– The New York Times
At certain moments in history, a confluence of technological and social advances creates the opportunity for a new field of innovation. That was happening at the beginning of 2009. The result was the blossoming of a type of economic activity with many kludgy labels — the “sharing” or “gig” or “on-demand” economy — that do not quite capture its disruptive and transformative nature. What companies such as Airbnb and Uber have done in the past decade is take the peer-to-peer sharing of digital content that flourished online, through sites like Napster and YouTube and Facebook, and apply it to our physical world, including cars and rooms and scores of other goods, tasks and services.
Amazon Inc.’s offer to buy Whole Foods Market Inc. for $13.7 billion has obvious advantages for both parties. It’s also good news for customers. But the short-term losers may be restaurants. Lower Whole Foods prices would exacerbate a trend that already has the industry nervous: the growing gap between the cost of eating at home and going out.
– The Street
J.C. Penney CEO Marvin Ellison said at a Piper Jaffray conference on Wednesday that e-commerce companies’ “biggest challenge” going forward is that while giants like Walmart Stores Inc. and Amazon Inc. push for faster delivery, the United States Postal Service, in particular, won’t be able to keep up, at least for the same cost that exists today.
As hiring migrates from a process in which workers apply for jobs to one in which employers, aided by algorithms that surface appropriate workers, go shopping for work products, the very paradigm of how we think about work stands to change.