepreneurship boosted by the economic challenges which are affecting all of us on a worldwide scale. A new paradigm is needed, and it’s translated from the receipt of the perfect startup: huge market and easy exit. The Experience Generation is looking for opportunities with low risks and low entrance barriers.
The ultimate App will be an opportunity marketplace. You will set your profile: your skills (languages, licenses, professions, …) and your resources (house, car, tools, …). The system will match your time availability and your location with any available opportunity, transforming yourself into a cash machine. Do you have any time to spare?
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