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Zipcar's Robin Chase Calls 'Single Purpose Anything' a Dead Idea

The sharing economy and open platforms are the way of the future, asserts the entrepreneur.

The rise of the sharing economy proves "having a single-purpose anything is a dead idea," said Buzzcar founder Robin Chase during the Dell Women's Entrepreneur Network conference on Monday. 

Chase, who co-founded Zipcar, said collaborative economies making the most of societal excess, such as an unused gas guzzlers, are the future of innovation. That's especially true for issues like climate change and cutting down carbon emmissions. 

"We can't solve exponential problems with linear solutions," she said.

We have to think out of the box. 

Companies and governments will be at the heart of this shift, she added. "Individuals, peers and small companies are doing what they do best. They use the platforms and they are doing localization, customization, specialication. These are very, very local things."

If the platform works, Chase said there's room for rapid growth and scale--and plenty of innovation. Such open platforms already exist in the form of iPads and GoogleGlass, which enable other apps and programs to operate on their network. 

Getting it right will give "individuals the power of the company, power of the government, because governments can also enable these platforms," Chase said. 

Last updated: Jun 5, 2013


Jana Kasperkevic is a graduate of Baruch College, City University of New York, where she earned a bachelors degree in Journalism and Political Science. She covers start-ups, small businesses, and entrepreneurship for Inc. Her work has appeared in The Village Voice, InvestmentNews, Business Insider, and Houston Chronicle, among others. She lives in Brooklyn.

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