The Way We Work
June 4, 2013 by Shoshana Deutschkron

The sharing economy, collaborative consumption, on-demand access… it goes by many names, all equally buzzed-about. From travel accommodations (Airbnb, VRBO) to transportation (Uber, Lyft) and work (oDesk, TaskRabbit), the collaborative economy has disrupted more industries than it has left untouched.

This morning, the research and advisory firm Altimeter Group published a report, “The Collaborative Economy,” outlining the landscape of this sector and chronicling its growth. Written by industry analyst and Altimeter partner Jeremiah Owyang, the report boldly highlights the necessity for businesses (not just consumers) to take advantage of the collaborative economy.

Owyang is a visionary and one of the first to urge businesses to adopt the collaborative model, often referred to as peer-to-peer sharing and previously perceived as just a consumer-oriented phenomenon. oDesk — which the report categorizes as a “talent-as-a-service company” that “empower[s] independent workers to find virtual work and enable[s] managers to quickly hire on-demand or temporary staff” — is highlighted as an example of a leader in the collaborative economy. The report calls out oDesk’s benefits for both businesses and consumers, citing how our online workplace enables “earning income and gaining greater financial independence and empowerment. oDesk found that 72% of [freelancers] seek to ‘quit their jobs to be independent’ and would use online freelancing services as a way to move forward.”

The report concludes that, with the collaborative economy becoming such a staple of the mainstream economy, businesses that do not leverage this model — either to make their own operations more efficient, or to incorporate into their own business model — will struggle to be competitive.

For more of our thoughts on the collaborative economy and on-demand access models, check out our blog posts here and here. To read Altimeter’s full report (free), click here.

Shoshana Deutschkron

Senior Director of Communications

As senior director of communications, Shoshana Deutschkron brings to Upwork extensive experience in strategic communications for the technology industry. Her unique data-driven background helps uncover insights from Upwork's online workplace data. Prior to Upwork, Shoshana was a vice president at market research firm Penn Schoen Berland, where she provided research-based communications counsel for companies including Ernst & Young, HP, EA and eBay. Throughout her career,… read more