The Peer-to-Peer Economy is Expanding

Back in the 1990s, when the dust-up over Napster was a big deal, what Napster was doing–peer-to-peer sharing without the middleman–felt wrong to me. But we’re in the 21st Century now and I’ve come around.

In fact, 10 months ago I laid out my idea for a peer-to-peer solution for job seekers. Here’s the gist of what I said:

It would look like this: the dissatisfied job holder would post a reasonable description of their job on the site. Others looking to change jobs could browse by category to find a job they’d be happy to fill. The current holder would provide sufficient information for the job seeker to be able to at least secure an interview. The current job holder also would agree to quit, creating the opening for which the job seeker would apply.

It would be a way for people who are unsatisfied with their jobs to make this known in a confidential way and allow others browse for new work. Think an Airbnb for employment.Peer-to-Peer-300x225

The peer-to-peer economy, according to the Harvard Business Review, is unavoidable. So should not have been surprised to find a recent Washington Post article about a product such as I described that is designed specifically for lawyers. The article describes the company, called Lateral.ly, this way:

Lateral.ly, which launches today after months of beta testing, is aiming to replace the middleman with technology. It is similar to online dating for the legal business. Lawyers create their own online profiles with their geographical location, objectives and years of experience, and Lateral.ly connects them with firms that are looking to hire attorneys with the same background and objectives.

The article makes the claim that the law industry is ripe for this service, which I can’t dispute. However, I don’t think it is only law that could benefit, but rather many kinds of professional work. In fact, I could see an existing career site such as LinkedIn providing a premium service that encompasses peer economy-style job searching.

One of the toughest thing about the process of job hunting is finding enough quality information on the position you are considering, something that a service without a middleman could rectify. Better matching of the job seeker with the position is win-win.

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