Receiving data from 2030

Hey, I am Rubo.

I am a freelancer mostly specialised in data mining and analytics, but I try to offer a broad range of services. I get all of my jobs through a platform called Gigantic.

I live with my partner in a small apartment. This can be difficult since we don’t have the space to both work from home at the same time. But fortunately, there is this app where you can book workplaces in coffee shops or other places in the city. So it’s always either me or my partner trying to find a place to work in the morning. The workplaces booked on the app are a bit hit or miss... if you log in at the right time you can manage getting a nice one. But often they are tiny and don’t even have a proper chair. It's annoying to have to spend so much money on drinks or food in these coffee shops... they don’t like it if you just go and work there without ordering anything.

The cheaper workplaces tend to be further away, but that’s ok since I really enjoy biking, so I just turn the ride into a workout. Daily exercise combined with a healthy diet helped me not getting sick at all last year. When I feel the slightest symptoms, I get worried immediately. I don’t want to think about what it would mean if I couldn’t work for a longer time.

When it’s my turn to work from home, I always turn the camera, so people can’t see my bed behind me. I would definitely prefer to sit in a co-working space, but unfortunately I can't afford this monthly expense.

I started freelancing in 2024. That was when the remote work trend accelerated and companies started giving up their office spaces. It then became more and more common for companies to hire freelancers instead of full-time employees, so it was difficult to find a permanent position. I applied for some full-time jobs, but there were always other applicants that could accept a lower salary because they lived in countries where living costs allowed for it. So I just gave freelancing a shot. In the beginning I was charging very little because I had no idea what my worth was. But after some time I started raising my rates. Not only to make more money, but also to weed out all those customers that were just looking for the cheapest possible option.

Today I am a top rated freelancer with 4.8 stars. To get that rating you need a lot of reviews. So I took on a lot of smaller gigs in the beginning in order to boost my profile to the top of the search results. In general, it’s all about standing out and convincing the client to hire you over other freelancers. You basically have to compete with at least 50 other people whenever you apply for a job. I got used to the platform now, but sometimes I feel there is a lack of appreciation for my work and efforts. Some clients write really helpful reviews, but often it’s completely meaningless or they don’t get back to me at all.

My average response time is 20 minutes. During the day I’m always answering right away, but at night it usually takes me some time to wake up. But lately I’m getting more sleep, because I bought this amazing alarm clock app. It uses AI to analyse incoming tasks based on how well they are paid and how much waking me up at that hour would impact my performance. Then it only wakes me up if it’s really worth it.

Some time ago I was getting my jobs through a different platform which was better because their fees were lower. But unfortunately it went bankrupt and I had to rebuild my whole career from scratch. Some people try to skip the platform fees by taking their clients outside of the platform. But the risk of the platform finding out and banning you from using it is too high: so I'd rather avoid that.

Since I don’t have a lot of human interaction through my work, I’m really glad I belong to a freelancer community. It’s so nice to have some people to hang out with online while working. Last week, I started talking to a woman I met in one of the coffee shops because I recognised the community’s sticker on her laptop. She seemed really nice. We talked about how it would be fun to meet up with the community in real life. It could be exciting to organise something like that.

  • C001 _ Receipt The Grind
    C001 _ Receipt The Grind

    With remote work, many public places such as cafés become temporary workplaces. As the rise in popularity of remote work leads to more people trying to find such a place, we can already find examples like the app Independesk that wants to formalise and monetise the practise. This artefact shows one of Rubo’s receipts from a coffee shop, listing details about his bookings on orders.

  • C002 _ AI alarm clock app
    C002 _ AI alarm clock app

    This speculative alarm clock app can be seen as a response to the increasingly growing freelance population with precarious job situations. It offers a way to maximise sleep, as it analyses freelance tasks based on how well they are paid and how much waking a person up at that hour would impact their performance.

  • C003 _ Gigantic rating tracker
    C003 _ Gigantic rating tracker

    The freelance platform is Rubo’s only source of jobs, so he is very dependent on good reviews since the competition between workers is high. The ratings tracker shows him his current ratings constantly, even when he’s at home or not working. The tracker is inspired by existing social media “follower” and “like” counters.

  • C004 _ Freelancer community sticker
    C004 _ Freelancer community sticker

    Being part of a freelancer community is important for Rubo, because it offers him a sense of belonging that he doesn’t get through his temporary and precarious jobs. Already today we can increasingly find digital tools and communities for freelancers in order to connect, cooperate, but also support each other. Leapers for example is a community for freelancers and self-employed workers that wants to support the mental health of their members.

  • C005 _ Workplace reservation table tent
    C005 _ Workplace reservation table tent

    Public places like coffee shops could change their function in the future and increasingly offer workplaces in addition to food and drinks. In this future scenario, people’s workplaces are much more temporary and there is no guaranteed place unless you book in advance.