All posts tagged: thoughts

The Upside to the Down Economy

  More bad news hit the US economy last Friday. First, we learned that employers added hardly any jobs, which is startling evidence that the highly anticipated economy recovery is stumbling.  And second, a survey of US households showed that more people were actively looking for work. As a result, the unemployment rate rose to 9.2% in June.   Not good! But, while the focus is often on the unemployment rate, “underemployment” is a significant concern as well. The economic downturn and the downsizing it triggered have created a virtual epidemic of underemployment. Underemployment can be defined a couple of ways: 1) having to work multiple jobs to make ends meet, and/ or 2) working a job that is considerably below your education or skill level. According to a recent Gallup survey, nearly 1 in 5 working Americans describe themselves as underemployed. The underemployment epidemic has spared no one – tenured professionals, Ivy League grads, budding entrepreneurs, etc.   As to be expected, the underemployed are looking for ways, any way really, to make ends …

Redefining the Neighborhood

  Our founder and CEO, Leah Busque wowed and inspired the crowd at the TEDxSOMA conference a couple of weeks ago with her thoughts on how TaskRabbit is re-defining the neighborhood. (To view Leah’s full presentation, please click below.) Coincidently, I wrote last week about how we at TaskRabbit are bringing back the neighborhood by connecting folks in a community to share their time and skills. In her TED presentation, Leah goes one step further. She describes how TaskRabbit is not only resurrecting the neighborhood but also re-defining what it means to be part of a neighborhood.   As Leah mentions in the video, people have formed communities and neighborhoods since the beginning of time. We are intrinsically collaborative and social beings; at our core, we just want to belong. Typically, neighborhood formation has relied on physical space and proximity. However, this model is changing.  Neighborhoods can now be formed around specific interests, your dynamic location, or perhaps even the time of day. For example, there are online forums on almost any topic – forming a …

Bringing Back the Neighborhood

  I grew up in a very tight-knit neighborhood- the kind of neighborhood where you could go next store for just about anything – a cup of milk, a little sugar. I remember my parents sitting on the front porch as me and my siblings played outside with the other kids on our block. There was Walter, the teenage kid down the street, who would help wash our cars and mow our lawn and Meg, the “neighborhood babysitter,” who my mom would call to watch us kids for an hour while she ran to the supermarket. Whatever we needed, the folks next door were there to lend a hand. Those were the days!     But unfortunately, times have changed. I now live in a neighborhood where I only know a handful of folks. How did we get so distant from those who live closest to us? Maybe we got a little skeptical and weary of others in our community as a result of the highly publicized violence in our communities, or maybe the stresses …

A History (and Economics) Lesson in Service Networking

  As one of our loyal blog readers, we hope that you’ve already discovered the power of TaskRabbit and agree that our service marketplace is revolutionizing the way that people get things done.  Many of you may know the TaskRabbit story – it all started when our CEO and founder, Leah Busque, and her husband, Kevin ran out of dog food for the 100 lb yellow lab on a cold night in Boston. Leah and Kevin decided to create  a way of allowing busy people to outsource their Tasks and services to others in their community. Thus, the concept of Service Networking and TaskRabbit were born. TaskRabbit is continuing to lead the way in this exciting space. Before TaskRabbit, if you wanted to get something done, you either simply did it yourself, asked a friend for a favor, hired a professional, or threw something up on Craigslist and prayed for a response.  Of those options, hiring a professional specializing in your Task was clearly the best choice due to the benefits of “comparative advantage.” But, as we …

If You Want It Done Right, Don’t Do It Yourself!

Consider this…Two men live alone on an isolated island. To survive they must undertake a few basic economic activities like water carrying, fishing, cooking and shelter construction and maintenance. The first man is young, strong and educated. In general, he is faster, better, and more productive at everything; he has an absolute advantage in all activities. The second man is old, weak, and uneducated. He has an absolute disadvantage in all economic activities. In some activities the difference between the two is great; in others it is small. Despite the fact that the younger man has absolute advantage in all activities, it is not in the interest of either of them to work in isolation since they both can benefit from specialization and exchange. If the two men divide the work, then the young man should specialize in tasks at which he is most productive (let’s say fishing), while the older man should concentrate on tasks where his productivity is only a little less than that of the young man (let’s say cooking). Such an …

Collaborative Consumption: Pioneering a New Way to Consume

We have a revolution on our hands – a collaborative consumption revolution, that is. We all know that we can’t sustain the pace of consumption we (meaning, humanity) set in the 20th century.  Our consumption of goods was off-the-charts excessive and extravagant over the last 100 years. Well- gone are these days of uber-consumption- the days when consumers purchased one new piece of clothing every 5.5 days. Whatever the reason- the economic doldrums, the focus on de-cluttering our lives- consumers are becoming increasingly cost-conscious and prudent…and collaborating and sharing to consume smarter. Fortunately, the Pioneers of Collaborative Consumption (so named by Rachel Botsman, the author of What’s Mine is Yours) are delivering unique product ideas and concepts that satiate this new appetite for sharing, bartering, exchanging, etc. These pioneers are reinventing not only what we consume but how we consume by focusing on the power of the community to barter, share, and swap products and services.  There are so many great examples of collaborative consumption at work. We, at TaskRabbit, are revolutionizing the way people get …