Data is nothing without people

About 30 percent of the U.S. workforce is currently self employed, Moritz [Michael Moritz of Sequoia Capital] says, a figure that could rise to 60 percent in the next 10 years. Those who lack the skills or entrepreneurial experience to create their own careers could struggle.

In the next great industrial revolution will be data-driven, the major premise is that data factories are “changing the nature of work by allowing freelancers to market their services to an increasingly large audience.” The danger of course is that a few companies will control these data factories and freelancers will become the product. As they already say with social media, if you are not paying for the service, then you are the product. But all they really have is data. It’s the freelancers who actually do the work. These data factories are nothing but a new breed of middle-men.

As a freelancer for the past decade I can state how important it is to control your own data platform. While I use services that are owned by others (e.g. Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Flickr) I keep very firm control of my website and blog. If I have one piece of advice for any freelancer, it is to own your own domain name and keep your content on it. You can share it through whatever social medium is currently hot, but keep the original work on your own site. No matter how wonderful some hosted platform may look, it’s not about you – ever.

harold jarche standing deskSo after a decade of blogging, consulting, and speaking; my experience is that almost all of my new clients find me through my blog. Yes, it’s that important. A good blog is like an extensive résumé and tells much more than an interview or marketing brochure can. While a labour force of 60% freelancers can sound scary, if we first take control of our own data, and then create our own communities of practice, the future may look even better than the past period of mostly indentured servitude. However, it’s up to us to make it so.

Related posts:

Freelancers Unite

Jobs? We ain’t got no jobs!

Taking charge of your own professional development

Prepare for the future of work

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