The Millennials

Key Announcements


  • Confirm your attendance ASAP, and let me know if you have any questions.
  • Join the Skype call 15 minutes before the start to allow me, the host and audio engineer, to adjust the sound levels. After we start it will likely be too difficult to bring you into the flow of the conversation.
  • Provide me with your Skype ID (and gmail address, if we decide to do a Google Hangout on Air), if you have not already done so. My Skype id is danielrfeldman.

Next Call (Duration: 1 hour)

15:30 GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Below I have included a list of this time in other time zones.

The Scheduled Discussions

Let us begin with one fixed date per month and see how that works.

The third Wednesday of every month.


  • Confirm your attendance ASAP, and let me know if you have any questions.
  • Join the Skype call 15 minutes before the start to allow me, the host and audio engineer, to adjust the sound levels. After we start it will likely be too difficult to bring you into the flow of the conversation.
  • Provide me with your Skype ID (and gmail address, if we decide to do a Google Hangout on Air), if you have not already done so. My Skype id is danielrfeldman.

07:30 PST San Francisco
08:30 MST Denver
09:30 CST Chicago
10:30 EST New York
15:30 GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)
15:30 BST London
16:30 CEST Belgium
21:00 IST India
23:30 CST Beijing

The Topic

The subject of the next podcast will be changes in the labor market and what that means for jobs and employers.

One interesting prediction: Intuit predicts that by 2020 40% of the U.S. workforce will be freelancers.

The latest trend from Silicon Valley is known as the »sharing economy,« sometimes referred to as the »gig economy,« »on-demand,« »peer-to-peer« or »collaborative-consumption« economy. Dozens of »disruptive« companies like Uber, Airbnb, Upwork, TaskRabbit, Lyft, Instacart and Postmates have proven to be attractive to consumers and those who would like to »monetize« their personal property (real estate, car) or find flexible, part-time work. In some ways, these new platforms have the potential to provide new opportunities. But they also display a number of troubling aspects. -Steven Hill

This new economy is by and large benefiting employers over workers. Many employers misclassify workers as contractors so as to avoid paying worker’s compensation and to avoid offering stock equity. While a gig economy does assist with “agility, flexibility, and innovation”, it has a produced a new class of workers – the precariate – workers without the security of income or benefits, including pensions and legal protections.

The on-demand economy is small, but growing quickly. -The Economist

On-demand economy delivers occasional luxury. On-demand lawyers? On-demand consultants? Prizes to freelancers who solve R&D problems or come up with advertising ideas. The idea of connecting people to freelancers to solve problems sounds simple. But it has profound implications from the organization of work to the nature of the social contract in a capitalist society.

The on-demand economy allows society to tap into is under-used resources. -The Economist

Evolving technology and social habits are allowing the on-demand economy to exist. Those who have time but no money are able to trade with those who have money but with no time. On-demand companies serve as middle-men. Risks borne by companies are being pushed back on to individuals and that has consequences for everybody.

Many cities and states have banned Uber, the ride sharing company on safety and regulatory grounds, for example. Techno-optimists dismiss this as growing pains.

The truth is more nuanced:


  • Consumers
  • Western workers, valuing flexibility OVER security, i.e. women who want to combine work and child-rearing
  • Taxpayers, IF on-demand labour improves public service efficiency


  • Consumers, who value safety of services delivered.
  • Workers who value security over flexibility, including lots of middle-aged lawyers, doctors, and taxi drivers.
  • Taxpayers, who support contract workers who have never built up pensions.

The nuances should inform policymaking.

The way governments measure employment and wages will have to change. Are freelancers and contract workers categorized as second class citizens? Currently too much of the welfare state is delivered through employers. In such a world, freelancers lose.

However, even with an adjustment to a more individualistic age, individuals still carry more risks. People will need to master multiple skills to survive in such a world, AND to keep those skills up to date (incredibly difficult). Professionals will need to take responsibility for continuing to educate themselves throughout the span of their career. People will need to learn how to sell themselves and to develop distinctive brands. Everyone will have to learn how to manage You Inc.

In general, the “gig” economy is just a way to take advantage of workers. It is not collaborative: it is entirely exploitive. All that collaboration talk is just a technique the vile masters use to crush the workers and make the workers think that they are doing something cool. It’s really quite silly. In fact, there is nothing in the current economy of the U.S., Europe or China that is collaborative. The system just does not work that way. It might work that way in the Amazon jungle, but not anywhere else in our modern world.

Uber, Lyft, and Deliveroo are convenient ways for companies to cut out lots of costs. And workers only get paid when they have a client.

In my mind, entrepreneurship is likely a way better route for individuals than being a contingent worker, UNLESS you have gigs out the wazoo and are able to charge 1.5 to 2 times the rate as you would make as a Full-Time Employee (FTE). That is not likely to happen in most cases.

It likely has a lot to do with which sorts of skill sets we are talking.

Over the next decade more than 1 billion young people will enter the global labour market, and only 40% will be working in jobs that currently exist. -The Economist

The best thing for job creation is economic growth, so policies that promote growth are particularly good for the young. We may be disappointed if we are depending on growth in our current economic system to produce jobs. First, we are now “living in an age of instability” with ever deepening economic crises, and second, technology allows companies to produce more with less people every year, including less engineers and technologists.

New companies exploit technology, which enables them to go global without being big themselves. -The Economist

Some argue that the stark distinction between temporary and permanent employment should be scrapped and have only one basic type of contract where benefits and job security accumulate gradually. Denmark, for example, shows how a labour market can be both flexible and provide security with its “flexicurity” system, which allows companies to hire and fire easily.

Is entrepreneurship the answer for the young? Firms created by the young are usually less successful than those launched by older entrepreneurs. Younger entrepreneurs have 1) greater difficulty raising capital, 2) weaker credit history and less collateral, 3) less knowledge about the industry they are seeking to enter, and 4) fewer contacts than their older peers.

Businesses run by entrepreneurs over the age of 35 were 1.7 times as likely to have survived for more than 42 months as those run by 25-34 year olds. -Global Entrepreneurship Monitor survey

People tend to want to start their own business more when fewer good jobs are available. We see this trend especially in poor countries.

As economies grow more sophisticated, demand for cognitive skills will keep rising. – The Economist

The digital economy values people who are good engineers, very good designers, and people who speak very good English, but there isn’t enough of them.

There is a huge mismatch everywhere between the skills that many young people can offer and the ones that employers need. -The Economist

The world’s schools are not even close to meeting this demand.

Technological progress will cause a shift in the nature of jobs available and the skills they require. -The Economist

Two tools can help us to identify the jobs of the near future: hard-nosed statistics, and predictive intuition.

First statistics:

  • Wind-turbine technician
  • Occupational-therapy assistants
  • Health aides
  • Audiologists
  • Hearing-aid specialists
  • Optometrists
  • Statisticians
  • Operations-research analysts
  • Genetic counsellors

Emerging trends…

  • Poets and comedians to write elegant, witty banter for chatbots replacing customer service
  • Support staff and technicians for autonomous vehicles and drones
  • Hydoponic/aeroponic food farmers
  • Human organ designers using 3-D printing
  • Virtual-fashion designers using augmented reality and computer graphics
  • Robopsychologists to trouble-shoot why robots misbehave


Here are some resources related to changes in the labor market.

Recent Millennial Discussions

16: Attractive Workplace Cultures – The Millennials
7: The Future of Work and Education – A Millennial Perspective
Big thanks to all who participated!

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