Jeremiah Owyang: Why the Industrial Revolution is about to unravel
There's a revolution coming, and Jeremiah Owyang wants you to be prepared. In 2005, social media was a nascent topic, viewed as a fad by brands and corporations. He saw it coming then, and believes the next step after social—a collaborative economy based on peer-to-peer transactions and co-innovation—is about to change our world ...
There’s a revolution coming, and Jeremiah Owyang wants you to be prepared.
In 2005, social media was a nascent topic, viewed as a fad by brands and corporations. He saw it coming then, and believes the next step after social—a collaborative economy based on peer-to-peer transactions and co-innovation—is about to change our world.
Next Thursday, Feb. 6, and Friday, Feb. 7, the web strategist—touted by Time as having one of the top 140 Twitter feeds in 2011—will be joined by a host of other speakers for the inaugural Collaborative Economy Resilient Summit at Kansas City’s Union Station. Before the event, Silicon Prairie News asked him about the movement, how it got here and how startups and corporations can keep up.
Ahead of the curve
Owyang was at the front lines of social media, pushing companies to form a presence through his web research in corporate marketing and social strategy, and ever since has been a go-to for corporations trying to keep up with the times.
It’s been 10 years since the social media revolution started, and now, Owyang said, we’re about to embark on another revolution: the collaborative economy.
We’ve gotten used to sharing our lives, the news and everything around us, but Owyang believes we’re going to start creating. He founded Crowd Companies, a council for large corporations such as Intel, Verizon and Adobe, that want to be leaders in this new mindset—the sharing economy, maker movement and co-innovation—to tap into that creation.
“People are creating the physical world and sharing it,” he said. “People can get what they need from each other rather than inefficient companies.”
Goods, services, space and money are being made and shared within the crowd. Owyang said consumers no longer rely on slow-moving corporations to create what they want and need. And they’re doing it cheaper, with more efficiency.
“This is a big movement,” Owyang said. “This feels like 2005 in social. I see the same patterns happening again. Another 10 years and it’ll be ubiquitous.”
Why it’s happening now
So how did we get here so quickly after undergoing a fundamental shift through social media? Owyang said three factors come together:
- Societal — There’s been an increase in population density within urban environments, so it’s easier to share and interact. Also, Millennials grew up on tech and are struggling to find jobs or pay off student loans, so they’re getting creative with ways to save.
- Economic — Occupy Wall Street and other rallies, paired with tech, have pushed peer-to-peer lending and alternative options to decades-old standards—aka Airbnb’s disruption of hospitality.
- Technological — You can now get what you need on demand, in real time. Services like Uber wouldn’t have worked 10 years ago simply because the tech didn’t exist.
Owyang pointed to social media touchstones such as the Arab Spring as a show of the public’s power and influence on the world.
“People used social media to assert control,” he said. “The same thing is happening now with peer-to-peer transactions.”
But Owyang takes it a step further, boldly claiming its impact on the world’s future: “This unravels what we traditionally have known as the Industrial Revolution. This is a big movement.”
Change or be replaced
As this movement of makers, startups and creatives begins to grow, Owyang points to three massive changes in the business models of corporations around the world, with many already making moves:
- Product as a service — You can have access to goods rather than own them. Companies need to shift from selling goods to renting them. BMW is already renting its cars in San Francisco.
- The marketplace — Companies need to produce higher-end goods and show that their products last. This generation cares more about the environment and sustainability than any before it. Patagonia has partnered with eBay to encourage its consumers to buy and then resell their stuff after use.
- Crowdfunding goods — Companies will need to invite everyone into their processes, allowing the crowd to fund, design, ship, store and market everything about their products. “In the radical future, you may not always be able to tell employees from the crowd,” he said. Consumers can then get a cut of revenues and feel involved in the future of the company. The U-Haul Investors Club is a perfect example.
The idea is an interesting one: putting corporations and consumers in the same space and letting the ideas spill out. Owyang said he’s trying to live the movement in his own life, cutting down on the number of physical things he owns, choosing to rent and borrow. As one example, he now rents LEGOs for his kids through Pley so they have sets that match their age and don’t outgrow them quickly.
The Resilient Summit: Exploring the Rise, Impact and Opportunity of the Collaborative Economy
- February 6-7, 2014
- Union Station, Kansas City
- Register here and use promo code SPN20 to save 20 percent on registration.
Speakers include Mark Hatch, author of “The Maker Movement Manifesto”; Holly Minch, chief storyteller of Peers; Kansas Citians Jase Wilson of Neighbor.ly and Sprint Accelerator’s Erik Wullschleger, and several others. It’s a two-day summit Owyang says will speak to startups, makers, small businesses, local governments, corporations, marketers and entrepreneurs.
Disclosure: Silicon Prairie News is a media sponsor of The Resilient Summit.
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