The P2P Evolution
May 01, 2011 at 20:35 PM EDT
Many years ago, after graduating college, I came home before moving to NYC, wondering how I would scrounge together the money for the first month’s rent and security deposit so my friends and I could all live together in the Big Apple. I had one month to get the cash, and instead of going out for traditional, hourly-wage work, I decided to go through all of my old stuff and throw it on eBay . In those days, I got online through dial-up, would have to mail a hard copy of the pictures to interested buyers, and would ship items to auction winners only when their check arrived by mail and cleared into my bank account. In one month, I got rid of winter jackets, sports equipment, and baseball cards to the tune of $7,000, tax free, enough to buffer the move to NYC. A few years later, when I moved to San Francisco, it was Craigslist to the rescue, helping with initial sublets, furniture, stereo equipment, and the odd jobs I did to soften the transition. Without knowing it, I was stumbling through life fueled mainly by a peer-to-peer (P2P) network and economy that helped me connect supply and demand, as well as time and money. Instead of using consignment shops or hosting a garage sale, or instead of buying new items in a traditional store, I buffered my moves to NYC and SF primarily fueled by P2P networks. That was P2P 1.0, anchored by eBay and Craigslist, networks that have connected billions. And, while these companies continue their march, we are already into the next peer-to-peer evolution: P2P 2.0.