Short takes: Sharing, the most abused word in tech.

So the story goes: only two industries use the word users to describe their customers, drug dealers and software. Hence, it’s become one of the most hated word in technology. But there’s an equally bad one — sharing. Unlike user, sharing is continuously misused in different forms.

In 1970 sharing actually meant shared, you had shared terminals and time slicing on mainframes.

In 1980 sharing meant free, shareware software wasn’t open source (i.e. truly shared code) but was free to use.

In 2000 sharing meant stolen, at least according to the licensees of content that was copied and distributed on Napster. For others, file sharing was copying, the same as using a video recorder.

In 2015 sharing means rented. The sharing economy is less about sharing than allowing people who control assets to rent them out, or, via p2p platforms, to lend them at interest, where 80% of p2p isn’t person to person but hedge fund to person.

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Architect: I used to design buildings, now I design companies. http://davidgalbraith.org

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