The great skill unbundling and Web3
Pre-COVID, showing up to the same office every day made it hard to work for a second employer. But when another job is just a Slack workspace away, it becomes much easier to work multiple part-time jobs. - Packy McCormick
The world has gone digital. For knowledge workers in tech, power has shifted from employers to employees. Yet, we are at the nascent stage of a big revolution that is unfolding - one that will unbundle people and their work into granular skills.
In this edition of No Office Required, we dive into the great unbundling of skills and how Web 3.0 will enable this.
Skill as a Service or SkaaS
Remote work has existed for decades in the form of outsourcing and contracting. Video-based technologies and communication tools made it effortless. Covid accelerated its adoption by a decade. Knowledge work has become async.
Platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr enabled people to exchange their skills for money without being part of an organisation. One person can work for multiple companies.
Business in a box for granular skills
Business in a box is a platform that enables end to end business management for individuals. A well-known example is Shopify.
Substack and Revue do this for writers. Other examples include Anchor for audio creators and Teachable for teachers.
Platforms that enables the same for niche engineers, product managers and other knowledge workers in tech will emerge.
For example, I want to hire a product manager who can use Asana and is familiar with Agile to come in and set up product analytics using Segment and Amplitude in my company. I perform few clicks on a website. I find the right person.
People will be able to sell their granular skills, accept payment, file taxes etc. on a single platform. There will be recurring subscriptions for units of skills (or people - multiple people can provide the same skill). Work in a company can be unbundled to a set of complementary skills. Platforms that will unbundle larger skills to more granular skills will win.
Companies won’t dictate when the person will work. These platforms will let the talent decide when to work, where to work, whom to work for and what to work on.
Liquid employment and SkaaS
Packy McCormick introduced the idea of Liquid employment in his newsletter.
Investors would never choose to invest in just one company; the risk is too concentrated. Instead, they build portfolios. Over time, workers will invest their time in a similar way.
This flexibility will significantly increase the opportunity cost of choosing an exclusive employer. Every decision to spend four years vesting at one company will mean shutting off hundreds of other opportunities.
SkaaS platforms will enable liquid work for individuals. People will be able to work for multiple organisations at the same time, without going through tedious hiring processes. Companies can find the skill they need on-demand based on proof of work rather than outdated hiring methods. Individuals will also accept payments, file their taxes - all in one place.
Wait - isn’t that Upwork?
Upworks of the world is traditionally associated with “cheap work” - a copy-paste job, a low-cost logo design, a few quick videos. New platforms will enable this for highly specific, high quality and high impact work from top talents in tech.
The other big problem with Upwork is the commission they take.
If you are not familiar with web3.0, Nader Dabit explains the basics well in his blog post.
Upwork pricing works like this:
20% for the first $500 you bill your client · 10% for total billings between $500.01 and $10,000 · 5% for total billings over $10,000.
Compared to traditional full-time employment these percentages are significant cut from your income. Web3 can solve this.
Braintrust is a decentralised platform that helps companies find talents and vice versa, but with a 0% cut for the talents. You get to own a part of the platform through their tokens - $BTRST.
DAOs and tokens
DAOs (Digital Autonomous Organization) is the Web3 concept that can enable liquid work. David Hoffman from Bankless has written in detail about this.
A few excerpts:
Digital Organizations are compositions of humans without geographic constraints. Largely hosted in Discord servers (but not exclusively!), DOs are collections of like-minded people with like-minded goals, that work together to make progress towards those goals.
DOs tend to form organically, where those most resonant with the goals and aspirations of the org increasingly gravitate to the Discord server and community.
And now, with Ethereum, DO’s have access to a new tool that changes DOs from communities of intrinsically motivated communities to financially motivated organizations.
That tool is the token.
DAOs will also enable liquid super teams. High profile talents can come together to work on mission-oriented projects without dedicating their whole life to it.
Packy explains Liquid Super Teams with Avengers.
Or you can think of a Liquid Super Team like The Avengers. Each Avenger has an individual identity and unique powers. Each can survive, thrive, and save a city on their own. But when it’s time to do something big, like save the world, they join forces. Each comes and goes as needed, not bound by a formal contract.
This will also lead to more impactful projects that can actually change the world for good - Not just make the rich VCs richer.
“Even a billion dollars of capital cannot compete with a project having a soul.” - Vitalik Buterin
Imagine a school for Youtubers run by MKBHD, MrBeast and 50 other top YouTubers. This is not far from reality. Youtubers are already splitting their income from collaborations through platforms like Stir.
Imagine a decentralised Ycombinator - contributed by tens and thousands of top founders all over the world. And all parties are incentivised equally based on successful companies that come out of it.
Read the full blog post to understand the concept of DAOs, DO (Digital Organisations) and tokens.
Is the whole Web3.0 just hype?
If you are not sure about the future of Web3 - that is ok. I’m not sure too. You should be able to hold contradicting thoughts at the same time.
Nathan Bashaw wrote this amazing piece on how to deal with emerging, potentially world-changing paradigms.
Bonus: Here is another interesting product I found out during the research for this edition: Taskdapp
Taskdapp is a decentralised task management solution that will incentivise you based on the tasks completed. We will cover this concept in-depth in a future newsletter:
Web3, Tokens and Future of Compensation in remote teams. Stay tuned
The future is exciting! 🚀
How did you like this week’s No Office Required? I put hours of research into every edition of this Newsletter. Your feedback helps me make this great.
Thanks for reading and see you in two weeks!