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Will Passion Economy Surge in the Post-pandemic World?

8 minutes, 18 seconds read

From uploading the first video on YouTube in 2005 by the founder (Jawed Karim) to the new age of YouTubers, the dynamics of the traditional economy have changed a lot. People feel that earning a living by creating content for their followers is worth more than their 9 to 5 desk job.

The rising number of social media influencers in domains like travel, culinary, art, design, etc. are inspiring many to choose off-beat careers. Moreover, celebrities endorsing these aspirations motivate people to pursue their passion. Millennials have been through many disruptions, which has made them anxious about their livelihoods in the future. Their priorities and aspirations have evolved through these disruptions. Uncertain of the future, this generation has turned towards creating careers driven by their core interests and beliefs. A generation with a ‘risk-taking’ attitude has taken the world head-on and dived into a new economy — Passion Economy. Millennials, in particular, have played an important role in taking this economy forward. 

The Covid-19 Crisis 

The 2008 economic recession took a huge toll on the job market. With massive lay-offs across various industries, people found themselves at difficult crossroads of their careers. Something similar and maybe on a larger scale might happen in the next couple of months. The COVID-19 crisis brought upon an unprecedented change in the way we think, eat, drink, behave, buy, and work. The disruption in supply-chains and trade has hurt many small and medium businesses. Lockdowns led to reduced demands in consumer products & services, which put many start-ups under pressure to stay functional. With depleting cash reserves, many companies have already laid-off or furloughed some part of their workforce. 

According to the latest report by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), the unemployment rate touched 27.11% in India for the week ended on 3rd May. We’re heading towards an economic slowdown. In a situation like this, many are under stress and not sure of how long they will have a paid job. 

On a positive note, the home quarantine gave many people time and opportunity to learn new skill-sets or pursue their hobbies. The realization that it is now a survival issue, people are adding more effort into their work. The world will not be the same as it was before. We are heading towards a ‘New Normal’ where the rules of traditional 9 to 5 jobs and businesses will change drastically. This will make way for budding entrepreneurs to create new career paths for themselves.

The Key Elements of Passion Economy

Passion economy can be misunderstood with the Gig economy at times. The major difference is that a gig is limited to a particular number of times and people but in a passion economy, one can reach a much wider audience. This helps ensure stability over a period of time. 

Here are the features which direct the functioning of Passion Economy-

The key elements of the passion economy

Accessibility

The beauty of this economy is that it is accessible to the population at large. With minimum to no investment, one can pursue their passions. Social Media platforms have made it easy for people to showcase their talents. Today, anyone with a smartphone and good content can become an influencer on Instagram or YouTube. Gone are the days when you had to work in agencies to be able to make a living out of creative skills. Now, you don’t necessarily have to be cast on a TV show or sign an album with a record company to kick-start your careers. Anyone with good content and the right strategy can build a follower base and create a place for oneself. 

Individuality

Uniqueness is a quality that is always appreciated. As compared to earlier marketplaces built for standardized jobs, the new platforms in the passion economy give a chance for individuals to share their expertise. Individuality is no longer an outcast but rather an opportunity to monetize. Many people know a particular domain or product or service which they have learned through their personal experiences and deep study. The subject matter experts can procure capital by sharing their knowledge.

The edtech industry has evolved here where former teachers and professionals can create their courses that they teach to their students. Fashion is no longer just a space for slim models. Many plus-sized men and women are popular bloggers with a huge fan base who are making money by sharing their experiences and tips on fashion.

[Also read: A paradigm shift in Indian Edtech due to Covid]

Digital products and virtual services

The previous concept of entrepreneurship involved selling physical goods on online platforms. The passion economy changed this focus to creating digital products such as video courses and digital memberships for premium content. The service industry has transformed from an in-person exchange of services to virtual ones. Services such as teaching and consultations can be provided through digital platforms. The digital products are, in general, scalable which brings an advantage of maximizing earnings.

New career opportunities

The Passion economy is built on off-beat careers such as podcaster, content creator, Newsletter writer, Youtuber, blogger, online consultants, virtual tutors, and professional coaches. Previously, the education system focused on traditional career paths as there were not many opportunities in other fields. However, the advancement in technology, changes in environment and behaviors, rising competition have redefined the definition of earning a livelihood. 

Today, one need not carry a degree or professional qualification to become a podcaster or a fashion blogger. The new career paths are defined by the quantum of influence one can create and the consistency of the follower base. This goes along the line of 1000 true fans concept by Kevin Kelly which says that all it takes for a business to be successful is 1000 true fans who support you financially. 

[Podcast: Industry Insights on “The New Normal” in Insurance]

Role of Technology in Driving Passion Economy

Technology is the base on which the passion economy runs. Technology has provided new digital platforms to help increase the reach. The widespread internet connectivity has enabled many to learn and create new content. There was a time when a person with technical expertise was at the core to create even a website for your business. Today, no-code websites and app builders have reduced the dependency on software engineers. With free tools available in designing, video editing, etc. creating engaging content has become relatively easy. It doesn’t stop here. People monetize their expertise in operating various tools and software by creating online tutorials. 

There are two mediums in passion economy, SAAS platforms and Marketplace. SAAS platforms are disrupting the way businesses run in a passion economy. Today, there are multiple SAAS platforms available in the market which enable entrepreneurs to conduct business smoothly. They offer many features and services such as customer support, websites, marketing, payment portals, etc. This proves to be a win-win situation for both entrepreneurs and SAAS platform owners where the former can grow its business without worrying about technicalities and latter earns a consistent revenue through monthly subscriptions. However, this model works well for people who have a strong client base. 

On the other hand, a marketplace is a ready-to-go medium where providers can enter easily and earn revenue with minimum cost. The revenue generated in the model is proportional to the amount of engagement received. More the content consumed, the more the revenue. Though it takes time to create a follower base, this is a value-driven model for creators who are looking to establish themselves in the long term. 

Benefits of Passion Economy in Post-COVID crisis

The after-effects of COVID-19 will be felt throughout the world for quite some time until a cure is in place. Practises such as social distancing, remote working, contact-free processes are not going away anytime soon. This will have long-term effects on many sectors such as retail, hospitality, QSR, travel etc. Currently, the economy is hit due to less demand in these industries. However, this will prove to be an opportunity for a rise in the passion economy. 

Post this crisis, we will see a rise in the quality workforce. There’ll be a boost in creativity amongst creators. The quality of the content provided by creators will see a huge improvement. As more people put their heart and soul into their passions, small businesses will pick-up pace. This is indeed an unfortunate event, but it will possibly lead to more innovation in various fields. Newer ways of carrying out processes can bring about a reduction in costs and optimization of resources. 

In a nutshell

In these unprecedented times, survival is the key. The current situation has closed one door taking the world economy into a recession, but it has opened another door making way for new career and business opportunities that will take the economy forward. Maybe, the passion economy might not give fixed income as compared to a traditional job but the sense of satisfaction pursuing their passion will be the driving force behind this economy. Government and private sector are taking initiatives to provide training to people, helping them enhance their skills. Furthermore, advancement in technology will accelerate the economy making way for off-beat careers and new business opportunities.

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12 Tips To Secure Your Mobile Application

Cyber attacks and data theft have become so common these days especially when it comes to mobile applications. As a result, mobile apps that experience security breaches may suffer financial losses. With many hackers eyeing to steal customer data, securing these applications has become the number one priority for organizations and a serious challenge for developers. According to Gartner’s recent research, Hype Cycle for Application Security, investment in application security will increase by more than two-fold over the next few years, from $6 billion this year to $13.7 billion by 2026. Further, the report stated, “Application security is now top-of-mind for developers and security professionals, and the emphasis is now turning to apps hosted in public clouds,” It is crucial to get the fundamental components of DevOps security correct. Here are the 12 tips to secure your mobile application: 

1. Install apps from trusted sources:

It’s common to have Android applications republished on alternate markets or their APKs & IPAs made available for download. Both APK and IPA may be downloaded and installed from a variety of places, including websites, cloud services, drives, social media, and social networking. Only the Play Store and the App Store should be allowed to install trustworthy APK and IPA files. To prevent utilizing these apps, we should have a source check detection (Play Store or App Store) upon app start.

Also read, https://andresand.medium.com/add-method-to-check-which-app-store-the-android-app-is-installed-from-or-if-its-sideloaded-c9f450a3d069

2. Root Detection:

Android: An attacker could launch a mobile application on a rooted device and access the local memory or call specific activities or intents to perform malicious activities in the application. 

iOS: Applications on a jailbroken device run as root outside of the iOS sandbox. This can allow applications to access sensitive data stored in other apps or install malicious software negating sandboxing functionality. 

More on Root Detection- https://owasp.org/www-project-mobile-top-10/2016-risks/m8-code-tampering

3. Data Storing:

Developers use Shared Preferences & User Defaults to store key-value pairs like tokens, mobile numbers, email, boolean values, etc. Additionally, while creating apps, developers prefer SQLite databases for structured data. It is recommended to store any data in the format of encryption so that it is difficult to extract the information by hackers.

4. Secure Secret Keys:

API keys, passwords, and tokens shouldn’t be hardcoded in the code. It is recommended to use different techniques to store these values so that hackers cannot get away quickly by tampering with the application. 

Here’s a reference link: https://guides.codepath.com/android/Storing-Secret-Keys-in-Android

5. Code Obfuscation

An attacker may decompile the APK file and extract the source code of the application. This may expose sensitive information stored in the source code of the application to the attacker which may be used to perform tailored attacks. 

It is better to obfuscate the source code to prevent all the sensitive information contained in the source code.

6. Secure Communication:

An attacker may perform malicious activities to leverage the level of attacks since all communication is happening over unencrypted channels. So always use HTTPS URLs over HTTP URLs.

7. SSL Pinning:

Certificate pinning allows mobile applications to restrict communication only to servers with a valid certificate matching the expected value (pin). Pinning ensures that no network data is compromised even if a user is tricked into installing a malicious root certificate on their mobile device. Any app that pins its certificates would thwart such phishing attempts by refusing to transmit data over a compromised connection

Please refer: 

https://owasp.org/www-community/controls/Certificate_and_Public_Key_Pinning

8. Secure API request & response data

The standard practice is to use HTTPS for the baseline protection of REST API calls. The information sent to the server or received from the server may be further encrypted with AES, etc. For example, if there are sensitive contents, you might choose to select those to encrypt so that even if the HTTPS is somehow broken or misconfigured, you have another layer of protection from your encryption.

9. Secure Mobile App Authentication:

In case an application does not assign distinct and complex session tokens after login to a user, an attacker can conduct phishing in order to lure the victim to use a custom-generated token provided by the attacker and easily bypass the login page with the captured session by using a MiTM attack.

i) Assign a distinct and complex session token to a user each time he/she logs on successfully to the application. 

ii) Terminate the session lifetime immediately after logging out. 

iii) Do not use the same session token for two or more IP addresses. 

iv) Limit the expiry time for every session token.

10.  Allow Backup 

Disallow users to back up an app if it contains sensitive data. Having access to backup files (i.e. when android:allowBackup=”true”), it is possible to modify/read the content of an app even on a non-rooted device. So it is recommended to make allow backup false. 

11. Restrict accessing android application screens from other apps

Ideally, your activities should not give any provision to the opening from other services or applications. Make it true only when you have a specific requirement to access your flutter screens from other apps otherwise change to android:exported= ”false”

12. Restrict installing packages from the android application

REQUEST_INSTALL_PACKAGES permission allows apps to install new packages on a user’s device. We are committed to preventing abuse on the Android platform and protecting users from apps that self-update using any method other than Google Play’s update mechanism or download harmful APKs.

Conclusion: 

Mobile Apps have become more personalized than ever before with heaps of customers’ personal data stored in them every day. In order to build trust and loyalty among users and prevent significant financial and credential losses for the companies, it is now crucial to make sure the application is secure for the user. Following the above-mentioned mobile app security checklists will definitely help to prevent hackers from hacking the app.

About the Author:

Raviteja Aketi is a Senior Software Engineer at Mantra Labs. He has extensive experience with B2B projects. Raviteja loves exploring new technologies, watching movies, and spending time with family and friends.

Read our latest blog: Implementing a Clean Architecture with Nest.JS

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