There was a time when a person’s career was spent at one company, climbing the ladder & feeling secure in the notion that retirement was there for them. Looking neither safe nor rewarding, that path is just not the norm these days.
These days, people jump between companies, seeking novelty and gathering experience & skills, building their CV in search of advancement, or stockpiling resources to build their own thing.
We can only speculate on why that is:
- Those safe career/life paths may no longer be that safe.
- Recent generations are restless & don’t settle as easily.
- It’s getting cheaper & cheaper to do your own thing.
The truth is probably a combination of the above, but I’m going to go ahead and put emphasis on the last bit.
The cost of building companies pre-internet or early-internet, vs. now, was 10x-100x higher. Of course, I came up with the number on the spot, but think about it:
- Building a brick & mortar store? $100k might do.
- Building an early-internet company? The computers were super-expensive, you needed to build your own servers… Let’s kid ourselves and say you could have done it all for $10k.
- Online? You can build a storefront with drop-shipping for under $1k, or even free if you’ll have it hosted on sites like Etsy or eBay.
Two Other Options
Enabled by the widespread adoption of the computer & the internet, two other paths have experienced a resurgence:
- Freelancing & founding
These paths existed long before the internet, what gave them fresh appeal is the above-mentioned drop in costs of starting a company & the about to be mentioned, location independence enabled by the widespread use of computers & internet.
Anyhow, these roads tend to overlap, as a lot of freelancers will tell you their main passion is that project they’re working on in their free time or that podcast they’re running on the side.
Enter The DAO
The decentralized autonomous organization, as a concept, has now been around for a while. In practice, we’re only now getting a glimpse at them - the ones that work.
As it currently stands, the most fully functional ones are the ones that are intended for running decentralized funds, such as the MolochDAO/DAOHaus/Pokemol.
To make more use-cases possible, we will need tools like Colony to allow us to actually manage work & reward allocation, and a reputation system inside your decentralized organization.
Other notable frameworks for running DAOs are Aragon & DAOstack, but let us get into more detail comparing all of these in some future article, and move back to the main point.
These magical tools for building DAOs will make it orders of magnitude cheaper, faster & easier to launch & manage organizations of any kind.
This should enable people on opposite sides of the world, who don’t necessarily even trust each other - to build companies together, over the internet.
- It’s not surprising this blows your mind, what’s surprising is that it doesn’t blow everyone’s mind.
The Roads Become One 😱
So, what we got is:
- The emergence of tools for building & running companies digitally & without any central authorities;
- Driving down the cost of starting companies,
- Taking the cost of participating in building companies down with it.
You can start to imagine people “freelancing” from organization to organization, earning a bit of ownership anywhere they go - all the while having a company that they’ve started running in parallel, being built by other freelancers.
The paths of a “freelancer” and a “business owner” become one - magic.
Another thing you get is freelancers starting to form decentralized units & unions, one such organism is the Raid Guild. A decentralized workshop providing pretty much anything from consulting to design, development, and marketing - formed by the members of the MetaCartel.
Possible side effects
- The freelancer feels less lonely & isolated.
- The business owner feels more freedom.
- They’re both able to say “fuck you!” to their landowners in San Francisco because they’re living the dream in the Web of Opportunity.
- Random remote villages in the developing world prosper.