I run a startup. Lean and mean, 16-hour days. Everything we do is ours. When we thought of hiring another person, it quickly became clear that we could not handle an employee. We could not pay for insurance, supervise them, offer them a stable salary. Why because all those things that are stable about a job are the opposite of a startup.
And recently, the entire job market. It turns out that it’s not just startups that do not want traditional employees, Google does not want them, small businesses don’t want them, agencies don’t want them.
Who do they want then?
And companies are going to great lengths to get them.
For example 30% of large tech companies already set up a seed fund to provide capital for startup entrepreneurs. Inside companies, entrepreneurship is more welcome than ever before in history. The term “intrapreneur” dates back to 1992, but it is now that intrapreneurship became a global phenomenon with companies hiring entrepreneurs-in-residence, holding hackathons, which are company-wide startup competitions, and letting employees have the “20% time” to work on creative side projects.
The entrepreneurial worker is popular. The question is then, What happened to the traditional employee, the one that you could tell what to do and she would do it. Does literally everyone need to be an entrepreneur?
The answer is robots. Employees who acts like robot, that is just do what they are told, is quickly becoming obsolete.
Consider an airplane building factory. You have a choice of hiring two people at $50,000 per year or buying a robot for $250,000 that will serve you for 15 years, without coffee break, 365 days a year 24 hours a day and no personal circumstances.
No wonder robots are catching on. Today world’s robot population is around 10 Million. In South Korea, the leader in using industrial robots there are 347 robots per 10,000. How good are they? By 2030 it is estimated that robots will perform as well as humans at most manual jobs. That means most of us would be smart to reconsider if our jobs will still exist in a 10 years.
The good news is that the one factor that robots don’t have - the human factor- sets apart entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are the ones who understand humans, know the problems humans have and create value out of nothing.
What if you just plain do not like entrepreneurship? You are a specialist at what you do and you just want to keep doing it? Ok, suppose in your lifetime no robots will yet be able to do what you do. There is another problem you have to deal with: people. There are people in other countries who are willing and able to work for less, being no less of a specialist. In a lot of field it does not matter that they live elsewhere. And here is the catch, wherever you live, there is probably another countries where you type of labor is cheaper. Everyone already realized that programmers from Russia code for 3 times less than American coders. In india, it would be even cheaper. But what about the yet undiscovered labor markets?
If there is any refuge from this entrepreneurialization of labor, it might be creativity. If your job is to be creative perhaps you can keep your job. Consider, though, that an entrepreneurial creative would probably try to sell his creativity outside his main job, so that he actually would be more recognized as a creative. It could be a blog, a book, or a portfolio on Dribbble.
It comes down to this: you need to create opportunities and sell. That’s entrepreneurship. If you are a lawyer, you’ll never make partner unless you get clients for the firm. That’s selling. And if you don’t want to make partner, than sit tight, you might be replaced by someone more entrepreneurial.
For those who do not like this whole thing, this news is actually good. The world is becoming better, the only thing is you also have to change with it.