Disrupting Models / by Matthew Cook

I have a mohawk. Now, on to what I really want to talk about today.

I work out of a studio called CoWork Greenville; it’s a pretty awesome place. Every month we do something called Zero Day, a hiking metaphor. We all take the first Friday morning of the month, stop working, and meet up to talk about stuff that matters to us. 

This past Friday I presented an idea about a potentially disruptive model for my industry. I do a lot of work with SuperFriendly (run by Dan Mall) and I’ve been thinking about how to organize a group of awesome web people that lets everyone remain independent, make lots of money, and work on projects they love. Most of my inspiration comes from where I started as a Freelance Project Manager (let’s call this FPM) just over a year ago. 

Looking back, there are 4 common tracks that a FPM takes: they fail, get hired, take on tons of small clients to survive, or take on a few big clients. I’ll also admit that there are other possible directions to take, I just haven’t seen much else. See my little diagram below.

I’m on the few bigger clients path as a FPM. This gave me most of my inspiration for a new model idea. It’s very close to the structure of a legal practice (thanks David Haskins), but it’s also similar to a conglomerate, just made up of individuals. 

The idea is to take independent web professionals and put them under one brand to provide consistency, a cohesive presence, and a store-front for work and contracts. This also gives an entity to hold contracts with contractors for outsourced work. It’s much more than this, but you get the gist of it. Check out my second diagram to illustrate.

I haven’t gotten super far in my thinking about this model. I’m really looking for feedback from anyone willing to share. Below are my slides that I used to present at Zero Day. 

I’m not a huge fan of posting unfinished ideas, but I think it’s warranted this time. I know it feels awkward for some people to post in comments on blogs, but feel free. I’d love thoughts from anyone interested.

Like I said early on, my goal in writing is to post things that I’m going through in the hopes of spurring others to think outside the box while also refining my own ideas.