In this two-part episode, Chad and Jody cover a wide range of topics, from the Hollywood stars who set the stage for the gig economy, to the transition from investor to founder. Tune in to learn about the evolution of independent talent, and the strides we still have to make for the future of work to be as rewarding as possible for every player.
Listen to Part One:
Part two of our chat with Jody Greenstone Miller delves into the many ways we try to explain the future of work, and how naming conventions affect the way we think about independent talent. Tune in for an in depth look at what the future of work might look like, and how we can get there as soon as possible.
Listen to Part Two:
From the Episode:
“Well, the original name of BTG was United Talent Group and it was based on United artists in which, I don’t know if you know the history of it, but in the old days the studios, you know, the big studio moguls had contracts with all of the stars and they were very restricted. Like Warner brothers or MGM would, you know, say Charlie Chaplin, you know, you can only star in movies that Warner brothers produces. They were very restrictive contracts. And in fact, they would make deals with each other sometimes. Like, okay, you could have this star if you’d give me this star. And the big stars – a group of big stars – led, I believe, by Charlie Chaplin if memory serves me correctly, decided this is stupid, we’re the ones on the screen. And they broke away and created United artists, which were essentially the biggest stars in Hollywood at the time. I think Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford may have been part of it too, and basically said, we’re not going to work for one studio anymore. We’re going to be free agents and you’re gonna work with us independently. And so that was our original name as kind of our homage to them.”
“And before I knew it, in that year I was the largest outside contractor at the corporation of public broadcasting doing, you know, a series of projects with independent professionals that combined former consultants with industry experts. And at the end of one of the last projects – which was actually to help create a strategy for a public television children’s media – you know, the president of PBS at the time said to me, ‘you know, Jody, what you’re doing is really interesting. We work with all the consulting firms and this is actually better. It’s unique. We couldn’t get this kind of, you know, team, and it’s about a third of the cost.’ And, you know, I was doing this while I was at Maveron, you know, kind of out of my back pocket.
And those are three of the four things you look for, you know, as a venture capitalist, right? The fourth of course is scalability and scalability was always the big question. How would you scale a market like this? Particularly when we started, you know, when the marketplace concept was still pretty new. You know, Elance was around but it was not dealing with the kind of talent I wanted to deal with. And so basically I decided, you know, I felt there was demand from my days as an executive. I knew that people who worked in this way loved it. You know, the people I was finding and hiring, you know, really we’re happy to do this kind of work. And I had a kind of a feeling, if nothing else, that more and more people would like to be independent if they could get reliable project flow. And so I decided BTG was going to try to create the infrastructure to make this market efficient and reliable for both clients and talent.”