Organizations are global, partnered with other organizations, and more and more run via virtual teams with limited physical interaction... and those are the recognizable organizations. There are other organizations that remain on the fringe in that their work is done by freelancers so indirectly connected to the organization that it's hard describe them in organizational terms. Wired's recent article (by Daniel Roth), The Answer Factory describes one organization where clear decisions have been made to freelance some work, and turn other work over to computer algorithms. True, and thought provoking, integration of technology, organizations, and people. My university had the honor of hosting a presentation by Jonathan Zittrain, cyberlaw expert and Harvard Law Professor (currently a Visiting Professor at Stanford). His presentation, "Minds for Sale," focused on "the application of human brainpower as purchasable and fungible as additional server rackspace." He opened with a pyramid similar to this one: Slide1 Each of the organizations in the pyramid uses the Internet to recruit people to do work. At the highest level of Zittrain's pyramid is InnoCentive, a market for innovation. "Seekers" describe challenges and offer rewards for the solution. Many (most?) of these are serious scientific challenges like this one ($50K reward): "The Seeker is looking for a method to produce a hardened sharp edge from a polymeric, polymer-like, or composite material using a low cost rapid production technology." At the next level is LiveOps. They also provide a market, but for on-demand call-center workers. LiveOps adds value by training and screening the providers, and then linking providers to companies with call center needs. Mechanical Turk (Amazon) is a self-described "Artificial Artificial Intelligence." This is another market to match tasks and people, but the tasks are smaller and sometimes routine (e.g., creating key words for images, identifying web sites, writing short paragraphs) -- many pay just few cents for completion. The ESP Game and Google Search are fundamentally different. These are not markets for work, but work is still being done. In the ESP Game you look at images and try and guess a keyword that someone else on the Internet is also adding to that image. You get points for correct matches. It's a game, but a "game with a purpose." In the case of ESP, Internet search engines will do a better job because of the keywords added by the people playing the game. The matching of the keywords serves as an easy form of quality control. Then there is Google Search. Zittrain's comments gave me a context for thinking about how Google benefits from the fruits of my labor. Every time any of us creates a web link (for example, each of the links I use here as a way of providing a reference), we are adding the the intelligence Google's search engine uses to pick what search results to show. If I, and many others, link to a place to buy Zittrain's book The Future of the Internet, then that link is likely to show up near the top of searches on Zittrain's name, the keywords/title of the book, etc. We've done some of Google's work for them. An thus the ordering of the pyramid. At the top are clear job opportunities. With InnoCentive, Seekers and Problem Solvers are actually in contact and can interactively refine the work task. LiveOps doesn't have a direct connection between the person taking the calls and their temporary employer, but there is an interactive training and evaluation process between the call taker and LiveOps. Mechanical Turk and the ESP Game are both instances where the tasks are broken down into relatively small bites, with commensurate rewards. And finally, our work for Google (and all the other search engines) has no interaction, nor explicit permission to use our labor. Zittrain's ideas around "Minds for Sale" is that the Internet enables a whole slew of new ways to work for organizations -- sometimes without even knowing that you are working for the organization! His discussion goes into far greater and more sophisticated detail, touching on child labor laws, your rights to carry your reputation with you from one market to another, and privacy. This last raised the issue that without interaction, we may not understand the ultimate consequences of the work we are doing. One of his examples highlighted the possibility for the mass identification of dissenters -- you can't hide in the crowd if thousands of people are available to match international identification pictures with pictures from a protest. As an Internet optimist, I'm focused on how organizations and workers can find new value from boundaryless organizational forms. Zittrain's work helps me understand new "people" implications that can result from our integration of technology and organizations. In my consideration of TOP (Technology, Organization, People) Management I generally think of people as relating to skills and capabilities, not human implications. Minds for Sale was of value across the full range TOP issues. pdf of Zittrain's paper Ubiquitous Human Computing