All Things oDesk
August 24, 2009 by Jacqui Pittenger

Stature Software

Stature Software started using oDesk in August 2006, only three weeks after it formed. “I realized at the time that the future was with offshore developers,” says partner Gregory Silvano. “My problem was that I didn’t know how to find good offshore developers. … Once I saw oDesk, I realized it was exactly what I was looking for.”

Three years later, Silvano’s partnership with Joseph Patalano has grown, with no capital investment, into a business that earns $2 million a year. Relying almost entirely on remote providers, they’re experts at managing online workteams — they have 20 oDesk providers and a smaller number of outside contractors — so we asked them for a buyer’s perspective on provider relationships.

Q: You really emphasize long-term relationships with your providers, don’t you?
A: “Once we find a provider, we typically keep that provider full-time forever. The second person I ever interviewed was Roman Trotsenko, who now has a dozen developers in his company working for Stature. Originally it was Roman as our developer, and we kept adding more and more to his team.”

Q: Besides the specific technical skills, what do you look for when you’re seeking a good provider?
A: “Creativity, reliability, English skills, responsiveness. I don’t want to give perfect specs every time. I want the developer to understand our clients’ business and really understand the problems they need to solve.”

Q: What’s a fatal mistake that providers commonly make, whether in their profiles or in initial communication with you?
A: “Lack of responsiveness is absolutely No. 1. It is probably the only fatal mistake they can make in my eyes. They can always get better at coding and better at the processes. But if they are unreliable, then they’re gone. I’d rather have an eager and responsive junior developer than an unresponsive expert.”

Q: You’ve got providers all over the world. What are the tricks and advantages to building a widely dispersed workteam?
A: We have nearly 24 hour coverage … it’s good to have the team all over the world. I intentionally found providers from several locations in 2006 because I didn’t want one political situation or one tidal wave to wipe out my entire company. We typically focus on Russia, Ukraine, and Philippines.”

Q: In what ways does using oDesk providers give your business an edge over the competition?
A: “Cost and ability to rapidly expand. I can add new developers quicker than my (competent) competitors can. I can also add developers quicker than my clients can add in-house developers, which means I can ramp up for a new project quicker than they can — so I’ll often get the new business.”

Q: You’ve got multiple projects under way at a time; how do you divide the work among your various workteams?
A: “We’ve found it’s best to not use multiple teams on the same projects. There are different coding styles, time zones, managers, etc. In the end, I’d rather have all of the code written by the same team.”

Read our full story on Stature Software here.

  • Donall Quinn

    Hi Kamen
    I’m sorry if my post wasn’t clear enough. I actually agree with you. My point was that, whether or not you’re English is or isn’t good enough to qualify you to work for the employer in question, you’re entitled to your opinion and that I agree with what you sain in your first post.

    Donall Quinn

  • http://tbd kamen

    Well Donall Quinn to me the comments about English are attempt to hide the main issues. I’m sure that the meaning of the text that I write is clear to the majority of people because I use plain English spoken on CNN and BBC. Of course sometimes are possible typing errors because nobody is perfect. For example I wished to say that the people with cross industry skills usually cost much more.

    Also there are different people and different way of working. This is just training and experience of the team not English skills

    I have seen cases where people working as buyers are seeking every possible excuse to avoid fair rates. And this is not fair. This is huge topic …

  • Donall Quinn

    Although ElleryCousins is technically correct when he/she says that the two people complaining about the employer have poor English skills and therefore are not qualified to work for the employer, that doesn’t mean they don’t have the right to comment on the interview.
    when reading the interview, my eye was drawn to the statement that “I don

  • sheryl

    my attention was caught by his answers on what fatal mistakes providers commonly make and i feel really bad not because i committed those mistakes but because i was not given a chance by any buyer to be one of their providers.

    i hope someone can give me a chance to prove my worth as a freelance provider.

  • http://tbd kamen

    Well Ellery Cousins

    This is interesting topic that I wish to clarify

    Probably you think that the client/customer/boss is always right? And probably you think that I’m not qualified because I do not respect this well known adage?

    Well I know this popular adage. However watching the news and other source I see many serious people that try to get more than they deserve.

    So this case looks suspicious because the developers are doing work that requires additional skills and usual costs much more

    Do you see what I mean? Do you agree? Am I right? This is interesting topic so what about the idea to continue in the oDesk community forum?

  • Ellery Cousins

    Amilosevski & Kamen, both, have poor English speaking skills. The owner specified that they look for responsiveness, and good English skills. The two people that are complaining about the employer, are not even qualified to work for that employer. So I don’t think their comments are fair or realistic.

  • http://tbd kamen

    Please note that making good spec is work that can add significant long term value. So it costs much more than developer work.

    Following this way of working in this context the term responsiveness probably means willingness to work as solution architect and to get low rate for ordinary oDesk developer…

    This is not fair and leads to problems in long term.

    Am I right?

  • amilosevski

    About responsiveness and responsibility?!

    Even you hire someone fulltime 40h/week and you want 8 to 5 responsivness you should hire that person onsite, pay social security and taxes. Freelance mean “FREE”. Freelacer can work 14hrs one day and just 2hrs second equeal on two (8 to 5)s and with responsibility by respecting the deadline.
    We not choose to be free lance just to decrease you expenses by offering you slave work and make you rich but cos beside the material benifit we are freeminded creative persons.

    “I don