All Things Upwork

Numbers, numbers, everywhere: With the rapid pace of change, businesses increasingly turn to data to anticipate what’s coming next and interpret what’s already happened.

Here at oDesk, we analyze our data to better understand trends and growth — plus, we just like exploring the world of online work.

As it turns out, you find the numbers just as interesting as we do! All but one of our top five oDesk posts from 2012, as determined by viewership, center around the “oConomy” — not just the world of online work, but the role oDesk plays in this ecosystem. Here’s a quick recap of the year’s most popular posts.

1. Visualization of the oDesk “oConomy”: Exploring Our World of Work

In July, we launched the oDesk Country Dashboard — an interactive way for everyone to dive into oDesk’s data and explore who’s doing what across 180 different countries. The dashboard provides an easy way to visually:

  • compare activity between countries by day and time;
  • follow oDesk’s overall level of activity; and
  • explore the types of work being completed in each country.

Check it out, and let us know if there are other data cuts you would like to see visualized!

2. The Blackouts in India, Seen in oDesk Data

At the end of July, India was hobbled by a nationwide blackout; some 620 million people were left without electricity (roughly half of India’s population).

India is one of the most active countries on oDesk, so our staff economist John Horton was curious to see how such a widespread disruption might impact online work. “The Blackouts in India” post presents his data-driven look at the oConomy during those disconnected hours.

3. Contractors Average 190% Earnings Growth in 3 Years: What’s Driving This Potential?

We’re always excited to hear about oDesk success stories, but anecdotal evidence highlights limited parts of the big picture; only data can reveal whether that success is widespread.

By analyzing information from 90,000 contractors, Horton found that tenure on oDesk translates to significantly higher earnings for contractors. He also identifies other non-tenure factors that can influence this earnings potential.

4. Digitization of the Supply Side of the Labor Market

The growing use of vast amounts of information to analyze and predict behavior (also known as “big data”) has made a significant impact on how information is presented to us — particularly in retail, where we increasingly see highly customized promotions and content.

So far, the impact of “big data” on the labor market has been limited, at least for the “supply side” of the market (i.e. the job seekers, as opposed to the job openings). However, Horton predicts that this is changing, led by sites like LinkedIn and oDesk. One day soon, instead of the traditional job search, our ideal jobs may come find us.

5. Welcome to the New Home of oDesk’s oConomy

When we introduced the oDesk Country Dashboard (see post #1), we wrote this accompanying article that describes some of the who, what and how of the larger effort behind it — known as the oDesk oConomy.

Classic Advice for Online Work

Beyond the popularity of data-driven posts, these older blog articles — which focus primarily on the essentials of online work — continue to make their mark.

  1. How to Write a Cover Letter. You get one chance to make a first impression; this post explains how a great cover letter can help you shine.
  2. Top 25 Project Management Blogs. If you want to manage projects — and your teams — more effectively, the blogs highlighted here are a great place to start.
  3. Top 10 Online Resources to Learn and Master Microsoft Excel: Training and Tools. Complementing the interest in oDesk data is the number of people learning to use Excel to analyze their own numbers. From forums to training programs, these free resources can help you figure it out.
  4. 5 Steps to Improve Your Online Resume. Making the most of your oDesk profile is a big step towards finding success. Use this list to improve and refocus the way you present yourself.
  5. 7-Item Contractor Checklist for Finding Remote Work. The first question most new oDesk contractors ask is: “How do I get started?” This checklist will walk you through seven key steps to get you on your way.

What posts influenced your work over the past year? Add your favorites in the comments section below.

Amy Sept

Managing Editor

As the managing editor of the Upwork blog, Amy Sept works with regular and guest writers to share information that helps freelancers and businesses navigate the future of work. She owns Nimbyist Communications and helps non-profits, startups, and small business owners get their content marketing on track.