Piers Fawkes Future of Work Interview

Piers Fawkes is the founder of PSFK – trends-led publishing, events and consultancy business with offices and representatives in London, Hamburg, New York, Shanghai and Sao Paulo. Each month, over 300,000 people from around the world read PSFK’s websites and newsletters for inspiration.

Here’s what Piers has to say about the future of work along with some advice for Gen Yers entering the workforce.



1. Explain to readers what PSFK does.

Piers Fawkes: We’re a trends and innovation company. We publish a daily news site and books; we hold events around the world – big and small; and we offer consultancy to companies that include Apple and Target. Our job is to inspire our readers, audience and clients to make things better.

2. How many people make up PSFK? And how do you communicate and collaborate together? What tools do you use?

PF: We have a small team in New York and representatives in London, Hamburg, Sao Paulo. Shanghai and Singapore. But I’d like to think that we have a team of 400,000 – the number of people who visit the site each month. We often ask our audience to help us across the three business functions: readers comment, suggest speakers, promote events and even do research for us.

3. How have the rules of collaboration changed for businesses?

PF: Probably what has happened is transparency and speed. Through digital tools, we can be very open about what we’re doing, our process, how we’re getting paid and our collaborators can do the same. And, we can get help from across the world very quickly by the click of ‘send’, ‘submit’ or ‘publish’.

4. PSFK seems to cover a lot of ground throughout the year blogging, planning and hosting events, consulting and much more. What is it about the way PSFK operates that leads to continuous results?

PF: All three aspects of our business feed each other. For example, the publishing allows us to keep our fingers on the pulse, our events help us meet tastemakers who we could interview on PSFK or use for research, the consultancy helps us travel which means more content for PSFK.com

5. What affect, if any, do you see the rise of social media and social networks having on the future of work?

PF: I think we will all eventually be guns for hire. Social Media helps people find other people to hire and/or collaborate.

6. You recently had some blunt words for all the Gen Y’s who will soon be entering the work force. Give us some highlights.

PF: I think there’s a naivety about how Gen Y perceives the workplace. It’s changing drastically and I recently reacted to some very old fashioned career advice on (the great) YPulse. You can read my thoughts and people’s reaction here – but basically the wake-up news is that companies are trying to get leaner, have flexible staff, use more perma and freelance staff who train themselves. When I entered the workforce there was talk about the fact that there won’t be any jobs for life anymore and that people will have 5 or 6. Twenty years later and I have had over a dozen jobs. Gen Yers are going to work for scores of companies and they need to remember that companies aren’t there to give you a job, they’re there to make a profit in constantly changing times. They seek a relationship with staff based on flexibility and delivery. They’re not going to have the bandwidth to help people with developing what is an antiquated perception of what it ‘career’. I think that there will be very few full time jobs by the time Gen Y retire.


Future of Work Interview Series BadgeThis post is part of the Future of Work interview series, discussing the future of work with leading experts from some of the world’s most progressive marketing, advertising and strategy organizations.