For the last year, the GuildQuality team has been building a new product called Crew. Unlike our core offering (which is for companies—specifically remodelers, homebuilders, and home improvement contractors), we’re building Crew for all the people who work in the field—skilled laborers and trades.
Our plan is to give every person working in our industry a free profile with which they can post pictures of their work, share their skills, and check in to job sites. Importantly, they can also endorse others and receive endorsements, and show up in location and skill-based searches.
While Crew is certainly a service that homeowners might be interested in, we intend to focus on serving professionals, i.e. general contractors who are always seeking talented workers and the skilled trades who are looking for work opportunities.
To give you a better idea of what Crew looks like, check out my own profile. Interested in finding a carpenter in Atlanta? Or a painter near Washington, DC? Try searching on Crew. And very soon you’ll be able to post jobs and respond to job postings.
The skilled labor challenges in our industry are painfully acute right now, and we’re working to ease that pain by shining a spotlight on the work of the best skilled laborers and trades out there. Moreover, by highlighting their great work, we can make it more obvious to ambitious young people that a rewarding career awaits them in construction.
I’m currently driving my third AMC-era Jeep and my fifth four-wheel-drive vehicle. I am not a lumberjack or a farmer. I have worked in construction and real estate development, though 4WD was never necessary for my job.
If anything, 4WD is (at least for me) more of a liability than an asset. It’s certainly more expensive to maintain. Mileage is horrible as well; My 1984 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler gets 11 miles to the gallon.
But the biggest problem with 4WD is a hidden problem: 4WD fosters foolishness, rashness, negligence, and overconfidence. It beckons you to disregard normal limits. It allows you to go so deep into the woods that when you get stuck (and you will inevitably get stuck), you’re well beyond help.
Seems to me like a lot of technologies, when abused, have this same sort of consequence. I don’t think there’s a name for this, so I’m giving it one: The 4WD Effect. The 4WD Effect occurs when overuse of or over-reliance on a technology causes the very problem that the technology was designed to solve.
4WD exists to help people avoid getting stuck. A negligent driver, lulled into confidence by his Jeep’s abilities, finds himself stuck so far back in the woods that no tow truck can reach him.
High resolution digital photography exists to help people preserve moments. A casual photographer seeks to preserve so many 4MB moments on her computer (few of which she had any intention of ever printing at their maximum resolution) that the machine inevitably and suddenly crashes, destroying all the memories she was trying to save.
Navigation systems exist to help people find their way. After months of use, I lose the ability to find my way around without my phone, stop carrying an old-school printed map, and when I find myself unexpectedly out of cell range, I become lost.
How does one avoid becoming a victim of the 4WD Effect? Humility seems like the only meaningful hedge.