Hello and welcome to Oversharing, a newsletter about the proverbial sharing economy. If you’re returning from two weeks ago, thanks! If you’re new, nice to have you! (Over)share the love and tell your friends to sign up here.
One of the jokes of Oversharing is that, despite its name, I don’t really share much about myself. Today, though, I have some personal news, as they say. After six years in New York City, I’m headed overseas to join Quartz’s London office.
Oversharing started in early 2016 after I floated to my then-editor the idea of a newsletter on the sharing economy. I thought it could be a home for stories and ideas gleaned from my work as a reporter that were too niche for Quartz. My editor encouraged me to try it. In a media industry that hungered for more content, it was refreshing to jot down my thoughts on what I found interesting that week and send them out without a headline or fully formed thesis. Oversharing was an intellectual scratchpad, and if other people wanted to read it, that was cool too.
I’ve been fortunate to develop as a reporter alongside some of the defining companies of this decade, if not generation. I started covering Uber as a junior writer for Slate in the spring of 2014. My Slate coworker, the great Will Oremus, graciously ceded the beat, saying I should go for it if I was interested. And boy was I interested. Uber did what taxi companies had been doing forever—provide hired rides—but it did it on demand, through a smartphone app, and with regular people as drivers. Uber was the future of transportation! Uber was the future of labor! Riders loved it! Drivers hated it! Venture capitalists valued it at $18 billion! Billion, with a B!
In the beginning, startups flitted to the Uber model like moths to a candle. If you could hire independent contractors and manage them through an app to provide on-demand rides, why couldn’t you do the same to deliver groceries, clean homes, wash and fold laundry? (It turns out, there are a lot of reasons why.) Companies modeled on Uber received billions of dollars. Some are now on the cusp of going public. Others, like the moth that flirts too closely with the flame, went up in smoke.
Following Uber and its peers through their trials, successes, fuck-ups, and attempts to do it all over again has been a privilege, as has been learning and growing with them. When people ask what I like about covering the sharing economy, this is what I tell them: This sliver of the economy, whatever you want to call it, has everything you could want in a story. It touches politics, economics, labor rights, Silicon Valley culture, the ultra-rich, the regular person—and behind it all is truly spectacular sums of money. The sharing economy is the result of millions of strangers coming together through their phones to work, travel, eat, shop, and interact in the real world. Interesting things are bound to happen.
Wait so, London. What does this mean for Oversharing?
Oversharing is coming with me! I’ll still cover the sharing economy in London, but with a more European focus. For instance, you might see a little less on Postmates, and a little more on British food-delivery companies Deliveroo and Just Eat.
I may also add some new material to Oversharing in line with new coverage I’m taking on for Quartz, such as the European Union’s efforts to regulate big tech. I think this is a really fascinating and important story, and hope you do too.
Is this why Oversharing stopped coming out on Tuesdays?
Yes! Moving to another country turns out to be rather time-consuming. Oversharing will resume its regular Tuesday publishing schedule once I’m settled in London. It will be off next week, and hopefully back the week of June 11.
What about scooternomics?
There are scooters in many European cities! I, for one, am excited to see how they hold up on a variety of cobblestones.
Will Oversharing cover Baby Sussex?
Anything is possible.
How do you feel about tea?
Tea is the best! I don’t drink coffee.
Can I still send comments to email@example.com?
Please! I’m relying on my US readers to keep me apprised of ongoings at home while I get up to speed in London. I’m also looking for people and companies to meet in London, so if you know anyone, please send them my way.
THANK YOU AGAIN
For subscribing to Oversharing! I’m excited to go on this next journey with you.
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Send tips, comments, and London expertise to @alisongriswold on Twitter, or firstname.lastname@example.org.