Ever since coming to Berkeley, I immersed myself, or rather, was peer pressured into tech news and trends. I first started by downloading Venmo to pay back my roommate for a lunch special at Joshu-ya's and calling an Uber to a social at Albany Bowl. Soon, I was engaging with other tech geeks - Computer Science majors - talking about the rise and fall of tech companies ,surrounded by terms such as unicorns, SaaS companies (Software as a Service), B2B (Business to Business), and more.
And I guess this is what has made my college experience unique; the Bay Area vibe got to me especially last year when my friends and I held a professional forum on the Sharing Economy. Although I'm certainly not an expert, I'd love to share some of my thoughts about the up and coming tech trends that we, as college students, are more familiar with - drones, on-demand food delivery, and the sharing economy.
Drones and footages from the cameras they carry have become familiar sights over the past decade, from scenes of the battlefield to a hobbyist attempting their first flight. Yet Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have only scratched the surface of their commercial potential. As the Internet and GPS has done in the past, drone technology is evolving beyond its military roots to encompass a broad array of business applications. Regulations are coming into focus to govern expanded use. I expect drones to grow even further into other applicable sectors such as agricultural and mining use.
[On-Demand Food Delivery]
Where did my $9.50 Korean-Style Mixed Plate go? I probably wasn't the only one drowing in tears when SpoonRocket shut down last month. here are still a myriad of on-demand food delivery services to choose from, ranging from DoorDash to Postmates, but the permanent shutdown of SpoonRocket must have an implication. In fact, these services tend to be mostly unprofitable, with big players like DoorDash still failing to reach the status of a Unicorn (a start-up company valued at $1 billion) and with more subtle macroeconomic climates compared to last year’s abundant skyrocketing valuations. However, with probably the biggest TAM (total addressable market) that exists - since everyone needs to eat - on-demand food delivery services are still in for a treat, with competition growing fiercer than ever.
[The Sharing Economy]
So who has never used Uber or Airbnb? Even if so, you definitely saw a post on Facebook about referral codes that would give you discounts on either platform. As such, companies in this field have grown massive ecosystems - to the extent that they lead the CrunchBase Unicorn Leaderboard (Uber valued at $51B as of Feb 2016 and Airbnb at $27B as of Nov 2015). It’s easy to fall into thinking that with current progress, such large companies with the theme of the “Sharing Economy” have grown closer to their Total Addressable Market. However, as these companies use their platforms to launch into different segments - for instance, Uber with UberEATS - a whole new world may open up for their growth.
My guesses could be right...or wrong. Sure, “going with the flow” may be the easiest mindset to have in regards to the volatile space of technology, but why not play a guessing game or two?