The Collaborative Economy APIs Mean Changes to Commerce


Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 11.35.45 AM

The Collaborative Economy continues to mainstream with at least two of the key players launching APIs; this spells significant ecosystem change that will impact commerce, this post will attempt to answer what it means to the greater ecosystem.


[This is as significant as Facebook launching their API and Platform.
This will spur thousands of apps, APIs and new businesses models]

News: Uber has launched an API, with key launch partners, including traditional companies like Hyatt (Disclosure: Hyatt is a Crowd Companies member). Hailo also announced an API a few hours after

  • Emerging startups will gravitate toward Uber: This also means that Collaborative Economy Startups that circle Uber’s orbit (there are over 9,000) are more likely to adopt Uber’s API as a way to quickly launch their service on the Uber Network. This fosters more gravitas regarding Uber, creating more pressure on Airbnb and Lyft to quickly follow suit.
  • Established startups, like Airbnb and Lyft, pressured to launch own API: Expect Lyft and, potentially, Airbnb to signal their API platforms, in this winner-take-all scenario. Several years ago, Twitter, Facebook, Google, Open ID, Plaxo, BestBuy and a few other varieties launched their own APIs, but in the end, Facebook won the war and, therefore, our interest. Airbnb has an entire ecosystem of startups built around them, but must launch an API to keep them connected.
  • Large Companies get in on the game, revealing mainstream integration. Several large corporations were part of the initial Uber API launch, including TripAdvisor, Hyatt, Starbucks and United Airlines, which signals that crowd-based, on-demand models can enhance local commerce. Uber’s new partners (Hyatt and United) mean that you get seamless travel without waiting in any taxi queues. This deal enhances their overall customer experience by extending to end-to-end travel and logistics, making it easier to do business with these big brands.
  • Agency and consulting teams should evaluate on-demand business models for clients. Interactive agencies, digital agencies and consulting firms involved in online commerce should sign up for the Uber and Hailo API consideration form to evaluate tying their own clients into these new delivery models.
  • Social Media Management Systems will seek to integrate. Over the last several years, I’ve closely covered the enterprise social media software players and witnessed the emergence of software companies that connect FB, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networks to enterprise systems, CRM, and corporate websites.  It’s happening again.
  • Incumbent transportation and logistics companies displaced, again. While it’s obvious to most that this continues to threaten existing taxi companies, travel booking and courier systems, as Uber partners with other businesses that require logistics and transportation, the bigger threat is to traditional commerce.
  • The biggest threat is to companies like Amazon. In the end, this is a significant threat to Amazon, as Uber can quickly partner with local retailers for push-button delivery, including harnessing the power of their largest investors to tie to Waze, Wallet, Google Delivery and more. Instead of three-day delivery, Uber + local retailers = instant delivery at the local level.


[Any startup, retailer, hotelier or restaurant can now integrate mobile savvy, affluent, Uber customers on their apps and websites.]

Potential Comparison: Facebook to Uber API

This comparison isn’t apples to oranges, but helps to bridge how we think of dominant Facebook connect with potential Uber API features.  To be really clear, these Uber API features don’t yet exist, but are possibilities that could be launched in the future. This matrix was added about 24 hours after this initial post.

Social Networking API Collaborative Economy API (again, some of these don’t exist today, but could in the future)
FB Connect: Register new users in a few clicks. Access to over a billion users. Uber Connect: Instantly get Uber’s many customers on your physical doorstep.
Graph Search: Find things my friends like. Uber Ride Search: Find locations my friends like to frequent.
Find Friends: Isolate content that only my Facebook friends like. Vett Uber Customers: Isolate only five-star riders (the best customers).
Facebook Commerce: Buy credits, gifts and more. Uber Commerce: Any website can now use Uber’s credit card system.
NewsFeed: Share on Facebook my experiences from other website interactions. Social network connections: Share my Uber experience on on any social network.

The big takeaways: Quickly get customers to and from your doorstep, period. Uber and potentially Hailo’s API means that local commerce can now benefit from instant ecommerce and extend end to end customer experience from transportation, hospitality, commerce and more transportation for customers. Any company that wants more customers in their physical location, or wants a delivery service, should evaluate this API for business model extension.

Update: Additional discussion is happening on my newsfeed, with the business community.

20 Replies to “The Collaborative Economy APIs Mean Changes to Commerce”

  1. More on the API capabilities:

    “As of today, we officially open ” to all developers ” access to many of the primitives that power Uber™s magical experience. Apps can pass a destination address to the Uber app, display pickup times, provide fare estimates, access trip history and more. What about requesting a ride? Yes, we™ve implemented that endpoint as well, but because calling it immediately dispatches a real driver in the real world, we™re releasing it in a more controlled fashion, starting with a small set of partners. Stay tuned for more on that, and please let us know if you™re interested in being added to the whitelist.”

  2. Pingback: APIs | Pearltrees

Comments are closed.