Many people complain that the #GigEconomy creates low wage jobs with no benefits and is therefore a negative for society. What this perspective fails to recognize is that for so many, the #GigEconomy represents a tremendous opportunity to complement an existing income stream by moonlighting. Moonlighting, or doing paid work that is done – often at night – after your regular job is over has been around forever, and now there is even a platform for that, Moonlighting.com.
The Company Origin
Jeff Tennery, who spent over 30 years as a senior executive in the mobile world, spent a year moonlighting with his friends and future colleagues building the mobile platform for supplemental work, Moonlighting.com. From his perspective, the idea that gig or project work had to be the primary income for someone was reasonable, but the idea that a firm or platform had to be the provider of that full time role was problematic.
“There is a demand constraint”, Jeff explained. For the digital platforms that offer task based, on demand work, there is not enough demand for those projects to keep every worker busy. As such, that work and that income, by definition, needs to be supplemental.
As the founder of a firm, M Squared Consulting, that matched independent consultants to projects, that point of view resonated with me. We would always tell consultants that we were just another marketing arm for their businesses. The beauty for them was that we would contact them with a project that : 1) they didn’t have to get for themselves, and 2) it would be a completely new client with the opportunity to do new and different things. All talent intermediaries, whether traditional or digital, are like that, but not all communicate the fact overtly. Moonlighting does. They also get the most freelancers belong to several platforms, in fact 4 to 6, and they support that.
Blockchain in the Model
In fact, given their bias for transparency, they are building enhancements to their platform using blockchain to ensure that independent workers can own and control their records across various platforms. Blockchain is the distributed leger that create a permanent, unchangeable record. In the case of independent workers, there are many pieces of data that should be permanent like industry certifications such as a CPA, technology credentials, like Google adwords certified, educational degrees conferred and employment verifications. Once in the chain, these facts can be a permanent record for a freelancer. Since every platform needs that same information, Moonlighting is creating APIs so that these records can be shared across the platforms. There will also be smart contracts and the tracking of the number and ranking of reviews given to the freelancers.
Having these permanent records available will reduce the cost for the platforms and thereby increase the income potential for the freelancers. “Why does a platform need to take 20%? With blockchain the costs can go way down and the freelancers can keep more of what they earn. “ These enhancements, Jeff says, will make Moonlighting a “platform for the people.” The freelancers will become stewards of their own information on the platform and make more money doing it.
Plans for an STO and ICO
To fund this growth they are doing an STO, or Security Token Offering. The company plans to do 2 different issues. The first will be a regulated, non-equity security token issue. Later in the year, and contingent upon further SEC guidance, the firm will issue a utility token, a virtual currency that has value (or utility) to those who are in the community that use it. The “MoonBit”, the utility token, will also be exchangeable into fiat or regular currency. It will enable moonlighters to share in promotions offered by the Moonlighting.com, much like frequent flyer programs do for travelers.
As these exciting events are on the horizon, there is no reason to think the future isn’t bright, based on past performance. Started in 2014, the company can now handle gigs and moonlighters in all 50 states. They have 650 thousand moonlighters and plan even greater growth. Their list of investors is impressive, with financing from major media firms like Gannett, tronc and McClatchy. As one of the first firms to be truly mobile, they are listed as one of the top 10 apps in the jobs category on the app store. I’d bet on them…at least a moonbit or two!