The three tech trends that are shaping how you’ll live and work in the century ahead.
We spend plenty of time at Dave Partners talking about work in the tech world. Yet increasingly, the best minds out there are thinking about how tech is changing work itself – for all of us, whether we work in tech or not. We have so many new tools now that the nature of what we can do at work is changing. Here are some of the most exciting qualities of tech-enabled work in the 21st century.
In the age of crowd-sourcing, crowd-funding and the massive collaborative projects that create open-source software, traditional business hierarchies feel pretty darn out of date.
A good chain of command and a reliable structure should enable collaboration and effective decision-making, not stifle it. However, more and more business leaders are switching to agile, performance-based, flat structures that allow employees to switch teams, communicate and collaborate across traditional boundaries, and get things done without worrying too much about anyone’s precise job description.
Mark Cuban, on his Twitter, says that “jobs” are on the way out. Instead of reporting to a single employer for a set number of hours a day, 21st-century workers will operate in a perpetually free marketplace, selling chunks of time and skill to whomever can benefit from them.
Granted, that sounds drastic, but there’s a lot to be said for stability and experience. For example, someone who’s been working on your team for five years can contribute more than someone who’s been brought in for an hour, simply because they know the business and you on a deeper level that only experience can buy.
Still, as more and more industries switch to a freelance model, and more and more workers rack up second jobs and freelance gigs in their spare time, it’s not hard to imagine that we’ll see ourselves – not as people with “jobs” – but as professionals with varied client bases that can make use of all our different talents.
In his amazing Medium piece, Moo.do founder Jay Meistrich, describes how he worked a 50-hour week building a startup – all while traveling to over twenty countries.
We’re not all as lucky as Meistrich, but it’s undeniably true that the greatest and most omnipresent tool of the Internet age – that is to say, the actual Internet, and all the cloud services, communication tools, and collaborative mechanisms it’s given us – means that almost no-one honestly needs to work in an office any longer. Almost any work you can imagine can be done from a laptop in your living room, or even from your phone.
That doesn’t necessarily render offices obsolete. The kind of complex information transfer, collaboration, training and social cohesion that a truly great company needs is much easier to communicate face to face. But it does mean that you have more options and contexts than ever before in which to get your work done – that a snow day or a delayed train doesn’t mean you can’t get to work on time. It just means you can’t get to your chair on time. When work becomes free, we all become free to move. Which is one of the most heartening developments of all.