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The Gig Economy and Technology Platforms

Over the Christmas timeframe, I moved house.  More specifically I moved from a three bedroom flat in a nine-story unit that I rented, to a three-story terrace with its front door that I own.  And to summarise the challenge I had to find a moving coming that would move me approximately < ½ a kilometre and I had to find someone to paint my new place to get rid of the pink, blue and maroon that the previous owner apparently thought was beautiful.  And all of this needed to be done in December.

The gig economy and some fascinating technologies made it all possible.  First the moving company.  They had a bit more traditional website approach, but the commercial terms were pretty unique.  They do not send anyone out to survey and give you an estimate – you fill in the form of how many rooms you have and then pick your date, and they come back with confirmation.   The only quote you get is a rate per hour.  So totally output priced – you get X number of people and a vehicle to do the move, and you pay Y per hour.  I was a little worried about this but did searching on their customer satisfaction rating, and it was five stars PLUS.  And for a moving company that is saying something.  Traditional technology (a website) but with a unique pricing model.  On the day four “gig workers” showed up and accomplished the move in < 5 hours, and cost me less than my last move.

But before I could move I wanted to get the place painted.  Pink hallways are not my idea of a great colour scheme.  A friend recommended using hipages to find the right trade persons (tradie as they are known in Australia) to do the work.  Hipages has an app, but you can also use their website.  I put out the spec for what I wanted, and within 30 minutes I had three people saying they would bid.  I ultimately picked one who was excellent – again a gig worker.

The final experience I had while moving was trying to find someone to remove all the overgrown plants from the planter in front of the terrace and take all the dirt and rubbish away.  My technology hero here was AirTasker.  AirTasker works like hipages but for those tasks you want to done that require fewer skills.  Again, I put a spec out for what I wanted, and within 15 min I had a deal with someone (gig worker) to execute my requirements, paid on output.

I could provide several more examples (as I have become an AirTasker junkie) and I managed to move all of my belongings, re-paint a three story terrace and do several other odd-jobs to facilitate moving all via gig workers and technologies.  These technologies were purpose built to put people like me with a need in touch with individuals who want to do the work in an open online market.

The technologies available to match gig worker (with time, skills, expertise) to a potential buyer are vast.  Here are a few you might want to consider if you are looking for workers or want to move into the gig economy.  One health warning - many of these only work within a particular geographic area.  So, for example, AirTasker only operates in the greater Sydney area.  But there are apps in other locations

Guru – find the best freelancers to work in a variety of areas from web design, engineering, sales and marketing to legal and more

Freelance – the matching of self-employed experts to help you with your business needs.  The big push from this gig talent provider is that they will ensure the person is legally able to do the work and that you will not end up being considered an employer (think Uber and the UK law suite).

TaskRabbit – like AirTasker the only UK based.

USource – virtual assistance – there dozens of companies with apps that can provide you with a virtual assistant

DoMyStuff – like AirTasker but USA based

Expert360  - matches independent contractors (gig workers) to businesses that have specific demands.  Geared towards hiring management consultant type of resources

Nvoi -   similar to Expert360 matching gig workers in the more professional services area to companies who need their skill

GiniBee – matching making individuals with specific skills to businesses that want part time workers.  The company and app specific focus on the job sharing part of the gig economy.

There are much more, but this gives you a flavour of the level of investment in technology that is being directed towards gig workers – matching talent to demand in a virtual and physical world.

There is a lot of good and bad written about gig workers.  McKinsey has done an excellent white paper on the various types of gig workers and impact on the future of work.  And as the type of gig workers transform, and the number of workers that move into a gig as a career the amount of technology will be available to match supply with demand will significantly increase.  Technology is the enabler for the gig economy.

Article by Mary Sue Rogers

Posted On : 19-02-17

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