It is my forecast that in the future you will not be able to find a job in your company because more and more 'things' will be free.
Crazy, I know, but hear me out.
We are living today, in what I call a free economy.
The free economy is a trend that has gone out of control.
It started as a marketing strategy, then it became essential for all businesses, and now it will ultimately cost you your job.
While many think todays high unemployment is a knock on from the recession, there is also a knock on worse than the recession in the form of the free economy.
What used to be a trend has become the only way to engage customers today.
Today, every bank or financial institution has to offer customers great free products, I call it 'free bait', to stand a chance at engaging a customer -- think free software, free trials, free reports, free smart phone apps, free videos etc. etc.
As more and more 'things' become free, companies compete with each other to offer more and more for free, until they are offering their core service for free.
As more becomes free, companies find ways to cut costs so they can offer their 'things' for free to compete.
The only way they can do this is by replacing your job with technology and computers, innovated by freelance contractors and run by outsourced teams, as we see all around us today.
How did we get here?
With the rise of cloud computing, the price of bandwidth and storage dropping fast, the 'free economy' has become a movement for every industry.
In fact my guess, is that right now you and your team are working on the very technology that will replace your job.
As soon as you get it working smoothly, you will be offered a job as a contractor over the next ten years or so.
Drastic, I know, but take a look at the trends.
In order to give all this stuff away for free, companies need to produce their free goods at minimal costs.
This means everything going digital.
Virtually every product or industry that touches digital networks, quickly feels the effect of falling costs, but only when they figure out how to do it without the huge cost of staff.
Facebook has 700 million customers and only 2000 staff and you don't expect any level of customer service from them because it is free.
So one by one, they are replacing staff with technology at a rapid rate as they automate their free offering.
As the digital marketplace has become global, it has become common practice for businesses to give away some of their very best stuff for free (and lots of it), while ingeniously developing a way to compete with others who want to give away higher and higher value innovations for free and still have a business - think Google and Facebook.
So in the future you will work freelance as a contractor, as part of an outsourced team or as an entrepreneur yourself serving a niche audience, centered around the years of experience you have built up.
My advice: start now, build your client base, develop your offer and start preparing your contacts for when you lose your job.
Remember, as you become a contractor, you have to give away your services for free to stand any chance of attracting a customer in the free economy.
Could we really live in a world where all services are outsourced and contracted?
Love to hear your thoughts...