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Tech companies desperate for skills but spurn top freelancers

Hitesh Choudhary / Creative Commons

Michael Solomon has attracted glowing portraits in The New Yorker, The New York Times and Bloomberg for his clientele of tech worker superstars, outsized computing talent that has produced or worked on some of the best-known programs in the world. Like the agents who represent athletes and actors, Solomon negotiates their terms of free-lance employment, which for the top-draw people — right now machine learning and artificial intelligence specialists — can command up to $1,000 an hour. Solomon takes 15% off the top.

But he says his New York firm, 10X Management, has 4,000 potential clients on a waiting list: Years after the invention of the term gig worker, Silicon Valley, he says, still isn't comfortable enough with the idea of hiring free-lancers. Many still prefer full-time workers. "We have to build up the demand side," Solomon tells Axios.