The Future of Work and the Free Radical
How we work is changing. But where we work isn’t.
Over the last ten years a new way of working has emerged, along with some people who live it every day. They’re available 24/7. They network endlessly, and then plug their skills into others’ in surprising combinations. They choose when and how they do what they do, on their terms. They don’t want job security – they want career fluidity. We call them free radicals. And they’re creating the future of work.
But when they look for a place to do all that, the options are weirdly outdated: office, home, or on the go – say, a café. Those are actually poor choices. Offices mean fixed cost and daily routine. Home is isolated and full of distractions. And cafés get old after the second latté.
Be transported by this panel of experts into the future of work, as they walk you through their vision of the ideal work experience for free radicals just like you.
Althea Erickson is the Advocacy and Policy Director at Freelancers Union, where she devotes her days to making the world a better place for freelancers everywhere. Today, 42 million Americans are “independent workers” – about one-third of the entire workforce. With a membership of more than 170,000 nationwide, Freelancers Union is building a new form of unionism through creative, cooperative, market-based solutions to pressing social problems.
In her role at Freelancers Union, Althea has built the membership into a powerful political constituency, leading its successful campaign to repeal unfair tax laws, launching its Political Action Committee, and pushing for legislation to protect freelancers from unpaid wages. Althea also spearheaded the creation and launch of several community-based, “New Mutualist” tools to address freelancers’ challenges, including Client Scorecard, an online database of client reviews, and Contract Creator, a free contract tool for members.
Prior to Freelancers Union, Althea worked at the Rockefeller Foundation, where she focused on strategies to build economic security within the U.S. workforce. Althea also has extensive organizing and campaign experience, including organizing women on welfare in the NYC suburbs, leading the NY arm of a successful corporate social responsibility campaign targeting JP Morgan Chase, and managing a hip-hop youth center in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Althea has a B.A in Government and Public Policy from Wesleyan University.
Benjamin was a mild-mannered lawyer who woke up one day and, together with some partners, decided, Hey, let’s change the future of work.
So, along with his friends, Stuart and Karina, and Co:, Cool Hunting, Behance, Magic + Might and Breakfast, he created Grind, a platform for working in a whole new way, outside the system. Built for free-range humans who carry their offices in their backpacks, Grind is the antidote to everything you knew about work. It’s dedicated to taking all of the frustrations of the old work experience and pulverizing them to a dust so fine it actually oils the wheels of the machine (sorry, old work experience, but you had it coming).
Grind #1 is located at 29th and Park Avenue South in Manhattan. It has 100+ workspaces—from desks you can crank at to couches you can lounge on to conference rooms you can kibitz in—and a lot of really big windows (light is good). Other Grind locations are in the works for New York (West side), Los Angeles, Chicago, Amsterdam and London.
Throughout his career, Benjamin has founded, funded, operated and advised successful start-ups. He has long experience in real estate and corporate law, has represented financial institutions and prominent businesspeople, owned his own consulting firm, and has always been at the epicenter of where business and imagination meet.
Josh Rubin believes that there are no new ideas, just great executions. As an interaction designer he's always looking for both creative inspiration and an understanding of the way people do things. In 2003 he decided to start a catalog of what he found and haphazardly named it Cool Hunting. Today Cool Hunting is synonymous with seeking inspiration and has a global team of editors and contributors sifting through innovations in design, technology, art and culture to create the award-winning publication that consists of daily updates and weekly mini-documentaries for an international audience of like-minded creative people. Josh is also responsible for the design of coolhunting.com and the iPad app, as well as the distribution via sites like Vimeo, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Outside of being an editor, Josh also consults on strategy, content and design for select clients including Apple, Adobe, Vodafone, Nike, Microsoft and MTV. Josh helped to found the digital consultancy Bond Art + Science, was a Lead User Interface Designer at Motorola, a Design Director at Razorfish, in charge of product development at Upoc Networks and an intern at IDEO. He has a BA in Communications and Cognitive Science from Hampshire College and a Master's in Interactive Telecommunications from NYU.
Richard Schatzberger has spent his career at the intersection of innovation, technology and design, creating experiences aimed at enhancing people's lives. At Co, he beings this background to leading the development of technology experiences for clients.
Prior to Co, Richard was the Director of Creative Technology at BBH New York. There he focused on the discovery, invention and fusion of technology into the creative process across all accounts in the agency. He helped brands such as Google, Cadillac, Sprite, and AXE understand new opportunities for their business and the people that their products and services touch, along with creating tangible work breaking the confines of a single screen. This included one of the first iPad applications, for Cool Hunting and Cadillac, which set the stage for how people will interact with content and brands.
Prior to BBH Richard was the Principal Experience Strategist at Motorola where he conceived of, designed, and developed the MOTOFONE. The MOTOFONE was the lowest cost/highest design mobile handset in the world, focused on bringing communication to underserved rural markets in India. Its creation has earned Richard innovation awards from CES (Consumer Electronics Show), Cnet and the Communication Arts Interactive Annual.
In addition, Richard created a wide range of innovative solutions – from new content delivery platforms to mobile operating systems, leading the experience design for Motorola/Kodak devices and new luxury devices.
Richard has also worked at digital agencies such as Deepend, Sapient, and POKE.
Scott Belsky has committed his professional life to help organize creative individuals, teams, and networks. Scott is the co-founder and CEO of Behance, a company on a mission to organize and empower the creative world. Behance is the leading online platform to showcase and discover creative work, and serves as the backbone for AdWeek, LinkedIn, and thousands of other portfolio sites and online galleries of creative talent. Millions of people use Behance to display and find talent every month. Behance also runs The 99% think tank and conference, an annual gathering of creative leaders focused on the execution of ideas. He is a frequent contributor on MSNBC and has worked with leading companies and organizations including General Electric, Hewlett-Packard, and Proctor & Gamble as well as the United States State Department and the CIA. In 2010, Scott was also included in Fast Company's list of "100 Most Creative People in Business." Scott is the author of the international bestselling book Making Ideas Happen (Portfolio, Penguin Books). He also serves and an advisor and investor in several early-stage companies including Pinterest, Contently, FLUD, and Paddle8. He attended Cornell University as an undergraduate and received his MBA from Harvard Business School.