The “Uberization” of society is more than a catchy tagline for the sharing economy – it’s quickly becoming America’s economic go-to formula for startups. In fact, Intuit predicts that independent contractors regularly working within the gig economy will more than double by 2020 – and between 2012 and 2015 alone, 10.3 million Americans earned income through platforms like Airbnb and Uber (that’s more folks than the entire state of Georgia, y’all).
This not-so-newfound business model has sparked debates on both sides of the podium about whether we’re riding the innovation unicorn or turning a blind eye to slave labor at the cost of keeping our convenience.
As an ad hoc social experiment, I went straight to the source, playing inquiring passenger with a slew of Uber drivers. Responses were, well, varied. From the new driver highs and professional veterans opening my door and offering candy – to the miffed movers who’ve had more than their fair share of bodily fluids in their backseat – my imagination and reality quickly collided.
Even though there is more than enough evidence to show gigs may not be the most lucrative way to make money – or worth a driver’s devaluation – I don’t expect employees to hang up their keychains for good anytime soon.
So, while everyone from independent bloggers to the International Business Times are weighing in on whether or not the growth of the gig economy is a good thing – and to what extent it’s even growing – the trend doesn’t seem to be stopping (unless our fears come true and robots dig the gig grave).
Ultimately, it seems that the verdict’s still out (dropping off the neighbor’s Cookout perhaps).
Georgia’s Geeked on Gigs
Here’s a status check on Georgia gig companies with a rundown of a few startup favorites that hold stakes in the sharing economy.