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Two Exciting New Team-Based Freelance Platforms

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getty There was an interesting article in the Washington Post this morning: “Covid-proofing air is a $10 billion dollar opportunity.” It got me thinking about the application of “hunters and farmers” to freelancing. Am I more of a hunter : the kind of freelancer that, as an individual, is going after new opportunities, ensuring my skills and focus is on trend, and actively seeking interesting and attractive projects? Or, am I more comfortable as a farmer or “ gatherer ”, focused on reinforcing and mining established client relationships rather than an emphasis on seeking new ones, actively collaborating with colleagues, and focused on areas where I have established expertise? Let me start by being clear: hunting may sound more exciting but most of us aren’t Elon Musk or Jack Ma, and farming/gathering – exploiting what we are best at and know well – is as likely to lead to financial success and an enviable reputation and client list. Two paths, but either offers the potential for success. It’s the same with freelance platforms. Most are farmer/gatherers despite a hunter appearance; seeking to provide a flow of project opportunity through the marketplace that is distributed to platform members. But some – an increasing number – are starting to think and act like hunters, in the knowledge that, as Mike Morris, CEO of Topcoder explained to me, “We’re missing a good deal of opportunity by not better helping our freelancers to work more closely together, and expand the pie of interesting work.” We’ve seen more and more freelance startups – Contra , VentureL are two examples in the tech space that are beginning to focus on teamwork – or hunting in packs as I’ve called it elsewhere – by structuring the marketplace so that members nominate other members and, therefore, a level of trust and potential for collaboration is baked in. Vrootok in Macedonia, Marteamo in the US, Increddible in the UK, and Mash in Australia are good examples in the marketing or agency space, bringing what we might call full-stack marketing teams to support both product launches and marketing transformation. Meet Vicoland , a great example of a hunter operating from Frankfurt but supporting corporates and startups broadly. Think of it as a startup of startups , creating semi-autonomous virtual organizations or Vicos, each of which is a hunting and delivery party of a half dozen tech and other professionals. There are 35 Vicos now, and they work in a variety of industries and offer a range of capabilities from software design and development to data science and visualization. And while project opportunity does come into the landing page of Vicoland, growth is fundamentally driven by the ambition and competence of individual Vicos, and their effectiveness at sourcing work. In turn, the Vicoland platform provides an administrative infrastructure. I had the pleasure of speaking with Hans Freyberg, the founder of Vicoland, a serial entrepreneur who has started, built and sold a number of companies. Vicoland is, perhaps, the philosophical culmination […]

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