It was on my first day of work that I realized I had walked into a company in the primordial stage of existence—a company still struggling to make sense of the world.
—RICH GARDNER, HEAD OF SALES, CATALANT (NÉE HOURLYNERD)
Many have dreamed for a long time of a work life that meant more than a daily commute to a job they didn't particularly like. But before the Internet and before remote collaboration tools, most felt like their choices were limited. They suffered through the 9 to 5 and lived for the weekends—and the precious few weeks of vacation they were afforded each year. For the brave and the few, when the pressure became too much, they threw themselves into the job market and more often than not ended up in another dead‐end job that simply shifted the pervasive sense of dissatisfaction from one company to another: another soul‐deadening commute, another job description, perhaps even another town. It did not take long to see that the work/life balance problem was more pervasive than we knew. Or as David Byrne of the Talking Heads put it: “Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.”
Prior to the advent of mobile technology, the freelance life, at least by reputation, seemed mostly limited to the creative classes. Going out on your own came with an implicit understanding that you were different in some way: an artist, a writer, a musician. Freelance did not apply to the mass of men and women—those living the fabled life of quiet desperation. ...