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Search the Internet and you'll find some Uber drivers claiming to make $100,000 a year. But there are also some gig economy workers out there who are very wealthy to begin with--and who are taking these jobs for reasons other than extra cash.

Their main purpose is to better understand these gig worker industries--and to increase the odds that they'll be able to do deals with the companies. Among the multimillionaires you might find driving your Uber or assembling your IKEA furniture:

  • Paul English, cofounder of travel site Kayak, who drove his Tesla X for Uber while researching customer service.
  • Jamison Hill of Bain Capital Ventures who put in hours at a gig economy laundry service, 
  • Sequoia Capital's Michael Moritz "packed up groceries" at Instacart after his venture capital firm backed the company in 2013, and 
  • Michael Grimes of Morgan Stanley, who drives occasionally for Uber because he hopes to underwrite its initial public offering.

Executives do it too. Stacy Brown-Philpot, CEO of TaskRabbit, has signed into the app at least once and cleaned a customer's apartment, according to Bloomberg, which reports that this is a growing trend among wealthy executives and eager investors.

Sometimes there is no replacement for first hand experience, and If you want to be successful in business, it helps to actually understand the business you're in. Besides, driving an Uber can be kind of fun--especially when you don't actually have to do it to put food on the table. 

Here's what else I'm reading today:

The future of the job interview: just leave a voicemail

There are increasingly fewer humans in the Human Resources department. The latest example: the one-sided, automated job interview. Companies are experimenting with having candidates call in and respond to questions--with no one on the other end of the line.
--Chip Cutter, Wall Street Journal

Millennials, it's not your fault

You could probably blow an afternoon listing every industry and product Millennials have been accused of destroying, from chain restaurants to starter homes. But now a new study from the Federal Reserver says it's not their fault. Instead, data shows that it's because they've been screwed by the economy and simply have less money at this point in their lives than the generations before them did.
--Jeremy Herron  and Luke Kawa, Bloomberg

The housing industry has a new upstart: Airbnb

Airbnb built an estimated $38 billion business by helping people rent out their homes. Now the company wants to do the building of the homes. The project is called "Backyard" and while details are still forthcoming, it could involve making prefabricated dwellings, standalone houses, and even multi-unit buildings. One of the most interesting details of the project: the guy leading it, Fedor Novikov, comes from NASA where he researched robotic construction. Airbnb expects to unveil test units in 2019.
--Mark Wilson, Fast Company

The biggest corporate social media fails of the year

Consider this your annual reminder that nothing goes unseen on the Internet--and that seemingly minor social media faux pas can quickly come back to bite you and your brand.
--Michelle Cheng, Inc.

When you're rich and you care about what you see on the news

Bob Wilson, 89, made millions developing real estate in San Diego, and when he saw and read about the day-to-day aftermath of the California wildfires this month, he was moved to do something. So, he sat at a table and wrote personal checks for $1,000 each to every student, teacher, and staff worker at a high school that was devastated by the tragedy. Then, he drove north and handed them out in person.
--Bill Murphy Jr., Inc.