global economy

The Global Economic Trends: Surviving The Crisis, Part 1 With Richard Duncan

TWS 40 | Global Economic Trends



The current crisis involving the COVID-19 pandemic has got a lot of people wondering what’s going on with the global economy and what is likely to come in the subsequent months, years, and so forth. It is no secret that things are happening around the world from a monetary and fiscal standpoint that most people aren’t aware of. However, studying them is ultimately going to position you to take the most advantage of not just this environment, but future environments as well. On today’s show, Patrick Donohoe is joined by a professional economist and the publisher of the video-newsletter called Macro WatchRichard Duncan. Richard talks about what’s going on in the economy and the importance of knowing what the future looks like and what things to pay attention to so that you can adapt and ultimately know what’s coming.

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The Global Economic Trends: Surviving The Crisis, Part 1 With Richard Duncan

This is going to be part one of a two-part series. There is much to talk about with Richard Duncan and extract from him his perspective on the economy. What is going on from the Federal Reserve’s and the Central Bank’s standpoint? Ultimately, what is to come? Before I get to the introduction for Richard as well as setting the stage for both parts of the interview, I wanted to tell you about a couple of things. First, a good friend of mine, Mike Dillard, many of you may know who he is. He has a popular podcast and he’s one of the best online business people I know, an incredible marketer. Mike has put together an opportunity. Mike has worked tirelessly to put together a community for the purpose of helping the business and the entrepreneur world, to understand what’s going on and to take advantage of the opportunity because the professional world is changing. The business world is changing.

TWS 40 | Global Economic Trends

The Dollar Crisis: Causes, Consequences, Cures

He’s put together this community of experts when it comes to consulting, online business, digital business. This opportunity is essentially a community, where you can learn from some incredible minds about what to do. What are some of the opportunities? What are the first steps? What are the second steps? It’s an incredible opportunity. It’s in line with a lot of what was spoken about in the last seasons of The Wealth Standard Podcast. Go check that out at Every episode has a video associated with it. Head over to YouTube and subscribe. That would mean a lot to me and you can watch the videos as opposed to listening to them. All the interviews are being videoed and all past interviews are on there as well. Finally, the editors I have are incredible and we have lots of written content that we’re going to be distributing. Make sure you’re a part of our newsletter. Most of it will be announcements associated, whether it’s the Mike Dillard opportunity or other things that I’m paying attention to, as well as new episodes of the show. Make sure you head over to and check that out.

Let me introduce Richard. He’s the author of three books, The Corruption of CapitalismThe New Depression and The Dollar Crisis. All these books were written around 2010 to 2012 mark. Richard is a Professional Economist. He lives in Thailand. He’s gracious enough to give us this time. Richard, full-time he does what’s called Macro Watch. Go ahead over to and you can subscribe to that. Readers of the blog get 50% off. It’s $500 for a yearly membership, so it’s $250. What he puts on there are these snippets and video analysis of what’s going on in the economy. They’re fascinating and he does it within 10 to 15 minutes, which is even more indicative of how brilliant he is by being able to chunk deep information into that short of a piece. Richard understands the economy from not a philosophical perspective. There are lots of different schools of economics. Richard looks at things as how they are.

Our monetary system operates a certain way. Although there are many that wish it was a different way and put faults on how it is based on how it should be, the fact is, it isn’t. Our monetary system is a certain way. What is occurring with the influence of the Central Bank, specifically the Federal Reserve in the United States, will most likely always have a primary role when it comes to influencing whether it’s trade, government, the global nature of the economy. It’s always going to have a role. Understanding what it is and then subsequently what signals and things to pay attention to so that you can position yourself, whether it’s from an investment standpoint or a personal standpoint with regards to business. How can you position yourself to take advantage of the situation based on what it is, not based on what it should be?

Let me give you a little bit of his background. He started in Asia in the late ’80s as the Global Head of Investment Strategy at ABN AMRO Asset Management. He worked in the financial sector specifically as a specialist at the World Bank. He headed equity research for Solomon Brothers in Bangkok. He’s also worked as a consultant to the IMF, International Monetary Fund, in Thailand during the Asia crisis. He does full-time Macro Watch, which is a video-based newsletter. This is Robert Kiyosaki’s favorite economist. He has been one of the Keynote people on The Cash Flow Wealth Summit that we’ve put on over a couple of years. It has some insights that you’re going to want to pay attention as to as to how things are leading up to the crisis and then what’s going on amidst the crisis? What is likely to come in the subsequent months, this 2020, 2021 and so forth?

If the government uses all of its firepower as it would in any other war, we can come out of the other side winning this crisis. Click To Tweet

For me, I believe that there has been a significant impact to the psychology of people, to the economy, to markets. What’s going on is that the world, the economy, the society is never going to be the same as it was. Looking at what is happening will help you to know what the future looks like and what signals and things to pay attention to so that you can adapt and ultimately know what’s coming. In the end, we can’t control monetary policy. We can’t control what this body does or what this person does or what philosophy they should subscribe to. The fact is, things are happening around the world from a monetary and fiscal standpoint that most people aren’t aware of. Becoming familiar, studying them is ultimately going to position you to take the most advantage of not just this environment, but future environments as well. Without further delay, let’s cut to the first part of my interview with economist, Richard Duncan.

I have Richard Duncan on with me and he is in Thailand. We made this work and I’m excited about this conversation. Richard, thank you for taking the time.

Patrick, it’s my pleasure. Thank you.

I thought the best way to start is to form a context, so that the readers can know where you’re coming from. As we start to talk about what’s going on and what is potentially going to occur in the future and what to look for, it’s important to know where your perspective is. We’ve been talking about your qualifications. Also, describe what has been the evolution of monetary policy from maybe the Federal Reserve and where we’re at.

I was born and grew up in Kentucky. I went to Vanderbilt. I ended up backpacking around the world after college. I was lucky I got to see Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore in early 1984 and it was booming economically. I realized, “Go East, young man.” I went back to business school for a couple of years at Babson College, and then I flew to Hong Kong and found a job in 1986 as a Securities Analyst working for a local Hong Kong Chinese stockbroking company. I’ve spent almost all of my career working in Asia first as an equities analyst and economist and strategist, managed large research departments for what’s now HSBC Securities and Solomon Brothers in Thailand. I worked for a couple of years at the World Bank in Washington during the Asia crisis as a Financial Sector Specialist.

In 2005 and 2006, I was in London as the Global Head of Investment Strategy or ABN AMRO Asset Management, looking at all the asset classes globally. I’ve written three books along the way. The first was The Dollar Crisis, which I believe did forecasts the crisis of 2008 accurately. I’ve been lucky to live in Asia most of this time and because for many reasons, Asia has had such extraordinary economic growth most of this period. One of the first things I realized when I started working in Asia and saw all of the factories around Southern China full of young women working for less than $5 a day, that these global imbalances were going to completely destabilize the world. They industrialized the US. They were extremely deflationary at least in the direction of disinflation deflation. The rise of China and the global implications of that geopolitically, but also economically the consequences of the enormous trade imbalances and how they are financed. That’s my background.

I produce a video newsletter called Macro Watch. The way it’s useful to understand the world from the macro perspective is this. You can think of the global economy and all of the assets, classes, stocks, bonds, property, all of that is floating on an ocean of credit and credit growth drives economic growth. It’s been that way for many decades. In the US since 1950, there were nine times between 1950 and 2009 when total credit grew by less than 2% adjusted for inflation. Every time credit grew by less than 2%, the US went into a recession and the recession didn’t end until there was another big surge of credit expansion. What do I mean by total credit? The total credit is equal to total debt. You can think about this as all the debt, government debt, household sector debt, corporate debt, financial sector debt. Debt growth drives economic growth. The same thing as credit growth drives economic growth.

In 2008, the private sector couldn’t continue servicing the interest on all of the debt and total credit started to contract when we started going into a depression. The government responded with massive budget deficits, more than a trillion dollars a year for four years in a row. The Fed monetized a third of those budget deficits with three rounds of quantitative easing. Since 2008 credit growth has been barely above the 2% recession threshold as I call it. It hasn’t been enough to drive the economy. The Fed has had to step in and push up asset prices with low-interest rates and what was four rounds of quantitative easing before this crisis started, the fourth having started with the repo problems. They pushed up the stock market and that created a drove up American household sector net worth to extraordinarily high levels and that wealth effect supplemented the credit growth and was sufficient in combination to make the economy keep growing. Although it wasn’t growing rapidly, it was growing.

TWS 40 | Global Economic Trends

Global Economic Trends: If the US would go into depression, that alone would be enough to grow the global economy into a depression.


Credit growth drives economic growth and when it’s not high enough, the Fed tries to intervene to push up asset prices and supplement the credit growth with asset price inflation. In other words, the government is managing the economy at the macro level. This has been going on at least since 1941 when World War II started. At that time during World War II, government spending increased by five times in four years. The Fed’s holdings of government securities increased by eleven times reflecting how much money the Fed created to help finance the war. That increased in government debt and paper money creation during such a short period of time. That investment that occurred by the government created new technologies and set off a two-decade-long economic boom in the US that circle much of the world.

The government has been managing the economy at the macro level one way or the other, sometimes better and sometimes worse since then. In order to understand what’s likely to happen with the markets, it’s important as a starting point to understand that the government is trying to manage this and to try to anticipate what they’re going to do next and make a lot of speeches. They tell you what they’re going to try to do next. If you listen to what they’re saying, that provides a lot of help in terms of understanding what’s likely to occur next. Once this virus started impacting the United States and the stock market started dropping, I’ve done five Macro Watch videos on this subject and one was called Recession or Depression?.

That was before people started calling this a depression and before the Fed launched Quantitative Easing Infinity before these $1 trillion government bills to support the economy. By that point, it was clear to me that if the stock market started falling 20%, 25%, the Fed would take radical action to try to drive the stock prices back up. They understand that the asset price inflation is the thing that’s keeping the US out of a severe recession. They weren’t going to sit back and let the stock market crash by 50%, which it would have without government intervention. More than 50% I’m sure, it was expensive to start with. By understanding this framework that how the government manages the economy, it does provide a lot of insight and what’s likely to happen next in terms of movements in the markets.

When all this occurred, it didn’t surprise you when markets started to be disruptive, especially early on when the Fed came to the rescue and you saw these stimulus bills being proposed, whether it was the early ones with regard to funding healthcare and those different organizations and to small businesses. That didn’t surprise you?

No. I’m glad that they did. It wasn’t certain that the government would do that because Congress is quite messy. You don’t know for sure what the government is going to do at the congressional level. It’s easier to predict what the Fed is going to do because it’s controlled by far fewer people. You understand the situation much more clearly than all of the Congressman and Senators. You can never be entirely certain what Congress is going to do. In that video I called Recession or Depression, my point was this. Whether or not we have a recession or depression, it’s going to depend entirely on the speed and the size of the government’s policy response in terms of the size of the fiscal stimulus and the size of the monetary stimulus. Luckily, the government did respond quite quickly on both fronts. Not too much later than that, the Fed announced QE Infinity.

It’s what people are calling it. Buying limitless amounts of government bonds or as much as it required. Congress passed the $2.2 trillion Rescue Bill, which they are popping up with another $500 billion. That was a good step in the right direction. That was a down payment. They did it quickly and that’s the reason that we’re not in a great depression. Have they not have done that, all of the US banks would be in the process of failing and the majority probably of the small and medium-size businesses as well as the majority of the US corporations would also be in the process of failing. Unemployment would be surging up to 30% if not 50%. This government response has kept us out of a great depression so far. Hopefully, they’re going to continue doing more of this because in this crisis, there is no sensible alternative.

If they were to step back and do nothing, then the government debt would explode anyway because the economy would collapse. All the government tax revenues would disappear and the mandatory payments through things like Social Security and Medicare and unemployment insurance would explode. The budget deficit would become enormously large anyway and we wouldn’t have an economy. That doesn’t make any sense. It’s far better for them to do what they’re doing and keep government spending, sending out checks to individuals and propping up small and medium-sized businesses. Also, propping up corporations in the banks because the alternative is complete open-ended depression with no end in sight. Who knows what social geopolitical consequences are?

The government's debt effectively tripled between 2008 and now. That was necessary to keep the economy growing. Click To Tweet

That was the other point too, which accelerates it and magnifies the severity is that everything’s global. If something’s done here and in order to create the balance as it relates to the global economy, it’s going to be done worldwide. Let’s say the government did use Laissez-faire policy and didn’t do anything, it wouldn’t impact the United States. It would impact the world. 

The US would go into depression and that alone would be enough to throw the global economy into a depression, even if they tried to respond aggressively with their own fiscal and monetary policies as they are doing to the best of their abilities.

Looking at the scope of this, we’re already probably approaching $3 trillion, almost $4 trillion in the stimulus. That’s in 1.5 months, almost two months. How much larger it is than what occurred during 2008, 2009? In your estimation, how much can the government stimulate? There hasn’t been much productivity at all in many different sectors, which tells me that the ripple effect it’s going to last for a long time. Does the government have enough firepower to be able to support this massive shock to the system? 

We’re fortunate that the United States is a wealthy country. It does have the firepower. If the government uses all of its firepower as it would in any other war, we can win this war and come out the other side being quite similar to a country we were when we went into this crisis. If we don’t, we will lose the war and who knows what the country would look like or the world in that case. For example, the US economy in 2019, the GDP was about $21 trillion in size and the government’s debt to GDP was somewhere around let’s call it 110%. For an extreme example, if the government had to spend $21 trillion propping up the economy over the next couple of years, then that would cause the government debt to GDP to double to 220% GDP. That’s below where Japan’s government debt to GDP is. Japan has more than 250% government debt to GDP and they don’t have double-digit interest rates. Their interest rates are zero. They don’t have hyperinflation. They have very mild inflation and sometimes deflation.

The government at the fiscal level has enormous firepower and they need to use it. It’s going to be expensive. It’s certainly going to cost $5 trillion. It looks like at least, maybe $10 trillion. If it does, then so be it. That’s the price we’re going to have to pay and luckily, we can afford it. The Fed can help finance this by what it’s doing now. The Fed has created $2.1 trillion that has increased the size of their assets, which reflects how much money they create. That has increased the size of their total assets by 48%. They’re going to have to continue creating much more money to finance the large government budget deficits ahead. During the crisis of 2008, between 2008 and 2014 when the third round of quantitative easing ended, the Fed’s total assets increased by five times from $900 billion at the end of 2007 to $4.5 trillion. It’s a fivefold increase. In the Fed’s first 90 years or so, it created $900 billion. They increase that by fivefold over the next seven years.

If the Fed were to increase this balance sheet fivefold this time from where it was when this crisis started, that would give them an additional of almost $17 trillion of firepower to buy government bonds and to support the economy in various other ways through making loans as it’s doing through its Alphabet Soup lending facilities. This launched inject credit into every corner of the economy. We have enormous firepower. The question is though, will all of this eventually lead to high rates of inflation? The government’s debt effectively tripled between 2008 and now. That was necessary to keep the economy growing. As I said, the Fed’s balance sheet increased by five times. That didn’t cause any significant inflation at the consumer price level in the United States.

There were assets that were inflated. That’s where it affected, but not from a consumer price standpoint.

The created asset price inflation but that was part of the objective to push up asset prices to create a wealth effect. That helped drive the economy and generate the economic growth that we’ve had. Although, it did increase income inequality. Certainly, it wasn’t ideal in that respect, but it was necessary. It’s hard to see what other alternatives there were other than collapse. This time, are we going to have inflation? Of course, it depends on how long the virus lasts and how much the government does increase debt and how much new money the Fed does create. The answer to this question is going to depend on whether globalization persists or not. One of the most important things that have occurred more or less during my lifetime is that we’ve moved from a gold-backed monetary system, which prevented the Central Bank from creating large amounts of new money. Up until 1968 or the Fed was required to own gold to back the Federal Reserve Notes, the dollars that it created.

TWS 40 | Global Economic Trends

Global Economic Trends: We need to be careful before we accuse people without knowing the facts. We need to maintain relations with all the countries.


That only ended in 1968 and then the old regime ended up entirely in 1971 with the breakdown of Bretton Woods. Afterward, there were no limits on how much money the Fed could create except the fear that it would cause inflation as large increases in money printing has always done in the past. Starting in the 1980s, the US started running large budget trade deficits with the rest of the world. It started rather than only buying things in Michigan, in Pennsylvania, in New York State, having everything made in the United States with US Labor as we had done up until then, we started buying things from other countries and started running large trade deficits. Before long we started buying lots and lots of things from countries with low wages and this was extremely deflationary.

These deflationary pressures from our enormous trade deficits and globalization, they offset the inflationary pressures that would normally result from large budget deficits and lots of paper money creation. This combination of no longer having to back the money with gold and globalization combined have created a completely new paradigm in which it has been possible for instance over the years with the government to triple its debt and for the Fed to expand his balance sheet what was five times in seven years without creating any inflation at all at the consumer price level. Globalization is the key. If globalization breaks down, this paradigm will collapse and we will move back into the world of the 1960s and ’70s where budget deficits and paper money creation lead down double-digit inflation and high interest rate.

If globalization persists, and it’s possible that the Fed could expand its asset size by another five times creating another $17 trillion or so of new money without creating significant rates of inflation. The trillion-dollar question is, “Will globalization survive or will it not survive?” This is not at all certain, even before the virus broke out. We were more or less in a Cold War with China. I would say relations have deteriorated sharply since then. Also, we had trade tariffs on China before this started. They were supported by both parties, by the Republicans and the Democrats. There was a visible change in our attitude toward our relation with China, whether or not we wanted to continue it on along the same lines that we had pursued for a number of decades.

Where do you stand now? It’s become much more political and I would even say social because there is a lot of finger-pointing happening. When China shut down, that shuts down the supply chain and they’ve been targeted and called hoarders. They wouldn’t release the stuff that continued to be manufactured through the world supply chain. Do you think that the chance of maintaining globalization is up or do you think it was strong enough where it could survive something like this, including the societal blowback? 

Regarding China, it’s important that we keep a balanced view. On the one hand, Americans have realized that we were not able to produce enough surgical masks and ventilators or even medicine that we need and had to import it. Hopefully, surely this is going to result in some significant reindustrialization of the United States and some onshoring of many products that we had previously imported. That is a necessary thing and a good thing. On the other hand, we have to be careful not to go too far in this blame game with China, heating up the political rhetoric, turning China into an enemy and trying to blame them for all of our problems. There have been lots of rumors going around about where the virus came from and was it created in a lab. I don’t know what happened, but I was in Hong Kong during SARS and no one has said that came out of a lab.

There have been plagues sweeping this humanity for thousands of years. They didn’t come out of military labs. We’ve needed to be careful before we accuse people without knowing the facts. Even if it did escape from some lab, that doesn’t mean they did it on purpose. We need to maintain relations with all the countries in the world and China is a large competitor and partner in some senses. We don’t want to have another all-out World War as we did with the Soviet Union and move back into a stage where the world fragments in two competing blocks. I like living in Asia. Asia would likely, at least land-based Asia from Eastern China to somewhere not too far away from Europe, would come under Chinese control if push comes to shove.

The history of the world teaches that countries with superior technology don't treat inferiors timely most of the time. Click To Tweet

That’s not what we want to happen and that doesn’t have to happen. We can maintain our relations with China, but we have to be smart about it. The United States wants this virus, the crisis passes. The United States needs to understand that China is going to overtake the United States economically, technologically and militarily within the next 1 to 2 decades if trends continue. China invests so much more than the United States does. China overtook the United States in research and development for the first time. If trends continue by the end of this decade, they will be investing 40% more a year than the United States is. China’s already won the 5G race. If they win the AI race, the way they have won to 5G race, then it would be the 21st’s artificial intelligence. It would be the 21st century equivalent of China having a nuclear monopoly.

The quantum computing or computing race. Richard, you should go into this a little bit more and could you distinguish between how the Central Bank of the United States, the Federal Reserve as stimulated business through low-interest rates? I would say also, as businesses have the ability to issue bonds, issue credit and buyback stock. For me, how I look at it is there hasn’t been a push as to what businesses should do in the United States with the stimulus, low-interest rates and so forth. In China, it’s more intentional where they create a stimulus, but they direct the stimulus in certain areas, mainly toward the end of innovation. That’s what you’re referring to. Am I getting that right? Could you maybe explain your take on what stimulus means to US-based companies versus what stimulus means to Chinese companies?

Public opinion in the United States and probably all countries swings back and forth over the decades. They tend to swing too far in one direction and then a few decades later it’s swung too far in the other direction. During World War II, the United States Government took over complete control of the economy, took over production, manufacturing, distribution prices and labor. They drafted people and sent them off to war to die. It was complete government control over the economy. We don’t want that. In 1957, the Soviet Union sent out Sputnik and this sent off the United States into a panic. The first satellite and the US government responded by investing much more money in research and development and science. The level of government investment than in the ‘60s was high and in the United States, and as a result, we won the space race. We sent a man to the moon.

Even under President Reagan had the government invest so much in the US military that the Soviet Union couldn’t keep up. Between all of this investment in rockets during NASA, which helped us develop Intercontinental ballistic missiles that Russia couldn’t afford, we bankrupted the Soviet Union through government investment. Since that time, the sentiment has swung in part because of President Reagan’s rhetoric that the government is the problem. Everyone bought into that and thought government, it was the problem. The government-level of investment has been rolled back to such a small level that we are lagging behind. This 5G should be recognized as our new Sputnik moment because if China gets artificial intelligence before we do artificial general intelligence where their AI can do anything that humans can do, from there it increases exponentially. They will have the rest of the world, including us at their mercy.

I’m not an anti-Chinese, but I want us to be there first. The history of the world teaches that countries with superior technology don’t treat inferiors kindly most of the time. We don’t want to be in a position where we will be a vulnerable second-rate power twenty years from now, which we will be if we do not radically change our approach toward government investment in new industries and technologies. There’s no reason that we can’t afford to do this. I’ve been working on my new fourth book for quite a long time and it’s about ready to go. One of the main themes of this book was that over the next ten years, the United States government must invest trillions of dollars in the industries of the future such as artificial intelligence, neural sciences, genetic engineering, biotech, nanotech and robotics. The Fed could finance a good part of that. I argued both cases. I didn’t put a specific total amount on it, but I used an example of $10 trillion.

The interest rates are the cost of renting money. It depends on supply and demand. Click To Tweet

If the US invested $10 trillion more than they plan to at the moment, over the next ten years, then we could easily afford that. That would only have taken US government debt up to less than 100% in 50% of GDP. If every last cent to that $10 trillion was totally wasted, we contributed nothing whatsoever. In the worst-case scenario, we would’ve had a debt level that Japan had many years ago. The other case is the Fed could have financed the whole thing by creating money and buying all the government debt and then it would have been free. That was my theme. That would have been over $10 trillion over ten years. Suddenly the world has changed, which is going to require another chapter to my book. Instead of $10 trillion over ten years, we’re going to have $3 trillion if not $5 trillion in 2020 over the next twelve months. That’s going to be an extraordinary unprecedented economic experiment.

If we come out of this with an extra, let’s say $5 trillion of government debt with the Fed having printed an extra $500 trillion and we don’t have high rates of inflation, what’s the lesson we need to learn from this? The lesson is if we can do $5 trillion over a couple of years, we can certainly do $10 trillion over ten years. For instance, the National Cancer Institute, its annual budget is $6 billion a year. That is the main agency for the US government to invest a cure in cancer. Cancer kills 600,000 Americans every year. How about trying $60 billion a year or $600 billion a year? My point is $1 trillion is a whole lot of money. If we have an investment program of that size and we can cure all the diseases, we can expand life expectancy by decades. We can improve human happiness and wellbeing enormously, as well as economic prosperity not only within the US but it would spill over around the world.

Not in consequently, we could also maintain our global preeminence and our National Security and not be overtaken by China, which has a plan to beat us in all these areas which they’re doing. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens when we come out of the other side of this virus, how much debt we have? How large is the Fed’s balance sheet and how high is the inflation rate? There’s never been an experiment like this in economics before other than World War II, which we won with massive government debt and massive paper money creation. All of that investment during World War II led to a twenty-year economic boom in the United States. We’ve maintained our preeminence for 75 years as a result of that victory, which was government-directed and finance.

TWS 40 | Global Economic Trends

Global Economic Trends: If we want to have higher interest rates, then the government can orchestrate that by borrowing more money and hopefully investing it.


I’m not sure how to articulate this, but going this direction, what are the unintended consequences of our monetary policy? Clearly, there are benefits. I still believe that low-interest rates create the idea of innovation. Businesses can use money and credit to expand. I know that there’s been lax in the standards of raising capital in the US mainly because a lot of the Silicon Valley and other areas in the US that have a high concentration of startups, innovation and technology going on in all of the different sectors that you’ve mentioned. That’s one way to do it. If we go even further where you have more capital and more investment, more capital credit available for people, what are the unintended consequences of that? In Japan, they have, I believe negative interest rates or close to negative interest rates. At what point did the US get to that point and do negative interest rates or low-interest rates negatively impact certain things that would be collateral damage of this type of initiative?

Before coming to the possibility of negative interest rates, talking of negative consequences in general, people are influenced by the brilliant economists of the past. In the past, creating a lot of money and having large budget deficits led to inflation and high-interest rates. That was undesirable. That was the main negative consequence that everyone fears and is in everyone’s mind, not far in the back of their mind, pretty much in the front of their mind. This is going to lead to inflation, but it hasn’t. Things have changed because of globalization as I was saying. That was the main reason we never did this before and the main reason that we haven’t tried it yet because everyone is afraid of the inflationary consequences. That’s the main word. If the globalization breaks down, then that will reassert itself that will reoccur if we return to having a closed domestic economy without trade deficits. In terms of negative interest rates, it’s unlikely the US won’t have negative interest rates.

Even at these high levels of debt? 

The interest rates are the cost of renting money. It depends on supply and demand. In the past, it only used to depend on the demand for borrowing money because the supply was gold and it was roughly fixed, simplifying matters a bit. If the government demand for money increased a lot and it pushed up the cost of renting money, it pushed up interest rates. We also can control the supply of money to do the paper money creation. If the government borrows $10 trillion and the Fed prints $10 trillion, then there should be no change in the cost of renting money. If the government wants interest rates to go higher, they can borrow $15 trillion and have the Fed print $10 trillion. The demand will be higher than the supply and interest rates will go up. Those are extreme examples. I’m not suggesting that do $10 trillion or $15 trillion. To illustrate demand and supply factors, the government should be able to control the level of interest depending on the amount it borrows relatively to the amount of money the Fed creates.

Not necessarily in this context, but this is yield curve control where the government or the Central Bank controls the level of interest rates all along the yield curve depending on how much money they create and which type of government bonds they buy. In Japan, the Bank of Japan used to have a fixed amount of money that it announced it would create every year. It’s quantitative easing program. They realized that they didn’t have to create that much money to hold interest rates, that put us back to 0. That’s ten basis points. They create as much money as necessary to hold the ten-year Japanese government bond, that ten basis points, whatever amount of money that is. The governments can hold the interest rates at any level they choose depending on the balance between government borrowing and central bank money creation, buying those bonds.

All of the investment during World War ll led to a twenty-year economic boom in the United States. Click To Tweet

There are regulated institutions, even Social Security that buy zero non-marketable government bonds and treasuries. If it’s at a 0% interest rate, there’s no income coming off of that. There’s no income coming off of it unless it’s this massive amount of money. How do you have certain sectors, whether it’s pensions or insurance companies or other interest-sensitive type of setups? Is there a negative impact to them? 

What we saw as this virus started heating up in the US was interest rates crashed long before the Fed cut interest rates. Market drove up interest rates lower, not the Fed because everyone sold their stocks and bought bonds and pushed bond prices up, which drives bond yields down. The collapse in interest rates was a market-driven process. The Fed followed the market and eventually raised to zero. They were not the ten-year bond yield, a low of 38 basis points? That was market-driven. If we want to have higher interest rates, then the government can orchestrate that by borrowing more money and hopefully investing it.

Right now, they’re borrowing it and giving people money so they won’t go hungry. They would continue to pay their rents and their mortgages, which is the right thing to do. In future years, if interest rates are too low, the government can borrow more and push interest rates higher and use that borrowed money to invest in the industries of the future and induce a new technological revolution that will massively enhance US productivity and enable us to maintain our leading role in the world and maintaining National Security.

I like where your stance is there. We’re at a point where we’re in a debt-based society. It comes down to how it’s directed and how you use it to influence. In looking at what’s going on in the response, it’s the only way for the government to respond.

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About Richard Duncan

TWS 40 | Global Economic TrendsRichard Duncan is the author of three books on the global economic crisis, including the international bestseller “The Dollar Crisis: Causes, Consequences, Cures,” which forecast the global economic crisis of 2008 with extraordinary accuracy.

Since beginning his career as an equities analyst in Hong Kong in 1986, Richard has served as global head of investment strategy at ABN AMRO Asset Management in London, worked as a financial sector specialist for the World Bank in Washington D.C., and headed equity research departments for James Capel Securities and Salomon Brothers in Bangkok. He also worked as a consultant for the IMF in Thailand during the Asia Crisis.

He is now the publisher of the video-newsletter Macro Watch.

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Beerud Sheth on Freelancing Platforms, The Global Gig Economy, And The Future Of Work

TWS 7 | Gig Economy


The internet has ushered in a world of connectivity not only in our daily and personal interactions but also in our professional space. For many entrepreneurs, this means having to reach people across the globe to work towards a common goal. Having previously founded and led Elance, now known as Upwork, Beerud Sheth has undeniably opened up a big market for people in any part of the world to connect and work together online. Now, Beerud is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gupshup, the world’s leading platform for cloud messaging and conversational experiences. Working in that same space of work connectivity, Beerud goes in depth into this gig economy, what the future holds for work in the business, and how the global freelancing platforms are impacting countries.

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Beerud Sheth on Freelancing Platforms, The Global Gig Economy, And The Future Of Work

My guest is none other than the Founder of Elance. His name is Beerud Sheth. I interviewed a good friend of mine, Josh Lannon. He is the co-author with his wife, Lisa of The Social Capitalist. It’s a great interview and an incredible idea. It’s awesome to come across companies that really fit this bill. I believe that what has become Upwork, Elance which was founded by my guest Beerud Sheth, combined with oDesk and they formed Upwork. Upwork has tens of millions of users, thousands of skills, multiple categories as far as values, and services are concerned. It’s a platform that has transformed society, starting with the initial user which is the business owner, the entrepreneur. Those that can’t necessary afford a graphic designer, a virtual assistant, some of the help from a marketing perspective or from graphic design, logos, fonts and icons. Pretty much anything you need is on

It enables so much from the standpoint of an entrepreneur who has an idea that wants that to become a reality. It also transformed the lives of a lot of individuals, starting with stay-at-home moms, which we’re going to talk about, as well as third world countries. Beerud was honored by the Philippines and acknowledging him for Elance and the idea of this platform and how it has created an additional $250 million GDP to the Philippines. It’s doing so in other countries that are emerging and becoming present in this connected world that we’re in. You’re going to love this because Beerud is clearly an intelligent individual. He’s passionate about disruption, he’s passionate about technology that’s going to make a difference. From a social capitalism standpoint, he totally fits the bill so thus the company of Upwork. I can’t wait for you guys to experience this.

Beerud, it’s awesome to have you on. When I first heard of Elance, it’s probably been years. I was working out at my gym and there was a married couple that came in. They are from the United States and they were talking about how they’ve lived around the world. They lived in Australia, they lived in Paris, and they were in Salt Lake to go skiing for the winter, then they were going to take off to the country of Georgia to work. This was years ago. I was like, “What do you do?” They said one was a marketer and the other was a technical writer. They work on Elance. I had never heard of Elance before then. Since then, I’ve used it. It’s made a huge difference in my business and I look at the impact it’s made on other businesses as well. It’s fascinating to see something like the business that you helped create makes such a difference in the world. Would you mind talking to us about your experience creating Elance, the genesis of it, and the overall experience I’ve seen it take off and impact the world?

I’m impressed, gratified and excited about how far a little idea in my head and in my cofounders’ heads grew, became a business and impacting millions of lives. This was in the late ‘90s where the internet was coming about in the mid-‘90s and where the commercialization of the internet began. You started seeing eBay and Amazon taking off. Around that time, I was working on Wall Street. I just finished my Computer Science grad school at MIT and then I was working there. My personal life experiences melded into three different and distinct influences. One was the fact that I’m originally from India, so coming from India, there are a lot of smart and talented people all over the world. That was one element. The second element was as a computer science student and as an early adopter of the internet, you knew the power of connecting people and making distance irrelevant. That was the second key influence. The third thing was having worked on Wall Street, I realized that you could create these marketplaces even for seemingly illiquid securities.

When you take those three things, we ended up with this construct of an online freelance marketplace. In the beginning, it was hard. What kind of services? How do you build trust? How do you minimize fraud, and having reputation and profiles? How do you even compete? Services are very illiquid. They’re very unique and customized. How do you compare and contrast different things? There was a lot of trial and error, iteration, and as they call it, product market fit, that we had to explore and figure out. We persevered through a lot of things and then there’s the whole business angle of it, fundraising, recruiting, competing, PR and marketing, customer acquisition, and so on and so forth. There are lots of stories to share. We started on a good track, and another big thing was surviving the financial crisis of 2001 and then 2008.

It’s the long story short but now the core thesis is still valid. The fact that people who want to get work done can put their request up there somewhere and anyone anywhere in the world can say, “I’ll do it for a good rate.” They connect, do the transaction, and do it successfully for the most part. Not just that, when we were starting in the late ‘90s, the only thing you could do was remote work. It was only after the rise of the smartphone that you could capture location, which means now you could even do local freelancing. You could argue that even Uber, DoorDash, and Instacart and a lot of these services are direct descendants of the same idea, but applied in a different technology environment. The gig economy has gone on to be much more than what Elance or Upwork does now. It’s much broader than that.

Ideas are worthless without execution. Click To Tweet

As you look back, what would you consider the milestone that took place where you were like, “This is going to be big. This is going to connect the world.” Most entrepreneurs look back in the idea and seeing that come to fruition. It’s cool to think back and experience on the in between. Most entrepreneurs would want to go back and relive some of those moments, especially two financial crises. When you look back, what was that moment where you or your partners were like, “This is big?”

Maybe a couple of incremental moments. We did a lot of research. We have a lot of ideas. We put it all on PowerPoint, but it’s not real until you have the first customer experience. Before we even officially launched the site, we created an internal prototype and we said, “Let’s test it. Let’s try it with some people.” We asked and maybe begged a few friends to put some projects in there saying, “Do you have some work that you need to get done?” For it to be a realistic test, you don’t want to influence it too much. We didn’t want to tell them what it is. We wanted it to be as authentic as possible. We were in New York at this time. We asked a few friends to put some requests in the marketplace.

On the supply side, I come from IIT, which is another top engineering institute in India. We asked a few students. It was the summer, so they were doing their summer internships. We said, “Can you sign up as service providers? You’re going to see some projects and you pick on what you want to work on. You do it, you deliver it and you’ll get paid for it.” That was it. You want to leave it there and have it take off by itself. We had maybe ten or twenty projects put up there and we had maybe a dozen students. Two to four weeks later, we heard back from some of the students or even the professors saying, “What are you guys doing? All these guys are giving up their internships to work on these projects because they’re excited. They love it. They’re making money.” Similarly on the buyer’s side, if you will, you had people saying, “This is great work.” It was hard to find talent in New York and here, these guys are getting it done in a week or two for a lot lower cost and it’s good quality work.

You know it’s real because it wasn’t staged manage. It’s not like we told these people to do it but there is a natural need. When you uncover that, you know this goes deep. You know that there are thousands or maybe millions more people like that. That was the big a-ha. Once we got funding, we scaled it up. After that, there were a series of milestones, maybe the first quarter where we did $1 million worth of spend going through the site. That was a big one. Thereafter, it’s been steady growth. It’s accumulative compounded growth over twenty years that lead to big numbers. It does about $2 billion plus in service transactions on Upwork.

TWS 7 | Gig Economy

Gig Economy: With these big technology changes, we tend to overestimate the short term and underestimate the long term.


I was looking at some stats and there are sixteen million active users. Having 5,000 skills is one of the other statistics that made me think back on an experience I had at Dreamforce where you’re out in San Francisco and talking to somebody and having no idea what they were talking about. Even though they were speaking English, I had no idea what their business was because it was completely foreign to me. That was my experience going and looking at some of the skills that are associated with some of the freelance jobs and requests on Upwork.

It goes to show you that having 5,000 skills is an incredible way for a business, for a startup, or for an idea that somebody has to flush it out in an inexpensive way to test them. You went through the prototype stage. People have ideas and it’s the cliché of ideas are worthless without execution. This is a way in which you can make it very easy to test and prototype something to see if there are legs underneath it. It’s profound, it continues as technology grows and evolves so do the need for different types of skills and positions.

The thing that surprises me is that there should be a few more skills. Some other categories did not work out as well as we expected. Let’s say business consulting, even legal or accounting. These tend to be little more businesses where people are concerned about security and privacy of data and who they are sharing it with. A lot of these are sole problems technically, but it’s this mental block around sharing this in the cloud. There are still a lot more categories that can expand to. On the technical side, the design side, and a lot of the creative skills, that process has been nailed. The fact that you have portfolios, profiles, feedback and reputation makes it a lot easier to be able to do these services. At this point, you have to be crazy not to use this because anything else would be far more complex and far more complicated.

You have an extremely unique perspective on work. You had mentioned one of the buzzwords out there, the gig economy. How do you view the future of the economy and the future of work? Even though Upwork is known by many, it’s still an unknown platform. The whole idea behind freelancing, contracting continues to evolve and to be more familiar to businesses as an outlet, as opposed to the typical traditional hiring someone to perform a job. How do you look at the future of the economy and the future of work in the business?

As technology grows and evolves, so do the need for different types of skills and positions. Click To Tweet

We barely scratched the surface long as we have come over the last several years. As they say with these big technology changes, we tend to overestimate the short-term and underestimate the long-term. There’s no question about that this is happening slowly. It’s percolating through the economy until one fine day you hit an inflection point then suddenly everyone is doing it this way. For example, in the earlier days, we started with smaller businesses that were more desperate and that were more resource crunch. They had tight budgets. They were the earliest adopters of the platform and then they loved it in scale and would use it repeatedly.

More recently, you started seeing large enterprises, big brands and consumer goods companies. They are in maybe 100 countries and they need to design packaging, brochures, collateral, copywriting or even technical stuff, creating websites in different languages and different countries. You’re starting to see more and more enterprises. The platforms are also evolving. For example, large companies want to have a pre-approved group of freelancers. They don’t want just anyone using it. They had been pre-approved, pre-certified, pre-verified, whatever it is. You’re creating these private marketplaces that enable these interactions. As these things happen on the employer’s side, there’s this greater need to have a flexible workforce.

Think about what AWS and cloud computing did to our computing and IT spend, which is why have dedicated servers on-premise, when you can get them as needed when needed, and you can increase and decrease on the fly. You apply the same idea to do human resources, not just your computing resources. It leads to an Upwork-like model. Just like cloud computing is barely about 3% to 4% of the global IT spend. You see the same thing here. The Upwork model is a very small fraction of the overall spend on the workforce. As people move to these models where the platforms are good enough to support enterprise requirements, businesses are ready for that flexibility.

TWS 7 | Gig Economy

The Social Capitalist: Passion and Profits – An Entrepreneurial Journey (Rich Dad’s Advisors)

It’s not just on the business side, it’s even people. We talk about work-life balance and we talk about flexibility. People value that. We’re going to get into a world where you can live anywhere, work anywhere and work any time. We’ll have tools doing the match for us, perhaps even in real time saying, “I have family visiting so I’m going to take it easy for the next few hours or the next couple of days, but then, I want to catch up on my work.” There is so much potential to enable more productive lives for everyone and a better economic life, but even a more personal balanced life as well.

It’s interesting, this is going not necessarily in the United States, but outside the United States. I was at a private dinner a number of years ago with a member of the Cato Institute. They had been instrumental in consulting with one of the Eastern European countries that were part of the former Soviet Union. You talked about how you can create prosperity in a country and in an economy using free market capitalistic principles and certain monetary constraints. I look at that and there’s so much work involved and so much of a mindset shift of people to accelerate prosperity in that type of country. You look at what Upwork has done in the ecosystem that exists. It’s based on similar principles. The proof is that you personally were thanked by the Philippines’ Minister of Science and Technology for increasing GDP by about $250 million.

You look at the platform where you have an incentive that someone can get paid, but you also have an incentive to do good work because of ratings. You have the incentive to increase your skill set and increase your certifications. It’s like you built this ecosystem/economy that has enabled countries that may not have the wherewithal from a paradigm standpoint to set up their monetary system and set up their laws. They’re structured in a way that’s going to create more prosperity for people but in essence, you’ve done that with Elance. When you first talked to the Minister of Science and Technology in the Philippines, what was that experience like for you?

It’s more than the stuff you mentioned, in that Elance or Upwork is solving problems that are not possible through any other means. If you’re familiar with the geography of the Philippines, it’s a few thousand islands splintered all over. It’s just not practical to set up roads, infrastructure, factories, and all of the high employment producing activities that the traditional industrial economy has done. On the other hand, what they discovered, a lot of it was bottoms up. What they said was people with some basic skills in certain areas and then with WiFi infrastructure, which is a lot easier to set up, could then plug into this global economy, work from home, work from wherever they are. Suddenly, you can provide employment to thousands and millions of people around the country.

It’s perfectly well suited for this economic, geographic situation. It doesn’t take a lot but the return on investment in terms of the employment and what it does for the communities was impressive. The fact that people can stay where they are and have those communities was impressive. I bumped into the Minister and once she found out that I’d founded Elance, she was super excited saying it’s a complete game changer. The official poverty alleviation schemes include training people, skilling them in certain areas, connecting them to the web, and then putting them on to work on Elance and Upwork. It impacted millions of lives and the economic value for the country is great too. Even if there are other ways of getting GDP growth, there’s no other way of employing people in far-flung areas. What do you need for Upwork? All you need is an internet connection and the skill that you have, nothing else. From an infrastructure standpoint, it is impressive.

Everybody wants flexibility because our interests and our capabilities change. Click To Tweet

You’re hitting all those principles then there’s also the built-in accountability system where you have checks and balances to ensure that there’s good work. That a person maintains their reputation in order to get future work, that’s also built-in, which is a vital part of an economy.

You’re right because in many of these countries, sometimes the currencies are not that stable, for example, or the trust ecosystems are not unstable. What happens is the profile or the reputation they’ve built on Elance or Upwork is suddenly their recognition. It’s more important than a college degree from a college that may not be accredited or you don’t even know if the documents are true or not. The work that you’ve done on Upwork is validated from people. Similarly, the whole payment infrastructure that we set up allows people to plug into a global economy instantly, irrespective of the educational infrastructure, the physical infrastructure, or the economic and financial infrastructure in the country. You suddenly leapfrog all of these challenges where previously without Upwork, these would be prohibitive. It would completely preempt any way of getting out of this situation, but now you just connect up and you’re a part of the global economy.

The Philippines is one example. I look at the other emerging markets that have hundreds of millions of people that are plugging into the global network of things and trying to find opportunities. It’s fascinating. We can go on for hours on this but just the whole leapfrog effect. You’re right, a college degree has become more of a statement on a resume or a credibility factor. Where now, especially with Elance, I’m not sure college degree is as important as the quality of work and the ranking of that work. You look at others, whether it’s Africa, India, parts of China, the Philippines.

There are so many different emerging markets that are getting plugged into the infrastructure of the internet and then have a platform in which they can be incentivized to learn a skill, to do good work and to feed their family and evolve. Whereas in the United States, in a sense, it’s falling behind. People are not doing that. They’re preparing for retirement or they’re betting on their resume and their degree to continue to do the trick. It’s interesting to see how the global economy is evolving in a certain way, oftentimes faster than the US economy in a sense.

Maybe we are spoiled for choices in the US. The economic growth is strong, the employment is strong and has been for the last 50 to 70 years. People expect to get used to it. In the rest of the world, this is the only way out sometimes of their situation and so it has a far greater impact. Even within the US, you’re starting to see more and more of this. It may be regional. You may be in the Midwest but now you can work on East Coast to West Coast. Suddenly, it gives you that flexibility. You can stay in the community that you love and in the neighborhoods that you like and still be able to do high-quality work where the economic activity is.

Upwork has gone on to add features where you can find local freelancers, somebody in the neighborhood. Even if the work can be done remotely, you might want to meet them face-to-face, whatever would be the reason, some particular skill set, language capability or just the time zone. You might want them to be in the same time zone. You’re starting to see this local ecosystem emerging. The great thing about the US is it’s very dynamic. Even if not everybody is doing it, the ones who do or the early adopters will reap the benefits. You’re seeing a lot of people do that.

Another category for example that loved Elance and Upwork right from the earliest days were professional women when they choose to have the kids or when the kids are young, and they want to spend enough time with them. They are still exceptionally skilled and have the desire and the ability to do good work, but the traditional 9 to 5 job with the daily commute wasn’t amenable to those work-life choices. Upwork or Elance provided that option and they were the biggest fans from day one. You’d have these, in a way, extremely talented people that wanted a little bit of flexibility that’s not available in traditional work. It opens up a lot of possibilities and a lot of markets in the US and also worldwide.

I would love for you to share with the readers about what you’re working on, how they can follow you, and keep up with your work. I had a guest who’s become a great friend of mine. He wrote a book called The Social Capitalist. He talked about a lot of the social issues not just in the United States but also worldwide. I thought of Upwork as being very social, not that this is your intention. Whether it was your intention or not, it’s become that. It’s one of those ways in which it can socially benefit, the Philippines is one of them, by using capitalistic principles.

A person maintains their reputation in order to get future work. Click To Tweet

I find it fascinating the examples you’re using of women that have skill sets and have chosen a certain lifestyle that’s not conducive to a 9 to 5. You’re also finding retirees or the pre-retirees. Those that are on the verge of retirement are short. They’re short in assets, they’re short in Social Security, and they can’t maintain their lifestyle. This gives an option for them to maintain their lifestyle but continue to operate in their respective skill set. I looked at the social good and using a platform that includes economically-friendly principles and the difference that it’s made and will make.

I totally believe that. I’ve always felt that some of the best social good comes out from companies that may not be explicitly social but are viable or sustainable and have an inherent business model. They can keep doing that good without having to wait for charitable donations and things like that. Right from day one, that’s always been our focus. We were very conscious of the impact it can have to lives around the world by plugging them into this global economy. If you just did that without building a successful, viable, and self-sustaining model that can continue to grow and drive economic benefit even on the other side, then you’re always dependent on this constant flow of donations.

That’s the most exciting thing here. If you look at the impact that Elance and then Upwork has had, it’s probably more than lots and lots of other charities put together because it provided direct economic livelihoods to tens of millions of people over the years and we’ve only just begun. That’s the most gratifying thing. It’s funny, I’ve traveled a lot internationally and sometimes when people discovered I found Elance, they’ll be like, “I’ve been using Elance.” I hear these stories all the time in different parts of the world. We were one or two guys when we started out but because of Elance, we built a business and we employ 100 other people, and they’ve grown over the years.

It’s a very common thing. A journalist had mentioned that, “I was working on a job that I didn’t like. I wanted to try journalism and experiment with it.” Elance provided that opportunity to try it on part-time before he became full-time. Whether you want this work-life balance like the working moms I was talking about, whether you are geographically in far-flung areas and you want to plug into the global economy or you’re looking for a career change, everybody wants flexibility because our interests change and our capabilities change. A system like this provides that. It provides goodness in a lot of ways. Not just the economic aspect but even in some work and life satisfaction. Even in the US where you’d argue the economy’s strong, but oftentimes people are stressed or unhappy in other ways. This allows you to reorient or re-balance what you’re doing. The impact is far-reaching, and we are a long way from being done yet. It’s going to continue to have a greater impact over the years.

It’s an incredible platform and I totally agree, there will be a tipping point. It has seen multiple tipping points but from a big tipping point, it’s yet to happen. Why don’t you talk a little bit about what you’re working on and then maybe some ways in which our audience can follow you, learn about you and continue to learn from you?

After I left my operating role at Elance, I founded another company called Gupshup, which is where I’m still focused on. Gupshup is a Hindi word which means chit chat. It’s an appropriate name for a company that’s focused on messaging and chat. We are a platform that enables enterprises to send messages and have conversations. We have tens of thousands of enterprises. We send messages with some of the customers and these amount to billions of messages. We’re innovating and again, another one of these services that touch hundreds of millions of lives. We’re driving some innovation in terms of enabling IP messaging from traditional SMS messaging, also enabling chatbots and conversational agents. That’s a whole different conversation maybe for another call.

If there’s anything that is changing rapidly, it’s the methods of communication.

I’ve always been drawn to or excited by ideas that are far-reaching and can touch lots of people. My Twitter handle is @Beerud. A fringe benefit of an unusual name like mine is that it works in almost any namespace. You can find me on LinkedIn. is my website. I would love to engage with anybody who wants to reach out.

Beerud, thank you so much for being on the show. This has been awesome. We’ll definitely have to do a conversation about Gupshup. That’s something that I’ve thought extensively about, which is people don’t answer the phone anymore. They have email, texts and messaging. Communication is evolving and probably hasn’t necessarily evolved to the point where there’s a centralized way in which people are communicating. I believe it’s going to whatever that point is. We’ll have to talk again.

I would love to do that.

Beerud, thank you for what you continue to do, to take your ideas and bring them to fruition. We’ll have you back on some time.

Thank you so much for having me. I enjoyed talking to you.

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About Beerud Sheth

TWS 7 | Gig EconomyBeerud Sheth is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gupshup, the world’s leading platform for cloud messaging and conversational experiences. It is used by over 30K+ developers and handles over 4.5 billion messages per month. He previously founded and led Elance (now Upwork, a publicly listed company), the pioneer of online freelancing and the gig economy.
Prior to founding Elance, he worked in the financial services industry – modeling, structuring, and trading fixed income securities and derivatives at Merrill Lynch and Citicorp Securities. His graduate research, at the MIT Media Lab, involved developing autonomous learning agents for personalized news filtering. Beerud earned an M.S. in Computer Science from MIT & a B.Tech. in Computer Science from IIT Bombay, where he was awarded the Institute Silver Medal.


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