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What YouTube and Star Wars Fans Are Showing Us About the Future of Work: A New New Hope

Back in 2015, I was invited to take part in a panel at the Brookings Institution, alongside billionaire Nick Hanauer, about the future of work in light of accelerating technological advances, and during that panel (which is available on YouTube), I mentioned YouTube as an example of the kind of work I see right now that is new to this world, and yet remains mostly unrecognized as being work. I'd like to expand on that here using another of my passions as an example - Star Wars.

A New New Hope

A not so long time ago in a world not so far away, I watched one of the Internet's first viral Star Wars videos. It was called Troops and appeared in 1997. It is a parody of the show COPS within the Star Wars universe and was released onto the Internet for free by its creator, Kevin Rubio who just really loved Star Wars and wanted to make a fan film. If you've never watched it, here you go.

This single viral fan film had a ripple effect, and is considered one of the films that helped create the modern fan film movement. It inspired people to grab their cameras and go out and do the same. The key here is that it inspired. Kevin put a lot of work into its creation and gifted it to the world for free. Fans then watched it, loved it, shared it, and some went about creating their own videos to give back to the world in return. In effect, a video led to more videos, and thus more video makers.

The Creative Force Awakens

Fast forward to 2015 where after decades of thinking there would never be a Star Wars sequel, the final official trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released onto the Internet. Within days it had already been viewed over 50 million times. Thousands of fans immediately recorded themselves reacting to the trailer, and uploaded those reactions to YouTube.

One of those fans was even one of the stars of the movie.

Some fans immediately created reviews of the trailer.

Then a few fans took some of those reco...

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