Before the Internet, transferring information between computer networks was possible, but arduous because the computers didn’t speak the same language. Getting computers to talk to each other, for all but the most critical communications, was simply too much work. The situation was akin to everyone in a city needing a translator to communicate with everyone else.
A Common Language
The Internet changed all that by allowing disparate services to be interconnected over standard protocols (i.e. a common language). More recently, the Internet of Things has opened up the same level of interoperability for physical devices. By drastically reducing the overhead required for “smart” devices to communicate, we’ve unlocked innovation in everything from thermostats to light bulbs.
Now we’re doing the same thing for work. Companies in the Gig Economy are dramatically reducing the overhead involved in defining, requesting, and paying for services. This allows workers to offer services that are both clearly defined and frictionless to order. These gigs would previously have been impractical, not because of the work itself, but because of the transactional overhead involved in commissioning it.
But not anymore.
An Operating System for Work
Let’s look an analogous example in software engineering. Software libraries allow coders to develop powerful applications by linking together many tiny modules or services. One program outputs data in a standard format. Another program then modifies that data, and passes it on to the next. And so on, and so on.
These modular scripts and applications are mixed, matched and connected together to create complex, functional applications that we rely on every day. Similarly, platforms like Uber, Fiverr, and TaskRabbit standardize tasks and allow them to be assigned in a straightforward manner with little or no transactional overhead.
We often think of the Gig Economy as focusing on small, discreet, repeatable tasks, but these tasks are also building blocks that can be chained together. It’s easy to forget that everything from the moon landing to the building of a skyscraper is made up of many small pieces, joined together to form something bigger.
Creative Collaboration On-Demand
At Fiverr, we’ve seen buyers chain together groups of tasks to launch websites, whole businesses, and even to produce music videos. Recently Brett Goldstein (aka Monty Del Monte) created and mastered a song for $290 using musicians and audio engineers from all over the world.
Goldstein’s project proved that music doesn’t need to be recorded in an expensive studio. In fact, the singer, the band and the sound engineers don’t even need to be in the same country.
The key to this frictionless collaboration is the Services as a Product model — removing the expensive transactional overhead traditionally associated with commissioning creative services, and allowing creative collaborators to chain together gigs to create something that’s more than the sum of its parts.
Frictionless, connected, collaborative, and location-agnostic. This is the Internet of Gigs.
How has the Gig Economy affected how you work and collaborate? Let me know on Twitter
This article was written by Micha Kaufman from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.