WNSF:A Positive Vision of the Future of Work

What the world needs now is a positive vision of the future of work. We’ve got plenty of dystopian visions of the rise of the robots, the race to the bottom of globalization, and the loss of myriad jobs on the horizon. Enough already. Marco Zappacosta, the young co-founder and CEO of Thumbtack, one of the most successful startups in the sharing economy, thinks we now need more positive thinking about how the next economy could work better for everyone. Marco fully understands that advanced automation and artificial intelligence will replace many routine jobs, and that globalization will continue to undermine American jobs competing with workers in foreign countries. However, he believes people are overlooking how much opportunity lies ahead for those doing work that is non-routine and not replaceable by machines, or that can’t be traded away because the service must be provided locally. That lack of vision of how that next system could work is undermining efforts to move forward.

Marco knows a thing or two about the opportunities that the sharing and gig economies provide for both white collar and blue collar workers. Thumbtack is a booming platform that connects up those who need work done to those who can do the work, like a homeowner to a handyman, or a bride to a photographer. He sees Thumbtack as part of the sharing economy out to leverage the underutilized resources – not of houses and cars – but of human talent. Marco has some nascent ideas about how to reshape the next economy and optimize it for people. He and his team have been collecting all kinds of data that help explain how the economy and nature of work has evolved over the last several decades and where the trendlines are pointing. He has developed a stunning presentation that he laid out at What’s Now: San Francisco which stimulated a deeper conversation with those we will gathered from inside the sharing and gig economies, as well as those from other fields.