Labor Day Innovation Perspective

9/3/18, 7:28 AM

Labor Day is an annual holiday to celebrate the achievements of workers with origins in the labor union eight-hour day movement, advocating eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.

Good morning, innovators and innovation advocates – today is Labor Day and the eight hour day movement sounds like a pretty good idea for us, although without the unionization part of it. In case you had not noticed being creative does not always endear you to managment, friends, partners or even to yourself. But the good news is you can grant yourself the eight hour day model permitting time to rest, recreate and work.

What? I hear some of you saying – my work is my recreation, and I have no time to rest. Well, guess what – since creative people eventually tend to be self employed and at times somewhat dismissive of authority, there is no one to liberate you from tyranny but yourself. 

This self liberation from the go-all-of-the-time mental model can actually increase your productivity, sustainability and yes even the meaning in your life, all of which can be useful when contemplating getting up in the morning. Seriously, innovators and creators do have to take care of themselves, because often there is not anyone else to do it, or even if there are other willing parties, we do not always permit them to take care of us. 

Use this holiday called Labor Day as an excuse to reflect a bit on how labor has historically been abused and who if anyone is abusing you? Employers, have discovered long ago that creative people tend to create for their own internal purposes which make them somewhat psychically self compensating. If any of you have been musicians for a long time, perhaps you have noticed the lack of cost of living increases?

Some of use who performed our way through college making $50 or $100 for a gig have discovered this compensation has been holding relatively steadily for fifty years from 1970 to 2020! Yes I know it is still nearing the end of 2018, but it does not look like there is any great increase coming in this dimension. During this same fifty year time period, most costs of living have grown by 1000%

What this translates into for musicians, is there is now a pay to play model, where increasingly musicians end up paying for the privilege of performing, and guess what? It is a lot easier for a musician to get paid than an artist, poet, composer, playwright or author. 

This is due to the simple reality, that we mostly do not create for money, but because we want to, and this is not limited to liberal arts people. Most inventors and innovators have arrows in their backs from failed entrepreneurial adventures.  

Creative populations do not like to think of themselves as labor, and are often not joiners of movements or unions, so there is no one to protect us but ourselves. Make sure to take time to rest and recreate, for most of you have noticed that you are more creative when rested and recreated. 

Light at the end of the tunnel time:

Creative innovative individuals can decide to be just as creative in business model and execution domains as well as artistic and technical domains, and in fact have to be. Today as Labor Day  can be a time to reflect on something like your own labor and how to present it in forms that add more value to more people, permitting you to charge more for your efforts. Since there is usually no union to protect you, you are going to have to do it for yourself. 

Today is a good day to consider yourself as an economic entity, not entirely an artistic or inventive entity, and to liberate yourself from current constraining business models you may be laboring under. Consider yourself, an underutilized and undervalued resource and invest some of your creative juices contemplating what you could do to better take advantage of the value you bring to situations. If you are spending 90% of your energy being an artist or an inventor, and not being a business person you are going to need a patron or a boss or both.

It is time to declare your independence and I hear some of you saying – great all he did is make me feel bad because I am already exploited, and do not know what to do. So lets move this discussion to a more positive note and talk about a huge opportunities that are coming for creative people. And no this not where I give you an algorithmically specific set of recipe directions about how to proceed, for I will not insult your intelligence as you are a self declared creative person.

But, here is what is truly coming. Soon there will be an infinite set of ways you can respond to this opportunity. Bandwidth is becoming essentially ubiquitous and free just like long distance phone calls have become. The combination of installed fiber, 5G and satellite distributed internet is about to create a bandwidth glut, and when this happens although you have heard the phrase before – Content will become King. Yes, people have been saying content is king for years or even decades now but now it is truly going to happen. It is taking longer than people thought,  because they did not realize how much bandwidth would be needed and how cost ineffective providing bandwidth in low population density areas many live for lifestyle and economic reasons. 

What could you do with very low cost, super high bandwidth?

Content creators and content deliverers together could create far more responsive multiple point of view content. The age of broadcasts can finally be replaced by the age of narrowcasts. Why would anyone want this?  Well, does one size fit all? Do you want the same content as your neighbors? Have the hundred plus channels of cable done anything for the quality of your life? Do you prefer live to canned content? Are you more of a consumer or a creator? 

We are poised for a total overhaul of the definition of content, and how it is about to be delivered. Content could be nonlinear, more responsive, and offer alternative multiple points of view. We have fairly recently become a truly networked species, What happens when that network gets 1000 times faster than it was last week or last month? Many are experiencing this right now!

New services, new art forms and new business models all are about to become possible. In the fifty years musicians were paid the same $100, computing became a trillion times cheaper, fueling the economic engine driving the planet right now. Moores law, more a state of mind, than law of physics, is about to blow the doors off content creation and delivery, more than it already has. Your computer gets perhaps twice as fast every year. Compare that to your network getting ten or a hundred times as fast. This is happening right now, fueling suburban growth today. 

When you can reduce big city cost of living by 80%, park quickly for free, and be connected with a gigabit fat pipe, new business, living and artistic models arise. 

A new labor movement

Portions of the creative community are poised to become far more valuable than ever before. Take time to recreate, rest and dream up new business models for new services and new classes of content.  Do not tell me you are not  technical and do not do math because you are waiting for the world to go back to a better time. You know that is nonsense. The only way to change, is to move forward. Frankly it is not that hard for a person to learn to use drag and drop tools to code. Ten year olds do it all of the time. You  too can acquire skills to manifest your new dreams. With well over 1 million Apple developers, it can not be too hard right?

Take the time to rest, recreate and to reinvent yourself as a self employed business entity. Neglect the business and logistical side at your peril! Instead run toward the new set of possibilities rapidly coming at us. They create far more opportunity than they take away. This could be the best time in human history to be a curious creative person. Barriers to learning and new business entry have never been lower and are about to drop orders of magnitude more. Rest, recreate and seize the day as you are truly the new labor force in the world.