I was listening to Edward Boches moderate a panel on crowdsourcing yesterday morning and had a moment where I realized it really isn’t just buzzwords and marketing speak. How we work really IS changing and it’s actually ridiculously exciting. For me, there’s three things coming into play here that directly impact the way I work, and what I think about when I consider my career.

3. Yeah, the Internet is fun, but it also means that people can actually work from ANYWHERE now. Telecommuting doesn’t really begin to describe what people do now. You can do anything form anywhere and probably do it all for free. The ability to host your information anywhere, communicate around the world (by video, if you want) for free and collaboration tools that work better than a whiteboard, it truly doesn’t matter where you are. This is important for two reasons. One, companies can hire the best person for the job, even if that person is far away. Two, employees are free to travel, or move to a better location for their lifestyle, while still getting their work done.

2. Crowdsourcing is here to stay, get used to it. This morning, every panelist said something to this effect, but Mark Walsh captured the sentiment succinctly,”Those who ignore where crowdsourcing is taking the relationship between a brand and its customers are looking for trouble. Customers today are so drenched in interactivity and transparency, you have to respond to that, it is no longer an option. It doesn’t mean that crowdsourcing is the enemy of ad agencies. We all want to play nice together. We’re just a new tactic in a toolbox that is coming along like a freight train.” Of course, we were talking about advertising, but involving a crowd, whether it is the general public, your employees, or a curated number of experts is now expected. I’d talk about this more, but I talk about this all day. Read my work blog 🙂

1. We are our own brand. What we do is no longer attached to a company and that’s a pretty big deal. During the panel, Edward said that when he hires young people now, they all have outside interests. They insist that if the company tries and deny their interests in these other areas, they will work somewhere else. Right now, this might feel funny to corporations. Does this mean employees can think of ideas on company time, then go off and make millions somewhere else? As companies begin to understand this new way of work, I think it’ll mean separating out the ones that do, from the ones that don’t. If you are your brand, why would a company hire dead weight? There’s potential to hire only the best, to perform only what they are best at. A meritocracy where you have nothing to rely on but your work and your reputation to put food on the table, but where you can also pick and choose how you spend your time. Time to separate the men from the boys, boys 🙂

Exciting times, indeed.

It looks like John Winsor (also on the panel yesterday) is thinking about this as well. Read his blog post here