How Can Web 3 Impact The Human Cloud and Future of Work?
Hint...can it make the Human Cloud a sustainable career path for every individual on the planet?
First, HAPPY THANKSGIVING! We intentionally sent this today so you’d have some discussion material beyond politics tomorrow (goodluck everyone) .
Second, what’s the deal with Web 3, the metaverse, NFT’s, DeFi?
To be honest, 3 weeks ago I was ignoring it.
Then I sat down with experts and realized the technology behind Web 3 might empower every individual on the planet to sustainably tap into the Human Cloud.
WARNING: This content will be pretty boring if you’re not a product nerd. It’s intentionally written to inform spec doc’s or roadmaps.
*If you’re building these solutions, we’d love to highlight you and potentially help. Reply to this mail.
What Is Web 3?
It sounds like the best buzz word to categorize the environment enabled by the recent advances in crypto, specifically NFT’s, DeFi and the metaverse.
According to Cody Robertson:
“Web 3.0 will allow users to gain greater control over these things, which means Web 3.0 will be a true peer-to-peer environment. Individual property and privacy will be paramount, and consumers won't have to waste time on invasive, spammy websites that collect and share data.”
What is the Human Cloud?
No different than the shift from on-prem to cloud computing, just with work itself, specifically:
from physical offices to Zoom, Slack, Google Workspace
from one full time job to hybrid work (mix of full time employees and independent freelancers)
I see Web 3 as both complementary and an accelerant to the existing tools.
In perfect state, I see it disrupting the current industry to go from needing intermediaries for matching, payment, legal, security, and workflow challenges to freelancers themselves owning the tools run their solo business.
WARNING: The Human Cloud doesn’t turn everyone into freelancers. It makes hiring freelancers more efficient and cost effective than attracting and retaining full time employees. Just like how Zoom/Slack/G-Workspace made remote work more efficient and cost-effective than the office, creating a remote-first environment, not remote or office environment.
Who Cares? Why Does This Matter?
There are numerous implications with various importance depending on whose reading this.
For example, if you run a freelance platform, you should be worried about becoming obsolete, or providing value beyond payment processing, etc
For this article, I’m focused on two major challenges:
Enabling freelancing as a sustainable career path.
For most, freelancing currently is insanely hard, unpredictable, and lonely (95% of freelancers don’t make 6-figures according to Wethos).
Enabling freelancing as a trusted engine for 80% of a companies talent needs.
According to experts in Web 3, two technology implications might be possible:
Portable merit through cross-platform and seamlessly integrated identities
A historical, transparent record of merit
Solution 1: Portable merit through cross-platform and seamlessly integrated identities
Currently talent is torn between having closed profiles across a number of different platforms (LinkedIn, Upwork, various smaller solutions or platforms).
Each platform is a closed garden, and the more work a freelancer does on that platform, the more they need the platform since it collects merit based data, usually through ratings, reviews, and work related collateral.
Thus if a platform changes its algorithms or weighting of the search criteria, a freelancers opportunities can be significantly reduced.
Instead, what if merit variables could be integrated across Upwork, LinkedIn, or wherever a freelancer can find opportunity (most leads happen through email, Twitter, and job-boards)?
We learned some interesting things about a portable profile at Venture L that supported findings from my experience seeing $100 million+ spent on freelancers from startups to Fortune 500’s.
We learned that the optimal freelancer profile has the ability to customize their portfolio based off the lead and package a freelancers value into scoped offerings.
Optimal is measured by percentage of leads that convert to clients
A: Portfolio customization: the ability to change in seconds which skills or projects show up first.
Example: Large Real Estate firm needs an explainer video.
Below 👇 👇👇 is the customization in seconds. This is from Frederik Esteen’s profile (hell of a video marketer, hire him ASAP).
Below 👇👇👇 is a unique link that Frederik can share across all channels.
B: Packaged offerings: the ability to package the price, timeline, and scope of project offerings so clients can have confidence and potentially 1-click buy (this is the logic behind Fiverr and Upwork’s Project Catalog).
We integrated a Google form to accomplish this.
Below 👇👇👇 is Kemal Avodic’s packaged offerings (Kemal kicks total ass in brand design)
Most Pressing Challenge: What are the necessary variables that are universal and can become standard protocol for a freelancer profile?
Solution 2: A historical, transparent record of merit
Ghosting, meaning freelancers or clients disappearing is a massive problem. It happens over 30% of the time, causes major client pain, and hurts all freelancers.
The current best solutions is crowdsourced ratings/reviews, no different than Amazon.
Ratings/reviews have serious problems.
They don’t accurately correlate to a strong client experience.
It’s a crap-in, crap-out situation.
Clients typically choose 1 or 5 stars.
The client more often than not is at fault yet has the power of choosing the rating/review.
Knowledge work is highly subjective, and current ratings/reviews can’t properly index the various subjective criteria.
To work at scale, they require a market with a small amount of platforms so freelancers can’t keep jumping to other platforms.
Instead, the blockchain can transparently record historical performance into the integrated freelancer profile mentioned above.
Most Pressing Challenge: Can we create industry wide standards for how to define and measure merit?
If yes, follow up challenges…
WHO decides these standards?
Currently there are 1,000+ platforms, communities, and solutions providing resources like pricing templates, contracts etc but there’s no sharing, instead each platform/community/solution uses them for lead gen or signups.
This creates an environment where ‘transparency’ is a buzzword and ‘best practices’ are just tools for engagement. This results in freelancers getting getting drowned by the raw quantity of fragmented information and mistrust of the never ending sales pitches from communities and freelancer coaches.
Instead, there should be a couple variables (pricing per skill/project, crucial clauses, timelines) that knowledge is open sourced.
HOW do we measure success of these standards?
Is it the amount of total spend on freelancers (last years numbers were $1.2t spent on freelancers)?
Is it client satisfaction related? Or better, the tangible impact to clients like time saved, revenue resulted from, etc
WHAT incentives align the freelancer-client relationship and maintains this relationship at scale?
Is there a structure equivalent to miners?
Can we go beyond ratings/reviews?
What level of human intervention will be required? Can software replace the account management layer that agencies and high quality marketplaces have? Even if they can, should they?
If you’ve made it to the bottom, CONGRATS! You’re equal parts nerd and passionate about an ethical and sustainable future of work.
We want to hear from you, help you, and share your story. Reply directly to this thread and we’ll be in touch soon.