Bob Hartwig – fast, frenetic, and fascinating

In one of his final appearances as President of III, Bob Hartwig PhD dove into the sharing or “gig” economy.

In a futile attempt to keep up with Bob’s frenetic pace, here’s my as-it-happens recording of his main points…

  • insurance is evolving to address coverage gaps for those who drive for Uber and Lyft, rent rooms via AirBnB, do work via TaskRabbit or Handy or laundry via Washio.
  • lots of variation by state e.g. Uber drivers are employees in CA but not in other states
  • smartphone usage is driving this – 50% of all adults worldwide have one – because it costs nothing to pair labor with demand – a revolutionary change
  • the tradition of the “good job” is only 135 years old…
  • Optimisitic folks think this frees workers from centraiized, often sclerotic  firms, enables workers to get paid more and work where they want when they want
  • Pessimistic folks see many jobs disappearing, the end of benefits, no investment in training and an increasingly difficult environment for those with low skills and education.
  • 22% of Americans have offered services in the sharing economy, most are male, young, minority, and urban.  All, coincidentally, categories at higher risk for work comp injury.
  • 71% of sharers are positive about the experience, AND 58% agree that the industry is exploiting a lack of regulation.
  • many “sharing” jobs are subject to automation
    • think Uber drivers – but its going to take a while (I disagree, it’s coming much faster than Hartwig thinks)

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