A Quest to Discover the Future of Work
[UPDATED: THANKS to everyone for helping us meet our goal. Game on! From here on out additional funds will go towards adding extra dates and locations to our itinerary. See latest leaderboard of destinations below]
"The Future of Work" is a web video series that tells the stories of the obsessive makers, innovators and entrepreneurs that are leading the way to a new wave of business. They share a set of traits: irreverent, adaptable, purpose-driven, and unattached to conventional categories. All the qualities, it turns out, that make a person able to take advantage of chance--or put differently, that make them lucky.
"The Future of Work" is something else as well: a roving event that brings together these doers in every town through the one-of-a-kind RVIP Lounge & Karaoke Cabaret. The project will capture the larger movement, still in its early stages, that is transforming our fading industrial economy into something vibrant and more human.
The journey, starting in May, will take us through America's rust belt and bread basket all the way down to Dixieland and everything in between. We'll shine a bright light on radical new approaches to things like food production, arts funding, government involvement, energy, financial systems, citizen science, hands-on education, small business marketplaces and whatever else we stumble into along the way. We're on the lookout for a new kind of capitalism: instead of cynically adapting to the “world as it is,” this new breed sees business as the most immediate way to create the world they want to live in.
In the month or so of primary traveling we will collect enough material to form the basis for 2-3 episodes a week through Election Day. Additional filming and production will follow the end of the RVIP trip.
Remember: you have the power to tell us where to go. Your support will determine our itinerary, both the route AND how many additional locations we can visit (a minimum of five). We know we'll hit San Francisco, Los Angeles and NYC, but where we end up in between is your choice. We'll update the leader-board here as the support comes in (updated 2-3x daily until we automate it). Here are the current top cities in contention, not counting our definite cities. You can still tip the scales or get your town into contention!
Vote for your town here (weighted by pledge amount): https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ZJGRJPG
Why it Matters
The heroes of our story aren't waiting around for the job market to change, for broken industries to repair themselves, or for government to become more functional. Oh no. They’re taking matters into their own hands, forging a new approach to work, one that is not just about making a living, but about building a life that is distinctly theirs. It is an optimistic yet pragmatic counter-narrative to the bleak picture painted by the mainstream media.
Despite the momentum around these new approaches, though, there is still a LOT that could go wrong. Internet platforms like Kickstarter and Etsy are providing essential connective tissue, but there are forces afoot that threaten the continued existence of the whole ecosystem. It has never been more important to show the world what the future of work looks like, and what we need to do to nurture it.
Thor Muller and Lane Becker are two of the troublemaker/founders behind Get Satisfaction, the groundbreaking platform for companies of all sizes to create customer communities, used by over 65,000 organizations. Most recently they co-authored a book, Get Lucky: How to Put Planned Serendipity to Work For You and Your Business, scheduled for a mid-April 2012 release. You may have seen them speaking at events like SxSW, TEDx, and Web 2.0 Expo. As part of the Go Luck Yourself tour they will also do readings from their book, which for them means dressing up in costumes and acting it out.
Here's what Tim O'Reilly (CEO of O'Reilly Media) said about Get Lucky: “Louis Pasteur and Thomas Jefferson would have endorsed this book. It’s a profound explication of an idea they each shared, that luck isn’t random, and that you can create the conditions where it flourishes. It’s a refreshing reminder that the spark of human creativity leaps into flame when we establish the right conditions.”
Our mobile venue is the RVIP Lounge and Karaoke Cabaret, a quintessential example of this new wave of business. Founded by Jonathan Grubb and Kestrin Pantera in 2008 as a lark, the RVIP has become famous throughout the land for creating unforgettable social experiences. Part of it is the magical experience design of the vehicle itself, led by RVIP co-founder Scott Watson, whose day job is the CTO of Disney's Imagineering(!). The vehicle itself is almost always in motion, and everyone and anyone is invited aboard. The RVIP is a veritable serendipity machine.
As the Los Angeles Times put it:"The RVIP Lounge is the greatest experience you’ll ever have. You may think you’re having a good time in all those trendy clubs and bars downtown, but how many times have you thought to yourself ‘Is this really happening?’ At the RVIP Lounge, the surreal is commonplace."
Vibrant Films, made up of Adam Ducharme and Matt Barkin, produces beautiful and entertaining HD videos like our Kickstarter video above. In addition to running a full-service High Definition production company, Adam and Matt have a passion for the renegade artists and entrepreneurs. The Kickstarter campaign will determine to what extent we will be able to work with them to produce a video series of these high standards.
Prior to founding Vibrant, the two worked in production and post-production at places ESPN, NBC, ABC, CBS, National Geographic, PBS, TNT, Current, and 20th Century Fox.
Here's where the money goes
It is a big project to chase down and document a grass roots phenomenon that is as distributed as this one. First, we have to run a 35 foot customized RV around the country--at minimum there's gas, lodging, staff and supplies. If only the RVIP ran on karaoke singing alone...
Secondly, we have the costs related to the web series--photographic gear, permitting, venue and travel. We take this project seriously, and it will show in the output. You'll see the money onscreen and in your auditory canal. This series will look and sound great.
We'll come to you
Whether or not you contribute to our campaign we can't wait to hear your story and cheer you on as you belt out a Bon Jovi number. There's no price to board the RVIP, and everybody is always welcome. Start your own campaign to BRING THE RVIP TO YOUR TOWN. Tell your friends, get out the vote, DON'T LET US PASS YOU BY!
We were meant to be together.
* Special thanks to Amy Jenkins and Tiffany Chang for being instrumental on our video shoot
- (23 days)