The gig economy. And management by raw metrics

management Jun 30, 2021

There were a couple of stories that I read this week that made my stomach churn. Yes, I agree that every business is about taking-advantage of someone in order to drive revenues and profits, but the way this has been growing in the "gig economy" takes the cake.

The first story is about the "Doordash Dad" an article the chronicles the life of a gig-worker over about 10-years in which the industry slowly stripped away the money they made to a level that is below minimum wage and the poverty line. The story of how a dad had to bring his children in the backseat of his car while doing deliveries since he was unable to pay for babysitting (which cost more than what he made) and how his car was stolen along with his 2 and 4 year old kids in the back seat leading to a 9 hour Amber Alert before they were found.

The second story is the story of Flex drivers delivering for Amazon and how an AI controlled software system decides on who to hire and who to fire. This shows how low management can go in the pure desire of profits, revenue and growth. And how these systems are built to be driven by raw metrics and no emotions with no clue to the real-life scenarios that happen in the complex system of life that impacts the performance of these contract delivery drivers.

In the world of work, this is a new low. The Taylorism in management what I thought would be the low point on how humans are treated in the work system. But, this now dropped to a point where humans are now run by nameless, faceless algorithms, which are programmed by software teams with limited understanding of realities in which people work in. Remember the 737-Max fiasco of computer controlled airplanes? This is possibly what the future holds for the broader workforce and it does not feel good to see where it is going towards.


He Thought He Could Outfox the Gig Economy. He Was Wrong Jeffrey Fang was a ride-hailing legend, a top earner with relentless hustle. Then his minivan was carjacked—with his kids in the back seat.

Fired by Bot at Amazon: ‘It’s You Against the Machine’ Stephen Normandin spent almost four years racing around Phoenix delivering packages as a contract driver for Inc. Then one day, he received an automated email. The algorithms tracking him had decided he wasn’t doing his job properly. The 63-year-old Army veteran was stunned. He’d been fired by a machine.


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