Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, has been proselytizing that most work in the future will be done by “independent contractors” or “freelancers.” This is the Uber model, where all the drivers are self-employed. It’s also common in Silicon Valley—many engineers are not employees, but rather contractors hired to work on a project. Engineers are there for a gig, not a traditional job. The idea also fits LinkedIn’s business, a professional network that identifies and connects these workers.
Investors seemed surprised when the luxury apparel and accessories maker Ralph Lauren reported $400 million in restructuring charges and warned of lower sales. A Wall Street Journal article attributed the slip to a number of factors. But to me, it all added up to a strategy—or what Peter Drucker called “The Theory of the Business”— that no longer worked.