What happens when everyone is a part-timer?

I’ve tried to live my business life following the adage “If my neighbor doesn’t have a job, sooner or later I won’t either.”

I believe that strong communities exist when there is mutual respect, free exchange of ideas (good and bad), a sense of safety and diversity of all types.

When I say “safety” I mean the very basic levels. The ability to provide food, shelter, and clothing for one’s family. That means good jobs that pay decently and have a modicum of security during turbulent times.

Decent jobs doesn’t mean living in fear that your position will be turned over to a freelancer at $10 per hour or outsourced to a semi-qualified temp halfway around the world. It doesn’t mean that you’ll be cut at the end of a quarter just to balance the books and justify the CEO’s bonus. It doesn’t necessarily mean making $100K or more, either.

Does that explain in part–although I can never condone violence–why taxi drivers in Paris are attacking Uber drivers? As Salon’s recent analysis of the situation put it:

What happens when everyone is a part-timer?

How safe do people feel when their existence boils down to how quickly they can get to an Uber hail? How will the rent be paid and the kids be fed if the driver is a little slow off the mark? Even if he gets the hail, what if the kids get sick? There’s no health insurance in freelance nation.

How safe should pedestrians and the rest of us feel? You see, if I don’t feel safe, I can’t help others feel safe. I’ll do anything I can to look after number one, even if that means potentially hurting others. Nothing personal, it’s just how biology works.

I’m not an expert in building technology-driven business models. But I know this to be true:

If my neighbor doesn’t have a job, sooner or later I won’t either.

Takeaway: Build value by extending the circle of safety to more people in your community, not by taking it away.

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