Spotlight on the Sharing Economy: Q&A with HUB Bay Area


TheHub_SocialInnovation_FWMany of the companies that supported our Indiegogo campaign are active participants in the sharing economy and we wanted to hear more about their companies and perspective on the sharing economy. We’ve asked each company to answer the same questions and we’ll be rolling out the answers over the course of the series.

What’s your name?

Jeffrey Shiau – Shepherd, Storyteller – HUB Cities and HUB Bay Area

What does your company do?

HUB Bay Area is a community of people collaborating for a better world. The HUB creates spaces that inspire, connect, and empower people to realize enterprising ideas for sustainable impact.

HUB Cities is a platform-building program that leads the North America HUB roll-out & creates strategic partnerships that increase the value proposition of HUB membership & the entrepreneurial opportunity to found new HUBs.

SOCAP is an annual event series that connects leading global innovators – investors, foundations, institutions and social entrepreneurs – to build this market at the intersection of money and meaning.

When were you founded and how big are you?

HUB Berkeley opened its doors September 2009, with HUB San Francisco opening its doors less than a year later in May 2010. The HUB Bay Area community currently has 1,000 members. The Global HUB community stretches across every continent with over 5,000 members collaborating in over 30 locations.

How do you define the sharing economy?

The sharing economy shapes a mobilized ecosystem where any idea, resource, project, and person can participate and sustainably exchange and interact. The sharing economy is not a marginal activity people can opt in or out of: it’s a necessary future majority.

5. How does your company contribute to the rise of the sharing economy?

Sharing Economy principles shape The HUB’s platform. From physical space to ideas and resources, The HUB facilitates constant exchange and trade, without establishing creed or taking sides; we encourage simple principles of trust, courage, and collaboration.

How do you build community?

We build community by setting the table. We’ve created inspiring spaces, meaningful content, and vibrant communities all across the globe for people who want to take collaborative action for a better world. We believe these levers effectively facilitate culture, design, co-creation, and community-driven results.

How does your company reduce consumption and stimulate economic growth?

An immediate example is that we have over 300 companies essentially sharing an office. 60-70 percent of these companies are early stage ideas that otherwise wouldn’t have access to certain tools and resources if working alone, tools and resources that accelerate their progress. Ideas grow, companies form, and jobs are created. Our content and community takes this to another level, bringing focus and fluidity to ideas that will create truly sustainable impact and a healthier economy.

Can you share a recent milestone your company has achieved?

We’ve crossed the 1,000 membership mark in 2012, bringing our 2nd degree community to 10,000, and our extended community to over 100,000. With this success also comes exciting challenges in culture, design, and technology that will ring in HUB 3.0.

What’s your biggest challenge?

Our biggest challenge is to make sure collaboration, culture, design, and stories can scale along with growth. Can a community of 100,000 continue to be as supportive, collaborative, and impactful as a group of 100? We’re up for the challenge.

What is your favorite thing to share?

Ideas. Everybody needs to be fearless about sharing their ideas. Any idea now will result in over 1 million searches on Google; there’s no reason to be afraid. We need to embrace sharing ideas with one another. This leads to more asset mapping, more serendipity, more progress.

Jen Boynton

Jen Boynton is editor in chief of TriplePundit and editorial director at 3BL Media. With over 6 million annual readers, TriplePundit is the leading publication on sustainable business and the Triple Bottom Line. Prior to TriplePundit, Jen received an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School. In her work with TriplePundit she's helped clients from SAP to PwC to Fair Trade USA with their sustainability communications messaging. When she's not at work, she volunteers as a CASA -- court appointed special advocate for children in the foster care system. She enjoys losing fights with toddlers and eating toast scraps. She lives with her family in sunny San Diego.

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