Why the Sharing Economy doesn't work - and what we can do about it.
A Broken System
The Sharing Economy is broken. While companies like Uber claim that they’re empowering consumers and creating new streams of social equity, their fundamentals are identical to those of the industries that they’re disrupting; in the case of Uber - passenger pays driver; nothing more than a transactional relationship between a service provider and a customer. In the background, Uber continues to raise prices for passengers while squeezing ever more concessions from its drivers to improve its own profitability. “Sharing” plays no part in this equation.
A New Way Forward
We can do better. Tomana exists to create the Sharing Economy 2.0, where people actually share and help one another. We conducted extensive research and surveyed over 150 people. We found that too often, people take on significant financial burdens that could be avoided by simply asking a neighbor for help. Most people admitted to feeling pained – even embarrassed – to ask for help even though they all agreed that if asked themselves, they’d be happy to help their neighbor. The Sharing Economy 2.0 upends these norms to create a large-scale community where reciprocity and gratitude flourish.
“An economy where people actually share and help one another.”
How will we do this? We start at the closest point possible - your next-door neighbor. And your pets. We help dog and cat owners seeking better pet care by matching them with a neighbor willing to swap pet sitting. Think: “I’ll watch your pet, you watch mine.” The swap is not necessarily a one-for-one, this-for-that transaction. Rather, it’s a pay-it-forward circle of giving where a member can give help to one person and receive help from any another. And that’s just the beginning. Soon we will expand this model to other services, from day to day needs like ride sharing and meal preparation to professional services like accounting and physical therapy. Tomana will be the platform that facilitates an equitable exchange of services based on their true value to the people who benefit from them.
Trust and Gratitude
The Sharing Economy 1.0 brought disruptive, VC backed companies that sowed anger and mistrust amongst Americans. The Sharing Economy 2.0 is about reconnecting with the people around us and rebuilding trust with our neighbors. It’s about that warm feeling you get when you help someone else - and that deep sense of gratitude you feel when someone else helps you.