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80% of A.Team Builders Say GenAI Increases Their Earning Potential

Thanks to AI, the most highly-skilled freelance product builders are becoming super builders—boosting their productivity and earnings.

If you’re new here, this is the latest edition of the Build Mode newsletter, where we gather the collective wisdom of the people building with AI, designing the future of work, and leading the most important companies of the next decade. Subscribe here to get the top insights in your inbox every week.


For the highly-skilled, Gen AI is ushering in a golden era of freelancing

Last year Andrew Neely noticed that his gig writing freelance SEO articles and emails for a marketing firm was drying up.

At that point, ChatGPT was six months into its stratospheric rise to 100M weekly active users. Neely suspected he was one of the first victims of the white collar workers’ greatest fear: being replaced by AI.

Then Neely was accidentally cc’d on an email from the content manager at the marketing firm confirming his worst suspicions. The manager was asking someone else to take the article written by ChatGPT, which wasn’t very good, and make it better.

Neely confronted the manager. She said they were using AI as a cost-cutting exercise. Not long after that, the manager left the firm as well.

As white-collar work gets increasingly automated, you might assume that freelancers would be the first to feel the impact. Indeed, researchers found a 21% decrease in the number of freelance job postings for entry-level, automation-prone jobs after the rollout of ChatGPT. Those writing SEO or basic HTML code are definitely in trouble.

But there’s another side to this story. We’re witnessing a class stratification in modern freelancing. And, according to our latest research, highly-skilled freelancers are thriving.

We surveyed 214 builders in the A.Team network between December 2023 and January 2024. These are engineers, developers, product managers, designers, data scientists, and marketers who have gone through a rigorous vetting process that places them amongst the top 2% in their respective fields. Many are ex-FAANG. Nearly half have already built a generative AI solution for a startup or enterprise. They are, in other words, the top tier of freelance workers, and for them, the emergence of generative AI presents a massive opportunity.

Sixty-eight percent of the respondents in our survey said that generative AI makes them more likely to pursue an independent career working for multiple companies. Ninety-two percent said that generative AI tools increased their productivity. And 80% said that generative AI increases their earning potential. A smaller portion, 16%, said they had already raised their hourly rates.

This, then, is the counter-narrative: Thanks to AI, the most highly-skilled freelance product builders are becoming super builders—boosting their productivity and earnings. An opinion article about this topic by our CEO and co-founder, Raphael Ouzan, just wrote in an op-ed for Fast Company.

Read the Full Report


How A.Team Builders are leveraging Generative AI to increase their productivity

66391fd654331b0c69169909_Gen AI 11

A study from last year found that freelancers are embracing generative AI and upskilling more than twice as fast as the rest of the workforce. We wanted dig in deeper to this trend and find out how the most highly-skilled independent product builders were using this new technology. So we surveyed 214 builders in the A.Team network.

Fifty-four percent of respondents said they used Generative AI either multiple times a day or constantly. Forty-five percent reported saving six or more hours per week, giving back nearly an entire workday. The vast majority anticipate using Generative AI more in the year ahead. And 16% have already increase their hourly rate.

Call it the rise of the AI-augmented solopreneur.

Check out the Full Report


Daniel Pink on How AI Will Change What It Means to Be a Knowledge Worker

Daniel Pink has a habit of being right.

After a tour as Al Gore’s speechwriter, Pink decided to go freelance. Soon, he spotted a trend percolating just beneath the surface of the American economy — a growing movement of highly-skilled “free agents” who were empowered to break free from the traditional 9-5 thanks to the rise of broadband, digital platforms, and new communication channels—anticipating A.Team by about twenty years! He chronicled the rise of these workers in his 2002 book, Free Agent Nation: The Future of Working For Yourself. It was the first in a series of predictions that have come true.

The quality of his writing has made Pink an influential voice, credited with accurately predicting major shifts in how we work and the skills that are most valued in the modern economy. His TED Talk on motivation has been viewed over 30 million times, and he was host and co-executive producer of the 2021 National Geographic series "Spark.”

Pink also written half a dozen best-selling books, including A Whole New Mind in 2005, which outlines the way that automation and outsourcing would lead us to value creative right-brain skills over left-brain skills in the U.S., as left-brain tasks were increasingly handled by machines or outsourced overseas, which brilliantly foreshadows the shift that AI is bringing to knowledge workers.

A.Team: What’s happening with AI right now feels like a hyper-accelerated version of the outsourcing and automation waves you identified in A Whole New Mind **as the drivers of the increasing importance of right-brain thinking in a new economy. Would you agree with that?

Daniel Pink: Yes and no. So just to quickly recap, the argument of that book is that certain kinds of skills are metaphorically consistent with the left hemisphere of the brain: logical, linear analytical skills. Those skills still mattered, but they were becoming less important because they're easier to outsource and automate, and a certain other set of skills [associated with the right hemisphere of the brain]—artistry, empathy, big picture thinking—were becoming more important because they were harder to outsource and automate.

I think that’s still sort of right, but AI can do some of the right-brain stuff. I did not expect that. The advances were far swifter than I would have imagined.

I’ll give you an example: There’s a line in the book where we’re talking about facial expressions, and I said, “Oh, computers can barely recognize people’s faces, let alone what their expression is.” And now, it can do both extremely well. That's the kind of holistic, emotional processing I thought would be harder to replicate.

What we want to do as human beings is bring skills and aptitudes and values and capacities that augment—rather than compete with—machine intelligence. Certain kinds of creativity. One of the things these large language models are very good at is, “Here’s a blog post that I just wrote; give me 25 clever headlines for it.” It does that reasonably well. Extremely quickly.

Now, you have to know what’s a good headline or a bad headline when you select them. [AI is] good at generation; we’re good at taste. For now.

Read the Full Interview


For fintech month, let’s rank the banks by AI innovation

Banks ranked by AI innovation

Credit cards arrived in the 1950s. ATMs in the ‘60s. Online banking came in the ‘90s. Mobile apps about a decade ago.

These technological shifts defined banking in the last 75 years—and had a big impact on which banks won the day.

Assuming, as a recent report from Evident AI does, that AI is the next step in this fintech evolution, it’s fascinating to look at which banks are investing in innovation now through research, patents, and venture investing in AI companies.

The impact of these investments might not be seen right away. But in ten years, they might end up being a sorting mechanism for which banks adapt and survive and which banks go the way of the promissory note.

At the end of the month, we’re gathering a group of fintech executives, innovation experts, and AI whiz kids to discuss the future of the industry.

Sign up to attend here


The time has officially come: you can now work for an AI! Payman is a marketplace where AI Agents hire humans for important jobs that only humans can do.


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