Monday, April 13, 2015

Models of engagement

As a person who solves problem for a living, there's a few options one has as far as current models of engagement (or more traditionally employment) are concerned:

  1. Engaged full time
  2. Engaged part time
  3. Freelance (i.e. somehow the work and the worker find each other)
I would argue that [1] and [2] are a special case of [3], wherein [3] just runs in a loop and the extra overhead of performing the search and matching are avoided, hence gaining some efficiency as a result of eliding the constant extra cost of running the matching algorithm.

[3] Is the purest (in some way) of being engaged, but some industries (such as the bollywood music industry) are more conducive to this model compared to something like a person working in a factory (either churning out tangible goods or code, etc...) (please pardon the phrase "factory" since some of you might be offended, and you should be since not all code is created equal; a lot of code is also a work of art). I'm ignoring some of the things that come with being employed full (or part) time such as health insurance, etc... since I want to focus on the most important aspect of employment, which in my opinion is impact and engagement.

Why is it that some industries have a preference for a certain model and others prefer another model?

Is it in the best interests of both parties to gravitate towards the most flexible model in most situations?

Which situations require that less flexible models thrive and are conducive to a more long term contractual type of engagement setting?

Which situations require that more flexible models thrive and are conducive to a more short term freelance type of engagement setting?


nomind said...

How about the jobs where there is a long and steep leaning curve. So during the initial period the employer will not get much value out of you but after that you keep on becoming more and more productive with time. Typically big company jobs fall in this category which has a very large corpus of private inhouse tools, technology and process of doing things.

Dhruv Matani said...

I can see 2 ways to approach this.

1. If big companies adopt most open source solutions, that eliminates a lot of "custom" knowledge that the person needs in terms of tooling knowledge. Of course, there will be parts that are IP, which the person will have to spend time learning and that should be accounted for.

2. If freelancing becomes a common paradigm, then companies will send out documentation to the person willing to freelance and that person will probably read those documents at a fixed pre-decided compensation.

If the amount of documentation is too much or the compensation during this period isn't good enough, people will automatically gravitate away from it. If the extra cost (time investment) of reading the documentation is significant, people will prefer to perform repeat gigs for the same company (in a way amortizing the constant initial cost). I feel that this is a natural market guided way to solve things.