I came across an interview with Australian entrepreneur Michael Priddis. He is preparing to launch an intelligence research and development business in Australia. The interview was fascinating and I highly recommend reading it. Priddis makes some great observations, such as “Computers are good at doing the jobs we find hard, and bad at the ones we find easy….But empathy, insight, intuition, it’s impossible to do those as well. It’s probable that as artificial intelligence [AI] develops there will be some capability, but never what a human can do. People should move into roles requiring these skills.” If you have been reading my Future Friday posts you know that I have been saying that for some time. In addition to several other points Priddis made there was one that I found interesting, and it dealt with freelancers.
Freelance work, technology and continuing education
Priddis points out that technology has made it easier for people to be self-employed on a much larger scale. Unfortunately government regulation has not made it easy, so some work there needs to be done in many governments.
He also points out that in the world of self-employment you have to keep learning to continue to advance your skill set. Unfortunately taking time to learn something takes time away from earning. I know that from personal experience. I work very hard had trying to keep up with what is happening in HR from regulatory issues to how to work with younger generations of workers. But doing so takes time away from actually finding clients and performing work for them. Priddis’ implication is that if you are learning you are not earning. He said “It seems counterintuitive for governments to believe in self-employment on one hand, and on the other hand to provide no ability to keep people learning so they can be self-employed.”
He feels that there needs to be a radical change in the Australian education system, and I feel the same can be said about the US. He said “We need more practical, more vocational courses, shorter in duration than two or three years. This requires a level of discussion about new business models for universities, and a new infrastructure around education.” We are starting to see learning opportunities offered by MOOC, such as Coursera and Udemy, but they do take time and effort and reduce earning opportunities. That may restrict some people from pursuing self-employment opportunities.
Then again, if you want to be self-employed you just have to work harder and smarter to take advantage of the opportunities that are available in order to make yourself more valuable.