You Need This to Find Work in the Internet Age
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) My daughter, Robin, graduated from Texas A&M in Kingsville this spring with a degree in wildlife management.
She is currently looking for a job, but I've told her that's a mistake. She should be doing what we all should be doing, building a career.
A job is controlled by the employer's needs. A career is controlled by your needs. A career may entail holding several jobs, but the jobs are always in service to your larger goal.
Economist E. Glen Weyl of the University of Chicago agrees, to an extent. A paper he co-authored, Taxation and the Allocation of Talent , argues that high taxes, used to subsidize professions like teaching, leads to a healthier economy.
Weyl even created an applet to show how society's efficiency responds to changes in tax rates. A progressive tax structure, he argues, will allow more people to follow their "calling."
It would certainly help Robin. Transforming the problem of urban wildlife into a functional urban ecosystem is not going to be a market process. It will require research, education and changes in policy that have the environment's needs in mind, not business.
Weyl often gets second looks from people who don't expect cutting edge economic theory from a 20-something. But he has already produced a seminal paper on two-sided markets , like Facebook where incentives for developers and users are different, but scale generates huge profits. It was published when he was 22.
Weyl is about the same age as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. He was in elementary school in 1994 when, as I like to say, "the web was spun" and the Internet became a commercial success. Just as my generation helped create the Internet while defining TV, which my parent's generation created, so Weyl is helping define what the Internet will be, having grown up with it and taken it for granted.
In business terms the Internet favors either scale or depth. You either use machines to harness traffic in vast quantities, as Facebook does, or you become the leading expert in a very small niche, as Weyl has. (As my daughter is trying to be.)
The Internet enables this deep dive into a small niche. When you synthesize everything in a narrow field of study, when you "curate your space" as I like to say, you become a leading expert, the only choice for people who want to get insight into that area.
Both scale and depth, however, require a huge investment with an uncertain pay-off. Venture capitalists can support scaled development, but who will support the deep dives needed to really get the most from this Internet resource?