“In the 1950s and ’60s, American economic growth democratized prosperity. In the 2010s, we have managed to democratize financial insecurity.”

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

PS Mag, on the need for a new social contract. Need more evidence? Read this. “In the 1950s and ’60s, American economic growth democratized prosperity. In the 2010s, we have managed to democratize financial insecurity.”

h/t to NELP’s Rebecca Smith for sending this my way—a report on an experiment in helping low-wage childcare workers in Appalachia save for retirement, done by WISER.

Organizing Theory

Last week, I gave a talk at the People at Work Summit, the first-ever online coworking conference that took place over 24 hours. One of my fellow presenters, Vanessa Gennarelli, did a talk on how to get over the fear of asking for money, including this nifty toolkit for putting your fundraising pitch together. Check it out.

From Partners

Coopify is an about-to-launch app that seeks to provide the benefits of having a distribution platform to worker-owned coops.

Shareable is looking for case studies of ways that cities are reimagining themselves, for a new book. Sectors of particular interest include housing, food, mobility & work.

And speaking of the newly-launched, check out Spendrise, which launched last week in New York–and look for an interview with founder Eric Shih sometime in May.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

If you’re a regular reader of this email, you probably already know that Uber settled two class action lawsuits last week, that included their acknowledgement that they need some kind of drivers’ organization. Here’s HuffPo’s Dave Jamieson on whether it will have any power.

On a related note, as part of the Uber settlement, drivers will now be able to accept tips—but just in cash, not through the app. Tylt wants to know—will you tip your Uber driver?

“I will never grocery shop again.”

Geeking Out

“I will never grocery shop again.” Is technology making women’s lives better? Or just forcing more of us to return to a 19th C relationship with domestic workers?

Reputation, reputation, reputation

Micro targeted political ads, delivered to set-top boxes that know your address? Might be the thing that knocks you over into becoming a cord-cutter.

Interesting post from the head of LA’s Taxicab Commission on how we might use technological monitoring to ensure the safety of ride-sharing drivers in LA.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

“If your phone can give you access to the things you would need from a bank, well, you’ve just disinvented the need for banks, and fundamentally changed the operation of the money system, across whole swathes of the developing and emerging world.” If, like me, you’ve been looking for a super-long explainer of blockchain currencies, look no further. If no, click elsewhere. 

In SF next week? Check out this talk at Twilio on the tech behind the sharing economy. 

These non-profit folks are planning to give 6,000 Kenyans a basic income for 10-15 years, to see what happens. 

Organizing Theory

LGBT groups continue to lead the way on running evidence-based experiments that successfully reduce bias through 10-minute conversations at the door.

From Partners

The organizers of Personal Democracy Forum are still looking for folks to submit panels. All-male options need not apply.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Postmates is launching a new on-demand delivery service via subscription, perhaps to challenge Amazon Prime.

How trade unions and coops are working to help the self-employed in the EU.

we need to make the safety net work better for those of us living in the patchwork economy.”

From Partners

“But we do not need to answer all questions about the scope or importance of the gig economy to know that we need to make the safety net work better for those of us living in the patchwork economy.” New report from The Century Foundation on the need to patch the holes in economic security for all.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

“I work usually every day,” he says, “but doing the things I believe in, it doesn’t always feel like work.” What’s it like to be the first guy in the Netherlands to collect a basic income?

I wonder, at what point will we just need to set up a global tax system, to catch all the evaders that persist in not paying taxes anywhere?

Here’s a good start on principles for platform design that empower workers to do better.

Organizing Theory

As far as I can tell, the jury’s still out on what factor to use, when calculating Facebook event drop-off. But maybe committing to carpool will make people more likely to show?

Geeking Out

I’m not going to lie. Reading this made me want a telepresence bot of my very own. http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-telecommute-with-a-double-robotics-robot-2016-3?r=UK&IR=T

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Is Lyft becoming more like Uber?

More on last week’s story about the changes in US job growth, particularly when it comes to “alternative arrangements” (i.e.—gigs).

“Information asymmetries are not byproducts of Uber’s app design, but fundamental parts of the Uber business mode.” Data & Society’s Alex Rosenblat & Luke Stark analyzes how Uber uses algorithms to manage drivers.

Somewhere between the gig economy and a mainstream job is the “jobbatical.”


To longtime HTU supporter David Rolf on today’s publication of his new book, The Fight for Fifteen. Look for an interview with David here in the next few weeks.

“An activist’s moment is not the moment of change; it is the period when change seems impossible.”

Organizing Theory

“An activist’s moment is not the moment of change; it is the period when change seems impossible.” Great piece by an activist who went from leading the revolution at Tahrir Square to living on minimum wage in San Francisco.

From Partners

Silicon Valley’s Working Partnerships USA has just put out a report about Tech’s Invisible Workforce.

Geeking Out

Artists video rendition of a bricklaying robot? Sure, I wasn’t planning on doing anything cooler in that minute.

Always missing doctor’s appointments due to shaky transportation? If you’re in MD or DC, your doctor might send you an Uber.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Sharing economy startup Peerby just raised its biggest round of capital yet—from its own user base.

I’ve lived in a couple of older apartments that had closets which had clearly been converted from Murphy beds. I wonder what these will look like in 50 years?

How does platform capitalism feel like laughing with salad? You’ll only know if you read this great piece by Danny Spitzberg. Bonus points for having the best photo caption ever.

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Fascinating look, by JP Morgan Chase, at income volatility within various US demographics (including statistics about on-demand economy income). What’s up, westside?

The Rideshare Guy asked 55 industry folks to predict the biggest issues for ridesharing companies in 2016.

“…by firing a poor performer and then getting a replacement from essentially the same labor pool, you are relying on random luck to find someone who is going to do a better job.” Why ratings systems aren’t the best way to manage, if you care about delivering quality services.

CA Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez explains why she introduced the “California 1099 Self-Organizing Act.”

Great piece by Michelle Chen—Gig Economy Work Doesn’t Have to Be Awful.

A new paper by economist Lawrence Katz asserts that all the net growth in the US job market since 2005 has been in the gig economy—both offline and on.