Matchmakers and the Gig Economy
On my way to Rotterdam to see my daughter compete in the World Rowing Championships, (Go USA! Sorry I digress...) I finished the book, "Matchmakers, The New Economics of Multi-sided Platforms" by David Evans and Richard Smallensee. Although I wished they had spent a bit more time on talent marketplaces in the gig economy, they provided wonderful examples of successes and failures in the new world of two-sided digital platforms. One point in their conclusion I particularly appreciated was this:
"2. A lot of what the new market darlings do is old stuff. They just use technology to improve on things that other matchmakers have done for many years. "
How right they are!
In my research for "Thriving in the Gig Economy", I have met many talent platform entrepreneurs. I think many of them have been surprised at how facile I am with the issues they face as they grow their business. I have been out of my firm for several years now, and my firm was. It a technology platform. But we were - and it is today - matchmakers. As such the challenges a digital platform may encounter when recruiting talent, finding consultants or establishing contract terms are not dissimilar from those I faced over the years.
They conclude with the fact that passed on the long history of matchmakers, dating back to the Greeks and the agora, the current crop of digital platform firms will not be the only ones to disrupt economies. In fact another quote I liked is this
"With all due respect to the brilliant entrepreneurs behind today’s unicorns and yesterday’s huge IPOs, the telegraph was a far more important multisided platform in terms of its impact on the global economy than anything the Internet has yet spawned."
They got that right too. On the whole, I solidly endorse this book. I welcome your thoughts on it and the gig economy.