There's a Sheryl Sandberg quote that springs to mind every time I attend events to boost female entrepreneurship: "In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders." It's a sentiment frequently echoed by the female founders I encounter at our events. They don't see themselves as "female entrepreneurs". "Entrepreneurs" will do.
The rapid growth of the sharing economy means that more and more of us are relying on goods and services that are provided not by companies, but by individuals. And as we increasingly rely on peer-to-peer goods and services in our everyday lives, trust is ever more elevated as one of the biggest factors in our purchase decisions.
The argument is that the shared economy is essentially employing workers, but without the worker rights and protections that we have built gradually up as a society over the last few decades. Many find this hard to reconcile, not least the companies because the individuals want complete freedom and control of their day and working life and want a platform which provides them access to the market which they can dip in and out of at their will.
This lack of clarity and mismatched expectations around employment status are creating uncertainty among both businesses and workers in the gig economy. The former argue that the freedom of their staff to choose their own hours precludes them access to employee benefits, while the latter claim they are subject to restrictions and conditions that make them employees rather than genuinely self-employed contractors.
On one hand, our food culture is thriving like never before. On the other, for or many of us, food is a source of anxiety rather than nourishment and pleasure. It's evolved into a controversial 'thing' to either obsess over or give zero f***s about while stuffing your face and arteries with yet another unhappy meal at the drive-through.
Last week, I was lucky enough to be chaperoned by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) and the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), around a variety of emerging tech companies in Silicon Valley. The IPA/UKTI interactive mission has been a real smorgasbord of tech inspirations and here are my views on the trends that will be coming to European shores shortly.
As a child, I was brought up to believe that sharing was a good thing to do. It makes sense to share things we don't need to use all the time. It's a way of making and keeping friends. It often comes with an emotional reward. And it's a sign of a civilised society at work: not every exchange of valuable goods requires a transaction.
It's all over the news; today London's Black Cabs are staging a protest against the introduction of Uber; a smart phone app that allows you to book private vehicles on-demand to get from A to B across the city. New York, Paris, Berlin, San Francisco, it's a battle that's being played out in cities across the globe. And it's not pretty.
Until now we have been approaching our cars and our apartments without thinking economically. If we want to change that, it is neither communism nor turbo capitalism. It is not to reach a higher moral goal either and certainly not an evil act. It is simply reasonable and in addition also human and beautiful.