I was talking with Matthew Cornell in email about entrepreneurs and free agents and the like. I made the statement that I think free agents won’t be the de facto standard of your typical knowledge worker or member of the creative class. Instead, I think I’ll side with Alex Lindsay, Chief Architect of PixelCorps.
In a podcast featured on IT Conversations, Alex talked about the age of craftsmen. He talked about how skilled workers would join guilds, learn their crafts, and then the different guilds would gather to complete specific projects. If a new mill was going up by the river, the carpenters and the stonemasons and the coopers would all come. And then, when the project was complete and they’d been paid, they’d disband and set off to find their next project.
The beauty of the guild system is that like-minded people gathered to share knowledge, learn from experience and from the wisdom of others, and generally hone their capabilities, such that their guild could command a better price for quality work, or at least be awarded more projects based on their prior merits.
Imagine that setup working today. You’re a young technical worker, learning how to build complex linux systems. You may or may not learn all the skills to build a web applications platform, but you wouldn’t actually develop the web apps that run on it. Those folks are from another guild. Imagine that the folks around you were all anxious to teach you the very best of what they’d learned, because the guild’s stature was based on the quality of ALL its members. In fact, if you sucked, the guildmaster would cast you out of the guild, for fear of losing future work.
What would that do for your abilities? What would it do for your passions?
I said to a coworker today that my ultimate dream for my working hours would be to doing what I loved for a living, and to have TOO MUCH work to complete in a given day. As I’m currently employed in a role that’s not taxing me, nor is it doing much to stretch my perspective, this is only a dream at this point.
Oh, to be in a guild. I know which one *I’d* pick. How about you?
Listen to the Podcast Here.