Crowdsourcing: the Future of Work - Skip to content

Crowdsourcing: the Future of Work


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reverse mortgage newsYou know something about reversals that work: after all, you’re a reverse mortgage specialist. But are you also a super specialist — or a smart generalist? Both have a critical role to play in the new work environment, where the water cooler is virtual and we are all self-employed, say Ryan Coonerty and Jeremy Neuner, authors of The Rise of the Naked Economy.

Despite its compelling title (which is no doubt boosting sales), the book isn’t about removing clothes, but removing obstacles to a “transparent” workplace. In essence, “Naked” describes a seismic shift: from a corporate, product-focused mindset that emphasized the 4Ps of marketing — product, placement, promotion, price — to the 3Ps of the Naked Economy: People, Place, Policy.

This emphasis on the Creatives, and where and how they work, signals a fundamental restructuring in how we view and do business. It has direct bearing on reverse mortgage professionals, who may be as comfortable working in a co-work environment (where entrepreneurs rent shared office space) as in their own office, a colleague’s office, a coffee shop, or from home, depending on the day’s responsibilities and whom you need to team with in order to best serve your clients and prospects.

There isn’t necessarily an advantage to being in a traditional office setting just because that’s what we know. Matt Mullenweg, who invented WordPress, calls the current cubicle configuration “an arbitrary colocation of a number of adults for no apparent reason.” His company, Automattic (two “t”s), launched with transatlantic partnerships in the UK and Ireland in 2005 and now works with employees around the world. He must be on to something: there were more than 56 million WordPress sites by fall 2012, including such notable users as the New York Times and eBay.

Yet super specialization, remote partnerships and teaming with others for short-term projects aren’t new concepts; they’re simply being redefined and expanded to encompass a broader bandwidth. The movie industry, for example, rapidly assembles teams that may number in the hundreds or even thousands, to create a film. Actors, grips, directors, extras, scriptwriters, editors, stylists, etc., some of whom may have worked together before but many of whom have not, each play their role until the film is complete. Then they disband and reform into new teams for the next project.

We can also bridge cultures, continents, languages and areas of expertise to create breathtaking results, such as the Water Cube that housed the 2008 Beijing Olympics. As the authors note, twenty international firms came together to create this 340,000-square-foot structure, “covered in an ethereal, semitransparent polymer that was invented in Japan, designed by Australians, built by the Chinese, and approved by the International Olympic Committee.”

This, maintain Coonerty and Neuner, is the future of work as a whole.

Some “Naked” questions for reverse mortgage specialists to consider:

  • Who’s your A-team?
  • What people (specific individuals, or specializations such as CPAs, elder law attorneys, etc.) comprise your greatest “renewable resource”?
  • Are you willing to trade a measure of control for collaboration?
  • How and where do you work well? Would you like to work somewhere that allowed you to bring your dog with you?
  • Do you see yourself as a solo entrepreneur, or are you happier in a cowork-type of setting, where you might find exactly the complementary skills you need to expand your business?
  • How will any of these choices affect business essentials such as insurance, taxes and health coverage?

It’s a brave new work world out there. Navigating nakedness to create your brightest and best work reality means you’ll be able to play at the top of your game, which benefits everyone: you, your family, those you work with, and, of course, those you work for: your reverse mortgage clients and prospects, who, as the landscape of aging also changes dramatically, are navigating similar shifts of their own.


Editor in Chief:
As a prominent commentator and Editor in Chief at, Shannon Hicks has played a pivotal role in reshaping the conversation around reverse mortgages. His unique perspectives and deep understanding of the industry have not only educated countless readers but has also contributed to introducing practical strategies utilizing housing wealth with a reverse mortgage.
Shannon’s journey into the world of reverse mortgages began in 2002 as an originator and his prior work in the financial services industry. Shannon has been covering reverse mortgage news stories since 2008 when he launched the podcast HECMWorld Weekly. Later, in 2010 he began producing the weekly video series The Industry Leader Update and Friday’s Food for Thought.
Readers wishing to submit stories or interview requests can reach our team at:

Leave a Comment


  1. The article is significant in that it addresses how our industry is changing but not based on the rational presented in the book; the changes we face are due to far more to the new HUD rule changes than the economy as a whole. Yet things are very different today in our little industry than they were even last year. It is how Ms. Rose applies some of the issues in the bullet points which are of greatest value.

    The article does not address the great differences between employment in the private, non-profit, and public sectors. The trends in these sectors are very different. Instead all that is addressed are some of the extreme changes seen in private sector employers. The article generally ignores the increase in employee benefits particularly in the Silicon Valleys across the US. Therefore, the article has value but very limited value beyond a significant portion of private sector employers and employees.

    While we know the article by its very nature must be limited, without looking at the broader picture including all of the significant sectors of the economy, the reader is left with a very myopic view of the extreme and dynamic employment issues facing the nation.

    The book seems to provide a beneficial view of the specific employers covered but it also seems to be of limited value when looking at US employment as a whole.

    (The opinions expressed in this comment are not necessarily those of RMS or its affiliates.)

  2. Hello James ~

    I leave the technical aspects of HUD rulings and so forth to Shannon’s very capable and beautifully executed videos.

    As you note, blog posts by their nature must be limited in scope in order to deliver value. The book I reference speaks to the difference between being super specialists or smart generalists, regardless of the economic sector in which people work. Since our target audience is primarily self-employed or small business professionals, this is where I focused the piece. It is not meant to provide an overview of changes to the U.S. economy. There are many other resources for that.

    Thanks for your comment.

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