Learning from Experts

First, IT pro Josh Delcore hired smart oDesk freelancers to teach him some software tricks. Now his team has built a website to teach them to the world.


Josh Delcore / easy10seconds.com

That's a great thing with oDesk; you don't have to buy a $10,000 piece of software — you can spend 10 bucks to see what someone who knows that software can do.

When Josh Delcore realized that he needed to learn more about using popular software, he went to the typical e-learning websites. He watched dozens of instructional videos, investing hours to find the two-minute piece of information he wanted.

Delcore knew he needed a more efficient way to learn. He created it using oDesk freelancers.

"I saw that I could hire people who knew what they were doing to teach me how to do it," says Delcore, an IT officer at a Chicago architectural firm.

Using freelancers to create the material, Delcore quickly amassed a collection of videos — most under one minute — about performing tasks in popular applications by Microsoft, Adobe and others.

"Then I realized I owned all these videos, and I should do something with them," the 38-year-old Delcore says.

Thus was born easy10seconds.com, an e-learning website that features instructional videos indexed by application and task.

Delcore hopes to build a subscription base for his site — it's free now — attract advertising and market the instructional videos to individuals and corporations. More immediately, the site solved another problem for Delcore, one familiar to most corporate IT people.

"Even though my job [at the architectural firm] is not involved in teaching people, a lot of times, people come to me with questions about software," he says. "This gave me a place to send them."

Websites, however, can be demanding even when you don't already have a full-time job. By hiring oDesk freelancers, Delcore could simply oversee the work.

Six months after beginning with oDesk, Delcore had five freelancers in a core group that sometimes expands to 10.

How He Manages

He's a big fan of the "thousand-foot view" provided by oDesk's report functionality. "It gives me a quick view of what I have spent per person, I can see the hourly detail — which I really like."

"I use a combination of Skype — live meetings are important for collaboration — and e-mail. E-mail is good for documenting, saving attachments and kind of communicating when all the people are not in the same time zone."

They come from the Philippines, China, India, Afghanistan and the southern United States. They write code and Flash, create backlinks and edit videos. "It just blows my mind that I can work with people in almost every time zone and continent instantly," he says.

How He Hires

  • "I usually have a couple of conversations after I think I have someone who might have the tools. In the third conversation, I ask for samples of work I assign. Usually something like a 10-second sample in Adobe Captivate. Out of 10 applicants, I might pick four or five for that."
  • "I look at their work, at who responds the fastest, who has the software I need, and communication — communication's big."
  • "English is not terribly important; the guy I have in China has broken English, but his skills are amazing."

About easy10seconds.com

Easy10seconds.com offers very short, focused web videos on using popular software applications, from how to animate objects in PowerPoint to making the most of Outlook or Excel. The free videos run from eight seconds to two minutes. Owner Josh Delcore turned to oDesk freelancers first to create the content, then to create the site that houses it.