May Day 2022: “Remote” is killing labor rights

One of my colleagues recently shared the photo below from a hiring post by AirBnB, which I trust is legit:

Recent hiring post by and for AirBnB

My colleague was asking the rest of the team about their pertinent thoughts.

Instead of a lengthy answer, I replied by suggest a book:

Worthless, Impossible, and Stupid: How Contrarian Entrepreneurs Create and Capture Extraordinary Value” — by Daniel Isenberg (who, on top of playing a significant role in igniting the Israeli startup revolution as well as the academic and researcher who invented the term ‘scale-up’, happens to also be an active angel investor, a mentor of mine and, more recently, a dear friend).

Daniel basically suggests that in order to create extraordinary value (not only economic, also social, political, etc) one has to dare to be contrarian.

This is in the very core of the DNA of our organization:

  • We became entrepreneurs in 2000 in Greece, when everyone was shooting for the public sector;
  • We launched startups without VC funding and we refrained from raising funds even when it got very easy;
  • We went international when everyone was domestic;

We’ve been contrarian and we’ll continue to be.

After launching Starttech Ventures back in 2012, I’ve mindfully become a co-pilot. I don’t exercise executive management in any of our portfolio companies, fully (and proudly) trusting my co-founders on the driver’s seat.

That said, my responsibility includes advising and on this topic my advice however will be crystal clear: Don’t buy into this hype. It only serves the interest of giants, like AirBnB and the likes.

“Remote” makes people interchangeable, almost consumable. Steadily yet surely it will destroy the labor market and will kill innovation. Big Tech will not hesitate to move workforce where the lowest cost-structure can be found and where employees cannot negotiate efficiently. In doing so, of course, they will be also shooting their feet as exactly this practice will kill loyalty and innovation.

In our entrepreneurship ecosystem, we value the human element of our organization more than anything else. We like to live with our colleagues, to look at their face, to know when they’re content and when they’re sad. We look forward to sharing drinks, dinners, moments of everyday life.

Monday-Friday 9-to-5 might or might not be dead; the office concept most definitely is not. The premium jobs of the near future will be those at an office.

On this May Day of year 2022, I’d like to call all information and technology workers to think again, deeply and seriously, on the effects that the ‘work from home’ or ‘work from anywhere’ or whatever other motto marketing might think of.

Remote can easily turn to a Trojan Horse for any kind of labor rights that are now taken for granted. It will also concentrate even more power within the Big Tech and will make it more unlikely for neophytes to grow. Above all, it is likely to reduce the human aspect of everyday work — which will only have terrible consequence.

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Dimitris Tsingos

Dimitris Tsingos

Entrepreneur at Starttech Ventures