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

10 Ways to Tell the World About You

February 23, 2009 by

  A lot of businesses think of public relations as the province of enormous corporations, but it's more—and less—than a fully staffed in-house department. PR is the function of presenting your business and its message in the clearest and most positive light, and motivating the prospective client to see you as a go-to authority. In an increasingly competitive economic environment, every business needs to work harder to get its name out there. And you'd be surprised how far you can get on only a little effort in this digital age. Example? Sure: We issued a press release about iPhone developer stats, submitted it to a press-release aggregator or two, inspiring post on an Apple blog that got about 800 hits on Digg. That's not even all the reads, that's just people who read it, had a Digg account, and were motivated to vote it up. Underlying every PR campaign is the idea of "owning" your category. When people think of what you do, you want them to think of you. Your public relations campaign is simply the process of getting other people to agree that, yeah, you do own that category. You can reach that goal, and there are talented oDesk providers to help you with specific PR tasks quickly and efficiently. We have experienced publicists and marketing writers, journalists and sharp-eyed editors, plus experts in search-engine optimization (SEO), social networking, business research and more. Here are 10 focused PR goals and tips on what to look for in a provider:   Do it yourself: You will need certain expertise, but remember that you're the face of your company. This list of DIY PR tips will help you get a handle on being your own chief marketer. You … Read Full Article

The Art of Self-Promotion - 5 PR Tips

February 23, 2009 by

  Public relations—that's when giant corporations pay someone to explain away their massive oil spill, right? Or when movie stars hire a fancy agency to get them on magazine covers? Well, sure, but when you boil it down, PR is the art of getting your message—and yourself—favorable attention in pursuit of your goals. Your goal is to advance your career, and there are ways to promote yourself without using Angelina Jolie's "people." Here are five ways:   1. Maintain a professional blog and offer valuable content to your target clients. Do some research and come up with unconventional conclusions. Check out free, easy-to-use blog platforms such as typepad.com and blogger.com. And we can't emphasize this enough—spellcheck before you post, and post with some regularity! Need help setting up a professional-looking blog? Trade services with a talented friend—or use oDesk to hire a WordPress expert or graphic designer for a quick project. 2. Website. Website. Website! It's easy, inexpensive and pretty much the minimum of professionalism in most fields. Take advantage of the tons of free tools and tutorials to build and maintain a web presence. Link back to your oDesk profile using one of the customized links so people can easily review your profile and hire you (do the same on your blog!). Need help? Trade services with a friend who knows web design or is a skilled writer who can edit your resume and other copy. Failing that, find that help on oDesk. 3. Be social. Promote your online presence through social media. Create a free Facebook page that's suitable for professional consumption (add that oDesk referral link!). Let your network know that you're available to do work. Use a free Twitter account to send good information to … Read Full Article

Success Story: Paul Sedacove / Oggetto

February 23, 2009 by

Oggetto is a growing web-development company in Taganrog, Russia. Its staff of 15 has years of expertise in consulting, web design, web-programming, server administration and more, but only spun off as an independent company in early 2008. Oggetto’s staff met on oDesk and teamed up to capture even more work in the oDesk marketplace. We talked to Paul Sedacove, the company's CTO and project manager, about his approach to remote work. Q:  It can be difficult to create a reputation from scratch over the Internet. How did Oggetto establish itself in the oDesk community? A: I agree it's kind of a problem, but we were lucky. We had a couple of customers we knew before and we brought them to oDesk. That allowed us to start with normal rates, and when some first jobs were successfully finished in time, we got very positive feedback. Beside this, our guys successfully passed tests on oDesk and it helped us to represent ourselves as a professional development company. Q:  The larger a provider company is, the more skills its staffers might have. Did Oggetto set out to be an all-purpose solution for any buyer's needs? A: Well, what I have to say on this point is that we do only what we can do the best way. For example, any kind of web-programming work is not a problem for us, but we will never take the copywriting job because English is not our native language and we are programmers, not writers—we can't do that job better than others. Or we would never take an iPhone-application job, even if it is related to the buyer's website somehow—we don't know the technology. This is something like a credo for us, and it's a … Read Full Article

Buzzworthy (February 2009)

February 23, 2009 by

So who's talking about us this month? Our favorite post came from Angela H., who used her Freelancing Mom's Blog to write a fantastic guide for oDesk newcomers. Angela joined right after the "Good Morning America" hoopla in November and, like many, found the sudden influx of new talent a bit daunting. She applied herself to getting established (as an executive assistant and business writer) and standing out in the crowd. This month's runners up: Tim C. shares his enthusiasm for "making money online" and discusses the extra money he pulled in via oDesk and online ad revenue to supplement his regular income. Jen Nipps gives oDesk a mention in a list of resources for freelance writers and coders. Blogging about your oDesk experience? Send us a link at buzz@odesk.com for a shot at a free T-shirt and some free publicity. Interested in writing a post for the oDesk blog? Get the details and send us a note at stories@odesk.com Follow us on: … Read Full Article

Provider Spotlight (February 2009)

February 23, 2009 by

Each month we like to highlight 4 providers who've received exemplary feedback. Great job Viktoryia, Daniel, Tina, and Jed — you've earned this! Viktoryia Z (ZORQA Co) Graphic Arts & Design, Web Design Total oDesk Hours: 225 Overall Feedback: 4.98 (Based on 9 feedbacks) Comments: "Viktoryia is a very talented designer, all the work she has done for us has been brilliant" Daniel R Senior Developer - MCP,MCSD (C#, VB.NET, XML, XSLT, AJAX, J2ME/J2EE) Total oDesk Hours: 1,236 Overall Feedback: 4.55 (Based on 3 feedbacks) Comments: "Daniel is an excellent and smart programmer. He is pleasant and easy to work with." Tina H Excellent Data Entry, Research, Email, Accounting, VA Total oDesk Hours: 570 Overall Feedback:5.00 (Based on 7 feedbacks) Comments: "She is punctual, has an extremely high attention to detail, and is an all around great individual." Jed T Senior Web PHP Developer CakePHP Total oDesk Hours: 883 Overall Feedback: 5.00 (Based on 13 feedback) Comments: "I can count on Jed as a member of my team. Reliable, honest, highly skilled Coder." 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

Partners: Kampyle & Central Desktop

February 23, 2009 by

Our goal is simple: Eventually everyone will be an oDesk partner. We got two companies closer to that goal this month, welcoming Central Desktop and Kampyle to the extended family.  We shook hands with Kampyle because its on-demand solution for managing and analyzing website visitor feedback is top-notch — something our web developer community needs to check out.  And Central Desktop is a great social technology platform for progressive business teams to manage their daily work activities. oDesk is the center of the internet universe for building and managing online teams, and with Central Desktop's technology on our side, the sky is the limit. Together, oDesk's platform and Central Desktop's tools represent the new way to build a workteam in the 21st century. Read Full Article

Round of Applause (February 2009)

February 23, 2009 by

948 providers from 61 countries, including Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, and Austria got their first jobs in the last month. These 948 providers have already racked up 34,100 oDesk hours and over $331,334 in just one month. Congrats to the providers who landed their first jobs in the January! Want to get in on the earning action? Get oDesk Ready, fill out your profile, and apply to job openings! … Read Full Article

oDesk crosses milestone & unveils new oConomy

February 16, 2009 by

We're a little obsessed with analytics here at oDesk. We start each day with a vigorous round of "Daily Predictions." The rules of the game: Guess how many hours of work will be logged worldwide on oDesk that day (ending 4 pm Pacific time). Players must log their guesses in a Google doc by noon, and no one can pick a total within 20 hours of anyone else’s guess. Don’t even ask about the disciplinary procedures for sneaking in after lunch and changing your guess — they involve severe public shaming.  The winner gets bragging rights, his or her name in the official “winners column,” and the (grudging) admiration of colleagues. This is not a game for the faint of heart. Each of us has developed a personal algorithm, taking into account such variables as the number of hours already logged a the deadline approaches, the percent increase over the same day and time from the week before, and which guesses have already been claimed by rivals. It’s amazing that any work gets done before noon. Last week was an especially exciting for this pulse-pounding mental sport.  We crossed 10,000 online hours in a single day for the first time on Tuesday.  What does 10,000 hours mean?  That’s five man-years of work logged on oDesk in a single day. We couldn't have crossed this important milestone without you – the more than 200,000 buyers and providers in 150 countries, so thanks for building our success, and for giving us a thrilling afternoon.  Imagine if we had money riding on this game. When we’re not swimming through our data for fun and sport, we’re crunching numbers to better serve our community.  We always like to be transparent, and like to share data … Read Full Article

oDesk Launches New Blog

February 12, 2009 by

oDesk launched its new blog today, as a resource for our community of buyers and providers. We'll use it to share relevant announcements, helpful tips on freelancing & outsourcing, and commentary & analysis with our community. However, oDesk users are the true experts. If you have expertise in an area that would be interesting to our readers, write a guest blog post (~500 words) for us! You'll get to showcase your knowledge as a subject matter expert, and if you're interested, we'll link back to your oDesk provider profile or buyer company website. Here are a couple of recent posts from the community: The challenges of working from home How to get more work that you can possibly deal with See complete guidelines here. Amit Bakshi Manager, oDesk Marketing … Read Full Article

My Teams Enhanced Features

February 12, 2009 by

My Teams has a few new features that we think you'll appreciate. It's not just for hiding Teams anymore! Easily distinguish hidden from non-hidden teams. Edit Team Names (Team IDs still cannot be changed) If your company has more than one financial account, see (and change!) which financial account each team uses. Whether you're admin of one Team or dozens, you should definitely go check it out! We're always working at add new features and improve the user experience. So keep an eye out for more great enhancements throughout 2009. Read Full Article

oDesk Launches New Blog

February 11, 2009 by

oDesk launched its new blog today, as a resource for our community of buyers and providers.  We'll use it to share relevant announcements, helpful tips on freelancing & outsourcing, and commentary & analysis with our community.  However, oDesk users are the true experts.  If you have expertise in an area that would be interesting to our readers, write a guest blog post (~500 words) for us!  You'll get to showcase your knowledge as a subject matter expert, and if you're interested, we'll link back to your oDesk provider profile or buyer company website.  Email stories@odesk.com with your proposals. Amit BakshiManager, oDesk Marketing … Read Full Article