May 14, 2013
And lo, there did come the day when lolcat, destroyer of jobs, went about his dread culling …
I have trouble with the premise that Jaron Lanier presents in this recent Salon article about how the Internet “destroyed the middle class.” If anything, it has empowered the middle class.
The Internet is a technological tool. Tools are pass-through mechanisms. A person or people exert energy through it, leveraging that energy to greater or more focused effect. In that sense, the people carry the culpability for things, not their tools — this is why we convict and imprison people, not bullets or blades, no matter how controversial those tools may be.
That said, Kodak going bankrupt is a tale told numerous times by the steamboat, the horse and buggy (as mentioned in the article), and major railroads, among others. In telling this cautionary tale of the terrible human cost of technology in the form of ro-butts stealin’ our jobs!, we gloss over the fact that Kodak is emerging from bankruptcy, still employs hundreds, and has revenues of $6B. They are not a charity case – and no business should be. And neither should their employee base be considered one, despite Lanier’s suppositions.
The way I look at it, we have all found this tool, and can use it to make what we will. I don’t need a traditional middle-class job if my ability to work with this tool, and other technological advances, lets me make the same salary or even considerably more. I know this is the case for myself and many, many others. Lest we forget, Facebook has 4,900 and is growing; LinkedIn has over 3,500; Twitter has close to one thousand. There are millions of websites. A small fraction give at least one person a job. In fact, John Quelch did a study for the IAB four years ago that discovered over 3 million jobs created by the Internet in the US alone.
So, I have trouble seeing the Internet as the great destroyer of jobs. Technology and society simply march on, right? Or am I off-base somewhere? Let me know in the comments below.
More media – affiliate and otherwise – about the Internet, the gold watch, and everything:
April 6, 2012
So, you’ve decided to get in The Game.
In last week’s post, I talked about the realities of getting staarted as a freelancer, especially in a media or creative field. So, let’s begin you’ve had an extremely productive week, and you’ve done it. You’re a freelancer now. The freedom was seductive. You’ve started fresh, thrown off the shackles of wage slavery, abandoned the corporate rat race, and determined once and for all that you’re not going to play by their rules anymore! ATT-I-CA! ATT-I-CA!
Not so fast, hotshot.
The life of a freelancer in any field, especially media and creative, is full of adventure. It always has been. These days, however, it’s much more likely to be fraught with the dangers of tax filing than swordplay.
Operating as a working freelancer
A big part of success in starting any business is networking with like-minded people. Even more so with freelancers in creative-related industries. Taking a look at how other freelancers are handling life as a freelancer can yield some pretty good insights. Here are some from some Michigan indepreneurs with things to say:
- Milda Bublys, co-founder with Sarah Schrift of (aptly enough) Sarah and Milda Jewelry, at 8:33 a.m. on a Friday morning describes the freelance life as, “exhausting. Hopping from job #1, to job #2, and then finally, job #3 today.” I’m a big fan of The 4-Hour Workweek, but even (perhaps especially) Tim Ferriss will admit that getting to a place where a small, solopreneurial enterprise doesn’t require you to put in double-digit hours on several days in a given week is a process.
- There’s no doubt that there are easier ways to make money. In fact, Darren Cardinal, owner of Detroit Agapes Harder calls the lifestyle, “Hit or miss. Some days/weeks/months I’m sit fairly comfortable. Then [I] have periods where I’m glad I have a sense of saving.” I can relate to that. I can better relate to days when I wish I had a better sense of saving. When you’re operating without the (perceived) safety net of steady paychecks, things can get harrowing pretty quickly if the bills get behind and the accounts receivable dry up.
- But, it does have its rewards. “It is the hardest work I’ve ever done, but by far the best,” says ghostwriter and blogger Sorilbran Stone, “I’ve had to stand on my own two feet. There’s no cushion between me and my successes or my failures and at least for me, it’s a better life. I don’t mind the ups and downs, what I do mind is having Michael Scott for a boss. So, there.”
So, there, indeed. My best pieces of advice: Surround yourself with people who get it. Find other players in The Game. Seek out great mentorship. Look to those who have done it to get insight into how to do it. What may seem like an impossible dream becomes much more of a practical reality when we follow in our forebears footsteps.
Online, check out the following links. I won’t tell you what they are here. Go find out for yourself! (But, do come back and comment!)
Next week: Moneymoneymoney — MONEY! Funding fun!