Any traveler watching the news of late will notice something extraordinary happening and playing across the United States, and it’s worrisome to this entrepreneur and it should be to you. We saw that with Uber in Austin, and now we’re seeing it play out in New York City with Airbnb. I love both services and here’s why. During a business trip to Washington, D.C. in 2013, I stayed at a friend and his girlfriend’s home just across the Potomac River. At Georgetown University I tried to catch a cab back at night to Anaconda and taxi after taxi refused. When a fellow veteran and peer from the Techstars Patriot Boot Camp insisted I use Uber, I did. Without hesitation that Uber not just took me to my friend’s neighborhood, but literally to his exact home. Why? Because according to my Uber driver, Anaconda is a pretty rough spot.
Airbnb is slightly different in that it’s not on-demand transportation, per say, but shared on-demand lodging. The same year, I was on a business trip to St. Louis for a veterans small business conference and the convention was downtown. Most small business owners would agree that cash is king, and in my case I couldn’t afford $249 per night for the week. Just no way. So while I booked a room in a condo overlooking downtown St. Louis (the home of a doctor) for $79 per night, all other attendees were paying north of $200 a night. The difference, I wasn’t paying some major hotel premium price and making shareholders that much wealthier. No. I was putting money back in the homeowner’s bank account so that he could pay his medical student debt that much faster, so that he could help his parents back home, so that he could save for a rainy day. That’s the American dream.
What New York and Austin politicians, and politicians everywhere who are discussing legislation, and policy don’t get about the sharing economy, is that their decisions not just favor their lobbyist friends, but is anti-American and anti-business. It makes it that much more difficult for Americans to make extra money by leveraging their own assets, their own properties, their own time.
Either legislators don’t want to attack the major issues of our day because they have no solutions, or they simply have been bought off through campaign contributions and simply don’t care what you and I think. Because money talks.
If you are in New York City, visit your representative and the governor (don’t be intimidated by lobbyists). Yes, lobbyists are humans too and they are paid big money to work the Capitol’s lobby, but there’s more of us.