The shared economy is big business...really really big business. From Etsy (NYC) to Uber (SF), there is over $17 billion companies with 60,000 employees and over $15 billion in funding in the shared (collaborative) economy.
How is the shared economy impacting the real estate industry?
Since the start of 2015, WeWork (commercial) and Airbnb (residential), two of the world's largest real estate shared economy platforms have raised over $1.9 billion. These two companies are single handedly leading the way in how we think, operate, and interact with real estate.
So what does the shared economy mean for real estate professionals?
Let's be honest, words like disruption scare most real estate professionals. Similar to algorithms in finance or the automated assembly line in manufacturing, we fear that disruptive technology will render real estate professionals obsolete. However, innovative social-technology platforms, like the shared economy, enhance the real estate industry and make better real estate professionals.
The real estate industry in going through a once in a generation shift. As strategies and the built environment shifts, real estate professionals will be more successful as they embrace, understand, and interact with technology's impact on real estate, including the shared economy. While this may sound foreign, the shared economy reflects a sea change in the new world of real estate and the people that operate in it.
Prior to the mainstream explosion of the shared economy, real estate professionals operated in a exclusive club that limited growth with the new age of tenants, lead by the tech movement. By withholding information and lack of interaction, many real estate professionals that are threatened by innovation will become obsolete. Companies like Airbnb and WeWork are only just the beginning. The shared economy is a fresh transparent, honest, and simple solution to the new economy.
As our industry continues to move forward, real estate professionals must adapt to the changing landscape. Legacy systems will always be replaced and real estate professionals should begin to look forward to better enhance the industry and their careers.