I would submit that the paradigm of either being an employee or a contractor is a bit off the mark vis a vis today's environment.
Let me make a few assertions and, please, if you think I am missing something, misreading the market, or just plain nuts 🙂 I would be delighted to know. I am keenly interested in your thinking as I think Eric Russell nailed one of the key components - passion.
The nature of being in the world of development, software, data, hardware, operations, architecture, and all other areas is, by nature fluid. Especially data, which by its very nature is extremely fungible, prone to incompleteness, not necessarily by being inaccurate but as a result of the tension inherent in "wanting it right" and "I need to look at this differently", a chore BI in the main, does a great job with. This is the tension between the very real business and ROI needs of both static and dynamic data. It is a relatively "rare bird" manager who thrives on chaos and uncertainty and what is often lost from their perspective, given they also need to satisfy their superiors with "good news" which, from the longer-term planning perspective intensly dislikes uncertainty. The fundamental construct of any business, large or small, is, in fact, brining order out of chaos. A new widget from a new way of bolting parts together, real or electronic, is the ticket to success, as measured by cash flow.
Then, there is ROI and the attempt to increase it. In business there are only two ways to achieve this. Only two. Spend less or make more. Spending less was seen in the flight to India and other offshore development. It is also to be seen in the cloud. Making more follows the same rule; spend less. So, we have seen imperitive programming, then object-oriented and then functional, though not as many seem to 'see' this as expected. But, you DO see functional thinking in IOT. And, where is all the interest these days? IOT. Why? ROI. 1 + 1 still equals 2.
Fast forward (skipping a few needed connected dots) and I would suggest that those who follow Paul Jarvis' "Company of One" ethos and combine that with Rob Thomas' book, "The End of Tech Companies" and then find a way to monetize your passion and I think you are on to something. What is the missing link? The ability to independently "link" and monetize your passion (read: expertise and interest) in a voluntary collaboration with others.
OK, just plain nuts. 🙂