The Passion Economy and the Future of Work

(a16z.com)

127 points | by bentossell 6 days ago

22 comments

  • taurath 5 days ago

    They need to talk about the network effect, and where the power is centered here. Hint - its not with the content creators, nor the users. Its the platform. Its the rent-seeking behavior on the part of the platforms that causes every entry in this space to rise when there's investment money, and then fall when they have to start making the money back and implement creator and user unfriendly mechanisms. Then the content creators have to replatform, which can lose them much of their audience.

    We can break the cycle with self-hosted platform-agnostic tools. Most everything these platforms do is available off the shelf - the differentiations don't actually matter. The content creators aren't being given an audience, they build audiences for the platform. Everything the platform does once it has to start making money is in service to the platform and the investors, not the "workers", or the users.

    • doomlaser 5 days ago

      > Most everything these platforms do is available off the shelf - the differentiations don't actually matter

      Except, often critically, the very network effect that those platforms help foster.

      Try self-hosting a viral video and see how far it gets you. It's much harder to break through. This very discussion is taking place on a platform that focuses a network effect for a very specific but sizeable audience. How would it take place otherwise?

      • taurath 5 days ago

        People post external links in social media all the time. You don't have to be where people start, you can just be where people end up.

        • doomlaser 5 days ago

          Almost every social media platform now has its own video hosting service, and that is the service privileged with automatic-playing or otherwise friction-free playing video content. As a result, on, say, Twitter or Facebook, the videos that get the most virality are the ones being hosted natively on that social network's corresponding video platform.

          I agree with you that it would be better if everyone self-hosted and was able to charge what they wanted. I think it may be more realistic to hope for more platforms—competing with each other—to whittle down the rent they are able to seek from the creators that bring them value. Make them compete for the content creators. And, if they grow too unwieldy, regulate them (or threaten to) so that they set reasonable ground rules.

          • taurath 5 days ago

            Though really, the goal is not always virality. For the content creators who’s goal is that, then selling them audiences probably works. My problem with that is that it incentivizes triviality and lowest common denominator creation in the long term.

            • doomlaser 5 days ago

              You can replace the word virality and substitute "engagement", and I would argue that this is something most creators would want from their work. And what about a self-regulated platform like Hacker News? It appears to me to incentivize good content and, at its best, punish triviality. Again, how would we be having this discussion without it?

        • zozbot234 5 days ago

          Network effects actually favor open, federated platforms over walled gardens. The problem is that social media, "user-generated" content hosting, etc. have yet to be disrupted by federated offerings - they're still at that stage where there's one Compuserve and a zillion indie BBS's that don't even talk to one another (no UUCP, no Fidonet)! It will happen as it always has.

          • doomlaser 5 days ago

            Is Google Search not a walled garden? How about GitHub? Bandcamp? SoundCloud? They appear to be winning in the sectors I can think of. Even internet piracy.

        • claudeganon 5 days ago

          As someone who has worked in the arts for over a decade, I see no path forward besides worker ownership of these platforms. Every other arrangement leads to race-to-the-bottom for the labor on these platforms.

          Maybe the ongoing collapse of American cities as places that are unaffordable for anyone other that the ultra-wealthy will push software engineers in this direction. The housing crisis in San Francisco alone should demonstrate that class interests of white collar employees are more aligned with those of the workers on the platforms they create then those of their current owners.

          • m463 5 days ago

            That sort of reminds me of this old article on Airlines:

            https://philip.greenspun.com/flying/unions-and-airlines

            "Regardless of whether the U.S. is able to maintain its trade barriers, a sustainable long-term structure would be a pilot-owned airline. If the pilots are the owners there need be no conflict concerning distributing profits. "

            • barry-cotter 5 days ago

              > Maybe the ongoing collapse of American cities as places that are unaffordable for anyone other that the ultra-wealthy will push software engineers in this direction. The housing crisis in San Francisco alone should demonstrate that class interests of white collar employees are more aligned with those of the workers on the platforms they create then those of their current owners.

              This is ridiculous. That some cities in the US are unaffordable and becoming more so is a result of democratic decisions. Californian voters are like Irish voters, disproportionately property owners, and you see the same insane rise in property prices in much of the English speaking world. There are the occasional bright spots, like Seattle but the problem has a bloody obvious solution, build more housing. Tokyo’s rent and house prices have been basically flat for two decades while population increased by 50%.

              San Francisco has the planning and zoning and housing it votes for, just like New York. If the desirability of any area increases and housing doesn’t then housing gets more expensive.

              • claudeganon 5 days ago

                Of course the obvious solution would be to build more housing, but the wealthy and other incumbent interests will throw everything they have at preventing this from happening or keeping it unaffordable for those who need it.

                That a society is ostensibly democratic tells you little about how the levers of power actually function around things like urban policy and real estate development. You also need a theory of power and means of change to implement whatever it is you want to accomplish. Per my original comment, I think a greater solidarity between white collar workers and the working class, as they both get soaked by rising rents and home prices, could provide a possibility for this kind of change.

              • cousin_it 5 days ago

                > As someone who has worked in the arts for over a decade, I see no path forward besides worker ownership of these platforms. Every other arrangement leads to race-to-the-bottom for the labor on these platforms.

                Sure, less popular creators can get some monetary support from a more progressive society arrangement. But they won't get more popularity, unless you can explain how your society arrangement leads to equitable redistribution of popularity. In other words, the median book author might get a nice basic income, but their book will still get crickets.

                • claudeganon 5 days ago

                  Most of the artists and writers I’ve ever met don’t actually want massive popularity. They just want to be able to make their work and hone their skills without dying in poverty. I think this kind of pursuit of fame is more driven by the underlying material realities, where you have to either pursue being incredibly famous or be unable to survive.

                • burntoutfire 5 days ago

                  > Maybe the ongoing collapse of American cities as places that are unaffordable for anyone other that the ultra-wealthy

                  A large percentage of Americans live in cities. Are they all ultra-wealthy?

                • dsaavy 5 days ago

                  I think that’s a severe underestimation of the impact of a popular and easy place of congregation. The center of power being the platform is how things work in the digital realm and the in-person realm.

                  As a random example, if someone is shopping for a steak, they normally would go to a market, grocery store, or butcher shop in a popular plaza near their home. If you’re in America, most likely that steak is sourced from a farm owned by a large corporation. You could go to local butcher who sources their meat from local small farms and add 30 minutes to your shopping, but it doesn’t have potatoes and green beans you'd like on the side of that steak dinner. Some people will absolutely make that trip, but not nearly as much as if that butcher got a shop in the popular plaza near everything else, owned by a commercial real estate company.

                  While the physical shopping example obviously has more friction than the digital example, the value is still high to provide a centrally located platform for consumers, creators and businesses to congregate. The power is rightfully focused on those that provide that platform.

                  • TeMPOraL 5 days ago

                    I wouldn't say the power is "rightfully" focused on those that run the platform, just that the shape of the market makes it so. A platform - whether a streaming site or a commercial plaza - is worthless without a plethora of content/goods providers on board. But there's much more providers than platforms, so platforms get to set the rules.

                  • mark_l_watson 5 days ago

                    I certainly agree with you about the value of self-hosting for creators. Own your own domain(s) and build your own online properties.

                    I did see an interesting an interesting article about hosting your own content and then use shadow copies, linking back to original, on Medium, etc. I never tried it though, and I am not convinced it would be a good idea.

                    • s_r_n 3 days ago

                      The article touches on your point by differentiating between SaaS products vs. marketplaces. It sounds like you're in favor of SaaS over marketplaces.

                      • hardwaresofton 5 days ago

                        > We can break the cycle with self-hosted platform-agnostic tools. Most everything these platforms do is available off the shelf - the differentiations don't actually matter. The content creators aren't being given an audience, they build audiences for the platform. Everything the platform does once it has to start making money is in service to the platform and the investors, not the "workers", or the users.

                        Another idea to go with this is giving the followers/subscribers a way to help the content creator that isn't (directly) monetary -- serving as a CDN for their content. I think the tools are actually even all there right now (torrenting, live stream relaying tech, DHTs, etc) -- it's just no one has created a compelling platform that is super easy to use -- I mean like no set up -- Enter your patreon/stripe, click "Stream" and start streaming, tell your followers to download the app.

                        There are some alternatives out there though:

                        - https://mediagoblin.org

                        - https://joinpeertube.org

                        An app like these, but with as little set up as possible and the right pairing for an easy path to profitability (again, probably just hooking up a stripe/patreon) and the right amount of social features would blow this wide open.

                        People often talk about the problem with moderation, but people on Twitch solve that mostly by empowering certain members of the audience to be moderators (who are happy to contribute and glad to get some power/special status).

                        Another problem that often is mentioned is discovery -- how will people find the good content? I think you can leave discovery to other platforms for now or find a way to solve it later -- worst case we can literally re-grow the way the old internet did it -- start with web rings, and scraping. In the extreme case, if discovery becomes such a bad problem, someone will step in and charge for it (whether on the supply or demand side).

                        As a side note, I almost wrote a rant on HN the other day about the "passion economy" (I believe it was on a article about restaurant), but thought better of it because I just don't think the HN crowd is ready to hear opinions against the current state of the capitalist system since most here are benefitting handily (the same insular view that prevents workers in tech from unionizing). I think it's growing in popularity because people are growing increasingly unsatisfied with their work prospects and are being fed fantasies about how they could succeed in a low-effort second job vaguely related to something they like doing. I think most people trying to become twitch streamers or make it big on youtube or as influencers would stop if their jobs paid them wages that made them feel financially secure. Sure some people would still stream/play/market or whatever, but they'd do it at their own pace and be much less focused on making a profit (and trading away rights/benefits to larger platform companies to do so). The real problem here isn't these companies, it's a unregulated capitalism creating a walking nightmare of "gig"s (whether it's an actual gig economy job or a full time job that pays you gig wages), giving people just enough so they can survive but not enough to thrive -- perfect for picking up another one of the gig economy jobs to try and get there.

                      • mc32 5 days ago

                        Yeah, I’d like to see median earnings numbers here.

                        Passion is great for hobbies. Passion should not be an ingredient or path to being a good employee or being a good citizen. Rigor yes, dedication, sure. Passion (I.e. suffering as it were), no, no that is that companies who want to milk you tell you, of managers who want to extract more from you and away from work life balance say. Sorry, but no.

                        • mdorazio 5 days ago

                          Thank you. This is just like YouTuber economics. Sure the top creators in various categories do pretty well, but the vast majority of creators don’t even come close to making a living (and probably not even minimum wage factoring total content creation time). On top of this, sustaining a passion as a business is a fantastic way to burn out. Just look at creators like Every Frame a Painting. Keeping up with audience demands enough to maintain view counts / subscribers / patrons / whatever is hard.

                          • angarg12 5 days ago

                            My wife was a freelancer teacher for a few years. Her earnings moved between 'being able to pay rent and little else' to 'not being able to pay the rent'. Not able to see a way forward and with the market getting more crowded, she decided to have a career change.

                            Now she has a 'boring office job', but at least she gets a predictable salary and career progression. Many times passion alone doesn't pay the bills.

                            • dpflan 5 days ago

                              I think “passion” and the rise of startups the past decade are correlated, there is the cult of passion converted into “culture” as a lure. It appeals greatly to younger employees. The economic state and money looking for more money is fuel for the “passion culture lure”.

                              • ticmasta 5 days ago

                                I believe (as do many others) that they've got the causation backwards; you don't search for work you're already passionate about, you grow passion by doing meaningful work that is deeply rewarding.

                                I read most of the post with the viewpoint that the author had a vested interest in a very specific interpretation of what's essential the story of the internet: the long tail. I see no evidence that the entire market for any of the examples has exploded in total value, which to me means we're just seeing a shift in delivery channels. Traditionally authors all made very little while a few best sellers took the majority of the money, same with musicians. If the new currency is audience, consumption or some other metric why does that indicate the fundamental distribution has changed?

                                • TeMPOraL 5 days ago

                                  > you don't search for work you're already passionate about, you grow passion by doing meaningful work that is deeply rewarding.

                                  And how does the work become "meaningful and deeply rewarding"? For some, it may come just from repetition. Others manage to abstract their occupation away and source the meaning and rewards from families and lifestyle their work supports. But there are people for whom this doesn't work, and this is where I believe the "passion" mindset comes from. A lot of jobs are not only not meaningful, they're net harmful to society. And most people don't get to choose what they're working on anyway, economic considerations make the choice for them. So there's a tension.

                                  • Fortunately, for people like us (i.e readers of HN) there is a possibility of meaningful and deeply rewarding work. I try to create those environments for myself and others to work on. That doesn’t give the opportunity to everyone, but you do what you can.

                                  • pojzon 5 days ago

                                    If possible I would like to steal that?:

                                    "You don't look for a work you're already passionate about. You grow passion by doing meaningful work that is deeply rewarding."

                                    This is a great advice for many management ppl.

                                  • mc32 5 days ago

                                    I think it’s not far off comparing them to the hong wei bings [紅衛兵]. They were enthusiastic but ultimately a means to an end, though the ends differ. Still, it was opportunistic and the opportunistic utilization part wasn’t disclosed.

                                  • blue_devil 5 days ago

                                    In my mind "passion" has become synonymous with "marketing" - it matters only when you make it visible, very visible. Whatever happened to having a calling?

                                    • eigenstuff 5 days ago

                                      I have a calling/passion, I'm a sculptor. And the marketing thing is what I seriously struggle with. I'm working on it and slowly pushing myself out of my comfort zone, but I disagree with passions only mattering if you make it visible. I'd love to be left the hell alone to be lost in my work forever, but I regrettably have to start making it visible if I want it to start paying for itself or at least break even. Art supplies aren't cheap. I want a laser cutter one day and that money isn't going to appear out of thin air. Making it visible is how to make it sustainable. I'm not in it for other people's approval and validation, the person I'm most concerned about impressing is myself.

                                      This is kind of the harsh reality of being an artist though: how successful you are is less about the quality of work you do and more about how hard you can hustle. The person who makes unoriginal garbage art but is good at selling themselves is gonna beat the recluse who does high quality, innovation work but doesn't put themselves out there every single time.

                                    • mikelyons 5 days ago

                                      Someone pursuing Life Purpose with passion is likely not an employee or a typical "citizen" however you might define it.

                                      They may be creating something the world has never seen.

                                      They may be devoted to waking up humanity.

                                      The only person I know to be at this level of passion is Leo Gura.

                                      • matz1 5 days ago

                                        >Passion should not be an ingredient or path to being a good employee or being a good citizen

                                        Why ?

                                        >Passion (I.e. suffering as it were),

                                        If it something you passion about, its not suffering.

                                        • munk-a 5 days ago

                                          According to the google

                                          > Passion noun: 1. strong and barely controllable emotion.

                                          Passion isn't enthusiasm or reliability when people demand passion they aren't demanding a state that can realistically be delivered for 30-40 years, they're insisting that people operate at a level that will quickly burn them out and force other healthy components of their work out.

                                          An employee and employer should have a mutually beneficial relationship where each party adds value to the other. The employer is using labour to produce wealth and the employee is gaining a reliable wage for their labour. The relationship (generally) ends at 5 when the employees go home, demanding more from employees is counterproductive, off-putting and sometimes abusive[1].

                                          1. As a former game developer I can tell you that overtime has effects well beyond that day, these stories are more extreme than mine but here ya go: https://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/how-crunch-affects-game...

                                          • matz1 5 days ago

                                            ok fine then enthusiasm or reliability comes from passion.

                                            well it is off putting, feel abusive, surely you will quickly burn out if you don't have passion for it.

                                      • john_moscow 5 days ago

                                        I don't think the economy in this segment is changing drastically. Top handful of rockstars, actors, athletes, soccer players, etc were always compensated very well, while the median ones weren't. Not like you can get a Master in Talk Show Hosting degree and get a more or less predictable career path similar to the engineering/medicine degrees.

                                        Come to think of it, the rise of multiple competing content platforms would actually lower the top performers' revenues due to the audience splintering.

                                        Given that A16Z likely holds some stake in the mentioned businesses, I would treat this as simply another piece of marketing material for some upcoming IPOs.

                                        • JMTQp8lwXL 5 days ago

                                          It's kind of subjective. Decades ago, CEO's made 20:1 compared to workers. That's "compensated very well". Today is 200:1. It's still very well. A whole order of magnitude better.

                                          In developed countries, today's winners win bigger. The losers stagnate. Globally, many have been lifted out of poverty.

                                          The poor in developing countries are doing better. The wealthy are doing better. The middle class is not.

                                          • barry-cotter 5 days ago

                                            Decades ago CEOs consumed well over twenty times as much as the average worker even though their official wages were only twenty times as high because of a huge range of tax exemptions and write offs that were eliminated in the 80s.

                                          • doomlaser 5 days ago

                                            I agree that there is definitely a pareto distribution in earnings—and there probably always has been for creative work. I don't know if this means that there are less people making a living in each respective field. For that, I'd like to see some hard data. How fat is the tail of the power curve, anyway? And how many curves are out there?

                                          • xwdv 5 days ago

                                            God I hate this stuff. It preaches the wrong ideas to people and then screws them up for life.

                                            We need to think less about “the future of work” and think more about “the history of work”.

                                            What people need to embrace is the Discipline Economy. It’s simple. Find something that is of value to society and pays enough, then work everyday to be better and better at it until you reach your maximum potential, and you will be rewarded. No passion required. You just get up and do it, every workday. And at the end of the day, clock out and go do whatever you want.

                                            You don’t need to be doing something you like, you need to be doing something that sustains you. If that also happens to be something you like, then that is a gift, similar to being tall, or smart, or attractive. Life will be easier for you then, but that is not the default. Someone still has to shovel the piles of shit or dig a ditch.

                                            The Passion Economy appeals to people who don’t ask what they can do for society, but rather what society can do for them. It’s selfish, and unsustainable. Passion doesn’t last forever. Discipline does.

                                            • mark_l_watson 5 days ago

                                              I sort of agree with you, we tend to develop passion for things after we achieve a high skill level. That said, it is OK to peruse things that we might be passionate about but not good at. I am not a good musician. After forty years, I mostly gave up on playing the guitar, and took up two easier instruments, didgeridoo and Native American flute. I will never be really good at these instruments either but it felt good when friends asked me to play didgeridoo at their wedding when the bride was walking down the aisle.

                                              I have a keen interest in future society/economy/technology and in a world with guaranteed minimum income, I hope people spend time on niche passion projects and not just binge on Netflix and HBO.

                                              • treerock 5 days ago

                                                > Find something that is of value to society and pays enough, then work everyday to be better and better at it until you reach your maximum potential, and you will be rewarded.

                                                Unless society changes what it values, at which point you are fucked.

                                                https://genius.com/Pete-seeger-john-henry-lyrics

                                                • xwdv 5 days ago

                                                  Your passion for something can also fade, and then you are even more fucked. At least changes in society’s values happen gradually.

                                                • blue_devil 5 days ago

                                                  >>Someone still has to shovel the piles of shit or dig a ditch.

                                                  I strongly believe that if you stay curious and pay attention to your work, any work can be(come) meaningful and rewarding.

                                                  Devise your own faster/better/lighter shovel or digger, or your own process for shovelling or digging etc.

                                                  The human mind is beautiful in that if you "feed" it the right way, it outputs the most amazing stuff.

                                                  • xwdv 5 days ago

                                                    Have you ever dug a ditch?

                                                  • ticmasta 5 days ago

                                                    Work hard? Incremental progress? Contribute to society?

                                                    How can you possibly hope to disrupt work with these types of values? </s>

                                                  • undefined3840 5 days ago

                                                    Selecting a few outliers and calling it a “trend” is ridiculous.

                                                    Honestly I wish there was a stricter policy on HN for posting corporate content marketing puff pieces. These a16z blog posts do nothing more than hype companies in their portfolio.

                                                    • munk-a 5 days ago

                                                      Hype... except when their BS is transparent and poorly researched. But hey, at least there are a few interesting discussions spurred on by this non-article.

                                                      • ticmasta 5 days ago

                                                        Well they have to do something to make up for their continued decline in performance. You don't get to stay the industry darling by living on your historical record forever...

                                                        • rdiddly 5 days ago

                                                          You can flag it.

                                                        • SolaceQuantum 5 days ago

                                                          This describes how one can use individuality and a platform to provide a labor like podcasting, youtubing, online teaching, etc. It describes how it works and the shape of this industry.

                                                          It doesn't go into how feasible making a living income is actually, merely highlights the top earners in specific platforms... Rather suspicious to me.

                                                          • smacktoward 5 days ago

                                                            It's telling that they call out how much money the top earners on Substack and Podia are making, rather than how much the average or median creators on those platforms make. These types of platforms generally end up creating a small number of superstars who earn orders of magnitude more than the average creator, with all other creators getting a relative pittance.

                                                            It'd be interesting to see the payouts on these platforms evaluated on the basis of something like the Gini coefficient (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gini_coefficient).

                                                            • troquerre 5 days ago

                                                              Creator economics frequently follow power law dynamics. The same can be observed for Shopify and Youtube creators. ie Substack's revenue is based off of how much their aggregate creator revenue is, not on the distribution of that revenue across their creators. So it's not that relevant to look at the average amount creators make.

                                                              Actually, it's better for these platforms to have the average be low bc it means they have exposure to as many creators as possible. The cost of supporting each marginal creator is basically zero so they want to maximize their odds of onboarding a creator that will be successful even if that means onboarding hundreds of unsuccessful creators to get them.

                                                            • codingdave 5 days ago

                                                              It is thinly veiled marketing for a handful of sites they wanted to call out.

                                                              • gruglife 5 days ago

                                                                Seeing how a16z just gave Substack a ton of money, got to do some self promotion.

                                                                • joe_the_user 5 days ago

                                                                  Indeed, another factor to consider is that in a medium like this, "top earner" is going to change constantly. The attention of podcast consumers is going to shift constantly, $50K or $100K in a month hardly guarantees that on a continuing basis.

                                                                  Anyway, "passion" is usually/often code for "doing what you love instead of being paid", which may be fun but doesn't have a good retirement plan.

                                                                  • maximente 5 days ago

                                                                    it's a classic submarine piece. we know these distributions have tails that are long as hell and the platforms themselves subject to massive first mover advantages.

                                                                  • stakhanov 5 days ago

                                                                    They start the first paragraph saying "The TOP earning writer here makes X ..." then "The TOP content creator there makes Y ..." The second paragraph says "This is INDICATIVE of ..." How does the logical fallacy here not occur to them? That they use a MAXIMUM to describe a distribution in the way that a person who is not completely out of touch with reality would use a median or mean. Silicon Valley megalomania par excellence.

                                                                    • brosinante 5 days ago

                                                                      Reframe the conversation by calling it a "passion" economy, then conveniently avoid mentioning what a representative "passionario" will earn.

                                                                      It obviously occured to them, but they can't "monetize individuality" if you actually let people know there's no money in it for most.

                                                                      • stakhanov 5 days ago

                                                                        ...well, this publication is not really directed at would-be recruits for the passion economy but rather meant for circulation within the entrepreneurial community. There's a part of me that HOPES that there is a nefarious design here, instead of the industry having gone completely crazy and having lost touch with reality like this article would indicate.

                                                                    • gridlockd 5 days ago

                                                                      > The top-earning writer on the paid newsletter platform Substack earns more than $500,000 a year from reader subscriptions.

                                                                      By contrast, 99.99% of writers earn either nothing or very little from their "passion", because approximately nobody has the time and interest to read all of their stuff. It's a terrible career choice that people should be dissuaded from more actively.

                                                                      I would imagine it's the same or similar for all other "passion gigs".

                                                                      • s17n 5 days ago

                                                                        The reason that A16z is taking about top earners rather than median is that their audience is the people building the platforms. These people care about the total revenue which you'd expect to be a power law distribution dominated by the top earners, so the max is the most important number.

                                                                        • cryptica 5 days ago

                                                                          We should think about what is going to happen to all those people (let's face it, the vast majority) who are not passionate about anything... Or worse; who are simply not quite passionate enough...

                                                                          Taking into account a competitive global environment with many traditional/productive jobs disappearing and being replaced by a much smaller number of extremely hard-to-get content creator jobs, I don't think it's going to end well. It's starting to look like that Black Mirror episode where people end up living in a box and generaring electricity with their legs.

                                                                          • matz1 5 days ago

                                                                            Then at least you should keep searching for it until you find it or die. There are virtually unlimited thing you can do in life, its unlikely there is nothing one is passionate about.

                                                                            • rewgs 5 days ago

                                                                              Most people are passionate about little more than having free time and a bit of money to spend with friends and family, safety, enough food. That's about it. I know that just about everything else has fallen away over the years.

                                                                              It's getting increasingly difficult to achieve these passions -- requiring people to feign "passion" just so they can work jobs that often negate these real passions (namely, free time, but often more) just burns people out and sucks their souls dry.

                                                                              • munk-a 5 days ago

                                                                                Being able to discover and follow your passion requires a stability of life that most people stuck in grindy jobs are deprived of. Yes there are virtually unlimited things and I wish more people had the confidence and financial independence to pursue them - but being stuck in the grind makes it hard to see a way out... hence the abundance of depression in the modern world, most people are the cogs being crushed under the brutal machine, rather than those privileged to work in high margin industries that let them invest in themselves.

                                                                                • matz1 5 days ago

                                                                                  If you born poor/ugly/whatever doesn't mean you just give up, whatever state you are in you have to keep searching for it.

                                                                                  Sure its can be hard, but there is nothing better you can do other than just keep trying.

                                                                                  • munk-a 5 days ago

                                                                                    I would love it if people felt confident in doing that. The problem is that a lot of people get caught in a dark place when they're backed into a corner and can't get themselves out. I don't know if it's ever happened to you personally but people can become accepting of a bad situation simply because they find it too difficult to find a better one - most people (IMO nearly all) can get into this sort of a rut and may need help to get themselves out.

                                                                                    • cryptica 4 days ago

                                                                                      Sometimes you worked really hard and had a great strategy and your multi-year plan is starting to come together. All the pieces are snapping into place one after the other and you feel a great sense of progress... but then, at the last minute, it all falls apart based on some random freak incident that doesn't make sense and nobody could have predicted.

                                                                                      That's the reality of capitalism. The successful outliers are so rare, they may as well be fictitious characters in a fairy tale. Their experience has no meaning, no bearing whatsoever on the lives of real people. Their only purpose is to propagate the lie which holds the system together for their own benefit and at the expense of everyone else.

                                                                                      • matz1 4 days ago

                                                                                        Of course that could happen, if that happen you just have to try again, thats the only thing can do other than stop trying and die.

                                                                              • TrackerFF 5 days ago

                                                                                Global "passion economy" sounds like the devaluation of creative work. Look no further than fiverr

                                                                                • ozim 5 days ago

                                                                                  But creative work was always devalued. People with money don't want to pay top dollar, unless you are already dead painter or Banksy.

                                                                                  Companies often drag their feet and try to get away with not paying at all, counting that you will give up or they will find another sucker.

                                                                                  Top talented are rare, just enough talented are plenty. Good opportunities are rare, most of capital is in hands of top 1% so capital is also rare.

                                                                                • apache99 5 days ago

                                                                                  Anyone know where to hook up technical writing gigs? We dont have stripe in my country so I cant get payouts on medium. I used to write for an Elasticsearch blog. Would love to get paid for technical articles. I got a whole portfolio and plenty of passion.

                                                                                  • jeffml84 5 days ago

                                                                                    Here's how you solve the health insurance crisis. The hard part is getting doctors to learn marketing, or having personalities.

                                                                                    • acephal 5 days ago

                                                                                      Strange that UFC has the same exact reward model.

                                                                                      • toptal 5 days ago

                                                                                        We wrote an article on this topic and we call it The Talent Economy - https://topt.al/kcV6G

                                                                                        We believe our arguments are a bit more pointed and speak to the dynamics of the gig economy vs. [name your catchy other economy here].

                                                                                      • rdiddly 5 days ago

                                                                                        They lost me at the word "enterprization."

                                                                                        • Porthos9K 5 days ago

                                                                                          And, as usual, creatives who are unpopular because they're lousy at marketing themselves get bupkis. Capitalism, fuck yeah!

                                                                                          • My hunch is that for the "gig economy" to become anything more than worker exploitation, they will need to be restructured as commons-owned P2P networks where earnings and value are ~equally distributed.

                                                                                            It's absurd for 0.01% of popular, early-adopter creators to be making $millions on these platforms while 99.99% with the same output quality and skills struggle to earn enough to cover a fraction of their living costs.

                                                                                            But of course equal wealth distribution and commons ownership is a blindspot that the Silicon Valley sociopaths will never pursue.

                                                                                            • machawinka 5 days ago

                                                                                              Exactly, and if you dare to suggest that model they will label you communist.

                                                                                            • impatientduck 5 days ago

                                                                                              Complete and total nonsense. "Passion" is a buzzword meaning work for free until we deem you worthy of payment - and that time frame keeps getting longer and longer as the race to the bottom in labor keeps happening. NAFTA was a prelude to the internet revolution. Like programming? Well, someone living where rent is a tenth of yours can do it better than you. Enjoy poverty!

                                                                                              • fake_satire 5 days ago

                                                                                                dumb article. individuality has always been monitized.

                                                                                                if u have bad attitude and no one can get along with you, you'll be fired from USPS.

                                                                                                all hype jargon and moonshots.

                                                                                                0 stars.

                                                                                                • zarro 5 days ago

                                                                                                  Whenever you gauge the performance of any activity, there is a bell curve distribution of ability.

                                                                                                  A very small portion become superstars and a majority fall somewhere in the middle, this is a natural phenomena.

                                                                                                  What these platforms have allowed to happen is allowed individuals to capture more of the value they individually produce, with the result being these creators with abilities to perform BEYOND the average do much better.

                                                                                                  Of course you don't see the natural selection cycle - the fact that many do not perform as well, and need to find some other - low competition - arena to express themselves in. In which they can perform more efficiently to capture more value for themselves. Typically in high competition environments it becomes harder and harder to make a profit.

                                                                                                  These concepts should be obvious, I find it therefore distasteful and deplorable that one could somehow demean these platforms by saying that they "create a small number of superstars who earn orders of magnitude more than the average creator, with all other creators getting a relative pittance". They question the metrics the individuals who voted with their time and money used to decide "merit" because they didn't win by those metrics.

                                                                                                  • CuriouslyC 5 days ago

                                                                                                    The distribution of ability is a bell curve (which has small tails, btw) but the distribution of rewards is basically power law. The result is that people only slightly different in ability can have wildly different rewards.

                                                                                                    • zarro 5 days ago

                                                                                                      Power laws can arise as natural consequences of aggregation of high variance data. General Central Limit Theorem says distributions of data with limited variability tend to follow the Normal (bell-shaped, or Gaussian) curve, but aggregation of high (or infinite) variance data leads to power laws. Thus, the bell curve is normal for low-variance data and the power law curve is normal for high-variance data.

                                                                                                    • ticmasta 5 days ago

                                                                                                      generally these types of activities don't actually follow a bell curve but a power law where a very tiny population reap the vast majority of the rewards and everyone else shares the scraps, trailing off and approaching zero. Think 10 YT videos get 10 billion views and the rest share a billion, with the mean being somewhere close to zero

                                                                                                      • zarro 5 days ago

                                                                                                        Power laws can arise as natural consequences of aggregation of high variance data. General Central Limit Theorem says distributions of data with limited variability tend to follow the Normal (bell-shaped, or Gaussian) curve, but aggregation of high (or infinite) variance data leads to power laws. Thus, the bell curve is normal for low-variance data and the power law curve is normal for high-variance data.