Gig Economy

Why we need knowledge workers to become gig workers post-COVID

Here is why:
Because of change in work conditions, void of permanent location, fixed
office, because of nomadic and remote work being a normal part of
workplace, we need one-off per-task priced services, not the whole service
package companies generally offer.

The Summary:
You find yourself in Singapore for freelance work for 3 months. You are
leaving and want to file taxes but know nothing about taxes. You can go to
H&R Block because you can’t think of any other international tax company
that could provide a one-off service you need. You can go through the
Yellow Pages but …. nobody uses Yellow Pages any more. You can’t go to
the big 4 because you are small. You wish you can go to Upwork and find
someone who’d do this for you for a task-based price, not a service based

This is how knowledge work moves to gig economy. We already do this with
programmers, digital designers even finance on Upwork, Freelancer and such.
We have gig platforms for physical workers help, for help with groceries
etc. And more and more of us need a one-off service – not a whole pricey

Harvard Business Review argues this is exactly where we are heading to. And
if you look at our list of 300+ gig platforms we can easily tell them: “We
told you so”

The winners of the pandemic are already emerging, from telemedicine to
delivery apps, and Silicon Valley is eager to invest in them. In March, 12
investment firms pledged to invest more than $30 million in companies with
Covid-19 programs, and Y Combinator has connected many of those founders to

“One result may be that even though we will undoubtedly lose many in-person
businesses, we may have a more robust on- and off-line landscape of
experiences and businesses available after the pandemic,” said Jane
Desmond, professor of anthropology and gender and women’s studies at the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Post Corona Digitalization of Life

I expected my first week of social distancing to feel, well, distant. But I’ve been more connected than ever. My inboxes are full of invitations to digital events — Zoom art classes, Skype book clubs, Periscope jam sessions. Strangers and subject-matter experts are sharing relevant and timely information about the virus on social media, and organizing ways to help struggling people and small businesses. On my feeds, trolls are few and far between, and misinformation is quickly being fact-checked. But if there is a silver lining in this crisis, it may be that the virus is forcing us to use the internet as it was always meant to be used — to connect with one another, share information and resources, and come up with collective solutions to urgent problems.


Digital Partying
in China, where would-be partyers have invented “cloud clubbing,” a new kind of virtual party in which D.J.s perform live sets on apps like TikTok and Douyin while audience members react in real time on their phones.

Digital classes, churches, dinner

Or observe how we’re coping in the United States, where groups are experimenting with new kinds of socially distanced gatherings: virtual yoga classes, virtual church services, virtual dinner parties.

All over the country, citizen technologists are using digital tools to strengthen their offline communities. In San Bernardino, Calif., David Perez created a Facebook group called California Coronavirus Alerts to share localized information with his neighbors. A group of public-school teachers in Mason, Ohio, created a Google Doc to share ideas about how to keep teaching students during a state-ordered school closure. In the Bay Area, where I live, people are building databases to keep track of which seniors need help having groceries and prescriptions delivered.

Digital real estate in Australia

Since mid-March, following a ban on open home inspections and on-site auctions, there’s been some growth in online auctions and livestreaming of auctions. Peter Gibbons runs Openn Negotiation, which operates pre-contracted auctions where bidders participate on an online platform. “We have been absolutely inundated by [enquiries from] agents since coronavirus,” he said. “We currently have over 200 live auctions in process … with 231 new trained agents in the past couple of weeks.”

As job losses continue to rise because of shutdowns, the number of Australians struggling to repay their mortgages is expected to lift to higher levels than seen during the global financial crisis.
David Scholes, the founder of another online bidding platform called SoldOnline, also reports more real estate agents are enquiring about using the platform. He describes SoldOnline as “the eBay for property sales”, where the vendor typically pays a $399 fee to join up and buyers make real-time virtual bids for properties through a registered portal.

Agents are watching what bidders are doing and can talk to them by phone or through a chat bot. In the online world, it is still entirely up to the agent to ensure people are not engaging in fake bidding. “Since the Prime Minister’s announcement, SoldOnline is also working closely with 35 individual agencies to switch to online auctions, with one agency already listing 16 properties with the online platform,” he said. “The first coronavirus-impacted auction went ahead last week, and it achieved $13,000 over reserve. 

“We have seen enquires go through the roof — in the past week I estimate I have fielded about 150 phone calls from real estate agents.” He says not all of these phone calls translated to agents moving onto the platform. Some agents still prefer to use livestreaming options over an online bidding site.

What do you get when you combine the rise of nerd culture and the gig economy? Dungeon masters-for-hire, hosting games at $500 a pop

Taken from Bloomberg: By Mary Pilon, July 8 2019

But D&D has gained more mainstream followers of late, thanks especially to the
Netflix show Stranger Things, which premiered its third season on July 4, but
also to the racy teen soap Riverdale and the behemoth fantasy book and
television series Game of Thrones. (D.B. Weiss, one of GoT’s creators, says he’s
played D&D “compulsively for years.”) In consequence, professional dungeon
mastering has become a business—and for some, even a career.
You can hire Chulick, for example, to lead an individual beginner campaign,
which will set you back $300 and last up to four hours; for $500, he’ll come to
your office and run a D&D team-building activity. He rents a full studio set up
to stream the games he runs weekly on the gaming platform Twitch, where he has
150 subscribers who each pay $4.99 a month. He also has an email list of 4,200
people and four sponsors who provide detailed custom game pieces, beer, or maps
in exchange for on-air endorsements. For a negotiated fee, he’ll draw up custom
battle maps, consult on purchases of various game accessories, and host bachelor
parties, family gatherings, or kids’ birthdays. At present, he’s booked out
several months and has a waitlist.

Is ‘wealth work’ the new gig economy?

Because of expanding wealth gap, more than 3 million new jobs were created serving the rich mainly in large urban areas. The question is: is this another category of gig economy jobs? Since most of these jobs have no long term benefits, how will that reflect on this generation’s retirement prospects? Associated Press is trying to give us some of the answers.

This is how gig-economy work has evolved


Article copied from

“Gig.” You’ve heard it mentioned at afterwork drinks, debated on employment sites, and beaten to death by pundits. It may have a new name now, but gigs have been around as long as humans have been paid for “services rendered.” What we now call gigs used to be referred to as part-timefreelance, or consulting.

Gigs can be full- or part-time, or even one-off projects. There are gigs to be found at the highest professional levels and in the minimum wage “service on-demand” sector. The essential qualifier is that workers are not employees with benefits but independent contractors. More and more of us are participating in the gig economy, creating a robust market for the millions of work-for-hire individuals.

How many in the workforce are doing gig work? According to the Gig Economy Data Hub, a joint project of Cornell University’s Institute of Labor Relations and the Aspen Institute, the percentage is around 30%. However, Ernst & Young consultant David Jolley points out that only about 10% of those are depending on gigs for their entire income.

Gigging was originally musicians’ slang for a performance. It has come to mean so much more. Gigs are real work, sought after by both employers and workers. Some of us gig because we like the freedom and flexibility, or because we’re sick of smelling the IT departments’ lunches. Employers may be trying to save money by not hiring a full-time employee, or need a skilled person for a set amount of time. More platforms connecting workers to businesses are going up all the time. Some are highly specialized, including those for lawyers and doctors, restaurant workers, and creatives.

As the numbers grow, employers are increasingly dipping into the marketplace of temps. The gig economy has also been a godsend for legions of entrepreneurs: “A fast-moving startup can secure talent as it needs it, outsource more quotidian tasks like payroll, and stay lean and mean.”

For gig workers, work-life balance can be improved or turn sour. The money can be great if you find the right spot or barely a subsistence. A joint study from the Freelancers Union and the gig platform Upwork found that 63% of freelancers had to regularly take money from savings, while others find that they can make a comfortable living with piecemeal work.

“You have to hustle to find gigs,” says Mary Elizabeth Emory, an accountant in Colorado Springs. “Because I have a flexible schedule, I can spend more time with my kids, which makes up for the burden of constantly looking for projects. And I don’t have to sit next to some jerk who will not stop talking.”

Whether or not you can tolerate gigging, much less succeed at it, depends a lot on your attitude, according to experts. Researcher Lyndsey Cameron says that gig workers can feel either exploited or empowered:

“If you’re a first-generation immigrant expecting to work your way up and had done low-paid, low-skill work before, you’re more likely to feel empowered,” she said. “The people who feel more exploited are ones who had been laid off from manufacturing or pink-collar jobs and wanted to stop their downward social mobility.”

Academics, experts, and consultants all say the gig trend is here to stay and are projecting growth across all professions and age groups. One demographic in particular is taking advantage of the gig economy: seniors. Angela Heath, author of Do the Hustle Without the Hassle, said, “seniors are where the gig economy is headed.”

Some seniors are gigging because they don’t have enough money for total retirement; others because they enjoy work; and still others are sought out by firms looking for specific experience and expertise. Heath reminds us that the gig economy encompasses far more than Uber drivers. “There’s a continuum of gig platforms, including some for the nation’s top [companies].”

The Servant Economy

Taken from

The Servant Economy

Ten years after Uber inaugurated a new era for Silicon Valley, we checked back in on 105 on-demand businesses.


In March 2009, Uber was born. Over the next few years, the company became not just a disruptive, controversial transportation company, but a model for dozens of venture-funded companies. Its name became a shorthand for this new kind of business: Uber for laundry; Uber for groceries; Uber for dog walking; Uber for (checks notes) cookies. Larger transformations swirled around—the gig economy, the on-demand economy—but the trend was most easily summed up by the way so many starry-eyed founders pitched their company: Uber for X.

This micro-generation of Silicon Valley start-ups did two basic things: It put together a labor pool to deliver food or clean toilets or assemble IKEA bookshelves, and it found people who needed those things done. Academics called this a “two-sided market,” but to a user, it meant tapping on a phone and watching the world rearrange itself to satisfy your desires. Convenience drove consumer demand. Economic need and work flexibility drove the labor supply. At least in theory.

Now, a decade since Uber blazed the trail, and half that since the craze faded, we built a spreadsheet of 105 Uber-for-X companies founded in the United States, representing $7.4 billion in venture-capital investment. We culled fromlistsdug in Crunchbase, and pulled from old news coverage. It’s not a comprehensive list, but it is a large sample of the hopes and dreams of the entrepreneurs of the time.

The Uber Economy

Article taken from The Atlantic

Is the company destroying full-time work, entrenching us in part-time purgatory, or empowering America’s most independent workers?

In the last few years, Uber has gone through a life cycle that once took successful companies decades to complete—from start-up to upstart, from pushy disruptor to pushy behemoth, from iPhone button to cultural icon. Uber’s executives don’t like to associate themselves with the “sharing economy,” the smattering of firms that allow average Joes to sell access to their fallow goods and services (rent my empty home on Airbnb, buy my open 3 p.m. hour on TaskRabbit). The company’s ambitions, it says, are grander. But for now, the vast majority of drivers are behind the wheel of their own car. “Sharing” is, to be quite literal, the majority business of Uber.

This puts Uber squarely in the crosshairs of a debate about what exactly this peer-to-peer economy means for the future of the economy. (Like all discussions that include the term “future of the economy,” this can amount to little more than rounding up some very recent developments and projecting forward 10 years with jaunty confidence.) Are these new companies creating value from nothing, or destroying the value of the formal economy? Are they inventing new, flexible ways for underemployed Americans to work, or are they contributing to the destruction of full-time jobs?


The typical Uber driver is a college-educated man, married with kids, who is supplementing a full- or part-time job with about 15 hours of driving a week, logging 20 to 30 trips, and earning an extra $300 to $400 a week (before factoring in the cost of gas and upkeep). That’s according to a new paper by Alan Krueger, the eminent Princeton economist who served as chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, working with Uber’s head of policy research, Jonathan Hall. Krueger and Hall based their research on both Uber’s data and an online survey of 600 Uber drivers in 20 markets, including New York, Washington, and San Francisco.

The best way to review the paper’s factoids is to flip through the pretty pictures. Uber’s growth exploded in late 2013 thanks to the rise of its cheaper uberX program, which now accounts for more than 80 percent of its drivers. The largest market of uberX drivers is Los Angeles. The fastest-growing are new entrants Miami and Austin.

According to the online survey, Uber drivers are almost 90 percent men, which is still more female-heavy than taxi drivers. They’re also more diverse (defined as: less white) and more college-educated than the general workforce, but similar in age and likelihood to have a kid. In other words, Uber drivers are a fairly perfect representative sample of a typical U.S. metro area workforce.

Wife, Kids, and a B.A.: The Uber Driver Demographic

In large cities, uberX drivers report earning between $15 (Chicago) and $25 (San Francisco) per hour before factoring in the cost of gas. How does that stack up against other jobs?

To give you a rough, rough sense—really, I can’t stress enough the roughness of the sense, since I’m comparing figures from separate surveys and not including driving costs—I’ve graphed a comparison of self-reported hourly earnings of Uber drivers in San Francisco against the hourly earnings of other San Francisco occupations from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ occupational employment stats. At least in this comparison (rough!), driving with Uber is a more efficient way to make money than the most common jobs in America, cashiers and retail salespeople, or being a taxi driver, a baker, or a construction worker. It’s still not as lucrative as the average San Francisco occupation.

How Much Can You Make Driving Uber?

Before Uber: 80 Percent Working Full- or Part-Time Jobs

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DEREK THOMPSON is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, technology, and the media. He is the author of Hit Makersand the host of the podcast Crazy/Genius.