Elance Blog

A Work Revolution

A few years before Elance came to life, Daniel Pink wrote a book about the rising relevance of independent workers and wrote an article with the same title which appeared in Fast Company at the end of 1997:

Free Agent Nation   "There's a new movement in the land. From coast to coast, in communities large and small, citizens are declaring their independence and drafting a new bill of rights. Meet some of the 25 million residents of Free Agent, USA".  

Today, the free agent movement is global and uses the Internet as its workplace.

A good number of independent workers are members of our community. They market their services, work, make money and grow their reputation on the web. Their diversity and resourcefulness, and their relationship with the Internet, have been the subject of several interesting pieces of organizational research ("The Future of Work",  written by MIT's professor Tom Malone, includes a section on Elance and its community).

The combination of a rapidly changing Internet foundation and work creates tremendous opportunity. More advanced online tools and applications are becoming available for remote workers and small businesses. The ability to work from anywhere in the world, without having to own and manage expensive infrastructure, is rapidly becoming a reality (check out AEC2, Amazon's cloud computing platform).

But most of us have a love-hate relationship with new technology. As consumers, we usually love the latest and greatest. As professionals we mostly prefer the habitual (think transition from Windows XP to Vista). 

Because of Elance's interdependence with an evolving Internet platform, we have to be architects of change. Trying new approaches and testing new tools ensures the continued success and growing relevance of our community - Elance people, their work, a number of rapidly changing collaboration technologies - and creates new models of productivity and collaboration.

Comments

I agree. The change that we will see in customer interaction to delivery of work to community interactions will be very profound and a tectonic shift from the present ways. There are many harbingers of the change already and many mechanisms to create a new ecosystem of interaction ( oh my god -i am not referring the Gates own dream of Unified communications-where he sees the profound changes in society through his own /imagined innovative(!!!!!!!!!???) products from his stable.) are in place.

It is going to be a New Future of work ,play and interactions.

Internet serves as a good way of marketing oneself or to espouse a cause- http://mypyp.wordpress.com. Considering that some of the greatest leades like Lenin for instance worked for their country from abroad, it is a rare tool that our ancestors never had. It is a great place for community action. Maybe some day, new formal technologies shall be developed for mobilising public opinion against any political wrongdoing as well.

Daniel Pink definitely nailed it.
At a time when people were just trying to figure out how a browser worked, Dan was prognosticating the future of "how we work".

Damn fine job of it.

And he hasn't stopped. His blog, www.danpink.com, is a running dialog of Dan's internal thoughts and external goings-on.

His books enlightening. Always.

I think eLance has an opportunity to be the center of the freelance universe.

Hmmm... think on that, and I'l see what else I can find here.

best,
Mark Alan Effinger
RichContent.com

and to boot dan's a great guy. i've had the a chance to speak with him on several occasions. always helpful. i'm surprised no one mentioned his "newer" book
a whole new mind where he launches from the friedmanesque desolate american landscape of asia, automation, and apathy (lots of digital toys! go xbox!) to propose just what our "new work" world will look like.

in it he instructs us creatives to see in new ways, to mash-up seemingly disparite parts to create new products like flicker (old news) or www.scraparondacks.org (a chair/birdhouse company from old pallets that provides jobs, cleans up the environment-50% of the wood harvest goes to shipping pallett construction, and makes lots o smiles.

it's a tool to clarify how to synthesize and aggregate information, products, and services, and repurpose them to insulate the american economy from foreign competition. (he's not xenophobic at all, but we all would still like our $4 fraps don't we?)

you can pick up his book at www.theaayp.org/save/buy.com.

it's great.