Disruption Ahead: Reflections on DLD13

February 11, 2013 by

Recently I had the opportunity to present at DLD (Digital-Life-Design), Europe’s leading innovation conference. Held in Munich, this year’s conference theme was “Patterns that Connect.” Of course, the ultimate “connector” today is the Internet. It’s changing the way we access the services and products we want and need, by eliminating the friction of intermediaries. This new model, which we call “direct access," is revolutionizing both the consumer and enterprise world. At DLD, discussions of the ‘direct access’ model abounded. Read Full Article

The Doctor Is In — 8,000 Miles Away

February 5, 2013 by

In the African nation of Botswana, there is just one public oral surgeon available. For patients in rural areas, travel to the specialist’s office in the capital city of Gaborone is difficult, and follow-up visits are almost impossible. Forecasts indicate the number of physicians is declining; these types of shortages are only going to become more common, both in developing and developed countries. That’s why the fledgling field of remote healthcare — telemedicine — is poised to change everything. Read Full Article

The Talent War: Winning the Game by Changing the Rules

January 31, 2013 by

Americans are living two contradictory economic realities. The unemployment rate is at 7.8%, and people across the U.S. are still struggling to find work. But business owners and recruiters, especially in Silicon Valley, tell a different story—one of a vicious “War for Talent.” It is extremely difficult to recruit high-caliber talent, especially when heavyweights like Facebook and Google are competing for the same people. So what is a startup to do, faced with such stiff competition and limited resources? If you can’t win the game, change the rules. Read Full Article

Does Online Work Favor Experience? Mature Pros Take To Indie Lifestyle

January 28, 2013 by

"Not that many years ago, the idea of working online meant you had to be a young geek — I don't think that's true anymore" said Denise Loubert, a long-time corporate writer who has started four businesses during her career and now works online. More than 40 percent of independent workers are over the age of 50, and many are taking their careers online so they can pursue the work they love on a schedule that suits their lifestyle. Read Full Article

Disaster Proof: How Online Work Can Protect Your Business

January 21, 2013 by

Lost productivity is expensive, but having a plan to work remotely can minimize that loss. When Hurricane Sandy struck last fall, online work kept many businesses up and running; with minimal interruption, work moved off-site and just kept going. Here's some advice from business owners who made it happen on how to "disaster-proof" your business. Read Full Article

The 5 Most Common Mistakes People Make When Hiring Virtual Assistants (and How to Avoid Them)

January 17, 2013 by

The decision to hire a virtual assistant for the first time is a big one, and one that—done right—can dramatically improve your life. But working with a virtual assistant isn’t as simple as pressing an “easy button” and walking away. For many people, hiring, delegating, and managing are entirely new skill sets to learn and master. This article won’t turn you into a pro overnight, but will give you some insight into five very common mistakes people make when hiring virtual assistants, and how you can avoid them. Read Full Article

Competing in the ‘Social Era’ of Business: oDesk Catches Up With Nilofer Merchant

January 14, 2013 by

When we think about “social business,” a handful of buzzwords come to mind—from social media marketing and internal social channels to collaborative technology and even charitably focused “social enterprises.” But Nilofer Merchant has something different in mind, something that will have a much broader impact on the entire business landscape. Merchant, an author, speaker and corporate director, discusses the new age of “social business” in her latest book, “11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era,” which was recently named one of Fast Company’s 12 best business books of 2012. The Harvard Business Review digital book discusses how incorporating a social foundation into an organization’s very structure and design can give it an edge in the coming years, making it more innovative and agile. Read Full Article

Say What?: Why the English Language is Weird and What To Do About It

January 3, 2013 by

Welcome to the wild world of English idioms! Where nothing is as it seems and phrases like “you’re pulling my leg” have nothing to do with someone truly tugging on your lower limb. As oDesk’s official word wrangler, this is a subject I spend a lot of time pondering. (Like, waaaayyyy too much time.) So I thought I’d share a few thoughts on how both sides of the communication equation can navigate a notoriously wacky language. Read Full Article

Keeping Your Body Happy While You Work: Ergonomics 101

December 26, 2012 by

‘Tis the season for working while traveling. We’ve all been there, sending out one last email before the flight attendant tells you to turn off your mobile device, or finishing a report from the train terminal. These days you can find people logging into work from just about anywhere, but that doesn’t mean we’re impervious to the damage that sitting all day or staring at tiny type on a monitor can do to our bodies. We’ve pulled together a collection of quick and easy ergonomics tips that you can implement in your daily routine to keep those muscles and joints from complaining. Read Full Article

2013: The Year of the Specialized, the Customized and the Analyzed

December 20, 2012 by

Advances in Internet technology have changed the way we work, with serious implications for how we structure companies and teams, how we think about our careers, and how we communicate with our fellow team members. From telecommuting and online work to distributed teams and even entirely virtual companies, the way the world works now is light years away from the business landscape just 20 years ago. As technology continues to advance rapidly, what does that mean for the way we will work in 2013? Or even 2020? oDesk CEO Gary Swart shared his vision for the future of work in an article today for VentureBeat, outlining 4 major trends that will shape the world of work in 2013. All of them lead to the conclusion that 2013 will be the year of the specialized, the customized and the analyzed. Read Full Article

Location Independent: Bernard Vukas’ Travel and Work Experiment

December 13, 2012 by

Sights and sounds that many of us will never see or hear are just another stop on the road for Bernard Vukas—from Ottoman mosques in Turkey, to rice and curry shops in Thailand, to a beachfront office in the Philippines. With a lifestyle that is nothing if not location-independent, Vukas—a Microsoft Office Business Applications (OBA) developer originally from Croatia—has embraced the “work anywhere” freedom enabled by online work. Read Full Article

The New Era of Workforce-as-a-Service is Here

December 11, 2012 by

Last week, I attended a fireside chat event with Gary Swart, the CEO of oDesk, where I was blown away by the concept of an on-demand online workforce and how Gary predicts that by 2020, one in every three employees in the workforce will work remotely online. This topic also came up a few days ago at an event I attended at Stanford, where Mary Meeker gave her talk on 2012 Internet Trends. Mary asserted the trend towards an on-demand Workforce-as-a-Service (WaaS) using platforms like oDesk, which enable employment to be asset-light with very minimal fixed costs. I’ve now realized that the on-demand workforce is a reality and many tech giants here in the San Francisco Bay Area are embracing it. In this blog post I’m going to discuss on-demand workforces and how oDesk leverages this trend. Read Full Article

The Latest Coveted Business Address: 'Global Nomad'

December 10, 2012 by

Although his home is in northern New Jersey, Jay Shapiro's preferred business address is “global nomad,” as he runs his business — mobile app development platform Infinite Monkeys — from a laptop with no fixed address. Often it’s from his lake house in Canada, but occasionally it’s from his custom-built motor home — a carbon-neutral, heavily modified Ford F650 he calls the “EcoRoamer,” in which his family tours the world. “With the advent of online project management tools and access to a huge talent pool, we could assemble a team with all the skills you could possibly need to build a company," he says. "We have staff literally spread across six continents. They are an incredible team that brings us a level of skills and cost-efficiency we could never get in the past." Read Full Article

Planning for Contractors: Managing Your Money And Your Skills

December 3, 2012 by

Freelancing is the fastest-growing sector of the economy, but traditional safety nets often don't apply. As a result—as cynical as it may sound—there's only one person who is able to look after you and your self-employed future: You. Here's some guidance on two of the most important considerations for long-term freelance career planning—saving for retirement and staying professionally relevant. Read Full Article