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jerryking : gig_economy   30

Past mistakes carry warnings for the future of work
May 21, 2019 | Financial Times | by SARAH O'CONNOR.

* Data can mislead unless combined with grittier insights on the power structures that underpin it.
* William Kempster, a master mason who worked on St Paul's Cathedral in the 18th century, left wage records that helped expose a flaw in our understanding of the past.

It is often said that we should learn from the mistakes of the past. But we can also learn from the mistakes we make about the past. Seemingly smooth data can mislead unless it is combined with a grittier insight into the structures, contracts and power relationships that underpin the numbers. On that score, economists and politicians who want to make sense of today’s labour market have an advantage over historians: it is happening right now, just outside their offices, in all its complexity and messiness. All they have to do is open the door
17th_century  18th_century  builders  contextual  data  datasets  developing_countries  economic_history  economists  freelancing  gig_economy  handwritten  historians  human_cloud_platforms  insights  labour_markets  London  messiness  mistakes  politicians  power_relations  power_structures  record-keeping  United_Kingdom  unstructured_data  wages  white-collar 
24 days ago by jerryking
An equation to ensure America survives the age of AI
April 10, 2019 | Financial Times | Elizabeth Cobbs.

Alexander Hamilton, Horace Mann and Frances Perkins are linked by their emphasis on the importance of human learning.

In more and more industries, the low-skilled suffer declining pay and hours. McKinsey estimates that 60 per cent of occupations are at risk of partial or total automation. Workers spy disaster. Whether the middle class shrinks in the age of artificial intelligence depends less on machine learning than on human learning. Historical precedents help, especially...... the Hamilton-Mann-Perkins equation: innovation plus education, plus a social safety net, equals the sum of prosperity.

(1) Alexander Hamilton.
US founding father Alexander Hamilton was first to understand the relationship between: (a) the US's founding coincided with the industrial revolution and the need to grapple with technological disruption (In 1776, James Watts sold his first steam engine when the ink was still wet on the Declaration of Independence)-- Steam remade the world economically; and (b), America’s decolonisation remade the world politically......Hamilton believed that Fledgling countries needed robust economies. New technologies gave them an edge. Hamilton noted that England owed its progress to the mechanization of textile production.......Thomas Jefferson,on the other hand, argued that the US should remain pastoral: a free, virtuous nation exchanged raw materials for foreign goods. Farmers were “the chosen people”; factories promoted dependence and vice.....Hamilton disagreed. He thought colonies shouldn’t overpay foreigners for things they could produce themselves. Government should incentivise innovation, said his 1791 Report on the Subject of Manufactures. Otherwise citizens would resist change even when jobs ceased to provide sufficient income, deterred from making a “spontaneous transition to new pursuits”.......the U.S. Constitution empowered Congress to grant patents to anyone with a qualified application. America became a nation of tinkerers...Cyrus McCormick, son of a farmer, patented a mechanical reaper in 1834 that reduced the hands needed in farming. The US soared to become the world’s largest economy by 1890. Hamilton’s constant: nurture innovation.

(2) Horace Mann
America’s success gave rise to the idea that a free country needed free schools. The reformer Horace Mann, who never had more than six weeks of schooling in a year, started the Common School Movement, calling public schools “the greatest discovery made by man”.....Grammar schools spread across the US between the 1830s and 1880s. Reading, writing and arithmetic were the tools for success in industrialising economies. Towns offered children a no-cost education.......Americans achieved the world’s highest per capita income just as they became the world’s best-educated people. Mann’s constant: prioritise education.

(3) Frances Perkins
Jefferson was correct that industrial economies made people more interdependent. By 1920, more Americans lived in towns earning wages than on farms growing their own food. When the Great Depression drove unemployment to 25 per cent, the state took a third role....FDR recruited Frances Perkins, the longest serving labour secretary in US history, to rescue workers. Perkins led campaigns that established a minimum wage and maximum workweek. Most importantly, she chaired the committee that wrote the 1935 Social Security Act, creating a federal pension system and state unemployment insurance. Her achievements did not end the depression, but helped democracy weather it. Perkins’s constant: knit a safety net.

The world has ridden three swells of industrialisation occasioned by the harnessing of steam, electricity and computers. The next wave, brought to us by AI, towers over us. History shows that innovation, education and safety nets point the ship of state into the wave.

Progress is a variable. Hamilton, Mann and Perkins would each urge us to mind the constants in the historical equation.
adaptability  Alexander_Hamilton  artificial_intelligence  automation  diadaptability  constitutions  disruption  downward_mobility  education  FDR  Founding_Fathers  Frances_Perkins  gig_economy  historical_precedents  hollowing_out  Horace_Mann  Industrial_Revolution  innovation  innovation_policies  James_Watts  job_destruction  job_displacement  job_loss  life_long_learning  low-skilled  McKinsey  middle_class  priorities  productivity  public_education  public_schools  safety_nets  slavery  steam_engine  the_Great_Depression  Thomas_Jefferson  tinkerers 
9 weeks ago by jerryking
‘We Know Them. We Trust Them.’ Uber and Airbnb Alumni Fuel Tech’s Next Wave.
March 13, 2019 | The New York Times | By Erin Griffith.

......“There are just not that many places to find people who have seen that kind of scale,” said Ryan Graves, Uber’s former senior vice president of global operations and a member of the company’s board.

Each city that Uber, Airbnb, Lyft or Postmates expanded into created a new set of operational, regulatory and business challenges. Regulators balked. Rival business operators resisted. Neighbors protested. And people abused the platforms, over and over.

Uber managers ran each city like a mini-start-up. “If you were the general manager of San Francisco or of Atlanta, you were the C.E.O. of your region,” ..... “It led to a really entrepreneurial approach from everyone.”......
Airbnb  alumni  Andreessen_Horowitz  gig_economy  IPOs  networks  new_businesses  on-demand  scaling  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  Uber  vc  venture_capital 
march 2019 by jerryking
Platform companies have to learn to share
August 19, 2018 | Financial Times | Rana Foroohar.

Algorithmic management places dramatically more power in the hands of platform companies. Not only can they monitor workers 24/7, they benefit from enormous information asymmetries that allow them to suddenly deactivate drivers with low user ratings, or take a higher profit margin from riders willing to pay more for speedier service, without giving drivers a cut. This is not a properly functioning market. It is a data-driven oligopoly that will further shift power from labour to capital at a scale we have never seen before......Rather than wait for more regulatory pushback, platform tech companies should take responsibility now for the changes they have wreaked — and not just the positive ones. That requires an attitude adjustment. Many tech titans have a libertarian bent that makes them dismissive of the public sector as a whole.......Yet the potential benefits of ride-hailing and sharing — from less traffic to less pollution — cannot actually be realised unless the tech companies work with the public sector. One can imagine companies like Uber co-operating with city officials to phase in vehicles slowly, rolling out in underserved areas first, rather than flooding the most congested markets and creating a race to the bottom......Airbnb...often touts its ability to open up new neighbourhoods to tourism, but research shows that in cities like New York, most of its business is done in a handful of high end areas — and the largest chunk by commercial operators with multiple listings, with the effect of raising rents and increasing the strains caused by gentrification. On the labour side, too, the platform companies must take responsibility for the human cost of disruption. NYU professor Arun Sundararajan, has proposed allowing companies to create a “safe harbour” training fund that provides benefits and insurance for drivers and other on-demand workers without triggering labour laws that would categorise such workers as full-time employees (which is what companies want to avoid).
Airbnb  algorithms  dark_side  data_driven  gig_economy  information_asymmetry  New_York_City  oligopolies  on-demand  platforms  public_sector  Rana_Foroohar  ride_sharing  sharing_economy  safe_harbour  training  Uber 
august 2018 by jerryking
Insurance and the gig economy - Your policy is arriving in three minutes
Apr 5th 2018 |

In the longer term insurers face a more fundamental challenge: disintermediation. Airbnb, a platform for booking stays in private homes, has offered a “host guarantee” against theft and vandalism since 2011. Although it works like insurance, no specialist firm is involved. Airbnb makes payouts itself. Curtis Scott of Uber boasts that the firm is “perhaps the most educated purchaser of insurance ever”. It does a lot of the calculations for pricing and underwriting its insurance risk, and has a potential sales platform in the form of its app. For Uber and its peers, the next step could be to expand their gig offerings into insurance.
Airbnb  disintermediation  gig_economy  insurance  freelancing  Uber 
july 2018 by jerryking
What the Tax Bill Fails to Address: Technology’s Tsunami -
DEC. 20, 2017 | The New York Times | Farhad Manjoo.

Manjoo posits that the Republican tax bill is the wrong fix for the wrong problem, given how tech is altering society and the economy....The bill (the parachute) does little to address the tech-abetted wave of economic displacement (the tsunami) that may be looming just off the horizon. And it also seems to intensify some of the structural problems in the tech business, including its increasing domination by five giants — Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and Alphabet, Google’s parent company — which own some of the world’s most important economic platforms.....some in Silicon Valley think the giants misplayed their hand in the legislation. In pursuing short-term tax advantages, they missed a chance to advocate policies that might have more broadly benefited many of their customers — and improved their images, too......This gets back to that looming tsunami. Though many of the economy’s structural problems predate the last decade’s rise of the tech behemoths, the innovations that Silicon Valley has been working on — things like e-commerce, cloud storage, artificial intelligence and the general digitization of everything and everyone around you — are some of the central protagonists in the economic story of our age.

Among other economic concerns, these innovations are implicated in the rise of inequality; the expanding premium on education and skills; the decimation and dislocation of retail jobs; the rising urban-rural divide, and spiking housing costs in cities; and the rise of the “gig” economy of contract workers who drive Ubers and rent out their spare bedrooms on Airbnb....technology is changing work in a few ways. First, it’s altering the type of work that people do — for instance, creating a boom in e-commerce warehouse jobs in large metro areas while reducing opportunities for retail workers in rural areas. Technology has also created more uncertainty around when people work and how much they’ll get paid.
Farhad_Manjoo  preparation  job_loss  job_displacement  Silicon_Valley  tax_codes  corporate_concentration  platforms  income_inequality  short-sightedness  e-commerce  cloud_computing  artificial_intelligence  gig_economy  precarious  automation  uncertainty  universal_basic_income  digitalization  Apple  Amazon  Netflix  Microsoft  Facebook  Alphabet  Google  inconsistent_incomes  Big_Tech  FAANG 
december 2017 by jerryking
IKEA Jumps Into ‘Gig Economy’ With Deal for TaskRabbit
Sept. 28, 2017 | WSJ | By Saabira Chaudhuri and Eliot Brown.

IKEA agreed to acquire Silicon Valley startup TaskRabbit—the online marketplace that connects people with freelancers willing to run errands and do odd jobs—combining the pioneer of the flat pack with a trailblazer of the so-called gig economy.
....Documents related to a financing round from 2015 suggest TaskRabbit then had a valuation of about $50 million....the deal represents a bigger strategic tack at the furniture company. It also underscores a broader shift at many large companies grappling with big changes brought on by digitization. Many established corporations are increasingly turning to Silicon Valley to help their business grow, or slow their declines—sometimes spending heavily on small venture capital-backed startups that have strong traction with young consumers.

Especially where older industries are shifting rapidly, deals have piled up. Auto makers have become prolific investors and buyers of self-driving startups. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has become one of the more active buyers of startups as it grapples with a shift to e-commerce, including a June deal to buy men’s online clothier Bonobos.

Several large firms have launched small Silicon Valley outposts and venture capital arms of their own. Often, though, they say it makes more sense to buy these startups than build a new brand or operation themselves.

The TaskRabbit deal is IKEA’s first foray anywhere near Silicon Valley. The privately held company—when it has bought anything at all—has tended to focus on forestry and manufacturing firm purchases..... IKEA intends to also learn from TaskRabbit’s digital expertise. Retailers and brands globally have been racing to capture shopper data in a bid to personalize their offerings and build customer loyalty.......The bulk of IKEA’s sales are still made in its sprawling out-of-town superstores that house everything from plants to beds. It has 357 stores across 29 countries. But it has worked to adapt to a rise in online shopping, rolling out home delivery and click-and-collect options. IKEA has also been opening small, centrally located stores situated near public transport that stock a limited range of offerings and are also used as collection points.

The company’s website had 2.1 billion visits in fiscal 2016, up 9% from the prior year. Earlier in September, it launched an augmented reality app that lets people place IKEA furniture in their homes. It has also souped up its product range, offering tables and lamps that double up as wireless phone chargers and bulbs that can be controlled wirelessly.

“As urbanization and digital transformation continue to challenge retail concepts we need to develop the business faster and in a more flexible way,” Mr. Brodin said. “An acquisition of TaskRabbit would be an exciting leap in this transformation.”
IKEA  TaskRabbit  gig_economy  home-assembly  mergers_&_acquisitions  M&A  Silicon_Valley  large_companies  brands  Fortune_500  start_ups  e-commerce  home-delivery  BOPIS  augmented_reality  urbanization  digital_strategies  retailers  product_launches 
september 2017 by jerryking
Gig economy is not watching out for the wellbeing of workers
"There is no utopian world where the gig economy provides for the worker, where everyone can magically create their own software, or where the government provides benefits to gig workers -- as if getting Congress to pass such controversial and costly reform can be done at the snap of Mr. Harford's fingers!" ...."He encourages everyone to be a "supermodel", using Linda Evangelista as a poster child for stating that she would not "wake up for less than $10,000 a day" when most of the workers he is talking about hardly have an autonomy or stability whatsoever."...."Uber's high revenues do not translate to drivers' earnings"......Without an employer providing benefits and watching out for an employee's wellbeing, both mentally and financially, gig workers are leaving their families and their futures exposed"
letters_to_the_editor  Tim_Harford  gig_economy  precarious  freelancing  self-employment  independent_contractors  employee_benefits  Uber  Pablo_Picasso  inconsistent_incomes 
august 2017 by jerryking
Think like a supermodel to wrest control of the gig economy | Evernote Web
July 13, 2017 | Financial Times | Tim Harford.

Smartphones have allowed companies such as Uber and Deliveroo to take critical management functions--motivating staff, evaluating and rewarding performance, scheduling and coordination--and replace them with an algorithm.....But gig workers could install their own software, telling it where they like to work, what they like to do, when they’re available, unavailable, or open to persuasion. My app — call it GigBot — could talk to the Lyft app and the TaskRabbit app and the Deliveroo app, and interrupt me only when an offer deserves attention.

Not every job can be broken down into microtasks that can be rented out by the minute, but we might be surprised at how many can. Remember that old line from supermodel Linda Evangelista, “We don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day”? GigBot will talk to your alarm clock; $10 or $10,000, just name the price that would tempt you from your lie-in.

It is easy to imagine a dystopian scenario in which a few companies hook us in like slot-machine addicts, grind us in circles like cogs, and pimp us around for pennies. But it is not too hard to imagine a world in which skilled workers wrest back control using open-source software agents, join electronic guilds or unions and enjoy a serious income alongside unprecedented autonomy.

Nothing empowers a worker like the ability to walk out and take a better offer; in principle the gig economy offers exactly that. Indeed both scenarios may come true simultaneously, with one type of gig for the lucky ones, and another for ordinary folk.

If we are to take the best advantage of a true gig economy, we need to prepare for more radical change. Governments have been content to use corporations as delivery mechanisms for benefits that include pensions, parental leave, sick leave, holidays and sometimes healthcare — not to mention the minimum wage. This isn’t unreasonable; even a well-paid freelancer may be unable to buy decent private insurance or healthcare. Many of us struggle to save for a pension. But if freelancers really do start to dominate economic activity — if — the idea of providing benefits mostly through employers will break down.

We will need governments to provide essential benefits, perhaps minimalist, perhaps generous, to all citizens. Above that safety net, we need portable benefits — mentioned warmly but briefly by Mr Taylor — so that even a 10-minute gig helps to fill a pension pot or earn time towards a holiday. Traditional corporate jobs have been socially useful, but if you push any model too far from reality, it will snap.
Tim_Harford  gig_economy  mobile_applications  Lyft  TaskRabbit  Deliveroo  freelancing  self-employment  independent_contractors 
july 2017 by jerryking
Self-Driving People, Enabled by Airbnb
JULY 26, 2017 | The New York Times | Thomas L. Friedman.

Airbnb has a different goal: enabling what I call self-driving people.

And that’s why I won’t be surprised if in five years Airbnb is not only still the world’s biggest home rental service, but also one of the world’s biggest jobs platforms. You read that right. Very quietly Airbnb has been expanding its trust platform beyond enabling people to rent their spare rooms to allowing them to translate their passions into professions, and thereby empower more self-driving people.....To see what’s growing, go to Airbnb’s site and click not on “homes” but on “experiences.” You’ll find an endless smorgasbord of people turning their passion into profit and their inner artisan into second careers....Airbnb’s “experiences” site has grown tenfold this year.

Tourists visiting a foreign country try to understand the culture by going to a museum and viewing “art by dead people,” noted Chesky. “Why not learn how to make art yourself, taught by a living artist in that culture and immerse yourself in the artist’s world? These are experiences you can bring back with you!”

Chesky believes that the potential for Airbnb experiences could be bigger than home-sharing. ....“The biggest asset in people’s lives is not their home, but their time and potential — and we can unlock that,” he explained. “We have these homes that are not used, and we have these talents that are not used. Instead of asking what new infrastructure we need to build, why don’t we look at what passions we can unlock? We can unlock so much economic activity, and this will unlock millions of entrepreneurs.”...In America, though, there is a surplus of fear and a poverty of imagination in the national jobs discussion today — because “all we are focusing on are the things that are going away,” said Chesky. “We need to focus on what’s coming. Do we really think we’re living in the first era in history where nothing will ever again be created by humans for humans, only by machines? Of course not. It’s that we’re not talking about all of these human stories.”....Indeed, the beauty of this era is that you don’t need to wait for Ford to come to your town with a 25,000-person auto factory. Anyway, that factory is now 2,500 robots and 1,000 people. The future belongs to communities that learn to leverage their unique attributes, artisans and human talent.

There is no Eiffel Tower in Louisville, Ky., but there are amazing bourbon distilleries popping up all over, creating myriad tourist opportunities; there are no pyramids in Detroit, but there is a bountiful history of Motown music and all kinds of artists now creating boutique concerts and tours for visitors to experience it.....We have to do 50 things right to recreate that broad middle class of the ’50s and ’60s, and platforms like Airbnb’s are just one of them. (Having universal health care to create a safety net under all of these budding entrepreneurs would be another.) But you have to be inspired by how many people are now finding joy and income by mining their passions.

100
COMMENTS
“A tourist is someone who does things that locals who live there never do,” said Chesky. Airbnb’s experiences platform is now enabling visitors to live like locals — even though they’re guests and, in the process, enrich the local community and create new employment. Any town can play.

So much of what companies did in the past, concluded Chesky, “was unlocking natural resources to build the stuff we wanted.” Today’s new platforms are unlocking human potential to “be the people we wanted.”

....
Airbnb  artisan_hobbies_&_crafts  capitalization  entrepreneurship  experiential_marketing  gig_economy  human_potential  intrinsically_motivated  job_creation  middle_class  passions  platforms  self-actualization  self-starters  Tom_Friedman  tourism  unimaginative 
july 2017 by jerryking
The Pop-Up Employer: Build a Team, Do the Job, Say Goodbye -
JULY 12, 2017 | The New York Times | By NOAM SCHEIBER.

Two Stanford biz profs, Melissa Valentine and Michael Bernstein, have introduced the idea of “flash organizations” — ephemeral setups to execute a single, complex project in ways traditionally associated with corporations, nonprofit groups or governments.....information technology has made the flash organization a suddenly viable form across a number of industries.....intermediaries are already springing up across industries like software and pharmaceuticals to assemble such organizations. They rely heavily on data and algorithms to determine which workers are best suited to one another, and also on decidedly lower-tech innovations, like middle management......Temporary organizations capable of taking on complicated projects have existed for decades, e.g. Hollywood, where producers assemble teams of directors, writers, actors, costume and set designers and a variety of other craftsmen and technicians to execute projects with budgets in the tens if not hundreds of millions.....Jody Miller, a former media executive and venture capitalist, a co-founder of the Business Talent Group, sets up temporary teams of freelancers for corporations. “We’re the producers,” Ms. Miller said. “We understand how to evaluate talent, pick the team.”.....
Three lessons stand out across the flash-type models. First is that the platforms tend to be highly dependent on data and computing power....Second is the importance of well-established roles. ...Third, there is perhaps the least likely of innovations: middle management. The typical freelancer performs worker-bee tasks. Flash-like organizations tend to combine both workers and managers...........Flash organizations have obvious limits....they tend to work best for projects with well-defined life spans, not continuing engagements....“The bottleneck now is project managers,” ... “It’s a really tough position to fill.”.....even while fostering flexibility, the model could easily compound insecurity. Temporary firms are not likely to provide health or retirement benefits. ..... the anxiety is legitimate, but these platforms could eventually dampen insecurity by playing a role that companies have historically played: providing benefits, topping off earnings if workers’ freelance income is too low or too spotty, even allowing workers to organize.
pop-ups  freelancing  on-demand  ephemerality  producers  execution  Hollywood  project_management  teams  data  algo  lessons_learned  Business_Talent_Group  Gigster  Artella  Foundry  Slack  pharmaceutical_industry  Outsourcing  contractors  job_insecurity  middle_management  gig_economy  ad_hoc  dissolutions  short-term  short-lived 
july 2017 by jerryking
How to develop and manage freelancers - The Globe and Mail
GAIL JOHNSON
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Nov. 11, 2016
freelancing  gig_economy  howto 
november 2016 by jerryking
LinkedIn Enters The Gig Economy With An Upwork Competitor
08.24.16 | | Fast Company | Business + Innovation | SARAH KESSLER.
LinkedIn  freelancing  gig_economy  Thumbtack  Upwork 
october 2016 by jerryking
Why I Tell My MBA Students to Stop Looking for a Job and Join the Gig Economy
Diane Mulcahy
OCTOBER 20, 2016

....Full-time employees are the most expensive and least flexible source of labor, qualities that make them unattractive to corporate America and Silicon Valley startups alike....cultivate the mindset, skills, and toolkit to succeed in this new world of independent work....companies are increasingly disaggregating work from a job. ....
gig_economy  job_search  students  freelancing  on-demand  Outsourcing  digital_economy  books  HBR 
october 2016 by jerryking
How to approach your own career like an entrepreneur - Fortune
1. Choose growth over profitability. Rather than focus on short-term gains, think long-term goals and what you need to get there.
2. Bet on who you want to work with, not on where. Job seekers should invest in people, not ideas. That means pick the place you’re going to work for the people you’re going to work with. They’re the ones who will train you and lead you to other opportunities when the time comes.
3. Find your special sauce. Fetishize your product-market fit. This may be one of the hardest challenges in the new economy.
4. Celebrate uncertainty. Iterate. Seek feedback and adapt. Pivot where necessary.
5. Be public. Be on Linkedin. Give away hard-won information and knowledge, you’ll get something back. Be more transparent.

Nitin Julka was 31 and working like a dog in Cleveland when he got the itch. For six years he’d been a VP of his family’s business, a $20 million company that sold IT to schools. He had moved home after getting an MBA, excited to grow the company and make a difference in educational technology. It had been a “wild ride,” but he was ready for change. “I had no idea what I wanted to do,” he says. “I just knew I wanted to do something different.”

The jobs that interested him most were in tech. He started calling friends, friends of friends, business school classmates, and even distant contacts to talk about Bay Area companies and about what professional roles he might actually qualify for. After 30 or so conversations, he made up his mind: He wanted to be a product manager at a fast-growing Silicon Valley–based startup.

This struck few as a logical or even feasible next step for Julka: “I was changing job functions, industries, and geographies. People told me you can do one of those things—not all three at once.”

But Julka is more self-aware than most. On a quarterly basis, he conducts a life assessment and reviews what he considers to be his professional competitive advantage. Among his “most unique” attributes he lists his receptiveness to feedback. Indeed, in his quest for continual improvement, he has recorded personal and professional feedback in a single, running Google doc since 2010. He reads it once a week, when prompted by a recurring calendar invite.

And so began what Julka considers the “abnormal part” of his job search: He drew up a spreadsheet of 60 target companies, a few of which he researched for 60 to 80 hours (he admits he “overinvested”). He read 10-Ks and 10-Qs and a hundred CrunchBase articles; he mined his personal and virtual connections; he enlisted a friend, a former Google programmer, to tutor him in code; and he found free online videos from which he learned UX/UI design. With his wife’s support, he gave himself five weeks in Silicon Valley—no mean feat given that he had an 18-month-old baby at home. He met with three or more people a day, prepared a 48-page set of interview notes, and rode the highs and lows of pitching himself for a job that many thought he was an odd fit for.

It ended on a high. In September 2013 he got several job offers—including one, through a contact of his business school professor, at Bizo, a startup that has since been acquired by LinkedIn LNKD .

Julka may sound like a case study in craziness, a modern-day Ben Franklin whose entrepreneurial energy and efforts cannot be easily matched. But while he exists at one extreme, he’s the prototype for what it takes to navigate one’s career these days.

The truth is, wherever you are on the corporate ladder, whatever you do for a living, you’ve got to think like you’re launching a business from the ground up.

As LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha wrote in their zeitgeist-tapping book from 2012, The Start-Up of You, “All humans are entrepreneurs.” To accelerate your career in today’s economy, you’ve got to embrace that spirit and apply the Silicon Valley formula—“adapt to the future” and “invest in yourself”—no matter how comfortable in your job you might be.

Imagine you’re a founder. You’ve been working for days—years, really. (You can’t remember the last time you took a day off.) You’ve networked like crazy. And now, at last, you’ve landed one of those much-coveted meetings with a high-profile venture capital firm on Sand Hill Road.

the start up of you bookIt feels as though you’ve been waiting your whole life for this: You’ve prepared your slide deck, rehearsed your pitch, and honed your talking points. You’re ready to be grilled about even the finest details of your marketing and monetization strategies. You’ve gone so far as to research your VC’s hobbies. But the product you’re selling isn’t some whiz-bang app or the latest and greatest cloud-computing platform; the product is you.

Here’s where your potential backer steps in: What’s your competitive advantage, she asks? The questions come rapid-fire: What’s your addressable market? The opportunities for growth? Your five-year plan? Your 10-year plan?

You may not be used to thinking about your career in such calculating terms, but old standards like “follow your passion” get you only so far. You won’t get Series A funding, but the analogy is apt: If you are the startup, you’d better start answering to your inner VC.

“You’ve got to have a sense of purpose, authenticity, self-awareness, intellectual honesty, and the ability to navigate ambiguity,” says Hemant Taneja, managing director at General Catalyst Partners, a venture capital firm. That’s what he looks for in companies—and people—he invests in. Alan Braverman, an entrepreneur and angel investor who co-heads the Giant Pixel, a tech startup studio, speaks more bluntly: “What most people consider a safe career path, I consider falling behind.”

You don’t have to be a TaskRabbit (or a VC) to know that the world of work has changed. Technology, globalization, and one long recession—in which nearly one in six Americans reported losing a job, according to Princeton economist Henry Farber—have all disrupted old-fashioned employment. Corporations have downsized, outsourced, and rightsized. They slashed training budgets during the recession, and though that spending is coming back—up 15% in 2013, according to a Deloitte survey—corporate talent development is thought to be a dying art. “As companies see it, the incentives are just so perverse,” says Peter Cappelli, a professor of management at Wharton Business School. “Typically you train someone, and once they become useful, they’re hired away from you.” Meanwhile, the slow march of automation continues: Robots now fly planes, perform surgeries, and in some cases write news. That leaves you, dear worker, in a tight spot—whether or not you’ve got your dream job now, you’ve got to stay relevant and evolve.

That’s not as easy as it once was. The half-life of desirable skills has shortened with the hastening pace of technological change. (A Python programmer now eats the once-hot Java programmer for lunch.) Fabio Rosati, CEO of the online freelancing platform Elance-oDesk, says these dynamics are moving us from the era of employment to one of newfangled “employability.” Professionals, like the 9.3 million who find work on his site, are now being viewed as mobile, independent bundles of skills. In this universe the most adaptable talent rules the day. Increasingly, learning agility is an attribute sought in corporate leadership, says Vicki Swisher, a senior director at Korn Ferry, an executive search firm. What’s more, she says, it’s what employers are looking for in all new hires.

That agility is also mission critical for your personal enterprise (formerly known as your career path). Rather than climb a single corporate ladder like the company man of yore, you’re more likely to spend your career scaling a professional jungle gym, maneuvering between projects, jobs, companies, industries, and locales. By the reckoning of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest job-tenure survey, you’ll pivot every 4.6 years (make that three if you’re a millennial, a demographic that will dominate the workforce in 2015). To do this well requires imagination, initiative, and some guts. Much like a startup, you’re forging your way ahead in a dynamic world where there is no conventional path.

“Get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” advises Mike Abbott, a general partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, who knows as an entrepreneur and as someone whose career zigged to Microsoft, Palm, and Twitter before it zagged to venture capital. In his case, he sought discomfort. “That’s how you learn the most.”

While the ideas of a free-agent nation and personal brand building have been with us for a couple of decades, DIY-career building has gotten a big push from the digital (and old-fashioned sharing) infrastructure that fosters this independence. There’s the rise in communal workspaces like WeWork and educational alternatives like Coursera, which offers college courses online, and General Assembly, which trains workers in the most in-demand tech skills. (As Julka’s case shows, YouTube and Google can also be empowering resources.)

A slew of online platforms has made it simpler to drum up employment, from one-off gigs to full-time jobs. Professionals can peddle their services, whether it be supply-chain management or legal advice, more easily and independently too, through sites like Elance-oDesk and TrustedPeer, which sometimes cater to big companies.

The data are messy on the size and shape of this new, more independent workforce. The BLS, whose classification system dates back to 1948, counted 14.4 million self-employed Americans in April 2014. That’s a far cry from the results of a study commissioned this year by the Freelancers Union and Elance-oDesk, which put the number of freelancers—a broader category that includes temps, part-timers, and moonlighters—at 53 million, or one in three American workers. (A report on freelancers … [more]
value_propositions  personal_branding  via:enochko  it's_up_to_me  pitches  self-assessment  self-awareness  Silicon_Valley  gig_economy  start_ups  Managing_Your_Career  Reid_Hoffman  Ben_Casnocha  slight_edge  job_search  discomforts  uncertainty  learning_agility  transparency  customer_growth  self-employment  Elance-oDesk  TrustedPeer  large_companies  non-routine  skills  special_sauce  free-agents  WeWork  product-market_fit  preparation  readiness  torchbearers 
july 2016 by jerryking
The dark side of on-demand work - The Globe and Mail
LEAH EICHLER
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Jun. 05, 2015
on-demand  dark_side  gig_economy 
june 2015 by jerryking
What Hollywood Can Teach Us About the Future of Work - NYTimes.com
MAY 5, 2015 | NYT |By ADAM DAVIDSON.

the “Hollywood model.” A project is identified; a team is assembled; it works together for precisely as long as is needed to complete the task; then the team disbands. This short-­term, project-­based business structure is an alternative to the corporate model, in which capital is spent up front to build a business, which then hires workers for long-­term, open-­ended jobs that can last for years, even a lifetime. It’s also distinct from the Uber-­style “gig economy,” which is designed to take care of extremely short-­term tasks, manageable by one person, typically in less than a day....With the Hollywood model, ad hoc teams carry out projects that are large and complex, requiring many different people with complementary skills. The Hollywood model is now used to build bridges, design apps or start restaurants. Many cosmetics companies assemble a temporary team of aestheticians and technical experts to develop new products, then hand off the actual production to a factory, which does have long-­term employees...Our economy is in the midst of a grand shift toward the Hollywood model. More of us will see our working lives structured around short-­term, project-­based teams rather than long-­term, open­-ended jobs...the Hollywood model is a surprisingly good system for many workers too, in particular those with highly-sought-­after skills. Ask Hollywood producers, and they’ll confirm that there are only a limited number of proven, reliable craftspeople for any given task. Projects tend to come together quickly, with strict deadlines, so those important workers are in a relatively strong negotiating position. Wages among, say, makeup and hair professionals on shoots are much higher than among their counterparts at high-­end salons. Similarly, set builders make more than carpenters and electricians working on more traditional construction sites....It’s probably not coincidental that the Hollywood model is ascendant at a time when telling stories, broadly speaking, is at the heart of American business.The Hollywood system offers another advantage for workers: Every weekend’s box-­office results provide new information about which skills in their field are valuable. ....The Hollywood model isn’t good news for everybody. It clearly rewards education and cultural fluency, which are not distributed evenly throughout the population.
trends  Hollywood  storytelling  teams  project_management  market_intelligence  automation  Communicating_&_Connecting  Managing_Your_Career  gig_economy  ad_hoc  dissolutions  short-term  on-demand  short-lived 
may 2015 by jerryking
The Rise of the On-Demand Economy - The CIO Report - WSJ
March 13, 2015| WSJ | By IRVING WLADAWSKY-BERGER.

we are seeing the rise of what The Economist called the On-Demand Economy in a recent article....Manufacturing jobs have been automated out of existence or outsourced abroad, while big companies have abandoned lifetime employment. Some 53m American workers already work as freelancers....now the sharing economy is evolving into something new. Ubiquitous communications, freelance work forces and low transaction costs are giving rise to the on-demand company, which aims to apply the principles of Uber or Airbnb to a much broader range of markets....A well-managed company strives to achieve an optimal balance between what work gets done within and outside its boundaries.

Advances in information and communication technologies are having a huge impact on the structure of companies....Where is the future of work heading in such an economy? “Freelance workers available at a moment’s notice will reshape the nature of companies and the structure of careers,”...Ubiquitous communications and very low transaction costs are giving rise to a new class of firm, the on-demand company. These firms aim to efficiently bring together consumers and suppliers of goods and services with their highly scalable platforms and innovative applications...
digital_economy  sharing_economy  Uber  Lyft  Ronald_Coase  Coase's_Law  transaction_costs  freelancing  on-demand  Outsourcing  gig_economy  Irving_Wladawsky-Berger 
march 2015 by jerryking
A radical rethink of ‘decision factories’
Nov. 17 2013 | The Globe and Mail | HARVEY SCHACHTER.

In regular factories, employees are consumed by repetitive daily tasks. But in decision factories, the focus is on project work. Whether it’s developing an advertising campaign or preparing a budget or coming up with a new product, knowledge workers operate in project mode. “You often hear in organizations the rhetoric that a project is taking away from the job. But most white-collar work is projects,” he said in an interview.

However, that isn’t recognized by companies or their staff. Instead of organizing work around projects, it is organized around jobs. Essentially, each job is based on the amount of work a person faces at their busiest moment – on projects, actually. But when that project is completed, workers aren’t immediately transferred to a new venture, since the just-finished project is seen as something they took on for a time. They return to their normal work, now quite reduced, between projects.

Mr. Martin drawns an analogy to power plants, which are built to handle peak demand on the hottest day in July, even though for much of the year they operate at much lower demand. “Organizations do that with people: They staff to peak load. Since people don’t want to seem not busy in slack periods, they fill it up with various initiatives. That’s why the day before the 10,000 people are let go, it seems like you need them all. But you really don’t,” he said .

In his article, he cited the example of a marketing vice-president, who is busy during the launch of an important project or when a competitive threat arises. But between those events, she will have few decisions to make, and may have little to do . The same is true throughout the knowledge factory.

The key to breaking the binge-and-purge cycle in knowledge work and making more efficient use of employees, Mr. Martin argues, is to redefine the employment contract and hire people for project work rather than specific jobs. He believes that in such a framework, we would need only 70 per cent of the people we currently have in a given decision factory.

So instead of being hired to handle a specific job for 52 weeks of the year, people would be hired for a specific level of work. They would still be working for the full year – they aren’t freelancers or contract workers – but would be scheduled to different projects and work with different leaders.
Harvey_Schachter  Roger_Martin  HBR  projects  knowledge_workers  project_management  project_work  employment_contracts  freelancing  gig_economy  peak_load  peak_demand  busywork  binge-and-purge_cycles  on-demand 
november 2013 by jerryking
O, brave new TempWorld
September 29, 2000| Fortune |Review by Larry Keller, CNN.com/career Senior Writer
The Good News About Careers: How You'll Be Working in the Next Decade'
By Barbara Moses, Ph.D.(Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer)

To cope with this uncertainty, Moses asserts that workers must learn to become "career activists."
Know what kind of work engages you and gives your life meaning.

Sell yourself. People in their 20s and early 30s are more comfortable doing this than those who are older, she says. For the latter, she offers advice on marketing oneself in a way that's effective without feeling like a phony.

OLD OR NEW?



See if you're closer to Barbara Moses' old- or new-style worker. More



Network with others. Moses stresses that this means developing mutually supportive relationships with others, not using people or indiscriminately exchanging business cards at every function you attend.

Stay current in your field and continue to develop skills and knowledge outside it.

...It's not just rank-and-file workers who must cope with a rapidly changing workplace. The challenges can be just as daunting for managers. Moses suggests they incorporate 10 strategies aimed at keeping the troops happy and productive.

Among her recommendations: Provide skill-building opportunities, sabbaticals, career planning, mentoring and flexible benefits. She also proposes that managers try to give employees a sense of ownership of the projects on which they work.

September 29, 2000
Managing_Your_Career  Barbara_Moses  books  gig_economy  book_reviews  self-reliance  freelancing  workplaces  generations  solo  contractors  millennials  rapid_change 
december 2012 by jerryking
Independent Workers Are Here to Stay - NYTimes.com
April 14, 2012 | New York Times | By ALEXANDRA LEVIT.
Brand yourself as a contributor that any organization would love to hire. Create strong profiles on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook, and build an eye-catching Web site around your personal domain name. Learn about client recruitment and retention from other sales people and business owners, and incorporate their techniques.

Be prepared to join a group like the Freelancers Union, which advocates for the rights of contingent workers, and to attend meetings so you can network, swap war stories, master best practices and support fellow contractors.
freelancing  solo  self-employment  personal_branding  contracting  contractor  gig_economy 
april 2012 by jerryking
To Boost the Economy, Help the Self-Employed -
June 7, 2011 BusinessWeek By Richard Greenwald
Despite their importance to our economic health, we impede nearly
one-third of our workforce by making so-called freelancers, contractors,
and consultants play by outdated rules.

Despite their increasing importance to the economy, the growth of these
freelancers' businesses is stymied by our tax and labor
codes....Freelancers Shoulder All Risks

Today, the fast-growing freelance workforce is shouldering costs and
risks that were formerly borne by companies. The self-employed can't get
unemployment insurance or file for workman's compensation. They aren't
covered by most federal or state employee labor laws, leaving them
little recourse but to spend precious time and money in small claims
court when they aren't paid.

Worse, the self-employed are taxed as if they're medium-sized employers,
but they can't deduct health-insurance premiums and other expenses that
big companies can deduct.
freelancing  challenges  economy  self-employment  gig_economy  policymaking 
july 2011 by jerryking
The Freelance Economy
11.16.09 | Forbes.com - Magazine Article | Keren Blankfeld,
Steinberg works 30 to 40 hours a week. But along with millions of other
contractors, she may not show up on the radar of the U.S. Bureau of
Labor Statistics, which compiles unemployment statistics by surveying
households and counting pay stubs. No one knows how many freelancers,
part-timers and consultants there are--the Government Accountability
Office took a stab in 2006, guesstimating that the group made up 30% of
all workers--much less how many escape the notice of the BLS. "It's
difficult to track, and is often misclassified or not accounted for by
the Department of Labor," says Sarah Horowitz, director of the
Freelancers Union in Brooklyn, N.Y. One thing is certain: The shape of
the so-called informal economy is changing.
freelancing  economy  statistics  GAO  BLS  informal_economy  Freshbooks  gig_economy 
june 2011 by jerryking
Fugu Talk :: The IGDA Health Plan
2009 11 18 | Fugu Talk | Philip Chu. references the freelance ecosystem
freelancing  ecosystems  healthcare  videogames  gig_economy 
october 2010 by jerryking
Temporary Workers and the 21st Century Economy - WSJ.com
NOVEMBER 30, 2009 | Wall Street Journal | by JODY GREENSTONE
MILLER. Today, demand for high-end temporary business talent is not
focused on cost-cutting projects, as some might suspect. Instead, firms
use temporary executives to drive innovation. In uncertain times, firms
are simply more comfortable with deploying talent on a flexible basis.

Temporary work also boosts economic efficiency because not all executive
roles require permanent staff. For example, one pharmaceutical company
client took on a temporary marketing executive to help launch a new
drug. The old way of doing this was to make a new permanent hire (or a
small team) who would have been under-utilized after the launch. The
availability of temporary staff who can get the job done quickly means
that firms can rethink how work is organized.
interim  workforce_planning  executive_management  on-demand  freelancing  21st._century  contingent_workers  gig_economy 
january 2010 by jerryking
Recession Takes a Toll on Freelance Livelihoods - NYTimes.com
June 2, 2009 | New York Times | By EMILY BAZELON. At the
Freelancers Union, Sara Horowitz is pushing for a new kind of
unemployment protection fund that would cover the self-employed by
helping them put away money that they could draw on in times of need.
economic_downturn  freelancing  yoga  entrepreneurship  tradeoffs  self-employment  unemployment  gig_economy 
june 2009 by jerryking

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