As Mark Andreessen noted, software is eating the world because once it's developed, it scales to infinity. That means that once a worker's co-op of drivers clones Uber's platform in free/open code, drivers in every city in the world can disrupt the company, throw off its rent-seeking, and fill their pockets with the money the company siphons off for providing very little at the margins.
In a long piece on Shareable, Neal Gorenflo articulates a vision for co-op versions of the sharing economy monopolies, an idea that will be explored later this month at the Platform Cooperativism conference in New York.
I raised the possibility of co-op alternatives to Uber at an event last summer and an investor in the audience was really upset at the suggestion, insisting that Uber provided something big and complicated, too big for any mere co-op to replicate. He sounded exactly like the taxi barons who say that the taxi business is too big and complicated for any stupid software startup to replace.
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