This is what the future of work looks like

Note: I wanted to title this post What We’re Missing When We Only Talk About Robots as the Future of Work. The future of work is filled with new ways of working that challenge traditional career paths and organizational structures. I’m going to spend more time writing about these organizations just as soon as I finish up the first draft of my book and my life returns to semi-normal. 

I’m crushing on a small company called The Pudding. They’re a journalism meets data engineering company. As they describe it, their work  “explain(s) ideas debated in culture with visual essays.” And they do wild reporting, like The World Through the Eyes of the US and Music Borders, an interactive map of the top songs in the world in May 2018 (including audio!).

Their company culture is what really wooed me. Here’s how they put it:

We’re six full-time journalist-engineers who operate as a collective rather than hierarchical team.

I love that there’s no corporate fluff here. They continue:

Much of our work is done autonomously, with individuals choosing their essays and owning the whole story, from research to code. Each team member can do every step: research and reporting, data analysis, design, writing, and code.

Hot damn. They paint a picture of an organization where people own their own projects, collaborate, and bring a seriously impressive set of hybrid skills with them.

The description continues:

So we experiment, a lot. The creative process feels more like workshopping a movie script than critiquing a bar chart. Consequently, many of our ideas are killed during production, but we wouldn’t have it any other way! It means we’re trying unproven, never-done-before things.

I’ve worked in creative jobs and non creative ones. The ability to workshop an idea and get feedback is an important skill that’s rarely mastered outside of creative teams. Companies frequently talk about the need for collaboration skills. Yet it’s hard to pin down exactly what they mean. Then you see it laid out like this and you instantly recognize it. Work at this company and you’ll collaborate to create impressive pieces of work.

But here’s what really got me: transparency.

They’re transparent about how they make money and how much they pay people.

From The Pudding website:

Our primary revenue sources are 1) essay sponsors and 2) white-labeled content. Sponsorship is akin to what you might find on a podcast…”this article was made possible by Blue Apron.”

Now take a look at their salaries:

TITLE COMPENSATION
Intern Not currently offering internships (follow our socials for updates)
Jr. Journalist-Engineer $70k
Journalist-Engineer $82k
Sr. Journalist-Engineer $100k
Editor $115k

Could you imagine your company doing this? Could you imagine how it might change your company culture if the place you worked embraced transparency around spending, budgets, and salaries?

If you want more, have a look at what it’s like to work here.

More organizations should follow this lead. With this level of detail you know what you’re going to get as an employee. If you’re reading this and thinking, I don’t want to work in a place like this, good. At least you know. It’s usually quite difficult to figure out what a place is really like without talking to someone.

The Pudding puts it all on the table.

The future of work needs more transparency. The Pudding is setting the example.

I leave you with the number one song in Iceland from May 2018.

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