NUANCES & AMBIGUITY: ethics & the Fiverrisation of work

Some of you are not going to like this…

I was born a shit disturber.

My kindergarten teacher said so on my report card.

It’s no surprise my kids are a strong minded too.

They made this art.

It’s from a time long. long ago, when I still I had faith in tech innovation and a shift in politics could change economy.

I was clinging hard to the hope that humans could evolve to be progressive global citizens.

Rising tides of technology could lift all the proverbial boats.

Naturally we ensured they were happily coding from the time they were 3. I’m mean #goals riiiight?

Good times. My homies were local nannies. We cooked, laughed, watched the kids together. I could see the economy from their point of view. I learned about how easily our Canadian system made it for exploiters.

Weirdly, some of my posh neighbours got uncomfortable when I would share what I learned. I am compulsively honest and an optimizer by nature. Speaking about exploitation among people who benefit from it, while awkward, was irresistible.

Their struggles were just the tip of the iceberg peaking out of early gig economy waters.

Far-sourcing, Fiverr, Upwork, hundreds of on-demand apps grew bigger and stronger.

First world workers now competing with the cheapest, most plentiful supply of remote workers. All while young white men found million dollar unicorns. A few boats got big and ours had more holes to plug up.

Millions of us now clinging to life savers alone.

Here some irony: the post-modern economy is called the Gig Economy.

Behold a gig.

St Mary’s Gig “Slippen” (1830) showing construction detail (Azook) credit:

Picture a big vessel coming several hundred metres from port seeking new “pilot” to steer the ship.

These “gig pilot” boats race to a big vessel towing their candidate.

First gig reaching the vessel wins. That pilot gets the job. The gig rowers get paid by the pilot, yay for hustling and being first!

The rest of you other gig boats turn back.

Because there’s ZERO for second prize.

That kind of sums up the economy. It takes a lot of effort and luck to get decent pay. No amount of education or ingenuity can assure a millennial a decent income.

In fact, let’s stop calling millennials by that cliche. Aren’t they really Generation Gig?

They could spend all day listening to podcasts and reading ebooks on how to make money on -insert platform here- and STILL hardly make rent. And forget about paying dental insurance or get drug benefits.

Yes really.

Earlier this year, I reached out to woman on BUNZ Trading zone who asked if someone had clove oil because she had a tooth ache. I messaged her saying she could find it for a few dollars at the grocery store. She replied, “I’m ashamed to say this but I can’t even afford the few dollars, I’m no longer covered by my parents benefit plan and no way can I afford a dentist either .”

Took me a few clicks to arranged for her to come get my bottle and I left it in my mailbox for her with a note saying:

“Never apologize for being poor. It’s the lack of opportunities for this generation that are shameful. ”

She was the tipping point. I was too chicken to launch my little startup app but she pushed me to make Gugoiza go live for a super-early soft launch.

My voice was still squeaky when describing it to people repeatedly whenever I met new people.

It’s a bold move to put everything I got into a startup that challenges the “Fiverrisation” of the economy.

Crazy talk, I know. It’s like being the Elon Musk of the urban economy. I mean why would people buy into more costly, socially responsible local hiring when cheap labour is clicks away?

FULL AWKWARDNESS WARNING. If you like to brag about how cheaply you got someone to build your website or what at “deal” it was to have a custom art logo made for pennies on the dollar, avert your eyes till I say so. It’s going to get a little real. 3.2.1…

*drags over the soapbox, steps up*

How long can the subtle nuances and consequence ambiguity of the far & cheap-sourcing trend remain “subtle and nuanced”?

That depends.

Exactly how high can you build gated community walls to keep out a generation of increasingly poor and the most precariously employed people in recent urban history?

Instead of eating cake, would you hang over the balcony and say, “Let them make code!”

While the upper and upper middle class are getting bargains everywhere, the Gig generation is less healthy, growing more desperate.

The legions of underemployed: disable peeps, LGBTQ, women, immigrants, youth are growing.

How long will free-wifi at Starbucks and unlimited refills keep the masses broke millennials pacified?

I’m honestly baffled at the paradox.

When urban workers can’t patch together enough job competing with third world freelancers, and guaranteed income isn’t happening, what will our beloved cities look like?

*steps off the soapbox, little curtsy*

Ok, you can look now.

But really are you wondering who, has the audacity to launch an app?


Against trending commission-based and far-sourcing and funded Goliath apps?

Aha. I have a better question.

You should really be wondering which venture capitalist is as bold and disruptive enough of a thinker to notice that 40% of workers will be freelancers, deserving and demanding an awesome free marketplace to sell their skills and services.

Imagine that?

If you care about the future of your communities, come find hyper-local awesome thinkers, makers, doers, & creatives.

If you are one of those Jedi awesome freelancers, show some pride and tweet, instagram or facebook: @jobSelfie #freelancerUnleashed Easy done.

Peace. & Jobs.

@jobSelfie @gugoiza



Follow us @gugoiza

founder of The free freelancer marketplace.

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