Robin Chase, co-founder of Zipcar, spoke at Inspirefest 2016 about how modern businesses caught up with industrial giants in the blink of an eye. What the InterContinental Hotel Group achieved in 65 years, Airbnb did in four. This is a new age.

The human race has experienced several industrial revolutions in the past 250 years. The first (1760-1840) was powered by steam and written on print. The second began soon after (1850), and through steel, railroads, electricity and the telegraph, it brought us into the Great War.

The third revolution was digital, starting with the great codebreakers of WWII and leading us right up to the internet of things.

What’s next? Well, according to Robin Chase, co-founder of Zipcar, Peers Inc is the latest age.

“Why did we invent companies?” she asked. “We did that to do things we can’t do. If it costs millions of dollars, we can’t do it. We need an organisation or a government. If it needs multiple skills, we need an organisation or a government. If it’s something that requires standards […] these are all ancestral strengths.”

The internet, though, has rendered many traditional, ancestral obstacles as obsolete. Information is accessible everywhere, and expertise and delivery of materials are also at the touch of a button.

“We can deal with lots of small parts because of the internet,” she said, which underpins a brand new collaboration called Peers Inc. “Each side is doing what they do best and leaving it on the table for the other guys to do their part.”

Words by Gordon Hunt