Internet giants like Google’s Waymo, Uber, and Amazon as well as fast-growing disrupters like Tesla keep grabbing all the headlines on autonomous vehicles, commercial drones, or other advances in AI-powered industrial automation. But the authors of a new book, What To Do When Machines Do Everything? argue that we should not discount the chances that industrial incumbents such as GE or Siemens, or automotive stalwarts like BMW or Mercedes, might actually win the key battles against powerful and richly-funded tech AI companies due to their superior knowhow in critical areas.
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?