The Human Stock Market

From Human IPOs to Viva Workforce Technology and Working 5 to 9

Hi, I’m Andy Spence and this is Workforce Futurist Newsletter about the rapidly changing world of work. If you are not currently subscribing then please do for regular posts (like this) and longer essays direct to your inbox about every 2 weeks.

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The Human Stock Market

If you could invest in individual shares in a person, who would you buy?

Lionel Messi would have been a good investment 15 years ago. The image is a graph from Football Index (a gambling product) where you can trade footballers, like stocks.

Human IPO provides a way to issue shares in yourself, which can be exchanged for your time on an hourly basis.  The shares can be traded on a marketplace where the value goes up and down, just like Gold, Bitcoin or GameStop shares.  

Those who have listed shares in themselves, include Daniel the Neuroscientist and best-selling author, to Odunayo, a Tech entrepreneur on the Forbes 30 Under 30 List, and Narek, an award-winning cellist.

The current crop of Human IPOs appear to be successful artists, writers and, entrepreneurs.

Initial reactions to the Human IPO swing between:-

Could this be used to raise funds for education, social or creative projects?


Is this the inevitable dystopian consequence of neoliberalism?

A person selling their time for money is mainstream - you can hire a graphic designer by the hour on Fiverr. An annual salary can be deconstructed to an hourly rate, with different contracts and tax payment mechanisms. Both are linked to the ‘market-worth’ for your skills. 

Investing in people for the long-term isn’t novel - societies with public education systems will pay for your education, knowing that many will pay back this investment over their lifetime in taxes. Lambda school will train you with in-demand skills, which you then pay back when you are earning. 

What do you think, would you sell shares in the future value of your time?

The Computers Rejecting Your Job Application

I have run a few sessions recently with CHROs on how to harness technology to build better organisations. We cover where Artificial Intelligence (AI) software tools are being used in HR, for example, HireVue has conducted 19 million interviews, of which 20% use AI software.

This BBC article highlights some of the issues of using algorithms to screen job candidates. Amazon’s pattern recognition system was trained to identify candidates against a template of a ‘software engineer’ based on historical data – so screened out female applicants. This was acknowledged and better solutions have been developed.  

Any technology, however it is marketed, is still just a tool. It’s important to understand the rules it is using, the inputs and outputs. And as the Amazon example highlighted, we need to choose the right tools for the job.

CHROs are expected to lead workforce transformation initiatives, which means partnering nicely with technology teams, but also grappling with some of the strategic and ethical issues arising from new technology.   

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Viva Workforce Technology!

Microsoft launched Viva last week which builds on it’s Teams and Microsoft 365 to “unify the employee experience” across engagement, wellbeing and learning.

This is a fragmented $300 billion market where Microsoft already own some key players including LinkedIn, GitHub, SharePoint, and Glint.

Most employee’s experience of workforce technology is poor. 

Workers currently log onto about 20 different tools for onboarding, hiring, engagement, communication, learning etc.

Microsoft’s move is a shot across the bow to the larger HR Technology incumbents such as Workday, ADP, SuccessFactors, Oracle etc

From an employers perspective, these systems don’t really help solve workforce challenges around inclusion, productivity, and wellbeing. They measure a narrow strip of employee-related data, so for significant insights you need an additional data-lake and a pricey team of behavioural scientists, technologists and statisticians.

The Microsoft Viva launch is the continued onward march of Big Tech into workforce technology, spurred on by the catalyst of remote working. Last year for example, Salesforce bought Slack for $28 billion.

There will be a bun-fight 🧁 to acquire tech to fill the gaps in the HR Tech product suite. For example, Workday recently bought Peakon for $700 million.

If we look up from the rather symbiotic and bullish industry analyst reports, will these investments pay off?

A decentralised workforce is emerging with a new infrastructure for work based on Web3 architectures that give workers more autonomy and control over their data and skills. This has major implications for how we source and manage work, as I have written about in my research with the Blockchain Research Institute, which you can download.

Who’s Zoomin’ Who?

A neural network (more advanced stats than 🧠’s) can tell how positively people are responding to your video call based on facial expressions. Using Microsoft Teams, the tool highlights the person with the highest score.

I’m not sure how distracting this would be as you go through your regional sales figures on a Monday morning, or try to chair a Parish Council meeting?

More Ways To Earn – Using Brave Browser

Some of my friends are taking their internet privacy more seriously these days, with a flurry of requests to move from WhatsApp to Signal/Telegram.

What about your privacy when using internet browsers?

I’m not going into details here, but you know the saying…

I can recommend the Brave Internet Browser which I have used happily for a couple of years now (this link has my referral code for BAT tokens which I use to tip creators).

25 million people now use Brave Browser every month, and you can control the extent of the adverts you see. You can earn $BAT tokens which is an easy introduction to digital currencies, you can tip creators, or just exchange for Bitcoin.

The interesting thing is that it turns the existing pay-per-click advertising model on it’s head, and appears to be a viable method of consumer payback.

Scribe Spotlight

Ana Andjelic writes The Sociology of Business, about how consumers’ shifting status symbols change business and brand strategy. 

To understand the future workforce, it’s useful to understand some of the underlying consumer trends – so it’s worth following a few sociologists. 

Recommended reading from Ana would include The Galaxy of Kanye and Move Over Influencers, Here Come Curators.

Worker of the Week

‘9 to 5’ was a No.1 hit for Dolly Parton back in 1981

What a way to make a livin' 🎵

Fast-forward 30 years, and not only did Dolly Parton partly fund the Moderna Covid vaccine research, but she has also provided a new soundtrack for entrepreneurs working after-hours to start their own businesses, with a re-work of her hit song,

Check out ‘5 to 9’….

Cat of the Week 🐱

I’m not a Cat!

is just the sort of thing a cat might say…😉

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