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Are We Sharing or Are We Gigging?

What’s the difference and does it matter?

You might be wondering right now how these two words, “sharing” and “gigging” have even made it into a single title together, and what in the world it has to do with a food marketplace like Plates. But everything we do must have a “why” for it to be not only meaningful but impactful, effective and ultimately successful. So pull up a chair and tuck in your napkin as we dish out the basics of how our modern methods of exchanging resources can provide nourishing shared connections AND profitable gig-like relationships all while being lip-smacking good.

A trip down memory lane

When the sharing economy concept hit the streets figuratively in Rachel Botsman’s 2009 book, “What’s Mine is Yours: Collaborative Consumption” and literally in 2010 with Uber’s first ride-share, the purpose was to focus more on access than ownership. The lofty goal was to service supply and demand by connecting people through symbiotic relationships instead of connecting retailers with consumers’ pocketbooks.

Just 5 short years later, this model built on trust and mutual respect for community value, showed signs of caving to typical profit-driven hierarchies. Elevated focus on convenience and cost gave way to the term gig overshadowing sharing as the moniker of choice for this infantile ecosystem. As such, the term gig has earned somewhat of a bad connotation, but does it really deserve it? And for new-comers to the table, such as Plates, which do we identify as? More importantly, which do you identify with?

What is the Sharing Economy and the Gigging Economy 

Today you will hear both terms used somewhat interchangeably. The Sharing economy has been defined as the ability to earn income by renting out unused resources to individuals, whereas gig economy is an offering of services for payment on a flexible, contract basis to individuals and/or companies.Surely, those definitions clear it up for you. No?

It’s easy to immediately see how lines are blurred when looking at Uber, Airbnb and even Etsy whose contractors deal in both resources and services in a single transaction. Let’s revisit this in a bit.

Is Sharing better than Gigging?

Neither sharing nor gigging are inherently bad or good. Each concept seeks to take their place in the supply and demand cycle, and both shift focus from business-to-consumer (B2C) to peer-to-peer (P2P) relationships. Both leverage the power of e-commerce to enable ease of provider/consumer connections and each, on occasion, have overstepped their initially equitable, community-driven mission to err on the side of profits over privacy, and market growth over fair dealings.

Yes, it always comes down to money. You can’t deny it, you want to be profitable too. But you also want to do the right thing, and doing the right thing has the added bonus of feeling good.

So you might say it is easy to feel the difference between sharing and gigging: Sharing gives us warm, fuzzy feelings, evoking concepts of childhood innocence with phrases like, “Sharing is Caring” and to “Share, Share, Share is Fair, Fair, Fair” teaching us how to be more group-minded. When the sharing economy was first seen as being a viable model many expressed concerns it was communistic or hippy-esque! But $82 billion IPO valuations have mostly quieted fears of socialistic-overtones.

The term gig, has its own set of implications. It’s recent usage comes with feelings of being insular, unattached, without long-term commitment and lacking big-picture perspective. But its history couldn’t be any more at odds. The term “gig” was coined in the 1920’s by jazz musicians and is simply a shortened form of today’s favorite marketing buzz-word: engagement. It’s highly doubtful those emotionally charged artists would think of themselves as being insular or unattached. And engagement is viewed as the gold-standard for measuring quality and success.

Now, you are beginning to understand why we started by saying sharing and gigging can co-exist in lip-smacking goodness.

Stuck together like peanut butter and jelly…

It’s clear the terms and functions of sharing and gig economy are inextricably linked and hopelessly shackled to conflicting nuances. As mentioned earlier, the lines are blurred between the two “definitions” and thankfully so because it is arguably that blur that makes the model successful. The ability to provide both unused resources and sought-after services simultaneously makes the experiences within these platforms unique.

You might have booked an Airbnb for the functional purpose of having a place to lay your head because you are without a roof in a strange city and the host has extra space they wish to rent out to make cash. But what makes an Airbnb experience one worth returning to time and time again is the delivery of the hospitality service. You can’t deliver one without the other and expect a successful transaction.

The magic is in doing the right thing

The original question was, “Are we sharing or are we gigging?” As a start-up babe in this ecosystem barely in its adolescence, Plates has an amazing opportunity to further shape and define the space by our intentions and by our actions. You too have that same opportunity when you join the Plates platform or any peer-to-peer platform. And the opportunity isn’t so different as any moment of any day when you are face to face with a colleague, food-service worker, stranger on the street, family member or friend. You have the opportunity to be kind, thoughtful, present and honest, to offer value, empathy and cheer, to do the right thing. And when this happens, it doesn’t matter if you are sharing an unused resource or gigging to provide a sought-after service. Consider what it looks like to share or gig with Plates:

Share it:

  1. Your talent for making nutritious food

  2. Your enthusiasm for learning more about clean eating, allergy awareness or dietary restrictions

  3. Your bumper crop of [fill in the blank with herbs, veggies, fruits, etc.]

  4. Your passion for connecting, growing and strengthening relationships

Gig it:

  1. Work and consume flexibly with joy and less stress in an atmosphere you choose

  2. Expand connections with direct interactions between provider and consumer

  3. Directly impact price-points based on your personal situation

  4. Empower creativity through personalized engagements

No matter which way you choose to look at it, or maybe you see the magic in the middle like we do, doing the right thing is the key for success.

Share with us or Gig with us – but definitely Care with us

Let’s focus on connecting people for the purpose of exchanging untapped potential, information and culture in the form of nourishing, quality, scratch-made food. The Plates platform is built to provide a flexible and autonomous outlet for talented cooks, bakers and growers passionate about creating healing food experiences to a community of diners seeking healthy food sources. Our mission is to embody the best of sharing and gigging. So we ask you to join us! Share with us. Gig with us. But most of all, care with us!

Are you someone who wants to share your love of creating food with others? Or maybe you want a flexible gig doing something you love? Let’s work together to make this a reality. Apply now and answer a few quick questions and we’ll be in touch.

Not a food maker yourself but know someone who is? Share this link and you never know, soon you might be vying for the last serving of their signature dish on Plates!


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