For some time now, I have been fascinated by a simple concept. That concept relates to how we translate what we do into value for others.
Working for a salary is one example of how this works. It is a sort of “pre-fab” game. As a salaried employee, you play the game according to rules set by your employer. Violate those rules, and the game could be over for you.
There are two interesting limitations to this model. Perhaps more, but at least two. The first is that as a salaried employee, you have very little control over your ability to add more value. Indeed, you may be discouraged to change the way you work if your idea for change would disrupt things at work. You are just a cog in a machine. And that is not all. What you learn how to do is not directly connected to the value that is ultimately received by the buyers of the product. So you might be very good at sales, but not able to add value if you sell an inferior product.
Can we supplement the salary based approach to overcome these limitations? I think so. And I think that society as a whole will move in this direction. But we do not yet have the institutional framework that will make this go mainstream. So with that background, consider a start up called “Orbital”. Fred Wilson writes
… this winter, Orbital will be doing (its) second Orbital Bootcamp, which is a “twelve week course to help you launch your side project”. Gary wrote about Orbital Boot Camp here and I would encourage you to read his post if this is at all interesting to you. Applications are due Monday, December 8th at 11:59pm. If you or someone you know has a project that they’ve been meaning to launch, they should consider applying.
Think of this as a supplement to salary driven approaches to adding value from what you do. On the side, using Orbital, you can develop projects that you think may be better than what you can do at work.
Whether Orbital succeeds or not — and I hope it will — I think this is the wave of the future. Why? Because it helps us better use the learning we generate from what we do.