Episode 31: The Human Cloud and Transforming Work

In this episode we talked with Matt Mottola, discussing the human cloud, major pain points for corporations and freelancers, and what we expect in the years ahead.

Episode 31: The Human Cloud and Transforming Work

Hosts: Fahad Shoukat and Andrew Wolfe

Guests:  Matt Mottola, Product Leader | Building the Human Cloud

Matthew R Mottola builds the human cloud, a model of work that is digital, remote, and outcome-based. As a product leader and serial entrepreneur, Matthew builds the tools and technology adopted by individuals, startups, SMB’s, and Fortune 100’s to embrace the future of work at scale.

At Microsoft, he built the Microsoft 365 freelance toolkit - the unlock for enterprises to embrace the human cloud at scale - bringing Microsoft from nascent to an industry leader in under two years. At Gigster, he built Ideation - a service that used freelance developers, data scientists, and product managers to consistently generate what should be built in the software development lifecycle. At Georgia Tech, he helped develop the entrepreneurship curriculum and guest lectures. He is an international keynote speaker, the author of StartUp Not StartDown, and the upcoming book The Human Cloud.

The Freelance Model

  • From a customer lens, you can go directly to the talent. You can work with the specific individual that you want.
  • The Freelance Model is subjective. We can do things to mitigate the outcome risk.
  • We know that 68% of software projects fail. Business owners should be hyper-aware of Scope Creep. The Freelance model can mitigate scope creep by really digging deep into the scoping; specifically the expectations when it comes to quality and the way that freelancers work with their clients.
  • Business owners need to trust the freelancers to be the expert. Give them the scope document and explain what you're looking for. You want a high level of what you're going to get, comparable, and a road map to understanding what is going to be done and who is going to do it.
  • Freelance can create a radical redistribution of opportunity. With freelance, you can build relationships you'd never have the opportunity to build. This model accelerates your ability to create outcomes.

The Freelance Model on large scale projects

  • Sometimes the smaller projects are the ones that go off the rails. No matter what the dollar size is, it comes down to be able to scope outcomes. Scoping small outcomes as soon as possible is one of the best things you can do.
  • Freelancers are able to build deep relationships with their clients because the work enables you to focus on outcomes instead of political or informal things that happen in an office setting.

Microsoft 365 Freelance Toolkit

  • Solution for enterprises to work with platforms and scale freelancers across their organizations. It's like a jetpack that works alongside Microsoft tools to enable an enterprise to use platforms/ freelancers in a way that's compliant, secure, and integrative.
  • Companies are interested in freelancers because of the direct access to the talent and agility. For enterprises to be able to compete with startups, they need the agility to have the speed of a start-up with the scale of an enterprise.

The Human Cloud

  • The Human Cloud is the shift from physical and full time to digital, remote, and outcome-based work. The open-source applications like G Suite and Trello, we can use for free to get work done is amazing. They make your home office equal if not better than your physical office.

Freelancers Struggles

  • Corporate Politics and getting people aligned make it difficult for freelancers to operate.
  • Accepting that choice will be made that will affect you.
  • Being an outsider in the organization makes it difficult to gain trust with managers.
  • There's no automated way to vet people for work, it's all relational. Managing people well is a big struggle.

Expectations on the Freelance Economy

  • Hopefully, we'll stop calling it "freelance" and "gig" and just call it work. It's all about being the expert in your field.
  • We can start to see high-value work getting done in ways that we don't even know it's freelance! It's better, it's faster, cost-efficient, and offers more opportunities with more control over their work. This type of work is only going to continue to grow.


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Fahad Shoukat
Written by

Fahad Shoukat

Fahad has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and an MBA. He brings over 15+ years in Business Development, Strategy, Sales, Product, and Marketing in various industries such as software development and Internet of Things (IoT). His experiences have led him on an unwavering pursuit to meet thoughtful people and build thoughtful software.