All Things oDesk

Introducing “Teams”

February 26, 2008 by

We believe that the future of oDesk lies with its ecosystem of entrepreneurs, “power users” who can deliver results for buyers, provide meaningful and lucrative work for providers, and strengthen the quality of the entire network. We have seen some of our most successful providers create and grow their own Companies on oDesk. We have seen buyers leverage oDesk to a whole new way of working with remote resources. And we have seen some users, often IT services companies themselves, work both as a Buyer and a Provider on oDesk. The “Teams” initiative is our first release aimed at empowering more of this behavior. There are two goals of the initiative: Help buyers build larger remote teams through oDesk Enable providers and services companies build out teams of providers to better serve buyers’ needs We have released the first phase of the initiative. Included features: Act as a buyer and a provider under one account Manage team permissions of your team members in the new “Team Admin” screen Unify multiple accounts into one User ID Learn more about the “Teams” initiative … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

oDesk – 2008 CODiE Finalist

February 24, 2008 by

With tonight’s Oscars only hours away, we’re delighted to know that oDesk hasn’t been left out this awards season.  The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) has named oDesk a finalist for the 2008 CODiE award in the Best Human Resources Solution category! From the SIIA’s press release announcing the finalists – "Established in 1986, the Codie Awards celebrate outstanding achievement and vision in the software, digital information and education technology industries." There were over 1,000 products nominated this year, so we’re thrilled to be on the CODiE’s shortlist. CODiE winners are announced in late May after a vote by the SIIA membership. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Success Stories: Dmitry Feduleev

February 20, 2008 by

Dmitry Feduleev’s first experience with oDesk was as an employee of an affiliate. His employer, Deimand, worked mostly in its local market in Russia, but the small unit Dmitry was in also took jobs through oDesk. Last year, an entrepreneurial urge drove Dmitry to found his own company, BelVG, through which he manages a small team of mostly Facebook application developers working exclusively through oDesk. As both a current employee at Deimand and the owner of BelVG, Dmitry has a unique perspective on the oDesk provider’s experience. Q: Last year, in addition to your Deimand work, you launched BelVG. How did that start? A: When I started, I was working with just two of my mates, making one project for a U.S. customer. In May 2007, Facebook opened its developer’s area and I got my first BelVG project involving that. This thing interested me, and I asked my guys to learn it. We started to develop our first Facebook applications, and from there we started to grow. Now we have ten Facebook developers, three xHTML developers, and two designers. Q: When you’re communicating with buyers, which methods are most useful for you – email, chat, Skype, etc? A: Skype calls are the most useful things for getting whatever I want quickly, but usually it’s Yahoo chats, and email for storing all my to-do’s. Q: As a business owner, how do you see the business climate for 2008? A: I think this is going to be the year of business social networks, where people come not only for fun, but to make money. Also, the main streams of this year will include open social applications, Facebook applications with real substance – not only for fun – and ad startups based on this social stuff. Read … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

oDesk Perspective (February 2008)

February 20, 2008 by

This month, we launched the oConomy, a rich database that aims to maps out the oDesk global community. Check out the oConomy counter, tallying total service spending on projects via oDesk — more than $23 million and climbing! You can see how many providers are currently in our network, and even how many are working on projects right now. See how many jobs went up in the last 24 hours, and how big our provider network has become. Understand global rate trends and statistics. View averages and distributions or rates by country. Buyers can see whether the providers they’re interviewing are in line with the global market, and providers can set their rates based on expertise in comparison with their peers. Feedback stats chart the steady climb of buyer satisfaction since oDesk launched. Chart the rising expertise of our provider network: Test statistics show you how many times providers have taken our skills tests — and how many times they’ve passed. Where is everyone? Our global map of providers lets you click any of 90 countries to see how many providers are there, and check out their average rates and feedback scores. See which countries offer the best rates and earn the highest feedback. Russia, one of our largest provider bases, has 1,403 providers averaging $15 an hour and feedback scores of 4.1, while China hosts 229 providers, averaging $16 an hour and 4.5 in feedback. Which top provider companies are the best choices for larger staffing needs? Which top-ranked providers give buyers the most satisfaction? What do the latest job post stats tell you about the market you’re hiring or working in? We’re still unleashing the power of the oConomy, … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Show Full Name

February 19, 2008 by

“My name is J. Breinlinger.” “No, no, wait, that’s too obvious – it’s Josh B.” “D’oh. Well, my name is Josh Breinlinger” We’ve enabled a new option for Providers to display their full first and last name in their oDesk profile and search results if they prefer that to the traditional first name and last initial format.  While it’s just an option, we believe that like a good portrait or profile title – it will help talented Providers stand out from the crowd.  We’ve also surpassed 50,000 Providers in the network, so there are quite a few John S.’s and Dmitry K.’s in the network now.  If you’d like to show your full name in your profile, go to the Profile and Settings tab and change your preference in the profile editor. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

PayPal for Providers

February 13, 2008 by

What is it? We’ve added PayPal as a Payment Method for withdrawing money. How do I get to it? In the “My oDesk” tab, select “Billing and Payment” and “Payment Methods”. How do I use it? After making sure PayPal works in your country of residence, create a PayPal account and register your oDesk.com email address. Once you have done this, you will be able to withdraw your oDesk earnings into to your PayPal account. Find out more about this new feature in the oDesk Guide to PayPal. Love it? Have suggestions or problems? Tell us what you think in the community forums. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

10 books for managers of distributed teams

February 13, 2008 by

Nowadays, many engineering managers are already building highly distributed teams. Many are doing it for the first time. Many are getting cost-cutting pressure, but are scared to take the leap into an uncertain world of remote work. Let these books be your guide. All these authors have helped blaze the path for others to get the most out of a distributed development team. oDesk recommends: Happy Reading! … Read Full Article

oConomy

oDesk launches the oConomy

February 6, 2008 by

While the US economy might be going into recession, I’m bullish on the oConomy. We’re excited to announce the launch of the “oConomy”, a feature that publicly shares data from the oDesk network on hourly wages, feedback, jobs, and certification tests. We scoured through our internal database in order to offer a valuable resource for both buyers and providers to understand global trends and lead to more successful remote work relationships. The oConomy summarizes trends based on record $22.5 million (and counting!) of work completed on oDesk. The oConomy data covers more than 1,600,000 hours of work completed by over 47,000 providers from over 90 countries. One of the first things we wanted to do when analyzing all of the data was to provide a helpful world map with details on service providers by country. For buyers – it can be intimidating to select candidates for their job and we hope the Google Maps mashup helps shed some light on the hiring situation. For providers – we hope this map can help set expectations and serve as a helpful comparison point for their individual rates and skills against their peers. Among some of the other insights offered in the oConomy: • Indonesian Providers Earn Highest Average Feedback Scores (for countries with over 100 feedbacks) • The Average oDesk Pay Rate Is $14/Hour • Experience Is A Strong Predictor Of Job Performance Here are just some of the many things you can see in the new oConomy: Top ranked provider companies on oDesk. The current top 10 are: ISS Art Impinge Solutions SoftProdigy SOFTREACTOR LLC InterLink Aarthika UshaTech Waverley Software DevelopmentMill Galindo … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

The oConomy

February 6, 2008 by

We’re excited to bring you the “oConomy”, a detailed look inside the oDesk network and what is making it tick. As of today, the oConomy data covers more than 1,600,000 hours of work completed by over 47,000 providers from over 90 countries. We analyzed all the data we had and compiled a list of statistics, maps, charts, and rankings. We hope this helps all users get more out of oDesk. Here’s a short preview of what you’ll see when you click over to the oConomy. Hourly Rates by Week Providers Rate Distribution Feedback by Years of Experience oDesk Growth Trends More than anything else – we need your input!  This data is for you.  What else do you want to see?  What would help you be more successful on oDesk?  What insights can you make out of the data?  Leave a comment on the oConomy pages, and let us know. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

oDesk partners with CVSDude

February 6, 2008 by

We’re a little late in adding this news to the blog, but those of you who visited the “Subversion” link in your oDesk Team Rooms or who read TechCrunch would have noticed that oDesk and CVSDude have teamed up to bring you more options for source-code management. For those of you that don’t already know CVSdude, the company is a leading provider of hosted open-source development tools including Subversion (SVN) with nearly 40,000 active users and over 34,000 projects. We think oDesk and CVSDude are a natural fit since many of the projects they host are managed by distributed teams. This partnership will bring CVSDude users to oDesk via a co-branded search box on CVSDude.com and it gives oDesk users a free month to trial one of their paid subscriptions. Of course, oDesk will continue to offer our existing SVN solution which remains a free option and one that is integrated with your oDesk team room. CVSDude provides more fine-grained management of repository permissions and other goodies, though, if you desire a greater level of control. Here’s the full press release: CVSDude and oDesk Team Up to Drive Software Development Success CVSDude to integrate oDesk Provider and Job Search; oDesk to offer CVSDude’s Advanced Source Code Management Tools January 31, 2008 – MENLO PARK, Calif. and BRISBANE, QLD, Australia – CVSDude, a leading provider of hosted open-source development tools including Subversion (SVN), has teamed up with oDesk, a leading online staffing marketplace and work platform, to offer fast-growing software companies access to talented technical professionals and tools that enable faster delivery and higher-quality software products at a fraction of the cost of traditional solutions. With this partnership, distributed development teams built and managed on oDesk will gain access to CVSDude’s secure storage infrastructure, advanced source-code … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

High value oDesk job feeds

February 2, 2008 by

With over 1,000 jobs posted each week, it’s becoming more difficult for providers to find the perfect jobs. And with increasing provider competition in the marketplace, it’s more important than ever for providers to focus their job search efforts and apply to the best jobs available. A few weeks ago, we launched fully customizable RSS feeds for jobs posted on oDesk. Our intent is to give providers a way to setup a few custom feeds to save time and energy in searching for the jobs that are the best fit. I put together a few sample feeds below that you can use in your RSS reader to view high value oDesk jobs as they’re posted. For starters, I wanted to narrow the search by a particular skill. Then, I wanted hourly jobs only because they tend to be higher value and longer term jobs. I further filtered out all jobs that were less than 4 weeks in estimated duration, so I’m left with the highest value jobs available in each skill set. If you want further customization for your job feed – go to the Job Search, enter any parameters you want, and then use the RSS icon when you have exactly what you want. Good luck! … Read Full Article

oConomy

Power of Community Feedback

January 30, 2008 by

So, as you may know, oDesk offers 100 free online certification tests available to users to prove their skills. Rewind 1 year ago: -Many users complained about the quality of the test content. -We didn’t have the bandwidth to review and improve all of the content ourselves. So, after a number of users had brought the quality to our attention, we launched two new feedback mechanisms. First, any user could Report an Issue with a specific question. Second, any user could provide a Content Feedback Score at the completion of the test. Now, let’s look at today. Over the course of 1 year, over 2,500 issues have been reported to improve the test content. Together with our testing vendor, ExpertRating, we have used these issues reported by our users to dramatically improve the test content. These improvements are reflected in the content feedback scores from our users; they have gone up 33% from around a 3.0 (out of 5.0) to over 4.0. This confirms our beliefs that communities are critically important to shaping the product and offering. While it was initially painful to hear the complaints of our users, it forced us to build a solution that allowed the community to get involved. And it has paid off. The job going forward for oDesk, and for all Web 2.0 companies, is to continue to build in more ways for the community to contribute. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

oDesk sponsors P-CAMP

January 30, 2008 by

We’re happy to announce that we’ll be co-sponsoring P-CAMP, an Agile Unconference for Product Managers and other product champions. This event originated out of the famed FooCamp and BarCamp. We’re planning to participate in panels and discussions with other Silicon Valley product managers regarding working in today’s distributed team environments. Where: Yahoo! Building C, 701 First Ave, Sunnyvale, CA When: Saturday, March 15th, 2008 Cost: Free! Hope to see you there. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

The first oDesk e-book

January 28, 2008 by

We’re always happy when we get online coverage about oDesk, but we took special notice of this new blog. Check out this project by some dedicated oDesk users – they’re creating the first oDesk e-book for freelancers. We’re happy to see this project getting started and we plan to support and contribute however we can. Now’s your chance to help shape the development of the book by discussing the topics that concern freelancers. How to best succeed on oDesk? How to get noticed in the network? How to write great cover letters? How to select an hourly rate? What questions do you have? Let them know. Read Full Article

oConomy

United States making a comeback

January 22, 2008 by

Much has been published recently about the decline of the US dollar and the reverse flow of jobs back to the US from popular offshore outsourcing hotspots including India and China. It made me curious to see the trends at oDesk. We have providers all over the world, and should be able to see this trend if it’s really happening. So here it is: Looks to me that while the entire market for remote contract labor is growing, the United States is possibly growing most rapidly over the last couple quarters. Read Full Article

oConomy

Age of the Contractor

January 17, 2008 by

Check this out: Age of the Contractor article was posted in the New York Times. Andrew Benkard interviewed oDesk’s CEO, Gary Swart, and here’s part of what he had to say: “Here’s the problem: you have hired a website designer in Mumbai, India to redesign your site and you are paying her an hourly wage. How do you know she isn’t sipping chai when she should be coding – and perhaps more to this point, how do you know she’s on the right track in terms of what you want? Enter oDesk…” Read the full article on oDesk in the New York Times. Read Full Article

oConomy

The best portraits on oDesk

January 17, 2008 by

There’s always been some discussion about whether or not portraits are important for the provider profiles. I firmly believe that they are – and I’m happy to see some providers have used the portrait to really market themselves well. Consider these portraits: – This says to me that the provider is professional, can functionally use Photoshop, and gives me a sense of his style. – I like this one. It shows both individualism as well as the corporate brand of the oDesk affiliate company. – Another well done portrait showcasing the company name and brand as well as the individual. – This one makes me feel like she’s already thinking about my design. – Ok, this guy knows his stuff, a true computer geek with disassembled parts in the background. – Nice touch, but would prefer more of the face. If I’m looking for an animator, I’m intrigued. – A bit impersonal since no face, but I like the clever sense of style. – Hmm. Nothing like showing off a little local scenery I suppose. – Professional, casual, sincere. I get a sense of the individual as well as the workplace. Quite nice. Compare the portraits above to this one: What do you think potential buyers would prefer? So, upload a portrait. Exercise some creativity, but keep it personal and individual. You only have a brief second to impress buyers in the search results and a good intriguing portrait can capture that attention. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

oDesk Pack in Beta

January 16, 2008 by

What is it? We’ve released an update to our oDesk Team application called oDesk Pack and we’re looking for beta testers! The new oDesk Pack comes in a single install package and also has a suite of new features, including: Local ScreenSnap — Save your ScreenSnaps to your desktop oDesk Preferences — Manage when applications launch and control the settings oDesk Extras — Try Short URL for sending URLs over IM or email, CleanText if you’re copying any HTML to another document and Windows Manipulation hotkeys if you’re looking for faster ways to work MiniCam — Use a webcam? Check whether your face is on the screen with MiniCam If you are a Windows Vista user or have had problems with oDesk Team restarting, we recommend that you try this version of the oDesk Team application. Where can I try it? Download the new oDesk Pack and run odesksetup.exe. This should upgrade your oDesk Team client. Love it? Have suggestions or problems? Tell us what you think in the community forums. Learn more about the oDesk Pack and the new features! … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Job Facts Popup

January 9, 2008 by

We have made it easier for buyers to view the job facts for a provider’s past work on oDesk. Clicking on a job listed in the provider profile used to take you to another page; now, the job facts will popup in the same screen. This will make navigating through profiles even easier. How does it work? When viewing a provider’s profile in the Profiles Beta view, select either the “Overview” tab (for recent jobs) “Work History & Feedback” tab (for all jobs): Click on any job title that is a link and a summary will pop up with the information about the job and the buyer, as shown below: … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Job Application Quota

January 9, 2008 by

What is it? The merit-based job application quota limits the number of jobs providers can apply to on a weekly basis. Why did we do this? We believe that quality is critical to everyone and we want to reward quality providers. While we know that new providers on the oDesk network may have a difficult time getting their first jobs, we believe it is in their best interest to take online skill tests and thoughtfully apply to jobs. Some buyers have been flooded with interview requests and cut-and-paste cover letters when they post a new job. Our current job quota is 20 jobs per week; this feature will change that. We think that by instituting a merit-based job application quota, providers will more carefully select which jobs they will apply to. How does it work? The job application quota is based on the providerâs feedback score and the number of tests taken. Providers who have not received any feedback can increase their job application quota by taking more online skill tests. Providers who have received a low Feedback Score can raise their quota by accruing higher feedback numbers and raising their provider Feedback Score. To calculate your job application quota, refer to the number of online skill tests you have taken and your total feedback score (if you have feedback). Learn more about the job application quota. How can I take online tests? We have partnered with a vendor to provider over 100 different skill tests in a wide range of skills. To take tests, sign into my.odesk.com and select the Provider Console. Look for the My Tests link on the left-hand side: You can then select one of the dozens of tests we have available. Learn more about online testing on oDesk. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Essential tools for remote communication

January 8, 2008 by

It’s 2008. You probably have contractors in 6 different time zones. Development in Russia, QA in India, home-sourced Customer Support in Utah, and an SEO link-builder in the Philippines. How are you communicating with your team? Here are the tools that I love: Chat Google Talk – can’t live without it. It’s running 24×7 and stacked chats preserve my sanity. The translation bots are also uber-cool for communicating with any ESL (English as Second Language) colleagues. Pidgin - so maybe you talk with people on Google Talk, Yahoo, AIM, ICQ, and Skype. Running out of system resources? Run Pidgin as your one-stop shop for chat clients. Skype - can’t beat it for Group chats or conference calls. I personally think VoIP quality is better on G-Talk for 1:1, but groups require Skype. Yahoo Messenger – a nice full featured chat client. As with any chats for work, make sure to turn on archiving. Task Management Bugzilla - a little difficult open-source-style UI, but very useful and powerful. Provisioned free with each oDesk account. Basecamp - widely regarded as one of the best for task and project management. Jira - also gets great feedback from project managers that utilize the tool. Trac - useful and powerful open-source task management system. One of the few along with Basecamp and Jira that have risen to the top of the crowded project management software space. Remember the Milk – for something a little different and lighter weight, check out Remember the Milk. You can share task lists and track status and priority of each items. Learn the hotkeys. Oh, did I mention it’s free. Documents Google Docs – the days of emailing Word and Excel docs are dead. Use … Read Full Article

The Way We Work

8 warning signs that a contract job is failing

January 4, 2008 by

Guess what? Not every job succeeds. Some recent articles cite very low general satisfaction rates with contract relationships: IT World Canada has a nice article about satisfaction rates citing a drop from 50% to an abysmal 35% satisfaction rate. TransWorldNews cites in their article, Buyer Viewpoint on Information Technology Outsourcing that “45% of the respondents claim that their ITO projects are either unsuccessful or partially successful.” While nobody can ever completely avoid the chance of failure, there are plenty of things you can look for as ‘early warning’ signs. If you ignore these, chances are that you’ll soon be throwing good money after bad. If you heed these warning signs when you see them, you can adapt quickly and increase your chances of successfully course-correcting. Now, please don’t let these issues scare you off from pursuing remote contractors to work on your jobs; these are intended to help reach successful outcomes. And fact is, these warning signs are relevant for in-house jobs as well as outsourced ones. 1 – Slowing response time – in my opinion, it should never take more than 1 business day to respond to email. If it suddenly starts taking longer, all is not well on the other end. Press the issue, find out why the responses are taking longer. Demand a faster response and make sure it’s just a temporary blip. 2 – Hesitation to show work – a manager should always be able to see the work in progress. There’s no such thing as “it’s not ready for you to see yet”. You’re an understanding manager, ask to see the work in progress and make sure you like where it’s going. 3 – Missed milestone – not the end of the world (I’ve heard some development projects aren’t always delivered … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Buy oDesk T-shirts at the New oDesk Store

December 20, 2007 by

What is it? You can now purchase oDesk gear at the brand new oDesk Store! We’re offering three cool T-shirt designs you can wear to show your oDesk love! Buy one for yourself, for your friends, or as a holiday gift. Where can I find it? The oDesk Store is still in beta, so it currently resides in oDesklabs. But you can still browse through the T-shirts and make purchases today. The store is powered by Printmojo, so all of your purchases are handled through their secure site. What do the T-shirts look like? We thought you would never ask. Two of them were designed by one of our providers, Ivan A.! Happy Shopping! … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Show Your oDesk Love with a T-Shirt!

December 20, 2007 by

We’re excited to announce the launch of the oDesk Store! We’re featuring three awesome designs to celebrate oDesk love: The store is still in beta, but you can browse through the designs and make purchases today. All of the purchases are handled by Printmojo, who will process and arrange all of the shipping through their secure site. Now, you’re probably thinking, “Wow, those are some pretty cool T-shirts. I wish I was a savvy graphic designer and could come up with something like that for my company.” We’ll let you in on a little secret. Our marketing department didn’t design all of those T-shirts — we outsourced it! We posted a job on oDesk and browsed through provider profiles (particularly those who specialize in graphic design). We found Ivan A., hired him, gave him an idea of what we were looking for, and then let him get creative. Ivan also designed the look and feel of our oDesk Store (he used a customizable PHP script from Printmojo). So even if you don’t have an ecommerce or design background, you can still put together a pretty cool T-shirt store … Read Full Article

The Perfect Job, Sent Straight To You

December 19, 2007 by

We’ve releasing a new feature that allows you to create custom RSS feeds for your RSS reader or site! Looking for high-paying copy editing jobs to advertise on your forums? How about programming jobs that demand specific skills? Don’t waste your time wading through job posts — have them sent directly to you. How does it work? 1. Select your job search criteria. Let’s say you’re a PHP developer interested in only long-term projects that pay per hour. Head over to our job search page and enter in the criteria that fits your project. In this example, we’ve entered: * Keyword: PHP (only in titles and skills) * Hourly Jobs only (Full Time: 30+ hours/week) * Buyers with at least 1 job (this will include buyers with some experience) Click “search” and you get jobs that fit that specific criteria. To have those jobs sent to your RSS Reader, right click the RSS link on the right hand side of the screen to copy the link. Paste it into your RSS Feed Reader and when those jobs are posted on our site, they’ll be sent straight to you! … Read Full Article