1099 Economy: Discussion Points

Generally speaking, we do not make enough time to discuss topics deeply and understand the fundamentals of the world around us. For that reason, I helped put together a group of people interested in exploring different topics through regular discussion. Our first conversation was about the 1099 economy. We did not (and likely will not) take proper notes, but I wanted to share a list of topics and questions we discussed because it was so interesting.

+ Leveraging Free Time - Is time 'free' out of desire or because no other opportunities exist? How will this change over time? As the economy improves? What is the real trade off between stability and flexibility?

+ Birth of the Uber-preneur / Flexibility vs. Exploitation of Labor that can’t get full time jobs with benefits

+ Regulatory risks that these companies face. From an investment perspective, how do you over come this? Adapting policy to match new technologies,

+ Benefits – who pays the burden? Is it fair to skirt the line and call your workers 1099s instead of W2s? As more people work as 1099s, does the burden fall on society if people are not covered (insurance), for example? How will W2 benefits change over time as a result?

+ Who represents the interests of 1099s? Unions across 1099 companies? Every man for himself?

+ Should Uber and other 1099 players be required to pay benefits if the time a worker spends on their platform exceeds a set amount of time (e.g. 20 hours)?       

+ Lack of loyalty in workforce and implications of maximal size of 1099 based companies

+ What skills are 1099s developing? Room for professional mobility. Do workers care?

+ What opportunities exist across all 1099 companies?

+ Does scale matter for these companies? Regional (yes). National (maybe for Uber, but not for most others)

+ Currently disrupting the service economy. Will it move into the knowledge economy soon?

+ Is automation the natural extension of  outsourcing to the 1099 market / abroad?

+ One of the reasons why firms exist is to reduce transaction costs between people. Technology changes this equation. Can this be extended to all divisions of a business? Can all functions be outsourced? What is the value of institutional memory? How can this be saved while outsourcing? When is it smart and not smart to outsource?