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In defense of the gig economy

Bill Gurley – who by the way is an investor in Uber – has an interesting piece up on his blog about the thing he loves most about Uber. It is the ability for the network to level load on its own. And here’s what he means by that:

In spite of all the ink that journalists, analysts, and pundits have spilled on Uber over the years, no mainstream article has focused on what I consider to be the most elegant feature of this now ubiquitous, high growth global service — no driver-partner is ever told where or when to work. This is quite remarkable — an entire global network miraculously “level loads” on its own. Driver-partners unilaterally decide when they want to work and where they want to work. The flip side is also true — they have unlimited freedom to choose when they do NOT want to work. Despite the complete lack of a “driver-partner schedule” this system delivers pick-up times that are less than 5 minutes (in most US cities (with populations over 25K) and in 412 cities in 55 other countries. The Uber network, along with Mr. Smith’s invisible hand, is able to elegantly match supply and demand, without the “schedules” and “shifts” that are the norm in most every other industry.

When surveyed, most people seem to prefer a job where they set their own schedule and get to be their own boss, compared to a steady 9 to 5 job with benefits and a fixed salary. Assuming that’s true, then this is a feature worth talking about.

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