Putting a Dent in the Universe: Introducing Toptal Chief Economist Erik Stettler

02/18/2020 2 min read
Erik Stettler Data scientist and venture capitalist who has invested in 50 global tech companies. He is the Chief Economist at Toptal.

This week, we welcome Erik Stettler to both the show and the Toptal team. Erik recently joined Toptal as chief economist. A longtime member of the network and advocate of the talent economy, he discusses his work with Toptal and what he’s most looking forward to in his new role.

Erik began his career as an economist and data scientist, tasked with helping the global financial market manage large-scale challenges. Having experienced firsthand the impact and benefits of the global talent economy, Erik is committed to bridging the gap between talent and opportunity.

Erik says, “talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not.” It was this thesis that inspired him to co-found his VC fund Firstrock Capital, investing only in companies that have embraced the global talent economy and remote work. We speak at length about the risks and rewards of leveraging global talent, the opportunities it can afford both organizations and individuals, and what the future holds for talent and technology.

Some questions I ask:

  • How did Erik learn about Toptal?
  • How can global talent be accessed to innovate and drive change?
  • How did black swan events shape the thesis for his investment fund?
  • What is the most exciting thing Erik is eager to learn about the talent economy in his new role?
  • What is the “power of optionality” and how does it relate to human capital?
  • What key lessons can Erik offer organizations and talent?

In this episode, you will learn:

  • How Erik came to join Toptal as chief economist.
  • About some of the challenges faced by startups.
  • About some of the structural changes that will occur in companies over the next five years.
  • How Erik will help people understand the framework and the “why” around on-demand talent.
  • Why embracing the talent economy is no longer an option.
  • About some of the consequences of companies failing to foster work environments that leverage the best talent available (inhouse and globally).

Connect with Erik Stettler:



The Black Swan

Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

Give Work: Reversing Poverty One Job at a Time

Thinking Fast and Slow

About The Talent Economy Podcast

Companies today face a global war for talent. Highly skilled on-demand talent demand flexibility around the way they work and live. This future of work podcast brings together thought leaders, staffing experts, and top freelancers to talk about the evolving nature of work, the future of freelancers, and how companies can navigate these changes to remain competitive, drive innovation, and ensure success.

Erik Stettler Data scientist and venture capitalist who has invested in 50 global tech companies. He is the Chief Economist at Toptal.