After reading [levels.io][http://www.levels.io]‘s latest brilliantly written [article][https://levels.io/a-future-of-two-extremes/], I started thinking about a future, as suggested by the article, of massive corporations on one hand and billions of self employed individuals on the other.
Now of course, one need not be a financial analyst to see that companies like Amazon, Google and Apple are going to “rule the world” in many ways in the near future (in a sense, they already do). We all accept that. And looking at, for example, the amount of pressure that these companies are able to put on their governments, one also wonders what the future of politics will look like.
What I struggle to agree with, is this vision of a world of self employed individuals. Now, granted, being a freelancer or any sort of self employed worker is becoming increasingly popular and, in some countries, easier than ever. And I bet this trend is going to keep growing in the foreseeable future.
But I have also noticed another trend becoming a reality in the last two or three years. It is called specialisation.
Going back a few years ago, it was entirely normal for the same person to be able to do some backend coding, to know a bit of CSS and HTML and also to be able to use Photoshop’s main functionalities in order to design a decent-looking interface. SEO was never a big issue, all you had to do was to buy a few links. And of course mobile native apps weren’t even a thing.
Things today are different. Yes, it is still possible for an individual to do all these things but not without compromising something and with clear limits in terms of scale. I realise that there may be exceptions here, and levels.io’s success with the [startups he founded][https://levels.io/12-startups-12-months/] in the last few months is striking and encouraging. But I think what his and others’ success says is that, at best, and if a lot of things go like they should, it is possible to build something on your own. This is amazing! But it also says absolutely nothing to disprove the power of, for example, a startup where, say, two, ten or even fifty people, each one of them incredibly well prepared in his/her own field, put their heart and soul in a project.
One person can build a project/company and can have some degree of success with it. But can that same person keep doing that forever and make that company keep growing? History tells us that this happens rarely if ever. There is something about a group of people serving each other and, ultimately, their customers, with different skill sets and personalities. And there is something about building a company, a product, an organisation, that doesn’t just last for a few months or years, but that lasts for as many years as possible, leaving an actual impact and making a real difference in people’s lives, in a way or another.
Anyone with a laptop can build Airbnb. Or, can he?
The idea that, if you do things on your own, a “kid from Africa with a laptop” can build something better and rob you of your market in a couple of months, is exactly the reason why companies formed by at least two people are a winner. In the open source world, we have known this for a long time: there is power in a group of people committing their time and skills to a project and a vision.
That a “kid with a laptop” can build smtg better than your one-man startup in a few weeks, is exactly why companies usually win. [tweet this]
Technology has given us an incredible amount of tools that we can use to build our projects and companies. People all over the world, and for years now, have built the most amazing blogs, websites, apps, etc. But there comes a time where you will need to go to the next level, and some people with different skills will need to be added to your team. This is what we call a Company, or an Organisation. It’s that easy. And as I look at the future, I see plenty and increasing opportunities to join forces with highly specialised people to build things that really are meaningful.---