Talk about an industry disruptor. With its 2013 Car of the Year Model S and an entire industry infrastructure to support it, Tesla Motors is lighting up the auto industry, putting every major manufacturer of ICE (internal combustion engine) cars on notice. Gone are the days when incumbent auto firms could get away with designing crappy-looking hybrids or EVs aimed at a small niche of committed eco-conscious drivers. Owning or driving a high-end gas-powered sports sedan makes no sense any longer, now that the Model S has turned the driving and ownership experience inside out.
After experiencing rapid growth since its 2008 founding and receiving a recent valuation of $10bn, Airbnb has become a standard-bearer for the much-hyped sharing economy. This socio-economic-technological movement is not entirely new; its roots are in traditional boardinghouses and more recently in 1990s internet precursors such as eBay and Craigslist. But Airbnb differs from, say, Uber, which I covered in my last post. Whereas Uber’s main focus has been on reorganizing the licensed taxi and limo business globally, Airbnb and other newcomers facilitate the matching of unused or surplus space owned by private individuals with travelers seeking a cheap, personal form of accommodation. What are the key ingredients for Airbnb’s ongoing success, and how should incumbents disrupted by Airbnb respond?