Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Life by Sam Huleatt

Hard-to-Define Jobs and Why Productivity is a Bad Metric

During my weekend readings I came across two snippets that present an interesting take on what the future of work holds. I’m fascinated by the future of work and I’m glad to see some refreshingly unique perspectives on what to expect in terms of evolution…

First Kevin Kelly on why ‘productivity’ is a worthless metric to be optimizing for:

There is more to be gained by producing more opportunities than by optimizing existing ones.

Productivity, however, is exactly the wrong thing to care about in the new economy.

The problem with trying to measure productivity is that it measures only how well people can do the wrong jobs. Any job that can be measured for productivity probably should be eliminated from the list of jobs that people do.

In the coming era, doing the exactly right next thing is far more fruitful than doing the same thing twice.

Next, Ben Casnocha via Arnold Kling on why ‘hard-to-define’ jobs may be a sign of job security:

Generally, the harder it is to explain to someone you’ve just met at a cocktail party what it is you do on a day to day basis, the more interesting the work you’re engaged in.

Arnold Kling applies a related rule of thumb to job security:

A job seeker is looking for… a well-defined job. But the trend seems to be that if a job can be defined, it can be automated or outsourced.

The marginal product of people who need well-defined jobs is declining. The marginal product of people who can thrive in less structured environments is increasing.

  • Anonymous

    I liked the quote by Ben Casnocha via Arnold Kling because he is right that “A job seeker is looking for… a well-defined job. But the trend seems
    to be that if a job can be defined, it can be automated or outsourced.”Thanks for sharing.

  • http://vspages.com Katie

    Why does Kevin Kelly states that “Productivity, however, is exactly the wrong thing to care about in the new economy” where in the first place, the economy is based on the productivity of the country as a whole?

  • http://vspages.com Katie

    Why does Kevin Kelly states that “Productivity, however, is exactly the wrong thing to care about in the new economy” where in the first place, the economy is based on the productivity of the country as a whole?

  • http://vspages.com Katie

    Why does Kevin Kelly states that “Productivity, however, is exactly the wrong thing to care about in the new economy” where in the first place, the economy is based on the productivity of the country as a whole?

  • http://vspages.com Katie

    Why does Kevin Kelly states that “Productivity, however, is exactly the wrong thing to care about in the new economy” where in the first place, the economy is based on the productivity of the country as a whole?

  • http://vspages.com Katie

    Why does Kevin Kelly states that “Productivity, however, is exactly the wrong thing to care about in the new economy” where in the first place, the economy is based on the productivity of the country as a whole?

  • http://vspages.com Katie

    Why does Kevin Kelly states that “Productivity, however, is exactly the wrong thing to care about in the new economy” where in the first place, the economy is based on the productivity of the country as a whole?

  • http://vspages.com Katie

    Why does Kevin Kelly states that “Productivity, however, is exactly the wrong thing to care about in the new economy” where in the first place, the economy is based on the productivity of the country as a whole?

  • http://www.tourismdentalindia.com Dental Tourism

    Creativity and not productivity should be a metric in high application and non repetitive work.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_P537SABOIDKLYP5R4F52I5IUMM Stanley Rao

    Great saying by Ben! Thank you for sharing the article!