The ‘gig economy’ is dopey. Always had a problem w/the term.
For me, a gig is a trident tip spear used for gigging. Period.
Growing up in rural and coastal Connecticut, from April to November, gigging was a principal pastime. We’d go after anything gigable, but mostly bullfrogs and flounder. It was very effective.
Imagine it was quite unpleasant for the gigged fauna. (Not unlike the ‘gig economy.’) Most of the catch made it to the table. We could gig in the Winter, by simply cutting a hole in the ice, chumming and waiting. It was cold and not as fun.
Once moving to California, the prospect of gigging New England Style was not really available. However, gigging with a modest technological change, was even better than gigging in ponds and estuaries on the East Coast.
Supposedly the Hawaiians invented the ‘Hawaiian Sling‘. It’s a gig with a piece of surgical tube attached. It is wicked effective.
From Santa Barbara to Mendocino got to gig/sling a lot. The best was the halibut at the beach at the entrance to Diablo Canyon in SLO at night. Wow. Could fill my freezer with one clean shot. (Later learned it was a key halibut spawning area, thus frowned upon.) It was fun and delicious while it lasted.
Gigging is a good metaphor for the gig economy. Just make sure you are on the right end of the gig. Avoid the King Neptune of Gigging, Dara Khosrowshahi.
Have to say … of gigging as described by John I know nought, but totally with him on the Dara reference and that is another story about why a gig is no solution.
Doc Searls, Godfather of The VRM/Me2B Movement observed recently that he writes on 4 (what amount to) personal blogs … which made me feel a lot better about myself. In that same post he wrote;
Bigger than all four of those blogs is Linux Journal, where I wrote a great deal, including what amounted to blog posts on its website, for 25 years. That ended when Linux Journal ceased business in August. Also, as of today the entire site, with all its archives, is offline, erasing a third to a half of what I’ve written online so far.
It’s a cautionary tale because Doc (who’s final position at Linux Journal was Editor in Chief) might reasonably have expected that whoever owned Linux Journal wouldn’t suddenly remove it from public view.
Rule Number One : When it comes to your IP trust no one. Keep your articles and writing in a place that you have access to and control.
Rule Number Two : There is no Rule Number Two.
On a side note, but keeping the theme of Doc … he recently published the links to the last three posts on the VRM Blog. They are good reads.
Counting both noun and verb forms, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) lists and defines thirteen separate ‘gigs’.
‘A flighty, giddy girl’ was where it all started and then ‘spin’, ‘whirl’, ‘whirligig’, ‘fool’, giggle and ‘joke’ are all in one way or associated with the word. Even when you get up to the 18th century where it meant ‘light one-horse carriage’, its origin might be ..
perhaps based on the ‘bouncing, whirling’ sense of the earlier ‘gig’.
Until recently, most of us would primarily have associated ‘gig’ with the music industry and even today young struggling bands are delighted (initially) to get their ‘first gig’. In this sense, we have two possible origins;
‘a gambling bet’ (possibly from the use of a spinning wheel in some original ‘gig’ game), which then was generalized to mean ‘a business undertaking’ and then applied to a musical performance.
the musical engagement sense to the original ‘spinning’ meaning of the word, perhaps influenced by the Old French ‘gigue’, meaning ‘dance’. which also gave us ‘jig’.
That dates just back to 2009. And to me it continues to honor the light, flighty, gaming/gambling origins of the word. So let’s stop using it and call it what it is. Exploitation? Slavery? After all they shoot horses, don’t they?
Delighted to report that this one – FINALLY – hit a chord. Not just a small chord – put a very large sonorous one. Ok – some of the chords were – well – dischordant … if you will pardon the extension of the musical metaphor. But really – isn’t that what it is all about. Dialogue! It’s just great to see responses. it means people are really reading and taking things to heart.
Click through, read on and comment back. I want to hear. And once the excitement has died down I wil be sure to do a follow up.
A Ted Talk from Nick Hanauer – rebel VC … if that isn’t an oxymoron!
Interesting that he concludes his talk with 5 rules of thumb behind ‘the new economics’ that answers the question. Intersting because all 5 are some of the building bricks (tenets) of the Pillars of the People First Business Equaiton.