MicroJobbing: How South Africans Will Earn Money Using Their Mobiles

World Wide Creative’s weekly Think Tank Thursdays are where industry thought leaders are invited to share their insights on various aspects of digital marketing with the team. WWC recently hosted Andre Hugo, the CEO of soon-to-be-launched microjobbing start-up, m4jam (Money for Jam). 

mobile_phone_work_toolM4jam was inspired by a few simple facts:
• South Africa’s official unemployment rate is 24.1%.
• 69.2 million sim cards are active countrywide.
• 32.9 million South Africans have mobile phones
Set to launch in July 2014, m4jam is digitally enabled microjobbing – a system that breaks large projects into small tasks to empower geographically dispersed people to quickly and independently complete tasks using their phones in exchange for payment.
With WeChat as its primary partner, m4jam might very well become a South African game changer. Andre gave WWC an insider’s look at what’s to come:

The game dynamics built into m4jam allows for members to be ranked according to different status levels. How much earning potential will there be for a platinum member?
M4jam is meant to provide a supplementary income contribution (rather than a primary income source). This depends largely on the legislative cap on the amount someone can earn from microjobbing. At most, individuals will be able to complete about 100 jobs a month and at R30 per job (on average), this adds up to roughly R3000.00.

How does gamification fit into microjobbing?
The impact of gaming within a microjobbing environment depends on its ability to bring about a systemic change in an individual’s behaviour. The m4jam Leaderboards are a good example of how gamification can be designed to drive a particular behaviour. The system allows members to earn more money, the greater quality work they submit. In order to do that, they have to complete a certain number of jobs to move up the Leaderboard and stay current. The bigger purpose then, is to bring about a systemic change that promotes good work ethic.

What kind of research was your microjobbing model based on?
When we developed the concept behind m4jam, we did extensive research on the factors that drive behaviour. We tested our ideas on a small sample of friends, relatives, passers-by and different groups of people. I interacted with people and asked what would motivate them to earn money using their phones. Those motivations were translated into the functional aspects of the system.

Why do you believe South Africa/Africa is ready for this?
Two simple reasons. Firstly, while official reports put South Africa’s unemployment level at 24.1%, unofficial reports put the rate at 50% – 70% – that’s massive unemployment. Statistics show that about 16 million South Africans receive governmental grants of around R385 a month, which is simply unsustainable. Within this context, m4jam is a great opportunity to allow a broad spectrum of society to earn additional money using digital means. Secondly, if you follow international trends, you will have noticed that people are moving increasingly towards contract-type employment and freelancing in the formal sector because it suits the modern lifestyle. Micro-jobbing will drive this same trend upwards from a grassroots level.

Who is World Wide Creative?
Founded in 2003, World Wide Creative is a digital marketing agency based in South Africa and Europe. We are driven by learning and sharing everything and anything related to digital marketing. We have forged strong partnerships with some of the most recognised brands on the globe. Delivering Strategy, Development, Campaigns and Training, we are one of the fastest growing agencies in Africa. Our philosophy? Never trust a skinny chef.
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