Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.
– Albert Camus
In the past 10 years, the mobile Internet dominates more than half the time. Business giants like WeChat, Meituan(The largest takeaway platform in China), TikTok were born. Among them the most famous is the birth of WeChat, which has created a lot of stories about people getting rich, and that’s what WeChat Official Account (a content platform like Medium which is embedded in WeChat) says “Even small individuals have their own brands”.
The appearance of WeChat Official Account gives individual value and influence, like Luogic Show (an online social-issues talk show brand founded by Zhenyu Luo), Xiaobo Wu Channel(founded by the author of “China Emerging 1978–2018”, Wu Xiaobo) that are valued at over 100 million RMB. However, no one expected such a result 10 years ago.
Like Mark Twain said, “History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” If the appearance of WeChat Official Account has opened up a new track for personal brand development, then this Pandora’s box has been completely opened and something has coming……
In the early days of our parents’ generation, what they thought about work is just working in a company or working for the goverment. Only few enlightened people saw the potential of freelancers. Today, we can see individuals taking advantage of the power of content platforms like WeChat Official Accounts, TikTok, and Youtube, have worked better than a company.
Take LiZiqi and PewDiePie, who were wildly popular these years, for example, each has made over $10 million. At the same time, data shows that compared with the net profit of listed companies in 2018, more than 60% of all China’s A-Shares’ companies have less profitability than these internet celebrities. How impressive！
But, is this the end of personal branding and influence?
Time has moved on the 2020s before we knew it. Children become youths, and youths become adults. As the time passes, what change we feel is that the younger generation wants freedom far more than their parents do. They believe in the spiritual freedom, and like to explore freely in the big rules. The elders dislike it, and not understand it, but then gradually turn to used to it, and accept it.
This brings another deeper change, that young people’s demand for jobs are no longer just routine commutes or overtime. They begin to look for new breakthroughs, seek to work more freely, and hope to have less constraints. As a result, many internet celebrities, freelancers and a large number of part-time workers have come out in the past few years.
In 2018, Edison Research reported that almost a quarter of American adults earn money in the gig economy, and that number could rise to 43 percent by 2020. The annual size of the China’s part-time market is about 500 billion RMB, and the number of potential part-time workers exceeds 550 million.
With the outbreak of “we media” and the rapid development of internet celebrity economy, we will see more “LiZiqi”s or “PewDiePie”s in the next few years. These are the changes brought by the new generation. Just like “Bilibili”(a video platform which China’s new generation loves most) had made a large anime cultural New Year party online in 2020 to increase its stock market value by more than $1 billion. The world is changing.
Another interesting statistic is that a survey from Yougov Omnibus in 2019 showed that 48 percent of millennials were interested in using cryptocurrencies.
Just the awareness of freedom and the emergence of some open platforms are not enough to create a great environment for 80% of freelancers. It must miss something-an identity and a medium that allows them to freely access organizations or alliances.
Looking back at the birth of bitcoin, it is important to note that satoshi nakamoto wanted to create a currency that did not need to be issued by a central bank and could be transmitted point-to-point. Eleven years later, his dream has come true, and bitcoin is on its way.
Freelancers face the problem of being recognized by the organization while working, but not bound by a contract, and not having to bear the impact of organizational growth when the individual leaves.
Reid Hoffman, a co-founder of Linkedin, once wroted in his book, “ The business world needs a new employment framework that facilitates mutual trust, mutual investment, and mutual benefit.” The employment relationship of the future will no longer be the relationship between “exploiting” and “being exploited” mentioned in Das Kapital, but an alliance of mutual achievement and investment.
If you heard about blockchain, you will probably know a cool word called “Token”. Token in blockchain means cryptoassets. It is the value carrier of various blockchain projects, and gradually evolved into various symbols of rights and interests, such as the right of distribution, voting rights, ownership of real assets and so on.
Just imagine, if in the future we get salary by tokens from the organization, which can be transferred and held to enjoy the development brought by the organization (similar to equity), then we can fully play our ability and wander among multiple organizations. And the tokens obtained are not only a reward, but also an investment, because the token is no longer a single currency, it has floating value.
Do you know how many people work for the biggest company in the world?
The answer is 2.3 million.
This is the number of employees in wal-mart, which has occupied the top three of the world’s top 500 companies all year round. How many users are there in the social software with the most users in the world? The answer is Facebook, which has 2.66 billion users in the world.
That was a myth in the old business days, but in the blockchain era, with tokens, it’s no longer a pipe dream. What if Facebook came up with a bitcoin-like token (not a stable currency like libra)?
I believe that ten years later, we will see some companies begin to motivate employees and external staff (freelancers) with tokens. People will get digital ID based on blockchain, and rewards are tokens sent through a smart contracts on the blockchain. With the influence of the Internet, everyone can have a label, even has its own brand.
In addition, since the value of tokens will increase as the company grows, participants will do their best to help the company grow. If a company with more than a million employees today is surprising, it is at least possible to have tens of millions of “employees” in the future.
The Internet has awakened personal brand awareness. This made PewDiePie a label of the new era, made the grass roots become the internet celebrity attracting attention from thousands of people, and also made people known by others from corners to everywhere. We are embracing these changes and feeling the pulse of the new era, which is an opportunity never seen in the past millennium.
Blockchain is not all-powerful, but some changes will happen quietly. In the future, the boundaries of the company will be expanded, the concept of post will become vague, and some processes will be replaced by smart contracts. The work itself will not change, but the relationship network will become deeper and stickier because of the link of token.
Back to individuals, the role of our work today may only be a screw in a company, but with the changes of production relations brought by blockchain, people will find that they can stop being a screw and at least be a light bulb that lights up a part of the development of an organization or even multiple organizations.
Of course, to return to another essential question, no matter how times change and what happens to the carrier of the company, the most important thing for individuals is the improvement of their own ability, otherwise everything is just castles in the air.
The greatest change brought about by the Italian Renaissance was not the birth of a group of outstanding artists, but the awakening of people’s consciousness of personal freedom. The changes brought about by the development of the Internet today are not only the accelerated spread of information, but also the enlargement of personal ability and charm.
In the 2020s, blockchain will certainly bring the awakening of freedom consciousness in the new era, and people will be surprised by the change in their identity and the increased freedom they have in their company or organization. That’s why it’s important for individuals to care about blockchain.
It may not be ten years before we are no longer part of any company.