The rise of the errand boy: crowdsourcing job creation
Crowdsourcing means getting a large number of people to all focus on one task in the hopes that the outcome will be more valuable and successful than the endeavor of one man. As the saying goes: two minds are better than one. Or in this case: hundreds or thousands of minds are better than one. However, most people think this concept is new when actually it started quite a while ago.
Although the term “crowdsourcing” was coined by Wired writer Jeff Howe in 2006, one of the first crowdsourcing projects in the world actually took place in 1714 in England (although Philip of Spain offered a reward for anyone who could solve this problem in 1576). The longitude problem was that, back in that time, sailors had no easy way to calculate the longitude while at sea, causing long voyages to often get lost and result on the death of its crew. Thus, the British government offered £20,000 to the person who could solve this problem, which in the end was John Harrison. Clearly, crowdsourcing is not a new topic. But then why do people think it is so new?
This is because it has only recently become such a rich area of innovation. The concept of crowdsourcing has started to become implemented in very interesting places. Most recently, Amazon has launched its service called Amazon Flex. Most likely inspired by Uber, Amazon allows people to become flexible delivery workers for its Prime service. All you need to get started? A car and a smartphone. Two items which a lot of people own anyway these days. The great thing about services like this is that you are your own boss. You get paid for how productive you are, how much value you bring, as opposed to a set number of hours that you spend in the office.
This could give rise to a whole new area of workers: I like to call them errand boys. These people will most likely choose not to have a stable a job and instead fill their days with various, smaller paid jobs. For example, they could take on a web development job on freelance.com and when they need a break from working in front of the computer, they can take an Uber run. After their Uber run is done, they can potentially deliver a Amazon Flex package on their way home.
Do you think you might work like this someday?