Tech Focus: — The Next Big Thing, the Next Big Thing

The freelance marketplace website was recently in the news due to (previously profiled) Youtube star PewDiePie landing into some hot water due to his (mis)use of the sites services. Apparently, “PewDiePie” (Felix Kjellberg) paid “The Laughing Guys,” digital marketing freelancers, $5 to hold up a sign that said “Death to All Jews.” Now, this was obviously poor judgment on Kjellberg’s part, and Disney removed themselves shortly after from their partnerships with “PewDiePie.”  This incident, however, was the first time I heard of the site and it sparked my curiosity, so I checked out immediately.

What I found was a pretty remarkable website service with unlimited possibilities.  “Freelance services for the lean entrepreneur” is how markets its platform that digitally connects freelancers with gigs.  They offer eight broad categories: graphics design, digital marketing, writing and translation, video and animation, music and audio, programming technology, business, and fun and lifestyle.

Consider this scenario: someone comes up with a great idea for a smartphone app.  Usually this would be a gigantic task which would require a significant small business loan, office space and a staff of professionals and administrators.

With, preferably in their underwear at home, one could hire a programmer to write the app’s code; a graphics designer to create the logo and website; a musician to write a catchy jingle; a lawyer to file various paperwork; a media guru to craft an announcement and alert the press and a whole slew of other capable professionals around the world get the app off the ground. really does level the playing field for inspiring entrepreneurs.  It allows a driven person to act as a one (wo)man corporation.  But is there a dark side?

The promise of sounds great for entrepreneurs who are looking to keep their costs at a minimum.  But could this destroy the careers of thousands (eventually, perhaps, hundreds of thousands) of artists and other specialized professionals in the United States?  It’s hard enough for people in these industries to compete against each other in their own cities, but now they have to also compete with professionals around the globe?  Five dollars goes a lot further in China and India than it does in New York City.

What are your thoughts?  We would love to hear them in the comments section below.

Tech Focus contributor Rob Giuffre is a Network+ and A+ certified computer/network technician and educator.

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