All Things oDesk

Buzz about oDesk

March 21, 2008 by

We’re always happy when people talk about oDesk, and now we’re giving just a little something back. Everybody likes free stuff right? We’re giving away free t-shirts for the following 5 posts about oDesk this month: 1) My take on someone else’s rant from Michel V 2) Real Work at Home Jobs from Doreen M 3) oDesk review from Karel S 4) oDesk has a deal for freelancers – from WebWorkerDaily 5) More ways to become a paid writer from MoueMagazine If you’re out there talking about oDesk, don’t hesitate to let us know. We might send you a shirt from our store. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

oDesk Perspective: The Test Drive

March 20, 2008 by

Buyers hiring their first remote providers might feel as though they’re going in blind. You find someone with a good rating, a profile listing the skills you need, and perhaps some encouraging scores on oDesk’s performance tests. But even after a chat or two, you’re still hiring someone half a planet away and entrusting him or her with tasks essential to your business. It’s an unnerving risk, a roll of the dice. But there’s no reason not to stack the odds in your favor. When you buy a car, you test drive several before settling on the one for you. You don’t buy a house until you’ve had a good walkthrough – perhaps several. You don’t hire a new staff member without reading her resume, chatting on the phone, holding an in-person interview or two, and checking references. And you probably do it for several people before you settle on the right hire. It’s the same process with remote workers – only the strategies change. Instead of face-face communication, you use Web conferencing and Skype. Instead of seeing the person at work in the next office, you have the Work Diary. And instead of a three-step interview process that includes a technical test, you hire a few providers for a literal test drive. Contact a handful of likely candidates and give each a small trial before putting a long and vital project in anyone’s hands. If you need a PHP programmer for a project that will take more than 1000 hours, you can’t afford to find out at hour 48 that you’ve hired the wrong person. Instead, contact three likely candidates and tell them you’re in the process of settling on the right provider. Hire each to do a simple project, something with a time limit of … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

oDesk meets OStatic

March 14, 2008 by

A little while back I wrote about how open-source work serves as a great resume builder. Today, I had the pleasure of speaking with OStatic. – A message from their site: Our goal is to increase the adoption of Open Source Software by helping users find viable projects and applications that fulfill specific needs, evaluate them against available alternatives and collaborate with their network of trusted peers. OStatic seems to fill a great need in the IT world. I browsed around today and already feel a bit more enlightened about the vast number of great open-source projects out there. It is an excellent tool for discovery of new projects as well as information and resources around each project on their project pages. Here’s the page for Subversion. We think that this is a great resource for buyers and providers to find, evaluate, and collaborate around open-source projects and hope that oDesk users will find it to be helpful. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Sneak Peek

March 13, 2008 by

I just wanted to give readers a little preview of our new and improved website that is scheduled to launch next Wed, Mar 18th. We think it will appeal to our visitors that are looking for long-term relationships with value-added tools in the Manage and Pay components of our offering. We tried to simplify the homepage and make it more clear where to go and what to do. Here’s a peek into our sandbox: – Top of new homepage – Bottom of new homepage – Tour page – Tour page zoomed in to show feature – Who Uses oDesk page with testimonials – FAQs page What do you think? … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

oDesk Pack for Windows

March 6, 2008 by

We’ve made some major enhancements to the oDesk client applications for Windows.  We’ve taken previously separate client applications like oDesk Team and oDesk Share and bundled those and more into a single downloadable client application – oDesk Pack for Windows. Check out the new video tutorials. New features include: 1. A single install package for several oDesk Applications, including oDesk Team, Share, ScreenSnap, MiniCam and oDesk Extras. 2. oDesk Preferences, which you can access by right-clicking on either the oDesk Team or oDesk Share icons in your system tray (the icons are new, too! oDesk Share and  oDesk Team). Using oDesk Preferences, you can select when different applications launch and control the settings for each application. You can also install oDesk Extras. 3. oDesk Extras, including:         * Short URL, which allows you to create permanent short URLs for emails, etc.        * Plain Text, which allows you to paste HTML text without tags into other documents        * Windows Manipulation, which allows you to use hotkeys to change the size and position of windows 4. MiniCam, which allows you to see a tiny camera icon in your System Tray. 5. Local ScreenSnaps. Use our ScreenSnap tool to create JPEG, PNG and BMP images that you can save locally. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

oDesk Certified Providers

March 6, 2008 by

Over 21,000 providers within the oDesk network have taken over 63,000 oDesk online tests to certify their skills for potential buyers. Now they can also declare their certifications anywhere online with our new “oDesk Certified” icons. I recently took the SEO test and, lucky for me, I passed: … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Embed Certifications

March 4, 2008 by

We’re impressed! The oDesk provider network has now collectively passed over 63,000 online certification tests as a result of the efforts of over 21,000 providers.  The certification tests have always been a way for oDesk providers to demonstrate their skills and abilities to potential buyers.  Now you can tell the world about your oDesk certifications too, we’ve put together an oDesk Certified logo for each provider that has passed a test.  You can get the embed code from the My Tests section and post it anywhere you like.  The logo will link back to your oDesk profile by default. Here’s one of the certifications I was lucky enough to pass: … Read Full Article

oConomy

Feedback systems: principles and issues

March 4, 2008 by

Let’s talk about feedback systems. In the early days of oDesk (read: 2005), we didn’t have a feedback system in place and I remember being on sales calls where almost every potential customer said, “You know, you guys should build a feedback system. Like eBay.” And it’s not surprising; feedback systems are such a fundamental part of making an online marketplace work that it sticks out like a sore thumb if you don’t have one. Feedback systems in online marketplaces are designed to improve the user experience as a whole by allowing users to establish their own reputation and review the reputation of others. Users submit feedback on other users and relay their positive or negative experience so others can review feedback before entering into a transaction or relationship. In theory, it all works great. But it depends on a few key principles: 1) Identity Verification – what if any user could create multiple profiles? Well, then there’s not enough motivation to maintain a positive reputation. If I receive a negative feedback score, no worries, I’ll just create a new profile. Problem solved. 2) Transparency - what if people could leave feedback and comments, but others couldn’t see that feedback? Well, that wouldn’t do much good. If a user has received some negative feedback, others need to know about it. 3) Accuracy - the feedback that users leave on the system must be accurate. This seems simple, but in reality is quite complex. There are a lot of factors that go into a user’s decision about whether or not to leave positive or negative feedback. 4) Consistency - users should all “grade” the same. If a user is just a particularly tough critic, it might throw things off. For the vast majority of cases, … Read Full Article

Open source work as a portfolio

February 29, 2008 by

Very recently, one of oDesk’s product architects based here in Menlo Park posted a job opening on our site to find an additional engineer to add to our growing team. He received a number of candidates and then had to screen and interview to find the top provider to join the team. He found all of the profile information helpful, and reviewed feedback scores, requested oDesk tests, and looked for personalized cover letters of individuals that seemed truly motivated to do the job. Once he had narrowed the list down to just a couple candidates. He researched their work history in more detail. He ultimately chose a particular candidate in India largely based on an example of his work. Now, this wasn’t a web developer, so he couldn’t review a portfolio of websites. He also wasn’t able to review prior code because much of it is proprietary for other clients. So, it came down to reviewing prior work on open-source projects. Why should you care about open-source work? 1) It’s completely open. You can review the exact code, revisions, and comments made by the individual contributor. 2) It shows motivation. Open-source work doesn’t pay, so if a provider has dedicated some of their personal time to contribute to an open-source project, it demonstrates a high-level of personal motivation. 3) It demonstrates knowledge of relevant technology. For oDesk, and for almost any small tech company these days, open-source technology is critical to business operations. It’s important for any engineers to be familiar with a good number of open-source tools. So, if you are a provider and looking to build out a robust online profile, consider finding an interesting open-source project and contributing however you can. You will always be able to share this … Read Full Article

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