“The Future of Work is About the People” Ft. Michael Burdick, Co-Founder and CEO of Paro

Chad and Michael discuss the motivations driving people to independent work, how to create the best relationship with your freelance workforce, and the matchmaking algorithms replacing human bias – for better or for worse. Tune in to learn why 50% of freelancers wouldn’t take a full-time job – no matter how much you offered!

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Excerpt from the podcast:

Chad Nitschke: Got it. So if you target that top 2%, really top quartile performers, I’m curious, how do you find them? How do you vet them, and is there a credentialing process on the platform?

Michael Burdick: Yeah, so they actually find us for the most part because freelancing, as I mentioned earlier, is a friction-filled process. The biggest pain point that freelancers have is income predictability, i.e. they don’t have that. What I mean by that is freelancers, for the most part, don’t know much they’re going to make in the future – call it a couple days from now, a couple weeks from now, a couple months from now, and that’s pretty painful. That unknown future is scary. I experienced this firsthand whenever I was freelancing in business school, and so we’ve set out to solve specifically that. And because of the friction that exists within freelancing today, freelancers, because of the value proposition we bring to the table and help freelancers fill their pipeline with work, we have a ton of in-bounds from freelancers trying to make it onto our network, which is a very competitive process.

Chad Nitschke: Yeah. I really do feel like that quality piece is critical, because we’ve hired freelancers off of different platforms, and it is hard without some sort of vetting process. You just ultimately never know what you’re going to get, so that definitely resonates with me. I’m curious where you see the industry going. We work with a variety of on-demand platforms, and we’re starting to see more and more vertically focused platforms, similar to Paro, right? And I’m curious, as this on-demand economy continues to mature, how do you see that evolving with the specific niche focus versus the ‘everything for everyone’ approach?

Michael Burdick: Well, I think that brand name is everything. So whenever you think of brands, the iconic ones like Coke and Pepsi, they’re known for something, right? They’re known for the sugar-filled, amazing drinks that are filled with caffeine and make you feel great. That’s what they’re known for, that’s their brand. And if you think about that exact idea, “What do I go to someone for, what do I know them as, what are they valuable for?” You have to be associated with something, otherwise people don’t know what you are. They can’t wrap their head around what that value proposition is. And I won’t name names, but I think a lot of these horizontal marketplaces are a little bit lost because the end consumers are like, “What do I go to you for? Do I go to you for transcription services and low-end commoditized work, or do I go to you for the highest quality engineers out there, or the highest quality finance professionals out there?” We want to be known as the go-to source for the highest quality fiance and accounting professionals. We are known as that, and that’s the brand that we’re building. And I think that’s incredibly important, to build that brand name recognition.