Platforms for job creation

The other day, my uberX driver told me that he'd been unemployed for almost a year. He started driving last month, and now he can pay his rent and work whenever he wants. A friend of mine makes his living as a full time renter on Airbnb, effectively acting like a hotel while he travels around world with the profits. At Teespring, some of our most successful sellers are programmers who left their high-paying jobs because the opportunity to build their own business on top of Teespring was more appealing.

There's an interesting link between many successful startups that gets surprisingly little attention. It was a foreign concept before the rise of the internet, and now I believe it is one of the driving forces behind the growth of Airbnb, Uber, Teespring, Postmates, Patreon, Verbling, and many more.

Companies can now empower people to create their own jobs.

This is a huge deal and has major implications. Job creation gives employees their livelihood, it gives companies champions who fight to make them succeed, and it gives economies legs to stand on.

For employees, it used to be the case that to get a job, you had to be hired; now you don't. Companies now have the ability to create jobs not only internally but externally, and they can increase the size of their workforce much more quickly.

At Teespring we have just over 100 employees, but hundreds of sellers are making their living with our product, and thousands more are getting close. Uber is creating 20,000 jobs per month, a rate of expansion that simply wouldn't be possible with normal hiring models.

Creating jobs across platforms

Perhaps even more interestingly, there is also a way to empower people to create their own jobs even when it’s not all about your own platform. While the companies mentioned above are built on the users who make it their full-time business to sell services through the platforms, it is also possible to create jobs for users on other platforms.

Consider companies like Instagram, YouTube, and Wordpress; the very top creators on these platforms certainly make good livings, but the majority of them don't. Figuring out how to give more of these users the ability to earn money is a massive opportunity, and unlocking this potential will establish a new degree of engagement on these platforms. The companies that figure out how to help users on these platforms turn their passion into profession will do very well.

Creating jobs is a powerful force, and the rise of ubiquitous and mobile connectivity has given companies an entirely new ability to create jobs remotely and scalably. The companies that see the power in this and figure out how to leverage it will do well.

5 responses
Posting across from Facebook, so some context might be lost: my apologies. Okay, back for more. I just wanted to clarify what I was saying: freelance jobs are good, freelance jobs are nimble, freelance jobs remove a lot of the red tape in getting a job--e.g. if you have a car, you can work. But a lot of the security and in/direct benefits that come with a contracted job are lost in freelancing. Health insurance is the obvious one, and I agree that it should be separated from employment--but, still, it's better to have a job with health insurance than not in today's economy. Another big one is retirement benefits, whether that be matching contributions or even a pension. Again, in an ideal world, this would not be tied to employment, but it *is* today, and freelance-dependent companies take advantage of that--in reality, companies like Uber or AirBnB cut their bottom line by not kicking back to retirement funds, maternity leave packages, severance pay, etc. IMHO, that's okay for companies to do--I don't think Teespring should set up a retirement fund for its t-shirt designers. BUT, to pretend that freelance jobs are equivalent to, say, corporate jobs is unfair (not that you were saying that). The plus to driving for Uber is the flexibility and low, easy buy-in, the drawback the lack of benefits and security. Vice-versa with a typical company. Michael has a great point w/r/t the hourly pay, in that $30/hr via taskrabbit may look great in comp. to $20/hr at a traditional job, but you're losing more than $10/hr in benefits.
Great article and enjoyed the angle of the opportunity. Globalization of talent is great and challenging and trying to fiqure out compensation for performance. Mainly how can one do short tests or some profiling to judge potential job output before you go through a process of hiring? Any suggestions on compensation for performance metrics that can be easy managed or ways to filter out job profiles in a more scalable way?
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