The WelderDestiny Compass

Nichetopia Reimagined - Issue #049

Wednesday, December 06, 2017 / Perth Australia / By Niekie Jooste

In this edition of "The WelderDestiny Compass":

  • Nichetopia Is The Gig Economy
  • Power Of Platforms Revisited
  • Internet Of Things Revisited
  • Collision Of Trends And The Welder

Nichetopia Is The Gig Economy

Early on in this year, we tried to answer the question about whether the automation trend will result in a utopian or dystopian future. We came to the conclusion that neither outcome is likely. Rather, the most likely outcome would be what we called "nichetopia".

You can refresh your memory of this discussion in the links here..., here..., and here...

Nichetopia is a modification of the trend that is currently called the gig economy. The difference is that the typical gig economy jobs are seen as mostly low skilled jobs with well defined roles, whereas nichetopia is seen as a job market where each person's unique skill set will enable them to fit into unique jobs within the engineering or similar highly skilled industry.

In short, niche self employment seems the most likely outcome of the current collision of labour practices and mechanisation of industry.

Today we revisit this notion of the future of jobs within the very rapid development of blockchain technology we are witnessing, and are reimagining how this labour model may play out. Obviously this is not going to happen overnight. In fact, we may be totally off target in our predictions, but in keeping with our mission here at WelderDestiny, we need to give it our best go and make the necessary course corrections along the way.

If you would like to add your ideas to this week’s discussion, then please send me an e-mail with your ideas, (Send your e-mails to: or complete the comment form on the page below.

Now let's get stuck into this week’s topics...

Power Of Platforms Revisited

In issue 10 of The WelderDestiny Compass, entitled "Google Is Selling You", we looked at the power of platforms. You can revisit that discussion by clicking here...

The depressing aspect of that discussion regarding platforms is that these platforms tend to end up as giant monopolies. In essence they make a lot of money from other people's effort and ingenuity, while those "other people" were not usually recompensed in turn.

Since then, the insights that we have gained regarding the power of blockchain technology to democratise data ownership has opened new doors to how such platforms could operate in the future. In particular, in issue 46 of The WelderDestiny Compass, entitled "End Of The Firm" we had a quick look at the "independent Digital Enterprise". Click here to refresh your memory...

The more accepted term for such an organisation is the "Digital Autonomous Organisation" (DAO). It is starting to look like many future platforms for data aggregation may be based on such DAO's. The big advantage of this is that the data creators can own their own data, and be reimbursed when others want to use that data. While the amounts of money for each use will typically be very small, over time this has the potential to result in a really meaningful income.

Internet Of Things Revisited

In issue 3 of The WelderDestiny Compass, we had a look at how the internet of things (IoT) could significantly affect the way Welders go about their work. Click here to refresh your memory...

If we combine the view that a lot of the welding parameters during practical welding will be recorded and transmitted on the IoT for purposes such as quality control and traceability, then it is only logical that there will be vast amounts of welding data collected.

If we further conclude that such data could be owned by a "free lance" Welder working under a nichetopian system, then it also becomes possible that this welding data could be aggregated on a DAO type platform, ensuring that whenever the data is accessed, the Welder receives some reimbursement.

Collision Of Trends And The Welder

If we now reimagine our Welder working in this new nichetopian labour system, where all of the trends we have mentioned above collide, then the world of the Welder in 10 to 20 years could have the following characteristics:

  • Welders are self employed, and provide their services based on their unique blend of skills and equipment.
  • The Welders and their many monitoring sensors will be internet connected ensuring that vast amounts of welding data will be captured.
  • The welding data so captured can be used for many purposes such as quality control, failure investigations, research and development, procedure development etc.
  • The data can be accessed through DAO's that will provide a platform for linking the data to those that want to "mine" it.
  • The data owner, such as the Welder, can then be paid not only for the hours he puts into doing the actual welding, but can also build up a "passive income".

Under this labour model, we see that one of the main products developed by the Welder is the data. It is a product that would be saleable many times over, and in effect can become the ongoing reward for a Welder that has enjoyed a long and busy career.

Your future retirement fund may just be the "data trail" that you create in your career.

Only time will tell how all of this will play out, but one of the lessons to be learned from this is that "data is the new oil". As soon as you can, try to gain control of your own data so that you can start building up your "nest egg".

Yours in welding

Niekie Jooste

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