Why the Future of Stuff Is Having More and Owning Less

Excerpts from an article by Vanessa Bates Ramirez in Singularity Hub

The concept of having more while owning less sounds paradoxical, but that’s exactly the scenario we’re finding ourselves in. Technology is enabling us to move away from ownership and towards an economy based on sharing and subscriptions. Platforms like Airbnb and Lyft or Uber connect renters and riders to landlords and drivers, and digitization means all kinds of media can be stored, streamed, or downloaded in seconds.

But where does it end? Are there things we’ll always want to own, and if so, what are they?

In a new video from Big Think, author and WIRED founding executive editor Kevin Kelly explores the limits of what he calls the subscription economy and asks, “Is this the end of owning stuff?”

Kelly points out how easy it’s become to make things like games or books intangible. These things have gone from being physical products to information on a screen.

“If we can deliver these intangibles anytime, anywhere, to anybody, that instant aspect of them means we don’t have to own them anymore,” Kelly says.

And it’s not just intangibles we don’t need to own. If you can summon a car to pick you up within minutes, why own one, especially when owning means storing, cleaning, maintaining, and insuring? Subscribing, Kelly says, gives you all the benefits of owning without any of the liabilities.

Read the full article in Singularity Hub

Learn more about Zuora’s vision for the Subscription Economy and check out our latest Subscription Economy Index, the first formal benchmark study of subscription based businesses.

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