With the recent tech downturn, there’s been a clear shift. Instead of the previous “growth-at-all-costs” model, companies are now emphasizing efficiency. This is evident in hiring, as firms now seek experienced contributors who can hit the ground running with minimal management or development. This shift has laid the groundwork for something I’ve been championing: fractional work.
Back in 2017, we started Moonlight with a simple idea: help engineers find part-time, remote jobs. Combining part-time with remote work was a big leap then, so we quickly narrowed our focus to just remote work. However, since the pandemic, remote work has accelerated to mainstream. Now, I firmly believe part-time tech roles will soon follow suit.
From our experience with Moonlight, we found that most engineering managers prefer hiring for steady, ongoing work relationships rather than transient, fixed-scope projects. These enduring relationships proved to be mutually beneficial, providing stability for companies and workers in a working style legible to both.
Lately, I’ve seen many talented friends and colleagues moving into fractional roles. They’re carving out more personal time while maintaining the same income. Personally, fractional work has empowered me to pursue my entrepreneurial goals without worrying about runway or funding. It’s no surprise that hiring managers are gravitating towards this, appreciating the time saved from exhaustive hiring processes.
Today I’m introducing FRCTNL - a community of fractional developers, designers, and marketers. Distinct from traditional marketplaces focused on top-down projects, FRCTNL focuses on often-overlooked bottoms-up, relationship-centric “staff augmentation” roles. Hiring managers seek quality candidates referred by their existing team, and direct relationships with talent — this is the niche FRCTNL aims to serve.
FRCTNL operates on a referral model, where members help swap and share opportunities with each other. The underlying hypothesis is that there is latent demand for fractional talent, and that connecting with existing fractional workers is the best way to find those open roles. I’m convinced that our fractional worker network will streamline hiring for companies and further mainstream part-time roles.
Having seen that happen so many times is one of the things that convinces me that working for oneself, or at least for a small group, is the natural way for programmers to live.
- Paul Graham, You weren’t meant to have a boss
P.S.: FRCTNL uses Booklet, a forthcoming forum + directory software from Contraption Co.