Uber’s Success Signals Rise of On-Demand Economy

Who knew a ride-sharing company would signal a business disruption so significant it would give rise to a new category of work–Uberization–work that isn’t full time and where people and jobs are sliced and diced to be slotted when they are needed, kind of like just-in time manufacturing. You work when needed doing just what is needed. And all of it can be measured and evaluated, both by the employer and the customer, almost in real-time.

Prime start-ups for such on-demand ventures, in addition to taxi services, include groceries, laundry, legal services, and medicine, according to experts (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/29/technology/personaltech/uber-a-rising-business-model.html). Instead of a “job” you would have a “portfolio of services.” It’s not entirely desirable, certainly, since it’s unpredictable and potentially nerve-wracking, not to mention bereft of benefits such as health and other savings instruments offered by full-time employers, but it may pay the bills in a shifting, non-jobs recovery like we’re in now.

Will it stay? Hard to say. But if Uber’s business model expands to other services, like the hotel industry’s disruption by Airbnb.com, then perhaps “monetizing one’s downtime” might morph into a more permanent economic category.

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