Office Hours Manifesto
The economic problem of society is not merely a problem of how to allocate “given” resources... It is rather a problem of how to secure the best use of resources known to any of the members of society, for ends whose relative importance only these individuals know. Or, to put it briefly, it is a problem of the utilization of knowledge which is not given to anyone in its totality.
It's not what you know, it's who you know
We are in the midst of 3 waves
- The creator economy enabling more and more people to create value using their own knowledge and skills. They don’t need to join a large organization to find reach.
- Expert knowledge driving economic growth, and companies increasingly choosing not to employ experts in-house.
- Remote work becoming more and more prevalent.
Covid has accelerated all 3 of these waves which were already in motion. The world is changing.
Most people don’t think of themselves as experts
But that’s because they’re in a bubble. They’re surrounded by colleagues and friends who are similar to themselves and know the same things, so that knowledge doesn’t seem special.
Our CEO Joe's mom was a special education instructor for 20 years in NYC. After retiring, she was surprised to learn that her unique experiences in reading comprehension pedagogy were incredibly valuable to school boards in Kansas and Florida.
Our own investor and ex-product manager at Airbnb, Lenny Rachitsky, was similarly surprised that the lessons he learned at Airbnb could be so helpful to product managers around the world.
Mapping human knowledge
Human knowledge spans from the highly structured to the unstructured, from the specific and prescriptive to the broad and suggestive.
So far, we’ve developed some basic ontologies to help our system make sense of some types of knowledge. We are only at the beginning of organizing the full spectrum of human knowledge.
Empowering people to share their knowledge
Human knowledge is the world’s most valuable asset. And yet, despite being more interconnected than ever, most knowledge still remains stuck in our heads, inaccessible and underutilized. Airbnb lets us unlock the value of our homes. Uber lets us unlock the value of our time/cars. Office Hours lets us unlock the value of our knowledge.
So far, we’ve helped thousands of professionals get paid to host their own Office Hours (hour-long consultations) with high-growth startups, venture investors, Fortune 500’s, and nonprofits. We’ve also taken baby steps towards placing an individual’s expertise within a framework that our tools can make sense of. All this while our website is still gated behind a waitlist and before releasing a search interface.
Our next phase is all about opening up the marketplace, building tools to empower our advisors, and developing new ontologies to capture the relationships between people and knowledge.