Unless you've been living in a cave for the last week or so, you know about the Pokemon Go craze.
In just 8 days it has become almost as widely used as Twitter and the most popular smartphone game ever.
Almost overnight an entire mini-industry of gig workers supplying support to Pokemon Go players has sprung up.
Key quote from Money's The Latest Group to Cash In on the Pokémon Go Craze:
"Clever drivers for services like Uber and its competitors, who are advertising their services to help Pokémon players cover more ground faster (and, presumably, more safely, since somebody else will be the one watching the road) ... Other gig-economy workers taking advantage of the game’s popularity are pitching themselves as Pokémon Go egg hunters, security providers, and hackers ..."
From a trend watching standpoint, Pokemon Go is one of the most fascinating events in recent history. It covers so much ground:
1. It's the first truly mainstream augmented reality app and its success proves it will not be the last. It may even be that augmented reality outpaces the much more hyped virtual reality in terms of mainstream use, at least in the near term.
2. The scale at which the game has grown in such a short period of time shows how networks, cloud computing and mobile devices are enabling exponential growth at an almost unbelievable pace. This requires almost a rethink of the pace and speed at which growth can happen.
3. The game is social, or at least gets users out of their homes and interacting in the real world. While there have been other digital games that do this, none have had wide scale appeal.
The social and economic implications of this are broad and not yet understood. Pokemon Go is already raising interesting questions around security and safety, the use of public and private spaces for game play and the economic role that various actors will play in the Pokemon ecosystem.
Back to the gig economy, the speed at which Pokemon Go services are being offered illustrates the growth of the gig economy and the fact that there are a lot of potential providers available and looking for opportunities.
In other words, there is a gig economy infrastructure in place that companies can tap into to support their products and services.
Our guess is the Pokemon Go folks probably weren't aware of how quickly the gig economy would spring up around their game. But now that it's happened, others will notice and design in gig economy ecosystem support.