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Freelancers, Hackers & Presidential Candidates


Freelancers, Hackers & Presidential Candidates
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@nebojsa.todorovicNebojsa “Nesha” Todorovic

I smoke like Mark Twain, drink like Ernest Hemingway, kiss like Charles Bukowski, write like myself.

It seems that V doesn’t stand only for Vendetta, but also for Voting, and especially for – Victory.

Now, everybody has a say in this election. Everyone has some expectations from the presidential candidates. The whole world is waiting, watching, placing bets, and making calculations based on the outcome.

Remember, remember, the Third of November!

But, what about – us? We, the cyber-people, freelancer, hackers, gigsters, and other mythical digital creatures, are left aside. I’m not talking only about the US freelancers, who can vote and forge their own destiny in the most direct way. The fate of the entire freelance industry is at stake on November 3rd.

This isn’t a cheesy claim, but rather the bitter reality I will paint by writing not only about two, but actually three presidential candidates. Yes, not all of them run this election race, but some of them left their mark with their more or less successful candidacies, and therefore deserve to be mentioned.

Another Outsourcing Brick in the Virtual Wall

Make Freelancing Great Again – would’ve been one hell of a slogan, if it hadn’t been for the notorious “virtual wall.” Yup, the US-Mexico border wall isn’t the only one, President Trump is interested in.

Freelancers, Hackers & Presidential Candidates

For my personal and very selfish reasons, I paid close attention to Trump’s intention to ban outsourcing in 2017 and 2018. There’s no Gandalf on Capitol Hill to cry out: “You shall not outsource!” But, when you use a line that “none of our private data can go overseas,” things escalate and become serious very quickly. If it’s any “comfort,” Trump’s “plan to punish companies that outsource overseas” comes with both a carrot and a stick.

If this “concept” reminds you of the even more notorious Great Firewall of China, you aren’t the only one. Can the US Economy survive the outsource divorce? I looked for the most realistic answers to this question on Quora. Understandably, the providers of outsourcing services were very sensitive about this hypothetical situation. Here’s one of the answers I liked the most:

“I’m afraid that in a hypothetical situation the US economy without outsourcing will lose its leadership role and competitive edge. Even if we get back all those outsourced jobs back home, what will we achieve in the long run? You will have millions of jobs (probably) that will become available for the US workers. The trouble is that you will have to offer higher compensations for the same type of work. We all know what will happen inevitably. The prices of services and products will skyrocket.”

There’s no way Trump can avoid a catch-22 in the most idealistic “outsourcegeddon” scenario. If you want to kill outsourcing to give birth to new jobs, you will eventually have to import new workers to satisfy the labor market demand. In other words, he will have to show a lot of love for H-1B visa holders, much more than he’s showing right now. 

Eventually, the US clients would work only with the US freelancers. For me personally, that would mean to lose all of my clients. So, I sure hope that my US freelance fellows won’t try to try to kill our outsourcing bird (with their votes) because it’s not mocking us, but actually laying the golden business eggs for all of us.

So, all freelancers’ votes should go to Joe Biden? Right? Well, I’m afraid that the Democrats don’t have the soft spot for freelancers and gigsters either.

Hey Joe, No High-Five Because of the AB5

It was the lovely Christmas of 2019 when I felt all the pain and desperation of my Cali freelance friends. Why should I worry about the California Assembly Bill 5 from the safe distance of my third world country? I enjoy my tax-cozy life as a freelance “outlaw” to the fullest. Well, here’s the thing.

Freelancers, Hackers & Presidential Candidates

Today California. Tomorrow all the States. The day after tomorrow the whole world. The AB 5 can spread like a virus, literally. Oh, this one didn’t come out right because of the COVID situation. Sorry, my bad.

Here are some of the most indicative and troubling online titles to illustrate the extremely flammable public opinion mood. Ups, I did it again. Not a nice thing to say with all those fires raging across my favorite US state.

Will California Democrats be forgiven for AB5?

AB 5 Has Lifelong Democrats Voting Red for the First Time

In its strict legal essence, this law is supposed to protect freelance folks. The trouble is that bill-pill can kill our freelance Bill. You’ll become a regular (protected) employee against your will. Someone may say, don’t let me be misunderstood that’s for your own freelance good. The Democrats who even think that way clearly haven’t worked a single second as freelancers or gigsters of any kind.

I don’t know how Joe Biden feels about his tweet, from the candidate’s perspective, but he can’t certainly take it back:

Freelancers, Hackers & Presidential Candidates

And, that’s not all, freelance folks because Joe Biden has some serious nationwide AB5 plans. Again, Twitter remembers, and I’m pretty much sure Cali gigsters remember, as well:

Freelancers, Hackers & Presidential Candidates

Because of the paywall, I couldn’t read the whole article, but the title confirms what we all know too well:

California’s AB5 employment legislation is Democratic gift to Donald Trump

Isn’t it ironic and tragic, at the same time? You can’t be a freelancer with Joe Biden in a traditional sense and in the long term. You can still be a freelancer to a certain degree with Donald Trump, but you can’t outsource outside the USA, which will eventually lead to the same no-freelance outcome.

I used to dream about moving to the States. If you dream, then dream big and sunny. Dream California. Some of my countrymen are living their American freelance dream. They charge five to ten times more. Same people. Same freelance services. But, you know what they say, location is everything. Now, that sunny location became the graveyard of modern freelancing. Is the “exodus” of freelancers inevitable? Are we going to have digital refugees instead of digital nomads? Is this the end of freelance days? CA-AB-ageddon? Where are you going to go if the AB5 becomes the nationwide phenomenon? Isn’t it already?

I would like to use the lovely term “Third Way” or “Third Option,” but the meaning and roads they lead to can be both potentially misleading and potentially dangerous.

Free Crypto States of John McAfee

John McAfee for President! Why not?

Freelancers, Hackers & Presidential Candidates

Now, to be totally honest, I’ve got a very broad idea about his presidential platform as a Twitter follower. Yeah, John is controversial, fun, and rarely boring. I dare to guess that under his presidency we would have the United Crypto States where the use of marijuana is legalized beyond the wildest dreams of the pro-cannabis activists. I also think that using McAfee Antivirus wouldn’t be a legal requirement. That’s just not John’s style.

You may say or think, what do you guys outside the USA know about our political system and Libertarians, among other things? Well, I know as much about US politics as Americans know geography. Speaking of which, for US readers, can you locate Macedonia on the map?

Russian Hackers and Macedonian Teenagers

Freelancers, Hackers & Presidential Candidates

In John Oliver’s style, that’s a country you think so little about that you didn’t even realize this isn’t Macedonia, but Slovenia actually.

Yup, the First Lady would beat you on this one for obvious reasons. This is Macedonia:

Freelancers, Hackers & Presidential Candidates

Do you remember? Back in 2016, while the focus of US media was on the Russian hackers, a bunch of Macedonian teenagers had the time of their lives. There was some twisted poetic justice in it. The outcome of the US presidential elections can impact even the most remote, “insignificant,” and smallest countries on the planet, both US President and US voters haven’t even heard of. At the same time, one of these most “insignificant” countries arguably played the most critical role during the elections in most (un)usual ways. You can’t make this stuff up, can you?

“Teenagers in our city don’t care how Americans vote,” he laughs. “They are only satisfied that they make money and can buy expensive clothes and drinks!”

Well, if it’s any comfort, the US teenagers do and feel exactly the same way about how Americans vote just like their Macedonian counterparts from this BBC interview.

So, remember, remember, the Third of November, but also, please, don’t forget October 13th. No worries, it’s Tuesday, not Friday. I checked. Why is this date as important as November 3rd? Well, you have it until then to vote for your favorite Hacker Noon Award nominee.

We, the Noonies, can do things all presidential candidates could only dream about. We can make you forget how funked up this year was and still is with our stories. So, vote now, and let’s wish for a peaceful and uniting Guy Fawkes Day this year. Because we’re all sitting on a powder keg, and the Doomsday Clock is ticking, and Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture is playing…

Freelancers, Hackers & Presidential Candidates


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