So if you cannot get a job or you have lost one or you fear that you will lose one: what is your future?
I think it is this. The new economy that is emerging out of the ashes of the Job is a return to the Artisan with a difference. This time the Artisan is embedded in a network that leverages the value.
The new economy will not use the rules of the old but the rules of the network. It will not all be about programmers. But about "Makers" and a lot of what will be made will be food. For a new food system will replace the factory food system too. Here is why I think this to be true
In my book, You Don't Need a Job - I explore this is detail. Here is how I see this new world. It is already here - if you look carefully.
Online Global Connecting Trust Platforms
In 1910, Henry Ford opened a new factory at Highland Park. Here were found all the rules that were to make mass production possible in one place. If you had visited Highland Park in 1912, you would have seen the future in working form.
'Highland Parks' exist today. The new Highland Parks are the online connecting trust platforms. They enable global free scaling. If we look at them carefully, we can see the future.
You can easily see this kind of global online connecting trust platform in the craft sector. Community sites like Etsy and Ravelry are enabling millions of people in the craft and knitting worlds to make a living. Who would have thought that a young mother in a rural village in the UK could make a living selling knitting patterns and wool, but many do now.
Trust is built into these systems, they are not mere shopfronts. They enable the old village market, with all its social aspects, to exist globally. These systems enable the Artisan or Pioneer to link up with the Pragmatic and Nurturing archetypes in a systemic way.
Let’s see how they work in more detail.
The Human “Network Effect”: Mutual Benefit, More Trust and Freedom
Connecting trust platforms are emerging all over the place that give us all the benefit of the network effect. In a true network, all the members get more value as the network grows. While there are transactions, the big payoff is more trust. While each member has to fit into the protocols, the result is more personal freedom.
Lets’s start with growing mutual benefit for all. For instance, many people are putting their apartments up for rent on connecting trust platforms like Airbnb. This way you can get some additional income for your place and I can also find a good place to stay when I travel. I rent an Airbnb place 100 yards from where my son lives in Montreal when I visit him at a third of the cost of a cheap hotel room. The apartment is a real home. The owner has a name and cares what happens. She wins and I win. She reduces the costs of her home, I reduce the costs of my travel and I get to see my grandson more because it costs less and is more convenient. How can a budget hotel compete with this?
It’s all About Trust.
As each of us uses Airbnb, the trust grows. It grows locally between renters and owners who meet each other and get to know each other and it grows system wide. As behaving well becomes the new norm, it enters the social immune system of all parties. It is in everyone’s interest to deal with free riders. As trust grows in total, so does the scaling of the system. It is a positive cycle.
Airbnb makes its money by taxing the total system. The more the system grows, the better all do. So every member including the host is aligned.
The Human Network Effect: The Tighter the Protocols, the More Freedom
The high status in the ‘New World’ will be those who are free of ownership. This brings more personal freedom, for in reality, many of the chains we wear come from our attachment to things and to stuff.
Owning things is a legacy of the ancient age, when your clothes, your horse, and your castle proclaimed your status. What we missed is that the more debt we have and the more we are encumbered by our possessions, the more a slave we become. And by slave I mean a person who has little or no control in their lives. A person who has to fit into the old system.
What Could be More Symbolic of this Attachment than Our Cars?
What we have missed is that we don’t really need a car, we really need the service of a car. The car is perhaps the most important status symbol of the industrial world. In Toronto, it costs $9,000 a year, fully depreciated, to own a car. It costs, on average, another $4,000 to park it. You have to earn $22,000 gross for the privilege. There is, however, a network alternative that is growing in power. Car sharing in Toronto can be for an hour, a week or more.; it is priced by time. You can car share like this.
The Human Network Effect: More Innovation
When you participate in a connecting trust platform you will also get progressively smarter. Remember that optimal learning comes from high trust environments that allow for many patterns or experiences to emerge.
While the old industrial model fights for more copyright, the human network offers most ideas for free using the open source model. What this means in practice is that new technology is available to the individual at a very low cost. We all share in the human network effect again.
The best open source systems are rooted in connecting trust platforms that facilitate sharing and that create the network effect for members. Such platforms also create better quality products and services. Open source is a Darwinian process where the good replaces the less good and where thousands work at this process of improvement.
Wordpress is a great example of such a connecting trust platform. The 3D printing world is coalescing around connecting trust platforms. Wikipedia is a connecting trust platform, as are MOOCs. (MOOC’s or Massive Online Open Courses are exploding as universities attempt to find an online alternative to the classroom).
The human network world will be a place where ideas grow more quickly, better and cheaper than in the old machine world. The old will hang onto their desire to control and, in doing so, become progressively more stupid and thus more vulnerable.
The Human Network Effect: It Will Cost Almost Nothing to Operate an Enterprise
You will have access to connecting trust platforms of tools that will enable you to compete directly with large corporations.
Back in 1880, we all owned our own tools. With the advent of industrialization and the mass market, however, tools got bigger and became too costly for the individual. Now technology is making most tools affordable for the individual again. In film, any person can afford an editing suite that only ten years ago would have been the preserve of a studio. Coming soon with 3D printing, it will be possible even to custom make manufactured goods as well. I see the day when even cars are made locally using open source designs and 3D printing.
These tools become even more empowering when they are connected to a platform. Between 40 percent and 60 percent of the costs of most organization are overhead. The most affected are companies with 20 to 50 employees. Most of the costs of running a business can simply go away if you choose to use these new work platforms.
Ideally, your organization should have no central office or offices. With the “Cloud” and the many tools that are supported in the cloud, all your core support processes can be virtual. We are moving quickly from a design where each of us keep our data and our applications locally. With the Cloud, all data and all applications can be shared beyond the node. Soon our local devices will pull down only what we need when we need it. The costs of having great tools and of massive amounts of storage are dropping to close to zero.
This trend for more network value is also true for staffing. Here is a link to the hiring page for Automattic, the organization that runs WordPress. See how they fit this new world and how different it is from an old organization.
In such a world, most of the meetings fade away, as the work is fully open and transparent. People can comment as things come up and much of the friction goes away.
Ideally your organization should only have a tiny core that is fully employed. In reality, all business has its ups and downs and a large, fixed overhead takes away your freedom and pushes you off mission.
Skilled workers can have more than one employer and are therefore safer too.
Employers can hire from the global pool and thus have access to the best people. Workers can choose to live where they want and have the best living choices. We are seeing the beginning of a move away from high cost large cities as a result.
We will no longer have to base a company in a big city, it can be anywhere. As a result the costs of a big city life can be reduced.
I will cover this in much more detail in You Don’t Need an Office.
The Human Network Effect: You Will Need the Banks Much Less
We are seeing a return to the classic rules of credit, where investors have a real connection and a stake in the deal. Connecting trust platforms extend the reach and make this kind of deal easy.
Much of the power of banks, and most of their costs to us, will go away in the network world.
For here the core of the idea of capital will not be financial capital, but social capital. The more trust you have, the bigger the network you have and thus the more you will be financed directly by your customers and other members who share your network.
We see the early evidence of this in the new financing connected trust platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo. (My Dummies guide here)
The best deals here are where the borrower has a name and a cause and a product or a service that fits the needs of the members. The borrower, in effect, pre-sells to the market who are tied to her directly.
We see this in the new local food system, where farmers sell direct early in the season to buyers who will take delivery at harvest. This is called community supported agriculture.
We see this in community equity financings where the regulations confine the deal to parties who live in the same place.
Again, these systems are all based on finding trust again.
I will cover this section in more detail in You Don’t Need a Banker.
The Human Network Effect: Will Lower the Costs of Education and Health
Today, higher education and healthcare are the two most expensive services that we buy. Most of these costs will go away. You will also get better outcomes.
The cost of secondary education has grown faster than any other part of life. It has grown even faster, and by more, than healthcare. Student debt is now a bigger weight on the young than the mortgage bubble was on their parents.
Few things keep aspiring young people more in thrall than the burden of university. Few services have declined as much in quality than the learning experience provided by universities.
All this is changing.
In the next 10 years, educating yourself will become a new norm for many people. In education, we see the Khan Academy emerging as paradigm changing force. Many of the leading universities are putting their courses online.
Soon we will see even the ‘course’, with one teacher, shift to a tutorial model where the expert and the students engage in a conversation. This is a model where all learn from the emergent properties of conversation and where it will be our reputation that emerges as our credential.
The academic credential is like the job, an artifact of the industrial system. It is a convenient symbol of attainment.
Already, in the software world, employers hire on reputation. If you live in the Drupal world, you know the social hierarchy. You know who the players are. You know who is good or not. New entrants have to prove themselves in this ecology. As more of us live and work in networks, our reputation will become more important than any CV. It will be when others who are trusted say that you can do the work that you will get the work.
Learning will return to being a personal activity. The long death of machine education will open up a huge opportunity for those that really do want to teach and learn. Reputation and real knowledge will replace the credential. Connecting trust platforms for learning will emerge as they are for business.
It’s the same in health.
Many of us live in big cities because that is where the healthcare services are concentrated. Many of us pay enormous sums to access healthcare. This burden will go away.
A new, networked community health model is emerging where we help each other eat and live in a more healthy way. Much of this is connected to the new food system.
It will be the advent of the right kind of connecting trust platforms that will tip this idea into the new health reality.
I will cover these two areas in much more detail when I release You Don’t Need Medicine to Be Healthy in March and You Don't Need a School to Get an Education in the summer of 2013.