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?

References:

http://arstechnica.com/business/2015/09/amazon-flex-will-pay-you-18-25-per-hour-to-deliver-prime-now-packages/

http://blog.designcrowd.nl/article/202/crowdsourcing-is-not-new–the-history-of-crowdsourcing-1714-to-2010

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longitude_rewards

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2 responses to “The rise of the errand boy: crowdsourcing job creation”

  1. Maxim Grgurevic says :

    I agree on the notions in your post that it could give a rise in a new kind of workers. People are becoming too structured but they want more variety in their work. To be honest, who is still willing to work for the same company in the same field with the same schedule for 40 years?

    I really like the concept of working as an errand boy, it is challenging you to be flexible in different ways. Your work schedule should be really flexible, because it is possible to do an Uber run at 5:00 am, then work on a companies new website at 7:00 am and ending your day with an Amazon flex delivery at 4:00 pm. It is also challenging you to be flexible in your skills. It keeps challenging you to learn more and different things in different fields. You really have to be a Jack of all trades to work like this. That is why I also think that errand boys will be the future of freelance work.

    Also due to the availability of online courses it is now also possible to educate yourself in a lot of different fields (e.g. web design, programming, digital marketing etc). This is great for the errand boys to extend their knowledge and work on different jobs.

    Personally, I might work like this someday, because I am eager to learn new things and I like to plan my working schedule. You will also have more control on the type of work you’ll be doing. You don’t have to work in an office for five straight days anymore. But first, I am looking for a stabile working environment. In ten years or so, I might become a errand boy myself. At the end, flexibility and freedom are the main drivers for me to become an errand boy.

    Maxim Grgurevic
    372850mg

  2. maximgrgurevic says :

    I agree on the notions in your post that it could give a rise in a new kind of workers. People are becoming too structured but they want more variety in their work. To be honest, who is still willing to work for the same company in the same field with the same schedule for 40 years?

    I really like the concept of working as an errand boy, it is challenging you to be flexible in different ways. Your work schedule should be really flexible, because it is possible to do an Uber run at 5:00 am, then work on a companies new website at 7:00 am and ending your day with an Amazon flex delivery at 4:00 pm. It is also challenging you to be flexible in your skills. It keeps challenging you to learn more and different things in different fields. You really have to be a Jack of all trades to work like this. That is why I also think that errand boys will be the future of freelance work.

    Also due to the availability of online courses it is now also possible to educate yourself in a lot of different fields (e.g. web design, programming, digital marketing etc). This is great for the errand boys to extend their knowledge and work on different jobs.

    Personally, I might work like this someday, because I am eager to learn new things and I like to plan my working schedule. You will also have more control on the type of work you’ll be doing. You don’t have to work in an office for five straight days anymore. But first, I am looking for a stabile working environment. In ten years or so, I might become a errand boy myself. At the end, flexibility and freedom are the main drivers for me to become an errand boy.

    Maxim Grgurevic
    372850mg

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