6 Takeaways- Small Business and “The Changing Nature of Work”
The changing nature of work

True entrepreneurship is to create dignity and meaning by treating one’s whole life as a start-up.


A few weeks ago at Chautauqua Institute.

The Chautauqua programs are always mind expansive, but recent week’s theme, “The Changing Nature of Work”, was a perfect match for me in my capacity of financial consultant to small business owners.

I have summarized some of the highlights of the program because I am confident the subjects of the talks will be of interest to you.  I am including the names of each speaker so that you can look them up on their individual websites and get more details on each subject.


 1. Arun Sundararajan 

The security of corporate employment with its benefits is fading.  

This shift from full time employment is being replaced with what is defined by many as a “gig” economy. Entrepreneurship is expected to play a more important role as both professionals and workers seek employment using social media and on-line platforms for employment opportunities. Will we live in a world of empowered entrepreneurs who enjoy professional flexibility and independence, or will we become disenfranchised digital laborers scurrying between platforms in search of the next wedge of piecework?

Will platform-based businesses – i.e. Uber, Air B&B replace traditional corporations? 

2.  Cathrael Kazin 

As the world moves towards an increasingly knowledge-based economy, colleges and universities are making changes in their curriculum in order to address the needs of students, employers, employees, entrepreneurs and retirees.

Learning is becoming a life-long experience for all ages. Learning will be done in both classrooms and on-line.

3.  Jeremy Bailenson 

This speaker’s talk addressed the ongoing studies of how virtual reality (VR) lead to changes in perceptions of self and others.

His lab builds and studies systems that allow people to meet in virtual space, and explores the changes in the nature of social interaction. His Chautauqua address revealed the opportunities for learning as well as the dangers of the use of virtual reality.

4.  Arthur Brooks

Ambitious individuals using their talents to create new ventures are a central piece of our national story. But at its root, to be an entrepreneur is not simply to create wealth by building a business.

True entrepreneurship is to create dignity and meaning by treating one’s whole life as a start-up. The speaker draws together artistic talents, ancient philosophy, modern history, and the latest social science research to define a new vision of entrepreneurial living – and offers a tactical roadmap for each of us to apply the key lessons and principles of entrepreneurship to build happier, more productive lives.

5.  Jessica Bruder 

Author of Nomadland – Surviving America in the 21st Century  

People who once might have kicked back to enjoy their sunset years are hard at work.

They may be underwater on their mortgages or they may find that Social Security comes up short. These workers, now in their 60s, are hitting the road in astonishing numbers, forming a new community of nomads: RV and van-dwelling migrant laborers, or “workampers.”  Bruder tells a compelling, eye-opening tale of both the economy’s dark underbelly and the extraordinary resilience, creativity, and hope of these hardworking, quintessential Americans.

Many of them are single women who have traded their traditional life patterns for the dream of a better life. They are identified as “houseless” people.

6.  Maggie Jackson

Author of Distraction: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age

In the first edition of this groundbreaking book, Maggie Jackson sounded a prescient warning of a looming crisis: the fragmentation of attention that is eroding our abilities to problem-solve, innovate, and care for one another.

Now in this updated edition with an incisive new preface, she offers both a renewed wake-up call and a path forward as we reckon with one of the most pressing problems of our time.

Related articles:

Responsibility and The Business of Change

Changes In Employment Small Business Owners Need to Know

Will the Changes in the Tax Code Impact Your Business?


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