Dollars earned on oDesk soared, and so did the team

May 8, 2009 by

This was another big week for oDesk. Just three months ago, we were thrilled about crossing the 10,000 online hours/day mark.  This week, we passed 13,000 hours, meaning 6.5 man years of work are done through oDesk each day.  We also crossed $70M earned on oDesk: With these soaring numbers, the only appropriate way to celebrate was with an afternoon of indoor skydiving.  The 25 people working in our Menlo Park office enjoyed flying with the assistance of only a jet engine blowing at ~150mph.  See Brian, our VP of marketing, soar. Thanks again to our 300,000 buyers and providers in 150 countries – you are the ones that make these milestones possible.  Each day we have the privilege of bringing you together to collaborate through oDesk, and seeing amazing products come out of it.  Let’s all keep on changing how the world works! … Read Full Article

Congratulations to NeedInstructions, oDesk’s Site of the Month!

May 1, 2009 by

Congratulations to NeedInstructions.com, who won oDesk’s first Site of the Month contest. NeedInstructions.com has a rapidly growing library of Instructions, Manuals and How To’s created by NeedInstructions.com members. They actively promoted their contest submission on Twitter, which helped them receive 1407 votes and won them a $1,000 oDesk credit and an Apple iPhone. Meet the Team: Ava, Philippines Dana, United States Edison, Italy Poonam, India Rampalli, India Stacy, United States More team members: Abderraouf, Tunisia | Bappi, Bangladesh | David, United States | Keshav, India | Prashant, India Runners-Up: Ozzietel Ozzietel enables its customers to make unlimited calls within Australia and abroad, all for a low-cost, set monthly fee DVDCorral Organize your DVD Catalog, Share with Friends, Enhance your Collection! OnTrackArabia On-Track Arabia is dedicated to enabling small and medium enterprises in the Middle East develop their IT strategies oDesk buyers who completed websites via oDesk were eligible to submit their sites to the contest. Winners were determined entirely by oDesk community voting. We’d like to thank all of the participants in our inaugural Site of the Month contest. Thanks to your … Read Full Article

New Job Categories!

April 27, 2009 by

oDesk is not just for geeks, anymore! Of course, we’ve known this for a while which is why we have been frantically working behind the scenes to accommodate our non-techy providers. Over the years we’ve seen oDesk grow exponentially, and it was all thanks to you! In response to user demand, we’re proud to announce that we’ve vastly improved the way we break jobs into searchable categories. We’ve combined some job categories, added others – bringing the total from 51 to 74! The biggest highlight is the addition of three new non-tech categories: Customer Service Sales & Marketing Business Services What does this mean? Providers in these service areas can more easily find the right jobs. Buyers can craft more accurate postings that will attract exactly the professionals they need. It’s all about finding the right person for the right job. Some of you may find your jobs changing categories (don’t worry – we’ve done all the migration work!). We suggest all providers double-check their preferred profile categories in Profile & Settings > My Provider Profile > Categories & Job Alerts. This is especially important if your skills are in any of the areas listed above, or the newly-combined Design & Multimedia category. Buyers may want to double-check open jobs to make sure there isn’t a new sub-category you’d prefer to move it into. Questions? Comments? Concerns? Please let us know what you think in the forum. Read Full Article

Improved Time Analyze Reports

April 26, 2009 by

We have rolled out a brand-new Time Analyze report. We’ve basically taken the two old reports (Work Analyze and Time Analyze), combined them, and thrown in a few new features. For example, providers now have access to individual Time Analyze reports to check out their stats across assignments. And staffing managers get their much-requested combined view of all their affiliated contractors. Try it out and tell us what you think! Who can see these reports? Visibility of reports depends on the team privileges you have. Hiring managers can see hours and charges for their teams, Team members can see only the hours, Providers can see their own hours across all their teams. Staffing managers can see hours and charges for their all the assignments they have staffed. How do I use reports? On to the Manage & Work > Reports Time Analyze tab. Select the role for which you want reports Select whether you want your report to be grouped by day, week or month Select the time period over which you want reports (jump to providers some useful options like “last payroll period”) Select the columns to show and sort the data using the column headings to create the report you want For example: If you are a staffing manager and you want to see how many hours your affiliated contractors worked by company in the last payroll period, Select a “staffing manager” report Choose to report by week Jump to “last payroll period” Remove all columns besides “company” The resulting report will show one column showing the total number of hours for each company. Similarly, Buyers can create: estimated charges by week, hours worked in each team, hours worked by a single provider across all teams. Staffing managers can view charges by company, charges by provider, … Read Full Article

How we run our business on the cheap

April 23, 2009 by

oDesk CEO Gary Swart will be speaking at tonight’s Biz Tech Series Event in San Francisco: How to Run Your Business on the Cheap.  Register here. At oDesk, we have the privilege of helping small & medium-sized businesses do more with less by hiring, managing, and paying contractors from a global talent pool.  Tonight, Gary will share how we use our own platform to find the right talent, the right way, as well as other insights on doing business frugally.  Come if you can; otherwise, see his presentation here. How oDesk Runs Its Business On The Cheap View more presentations from Amit Bakshi. Read Full Article

New Ontology (Categories and Subcategories)

April 21, 2009 by

We’ve vastly improved our ontology, the way we break jobs into searchable categories. In response to user demand, we’ve combined some job categories, added others–bringing the total from 51 to 74! The biggest highlight is the addition of three new non-tech categories: Customer Service Sales & Marketing Business Services So what? Providers in these service areas can more easily find the right jobs. Buyers can craft more accurate postings that will attract exactly the professionals they need. It’s all about finding the right person for the right job. Some of you may find your jobs changing categories (don’t worry – we’ve done all the migration work!). We suggest all providers double-check their preferred profile categories. This is especially important if your skills are in any of the areas listed above, or the newly-combined Design & Multimedia category. Buyers may want to double-check open jobs to make sure there isn’t a new sub-category you’d prefer to move it into. Questions? Comments? Concerns? Please let us know what you think in the forum. Read Full Article

Provider Spotlight (April 2009)

April 21, 2009 by

Each month we like to highlight 4 providers who’ve received exemplary feedback. Great job Stephanie, Pavel, Nguyen and Vindhya — you’ve earned this!   Stephanie S Creative web and print graphic designer Total oDesk Hours: 249 Overall Feedback: 4.97 (Based on 12 feedbacks) Comments: Once more Steph was great to deal with and completed the poster project with great professional skill. Pavel I Highly experienced Drupal, PHP, AJAX (jQuery), MySQL web developer Total oDesk Hours: 317 Overall Feedback: 4.90 (Based on 9 feedbacks) Comments: Pavel is a highly skilled programmer who can find creative ways to resolve problems or accomplish the goal. Nguyen T FreeBSD, GNU/Linux SysAdmin, Script/Server Apps Programmer Total oDesk Hours: 1,363 Overall Feedback: 4.67 (Based on 17 feedbacks) Comments: Well once again my mind has been blown and job assignment satisfied with expert competency, attention, client consideration, and thorough completion. Vindhya R National Award Winning Innovator and Internet Researcher Total oDesk Hours: 350 Overall Feedback: 4.99 (Based on 8 feedbacks) Comments: Nice work. Timely and what I asked for. Thank you Vindhya! Spotlight Providers must have earned a 4.5+ feedback score with a glowing comment on an assignment in the past month, have a 4.0+ overall feedback score, an impressive profile, and a high quality individual portrait (not too blurry, no avatars). Only oDesk Ready public profiles are eligible. Read Full Article

Round of Applause (April 2009)

April 21, 2009 by

1363 providers from 67 countries, including Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya and Kyrgyzstan, got their first jobs in the last month. These 1363 providers have already racked up 49552 oDesk hours and over $492,550 in just one month. Congrats to the providers who landed their first jobs in the March! Want to get in on the earning action? Get oDesk Ready, fill out your profile, and apply to job openings! … Read Full Article

Buzzworthy (April 2009)

April 21, 2009 by

Each month we talk about our favorite recent blogs and message board posts about oDesk — and there are free T-shirts involved. Blogging about oDesk? Send us your link at buzz@odesk.com! (and don’t forget, when you blog about oDesk, link back to your profile — you never know when a potential buyer is reading …) Our favorite post this month is one by Arron Washington. Anyone whose blog url starts with “geek ninja” is probably worth paying attention to anyway, but the post we have in mind is where he talks about the life he’s set up with oDesk. He says he made $40,000 just through oDesk last year, and kept his work week as a coder to about 20 hours, so he could use the rest of his time to pursue his dreams of writing (and maybe make the occasional sandwich). If you check out his blog, you’ll see he’s off to a good start as a writer, too. Also creating oDesk buzz lately, Search Engine Journal’s Loren Baker talks about how to find a “rockstar” copywriter. Don’t worry, you won’t be hiring actual rock stars. Although, you know, if you could afford Keith Richards, it’d be pretty funny to see what kind of press releases he’d crank out for you. Explain SEO to him, we dare you. No — what Loren’s talking about is how to use oDesk and other resources to find top-quality remote workers. While he’s focusing on writers, much of his advice is readily adapted to hiring call-center staff, coders, personal assistants and more. We’re not endorsing all his ideas — some of which draw tons of flak in a very robust comment section—but we think there are provocative thoughts and solid advice to be mined. Read Full Article

oDesk “Site of the Month” Contest – Vote Now!

April 17, 2009 by

We’re proud to announce the oDesk Site of the Month contest.  Each of the 27 websites entered in the April contest was built by oDesk providers in collaboration with their oDesk buyers. Every day, we have the privilege of bringing remote workers together to collaborate on oDesk, and seeing amazing products come out of it.  We’re looking forward to  showcasing the web development talent of our community and honoring some of the best work done through oDesk. Winners will be chosen entirely by community voting.  The grand prize winner, or Site of the Month, will be announced on May 1.  The owner of the site will win a $1,000 oDesk credit, an iPhone, and a spot in our Site of the Month gallery.  Runners-up will get oDesk t-shirts. Was your website built on oDesk?  Submit it to our next contest. Read Full Article

oDesk attends Web 2.0 Expo

April 6, 2009 by

oDesk attended Web 2.0 Expo last week for the 3rd year in a row.  This year’s event, smaller than previous years, was appropriately themed “The Power of Less.”  It was strong nonetheless, with over 8,000 attendees and keynotes from industry stalwarts like Palm, eBay, Google, and Microsoft, and up-and-coming firms like Threadless and SalaamGarage.  My personal favorite talks were John Maeda‘s on the importance of simplicity in the digital age and Blue State Digital’s inside peek at my.barackobama.com, Barack Obama’s new media juggernaut. During the conference, oDesk CEO Gary Swart demoed oDesk to InformationWeek’s David Berlind: At our exhibitor booth, the reception of oDesk’s product continues to be strong.  It was great to interact with current and prospective customers, understand their needs, and show them how they can realize the “Power of Less” using oDesk to hire, manage, and pay distributed teams of remote contractors. Read Full Article

Accounting Made Easy – Import oDesk Financial Data into Outright.com

March 31, 2009 by

A while ago we started to hear some positive chatter about a new service called Outright that provides a simple, online accounting web site designed specifically for entrepreneurs, self-employed individuals and very small businesses.  We checked it out and were impressed with how easy the site is to use, especially if you’ve ever found yourself scratching your head when using more complicated products. Today, we’re excited to announce a new partnership with Outright.  As a result of the partnership, you can now manage your finances quickly and easily.  Export your oDesk financial activity using the CSV download provided on your Payments > Financial Activity page and import it directly into Outright.com.  Outright will help you stay on top of your business finances and taxes (US businesses for now) with a number of useful reports, tax reminders, and estimated tax liability. Regarding pricing, Outright offers the following from their FAQ: What does it cost to use Outright? Outright is currently free to all users and will most likely remain so throughout the Beta period. However, we do plan to charge for certain features in the future. But we believe every user should be able to try the service for free. Check it out and let us know what you think. Read Full Article

oDesk & Assembla Accelerate Distributed Development

March 27, 2009 by

As anyone who manages a large distributed team will tell you, the complexities of managing and paying  your team grow with the team’s size.  Teams building more sophisticated software have needs particular to software development including things like how you protect and manage your source code and how you track tickets and bugs.  These tools are critical to successful larger software development efforts. oDesk is proud to offer integrated Bugzilla and SVN repositories with every Team Room, but we know that some oDesk buyers and provider companies want more control over their repositories and may prefer other tools.  To help satisfy some of this demand and give those of you that want more options, we’re excited to announce today that we’ve partnered with Assembla.  Assembla offers Subversion and Git code repositories enhanced with an integrated code browser, “view as web page” mockup rendering, email alerts, and fine-grain permissions through a Teams panel.  Assembla itself is the product of a distributed team and their suite of tools enables of lot of software development best-practices that we think are important to long-term success. As part of the partnership, Assembla is incorporating oDesk provider search into their application, so we’d also like to welcome Assembla users to oDesk! … Read Full Article

Provider Spotlight (March 2009)

March 24, 2009 by

Each month we like to highlight 4 providers who’ve received exemplary feedback. Great job Denise, Fahd, Des, and Agus — you’ve earned this!   Denise R Excellent Writer & Editor. I only do top quality work. Total oDesk Hours: 63 Overall Feedback: 4.94 (Based on 8 feedbacks) Comments: “Pays attention to detail, above and beyond!” Fahd M (Universal Coders) Web Application Developer,Wordpress/Joomla/Drupal Expert Total oDesk Hours: 164 Overall Feedback: 5.0 (Based on 5 feedbacks) Comments: “He was absolutely exceptional in every way. The quality of his code is excellent, and his determination to solve problems second to none.” Des M **Email Marketing**Data Entry**Virtual Asst**Web Researcher** Total oDesk Hours: 263 Overall Feedback: 4.91 (Based on 12 feedbacks) Comments: “She increased my lead traffic within her first 24 hours and has increased our social network. She has a fun personality and does what needs to be done.” Agus R Professional Graphic Designer with Tons of Creative Ideas Total oDesk Hours: 992 Overall Feedback: 4.94 (Based on 16 feedbacks) Comments: “Agus does amazing work in a timely and economical fashion. He is our preferred provider.” Spotlight Providers must have earned a 4.5+ feedback score with a glowing comment on an assignment in the past month, have a 4.0+ overall feedback score, an impressive profile, and a high quality individual portrait (not too blurry, no avatars). Only oDesk Ready public profiles are eligible. Read Full Article

Round of Applause (March 2009)

March 24, 2009 by

1023 providers from 60 countries, including Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, and the Czech Republic got their first jobs in the last month. These 1023 providers have already racked up 33,749 oDesk hours and over $306,918 in just one month. Congrats to the providers who landed their first jobs in the February! Want to get in on the earning action? Get oDesk Ready, fill out your profile, and apply to job openings! … Read Full Article

Buzzworthy (March 2009)

March 23, 2009 by

Have you heard the buzz? Let’s take a look at the latest online discussion of oDesk. Our favorite oDesk-related blog post this month is Rebecca Hayden’s explanation of how she fell into oDesk, from being motivated to sign up to please one client to letting her “oDesk days” expand until they were the source of most of her earnings. Who else said something buzzworthy? Daniel Gansle offers a step-by-step explanation of how oDesk works that’s perfect for sharing with anyone you need to make understand how our workteam marketplace works. Jeremy Martin takes on some criticism of oDesk — the difficulty of competing against providers in countries with much lower costs of living — and talks about how he has taken action to get jobs and steadily increase his rate, rather than sitting around moping about it. Abel Mohler presents his tale of oDesk success, which he sums up best here: “Yes, I never write invoices. I have a service which does all of that for me. I never take money up-front, am always paid on time, every week, and do everything by the hour. In addition, I am pretty much free to set my own hours. Also, despite the current economic slowdown, my earnings have increased, and my future prospects seem bright.” And over at Drupal.org, they announce the formation of the oDesk Drupal Group. Get the full lowdown from the Drupal site. Thanks to everyone who posts about their oDesk experience (for a shot at a T-shirt, send your link to buzz@odesk.com!), and here’s hoping all our prospects stay bright! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter. Upload a photo of your … Read Full Article

You don’t have to be in one location…

March 20, 2009 by

…to make great music or do great work. Stand By Me | Song Around The World from Concord Music Group on Vimeo. We stumbled across this clip from the award-winning documentary, “Playing for Change: Peace through music,” and immediately connected with it, as we feel it speaks to our mission at oDesk.  It’s a cover of  the Ben E. King classic “Stand by Me,” by musicians around the world adding their part.  Every day, we have the privilege of bringing remote workers together to collaborate on oDesk, and seeing amazing products come out of it.  Enjoy! … Read Full Article

Message-Center Interviewing

March 19, 2009 by

Historically, interviews have happened outside the system – when you “interviewed” someone, oDesk just gave you their email address and Yahoo! ID. We left it to you to connect with them, and then come back in the system to make the hire. Not the ideal system: Both sides had to divulge their contact information immediately Interview communication happened outside the system, leaving no record about what was agreed to It was just clunky! Now, when the buyer clicks “interview”, they are prompted to “send a message”. The ensuing interview messages are private and take place in the oDesk Message Center – you’ll exchange contact info if and when you want to chat or talk via phone. We hope this will make the interview process easier and safer for all our users. Questions? Comments? Concerns? Please let us know what you think in the forum. Read Full Article

New oDesk blog widget

March 18, 2009 by

Like our content & want to share with your own communities?  We’re excited to announce our new oDesk blog widget, which you can embed into: Social Networks: MySpace Facebook Ning Blogs: Blogger Typepad WordPress LiveJournal Other: Multiply iGoogle Netvibes Confluence Click on “Get Widget” and then “More” for the embed codes.  Enjoy! … Read Full Article

Break it Down: 8 Steps to Better Management

March 18, 2009 by

A new feature coming in the next few weeks inspires us to discuss a key technique for project management. It’s relevant to any kind of remote work, but at oDesk the ideas grew out of managing software development workteams. Our co-founder and CTO Odysseas Tsatalos is a firm believer in breaking the development process down to the smallest tasks, and our new task code feature will let buyers and project managers who adopt the technique to more accurately track the time and costs dedicated to each task. So for those inspired by the new feature, we offer eight tips that can make you a better manager: Think small: Break a larger assignment down to manageable tasks. Each takes a few hours—sometimes, a few days, but the larger the task, the harder it is to manage and track, so break things down as far as logic allows. Examples from an engineering environment: “Add landing page to production trunk,” “update the What’s New section on homepage,” or “add fields to database.”  Go high level: Keep your task description (or codes) to a high-level concept. This way, your reports will be more meaningful. Example: “Write a newsletter article,” “Edit the newsletter” and “Format and email the newsletter” may be tasks for three different providers, but they form a “Newsletter” component owned by your marketing manager. When reviewing the communication efforts at the end of the month, your reports will immediately show how much effort was spent on the newsletter.  Automate: Tasks should be automatically queued to their correct owners. There are many project management tools available to do that; these days we’re using Bugzilla, which is available in every team room. What system you use isn’t as important as finding one that works for you.  One thing at … Read Full Article

Take Smaller Bites: 4 Reasons to Break Down Big Jobs

March 18, 2009 by

We’ve got this new feature coming in the next few weeks: Task codes. Buyers break jobs down by small tasks, and a provider logging in selects a code indicating the kind of task she’s working on. That way, the buyer can plan and budget better. We haven’t come up with a version just for the provider’s personal recordkeeping (yet!), but it occurs to us that this is a great way for a provider to approach a job even if the buyer hasn’t embraced the feature. A buyer might hire you to “build an online store,” but approaching the job in that giant-sized chunk is a recipe for failure. You know you have to approach it one step at a time, and making this process visible to the buyer is a way to ensure solid communication and a smooth workflow. Go back to your buyer with a list of the specific tasks — “build database,” “populate database with product info,” “implement Yahoo shopping cart” — and time estimates for each. If your buyer creates applicable task codes, use them when you sign in. If not, just specify the task at hand on your work memo. Why go through all this nitty-gritty detail work? Here are four reasons: Manage expectations. Showing each step can make sure the buyer understands why the job will take the time and money you estimate it will take. It prevents misunderstandings or disappointment down the line.  Involve other team members. If your breakdown includes functions other team members will perform, this helps the buyer organize the team, and raises your stature as a key member. For example, your time may be best spent on building the database but not keying-in the information. Have a data-entry specialist do that while you are focusing on your … Read Full Article

oDesk attends PubCon South

March 14, 2009 by

oDesk attended PubCon South in Austin, TX for the first time this week. The keynotes were delivered by digital entrepreneur and author Guy Kawasaki and Google lead quality engineer Matt Cutts. Matt launched Google’s new Friend Connect API on Thursday. Attendees included leading search and internet marketing gurus from around the South. oDesk CEO Gary Swart spoke on a panel titled “Career Gut Check” and delivered this presentation on the SEO/SEM Career Landscape, using oDesk’s wealth of job data to draw conclusions on the state of the internet marketing industry. Career Gut Check: SEO/SEM Employment Landscape View more presentations from Amit Bakshi. At our exhibitor booth, the reception of oDesk’s product continues to be strong. It was great to interact with current and prospective customers, understand their needs, and show them how they can use oDesk to both find work and do more with less by managing a team of remote professionals. Read Full Article

We are pleased to announce oDesk Groups!

February 25, 2009 by

We’ve launched new Groups on oDesk – each one is a special marketplace within the oDesk network. Many providers advance their careers and reputation by counting on industry and professional certifications, alumni groups, or developer networks. Groups allow providers to join communities of professionals who share a common interests, skills, certifications or passions. For providers, joining Groups offers the benefit of enhanced reputation with a Group logo in their individual profile and access to exclusive jobs that are posted to the Group. For buyers, posting a job to a Group allows them to reach a highly qualified group of providers that specialize in a skill set. For partners, Groups allow companies with certification programs or developer networks to strengthen and expand their brand’s reach by promoting their Group on oDesk. You can take a look at our new Groups Directory. A special thanks to all of our initial launch partners: Check out the Directory, apply to Join a Group if you’re interested, and stay tuned for more Groups in the near future. Keep in mind, membership in a Group is solely at our Partner’s discretion, so please check the criteria for joining a Group before applying. Read Full Article

Groups

February 24, 2009 by

We are pleased to announce oDesk Groups! We’ve launched new Groups on oDesk – each one is a special marketplace within the oDesk network.   Many providers advance their careers and reputation by counting on industry and professional certifications, alumni groups, or developer networks.  Groups allow providers to join communities of professionals who share a common interests, skills, certifications or passions. For providers, joining Groups offers the benefit of enhanced reputation with a Group logo in their individual profile and access to exclusive jobs that are posted to the Group. For buyers, posting a job to a Group allows them to reach a highly qualified group of providers that specialize in a skill set. For partners, Groups allow companies with certification programs or developer networks to strengthen and expand their brand’s reach by promoting their Group on oDesk. You can take a look at our new Groups Directory. A special thanks to all of our initial launch partners: Check out the Directory, apply to Join a Group if you’re interested, and stay tuned for more Groups in the near future. Keep in mind, membership in a Group is solely at our Partner’s discretion, so please check the criteria for joining a Group before applying. Read Full Article