Author Archives: Mitch Ratcliffe

Explaining the Local On-Demand Economy

What does the local on-demand economy mean to companies and their customers? In this keynote address at BIA/Kelsey NOW, Mike Boland and I explain the rise of logistical systems for small business and individuals and how it changes the nature of work. In a nutshell, society built the old economy to keep needed resources on the bench and ready to work. Today, work will be assigned and completed through systems that put customers in control of the supply chains that serve them. It raises issues of fairness, as labor struggles to adapt and rethink how to build a “career.”

The whole talk is on YouTube, in case the player below doesn’t load in your browser.

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How big can the Local On-Demand Economy Become?

Over at BIA/Kelsey’s Local Media Watch Blog today…. LODE in 2015: Household service and travel market penetration currently at 3.9 percent.

I wanted to lay down a foundational number for the on-demand economy, one that reflects how the economy can grow if the rhetoric of on-demand plays out to allow workers to be paid well enough to exchange some paid household labor for household services.

Based on our analysis, the on-demand market today could be worth up to $465 billion (labor fees inclusive), based only on converting some unpaid labor to paid using on-demand marketplaces. But only $18.5 billion in revenue appears to be headed for on-demand company P&Ls this year, so current addressable market penetration is 3.9 percent. And the current addressable market is only about 16.5 percent of the total U.S. population.

Next up, we’ll start to incorporating competitive industries that may be cannibalized by on-demand. At that point, the clear opportunity for lower transaction and logistics costs for LODE companies will be ridiculously self-evident. We’re talking many new billion-dollar markets, some vertical, some horizontal and some purely geographic.

Join me at BIA/Kelsey NOW: Rise of the Local On-Demand Economy on June 12th in San Francisco! Save $100 off the already reasonably priced tickets with the discount code “MR100,”  for this one-day briefing and discussion on the Local On-Demand Economy.

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Join me at NOW: The Rise of the On-Demand Economy

For the past several months, I’ve been working with BIA/Kelsey, a long-time local media analyst and banking firm, to quantify the Local On-Demand Economy. We’ll be holding a conference, NOW: The Rise of the Local On-Demand Economy, at the Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco on June 12th. If you use the discount code “MR100,” you will receive $100 off the ticket price (currently $495 and going up to $595 in mid-May).

This is a convergence of several technical and socioeconomic trends, including automation (keyed entry record-keeping is dead, along with many of the jobs that perform that function in the enterprise), sharing (the eschewing of “stuff” and emphasis on the value of time and experience, the build-out of the last logistical mile that brings enterprise metrics-driven efficiency to the small and medium-sized business, and the end of full-time work as a means of keeping skills in-house even when they are not immediately needed.

There are many issues to discuss and explore in the Local On-Demand Economy, from the potential commodification of labor, including in specialized fields, to the problems of supporting a thriving middle class that works essentially entrepreneurially, for themselves across many different organizations and customer communities. Join us on June 12th to get a bead on the Local On-Demand Economy. Use the discount code “MR100” to save $100.

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What will make local marketing work for local business?

I’m working on a project with long-time local media research and banking firm, BIA/Kelsey, to create a new series of sponsored white papers that explore key issues in the local media market from an objective perspective, offering new options and approaches to profitable engagement in local markets.

Our first paper, Optimizing Local Marketing: SMB Marketing Needs Do-It-With-Me Models, which is sponsored by Vendasta, published today. We’re leading a discussion at LinkedIn, which I urge you to join. Do download the paper now and share  your thoughts on how to make local marketing work in the LI forum.

The paper examines the pressing need for consultative marketing services that blend easy-to-use digital presence management tools with hands-on marketing expertise for companies that are too large to continue to market on an ad hoc basis and too small to hire and retain full-time marketers while paying for expensive enterprise tools that are often overkill, and over-priced, relative to the SMB’s needs.”

Specifically, it’s the “troubled teens,” when a company is between 10 and 19 employees, that represent the greatest opportunity for local marketing services players to step into a startling gap in success. Even as smaller and larger firms continue to grow, albeit with very high failure rates among the smallest businesses, it is the teen companies that fail at a rate more than an order of magnitude greater than other businesses of any size.

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Sea-Level Economy Mapping: A big data project for future equality

Here’s something that we can use big data for today: Let’s set the socioeconomic benchmark against which society will respond to rising sea levels across all income levels.

Everyone carrying a phone today is throwing off location data that, if anonymized, collected and analyzed, would show what low-lying land is most used today. From that, we can project the potential economic disruptions that will be caused by various levels of sea level change, as many tools do today. We can look at property ownership, travel patterns, rent and home prices that will be impacted by rising water and, like the Dutch when they decided to hold the sea back, make some long-term decisions that will save everyone, not just the privileged, from personal tragedy and economic disaster as their homes, communities and job networks disappear in the waves.

When the ocean rises, and it will rise enough that many low-lying cities in 40, 80 or 120 years will be under many inches or feet of water, everyone’s lives will be disrupted. If we start tracking the use of public and private property, shared-use common areas and investments, such as the the cost of infrastructure that may be destroyed, and that which needs to be created to holds the seas back, can be mapped to provide the best outcome for all. At least, it will give everyone a baseline against which to measure the impacts. Democracy can take care of the rest, with an assist from the market, but a market-only solution will leave far too many losers.

Without some benchmark to measure the social cost of responding to climate change, the wealthiest people will almost certainly benefit disproportionately to others who live and work in flooded areas. We’ll see cries reparations for lost land from every quarter, but the rich will have the loudest voice, as we know from the state of political speech today.

The homes of the rich that line sea coasts everywhere will be lost, but so will many of the homes occupied (not necessarily owned by) the poor and middle class. Who will get the help necessary to relocate? Who will have new public right-of-ways running through their neighborhoods when existing rail and road infrastructure must be moved inland or raised above the rising seas? Will insurers make the rich whole and, like home insurance today, leave most people less than half-whole when the cost of relocation is counted?

I am not arguing that anyone get resources here, only for a measurement so that, when the crisis comes, we will have had many years, even decades to have the national and international conversation about the mass migration of people fleeing the high tide. We may decide it’s time to move past many of the institutions we rely on today.

If we’re going to go through this together, we need the data to understand the distributed social cost of lands and infrastructure — technical, industrial, social and even personal networks that currently provide support to families. The problem with this statement is that it appears naive, because we live in a society where almost everyone thinks they’ve made their way in the world alone. That myth is going to collapse as the world starts denying us land and resources we used to have.

Yet we can get through this, as humans have done many times in history, if we recognize the real costs and opportunities in radical change. Perhaps, with lots more data and people trained to think through these complex issues armed with real-time and historical perspectives provided by big data strategies, we might actually realize we are in this together.

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Why, I wonder, are we…

as species always just one step away from declaring “We’ll be better off without these kinds of people,” and acting on that nutty reasoning to the detriment of the next poor son of a gun to have their ox gored, until, reason suggests, a few people are left battling over great fortunes while the rest wait to learn our fate? It’s time for a second act, humanity. Now. You heard me.

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