“Meaningful input best follows from meaningful voice and ownership.”

HTU will be on summer hiatus next week–so no newsletter next Tuesday.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

“Meaningful input best follows from meaningful voice and ownership.” The co-founder of food-sharing service Josephine explains why they’ve decided to give cooks equity (starting in 2017) in their platform.

Uber continues to get hammered for its discrimination against wheelchair-bound passengers.


Organizing Theory

I’m working on building a bot for FB Messenger, for a project at my day job. Would appreciate a chance to chat with any HTU readers who have experience with same. (Don’t know why bots are useful? Check out these two pieces.)

From Partners

Trebor Scholz & Nathan Schneider, organizers of last year’s Platform Coop conference, have organized a book made up of many of the talks given by presenters there. You can preorder it now.

Like the idea of a Universal Basic Income, but worried that it’s politically too hard to pass, because of the scourge of ‘lazy adult’ rhetoric? Check out TCF’s Andy Stettner, on why a universal child allowance makes sense for the US.

Geeking Out

The self-driving car dilemma (should it kill the passengers or pedestrians) isn’t a dilemma because of self-driving—it’s a dilemma because humans can’t agree on which lives have value.

I’m really hoping that technology will cure blindness (it’s only fair—increased screen time is definitely contributing to my worsening eyesight!).

Wondering when AI is going to pay off for you personally? Why not try a Gmail extension that claims to make your emails more effective?

What’s Going on in the Workforce

On a UBI vs. a Job Guarantee.

Uber’s move to start deploying self-driving cars in Pittsburgh is going to leave some of their staff very bored. Why? For legal reasons, a person still has to be behind the wheel—but Uber will want the passengers to interact with an iPad, not the driver. And in related Uber news—they’ve just purchased self-driving truck company Otto.

“…the digital gap does not have a basic closure benchmark that can be held up as an achievement; the goals are constantly shifting.”

Organizing Theory

“…the digital gap does not have a basic closure benchmark that can be held up as an achievement; the goals are constantly shifting.” Has the digital divide turned into more of a digital spectrum?

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Massachusetts just set up a new process to regulate ride-sharing companies—and the mayor of Boston is not thrilled with the deal.

Coops in the UK are pioneering a new way of funding paid sick time for the self-employed, inspired by a model in the Netherlands. I’m wondering if any US coops have used a similar tactic? A different UK group have launched a crowd-funded vehicle for supporting worker-coops there. Curious, US friends, is there an equivalent fund here?

The founder of Zipcar has some ideas about the advance planning we need to do, to get ready for wide-scale adoption of self-driving vehicles.

Peter Barnes, on the need to think about rents in a new way, to steer our economy toward new outcomes.

Geeking Out

You say you need a new car? Why not try a vending machine

People driving too fast in your neighborhood? Install a robotic speed bump!

From Partners

Alex Rosenblat takes a tour around all the ways a ride-sharing app can commit wage-theft—whether intentionally or inadvertently.

The Century Foundation, on increasing worker-owned businesses as a vehicle to reducing income inequality.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Bringing manufacturing jobs back the US…one “robot-powered” factory at a time.

“…[people find sex work when they] have a financial situation that has to be met in some informal way. They’re downsizing; their hours are cut back; they’re going to school again; they’re a mom.” Priceonomics looks at the life of a phone sex operator.

Here’s an interesting new (at least to me) service to create incentives for improving employee recognition. Curious if any HtU readers have experience with Bonusly?

“Everyone’s hour is worth the same as everybody else’s”

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

“Everyone’s hour is worth the same as everybody else’s.” Trying to remember when I have read a more radical sentence. On using time banking to build a just transition.

Many on-demand economy services require a smartphone—which puts them out of reach for those who don’t have one. This startup aims to connect riders to companies like Uber and Lyft through older-school technology (think, postcard).

Reputation, reputation, reputation

Remember last week’s story about Uber hiring a security firm to spy on unions in Seattle? Well, they’ve also apparently hired a private eye to spy on a Yale researcher, who’s suing them for anti-trust violations. Really not a good look.


Organizing Theory

The panel I moderated at CommonBound 2016, with Nathan Schneider, Micky Metts & Mario Liebrenz talking about tech and platform coops, is online now. Watch it here:

Seattle City Council is still working out the kinks of which drivers will be eligible to vote in the Uber election.

From Partners

Want to know what the US presidential candidates think about workforce automation? Sign this petition to have a question about that included in the debates.

Geeking Out

The first-ever self-driving taxi service will launch in Singapore next year.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Do I wish that someone other than a Jackson Lewis lawyer had written this piece? I do. Still, interesting look at why the NLRB determined that a group of musicians were employees, not independent contractors, for the purpose of organizing.

Here’s a great explainer, from Mathbabe, on why pooling retirement savings (a la Social Security) is a better bet for everyone, than making people create individual accounts.

“The hustle is either romanticized or criminalized, and therefore it is rarely understood or appreciated for what it actually is.” I don’t think I’ve read anything that connected the gig economy of freelancing and the gig economy of selling loosies, better than this.

“Most don’t choose self-employment.” Almost 1 in 6 workers in the UK is self-employed at this point—in large part, due to “precarious work” contracts.

Here’s a legal question for those scholars among us—can an algorithm count as a manager, for determining whether an independent contractor’s work is “managed?”

“Instead of working five days, for 35 hours, let’s just work three days to make room for others to work.” The richest man in Mexico wants to introduce a three-day work week, to create more job opportunities for younger workers.

Inside a robot-run warehouse

Geeking Out

I know, you think you’ve already read enough think pieces about Pokemon Go. Just trust me, and go read this one about the potential implications when the Internet of Things meets augmented reality.

The BBC takes you inside a robot-run warehouse in China, which processes 20,000 packages per hour.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

As a Philly person, I can vouch for the fact that last weeks ’s DNC had a fair amount of sharing economy presence, including a “special” relationship with Uber, who had a tent all their own for ridesharing use. Airbnb also held a panel for delegates, to talk about how they’re good for the middle class. Oh, and here’s Susie Cagle’s take on what it was like to deal with Uber at the DNC.

In DC? Check out this panel on financial inclusion, at Brookings on Thursday, 8/4.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

The high court in Delhi just ruled that Uber and other ride-sharing apps can’t use surge pricing, if it raises their rates above the ones set by the government for taxis.

Oh, and Uber seems to have hired a CIA-linked firm to investigate unions in Seattle. Hmm. That’s probably not a story they wanted out in the world.

Will established automakers be the ones who push Uber out?

Some of my very favorite journalists are the snarky ones. What happens when journalistic chatbots take over? We’ll be in good hands, apparently.

Organizing Theory

Podcast “You Are Not So Smart” investigates the science behind deep canvassing. h/t to whatever reader sent this to me—sorry that my record of who that was has been obliterated by a flurry of DNC related email/texts/tweets.