About a third of the people who are getting the most benefit from Obamacare are between 18 and 34. That’s a good thing from the point of insurers; it’s the demographic least likely to need major healthcare so payments from that group support insurance for demographics more likely to need care.

But it’s also an interesting number, in light of the changes to insurance laws that let younger people stay on their parents’ insurance for longer. That 18-to-35 demographic tends to be uninsured or underinsured, as well as unemployed or underemployed (which might be a direct cause of that not-having-health-insurance thing).

That number clearly indicates that the systems we expected to provide health insurance to people just joining the work force were clearly not working. There aren’t hard and fast numbers on underemployment, but the guesstimates out there imply similar problems with employment in general. The reality that we’re dealing with is that nature of how we structure work is changing.

But the way we view finding work and income hasn’t changed quite as quickly. Our economy needs fewer employees dedicated to handling a single company’s needs. Every industry needs fewer people to handle the available workload than it did a century ago (aside from those industries that didn’t exist a century ago). We’re only going to see more freelancers, small business owners, and entrepreneurs in the future, as the economy rebalances how work is handled.

The faster that we can recognize that tying anything other than cash payments to the company we happen to be working for this week won’t work in the long-term, the faster we can accommodate independent work efficiently.

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Crowdfunding is a rather simple idea: Need some money? Ask people for it! But the implementations of that concept just keep expanding. The Kickstarter model, where campaign operators promise a diverse array of rewards is just one version of how crowdfunding can play out. Others include:

  • Asking for straight up donations (usually best when the campaign is for a good cause)
  • Offering shares in resulting revenues (usually more geared toward launching new companies or other income-producing streams)
  • Pre-selling actual products (which can be a Kickstarter approach, but can also be structured to skip the t-shirts and stickers that are common to lower Kickstarter reward levels)

Personally, I tend to be most attracted to buying actual products, especially if there’s a cool story behind the concept. One of my friends is running a Teespring campaign offering a t-shirt to support a creative project she’s working on. The story of the project is what elevates the t-shirt from a fairly cool idea, to an awesome project worth supporting. The t-shirt becomes something of an in-joke or a badge of support. It’s a personal project, which is where crowdfunding really shines — this isn’t a project where anyone wants to raise a million dollars. A few thousand will suffice.

The story, by the way, is a short film about a woman, a trumpet, and the zombie apocalypse, set to a reinterpretation of a classic song, “Won’t You Come Home, Bill Bailey?” She had me at ‘zombie apocalypse,’ because that’s sort of story I respond to.

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How a Business Card Design Can Change a Life

Running a business — no matter how small — is about identity. In fact, the smaller your business, the more you need to differentiate between yourself and your competition on a personal level. What’s the difference between two people competing for a small project? Personality, mostly. In South Africa, reports Good Magazine, “…it’s common to […]

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Kickstarted Films Need iTunes

Kickstarter is a viable launching pad for films; Veronica Mars, Indie Game, and plenty of other movies have proven that point. But distributing those movies has resulted in some very specialized (and non-repeatable) approaches to getting copies into backers’ hands. Making sure that these films reached audiences beyond the people who directly contributed to their […]

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A Few Thoughts on Profanity

I’m a writer; the thought of excluding even a part of the rich vocabulary that makes up the tools of my trade tends to make me pause. But most people don’t find profanity particularly appealing, especially in professional communications. I tend to avoid certain words as a result, only occasionally dusting them off to really […]

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We Should Be Using Big Data To Create

Photography community 500px acquired another startup, Authintic, which specialized in opt-in data for marketers; the purchase resulted in 500px Prime. The new site is a marketplace for premium photos, but it presents some key differences from all the other sites selling stock photography out in the world. Instead of just throwing a bunch of photos […]

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So You’re An Artist — Have You Sold Anything?

Being an artist is first and foremost about creating things; if you aren’t actually making artwork of some variety, calling yourself an artist is tough. But artistic endeavor isn’t just about creating your work and stashing it away somewhere without showing it to anyone. If you’re an artist, you need feedback. You need to see […]

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A Pioneer Nation Follow Up

I spent a few days at Pioneer Nation, a small conference geared towards entrepreneurs here in Portland. I heard a few comments over and over again, to the point that I wanted to bring them to your attention: It’s so amazing to talk to people who get what I’m going through. My family just doesn’t […]

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How Do I Feel About Businesses Whose Products Are Engineered For Addiction?

Some companies engineer their products for addiction: consider Candy Crush, which has lured in players with the idea of a quick casual game that can be played with little effort, skill, or investment. Talk to every Candy Crush player who has spent even a few minutes on the game and all of them will be […]

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The Age Of The Uncredentialed Curator

Tumblrs full of kitten pictures, websites ranking the helpfulness of individual restaurant reviews, Pinterest pages full of tasty ways to prepare vegetables you’ve never even heard of — at its core, the internet is about collections. We find topics we care about or people who we want to connect with and we build lists. Some […]

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