All Things Upwork

Welcome to 2013, oDeskers!

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you for choosing oDesk this year. I am proud to be part of such an engaged, hardworking and innovative community of clients and contractors. By making oDesk your work home, you have continued to make it the largest and fastest-growing online workplace in the world. Thank you.

You’ve done some remarkable work this year. Contractors, you have continued to amaze us with the impressive (and still expanding!) breadth of skills you bring to oDesk, from animation and mobile app development to project management and statistical analysis. Our team was fortunate to meet many of you this year, especially at Contractor Appreciation Day events in Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Texas, and we loved hearing your stories about the careers you’ve built on oDesk. We wish you all the best for your continued success in 2013.

Clients, we loved hearing about your successes and best practices as well. From meeting with various startup groups throughout the year — such as General Assembly most recently — and at various user groups we’ve hosted, we have met so many remarkable businesses that are using oDesk in really exciting ways. One of my favorite stories of the year is that of Jay Shapiro, whose mobile app business is powered exclusively by 30 to 40 oDesk contractors across the globe; Jay runs the business from a 33-foot trailer as he and his family travel the world. We learned how clients like Jay and so many others use online work, including what they would like to see on oDesk. We are eager to put that feedback to good use in the coming year.

Here are a few more things we did this year that will help us make oDesk the best it can be in 2013:

  • Based on your feedback, we redesigned major flows on our web site. This includes a unified ‘My Contractors’ page that enables clients to find — in one place — their current team members, their past hires, candidates they’ve interviewed, and contractors they’ve saved. It also includes a streamlined Message Center, which now features easy links to a thread’s attachments as well as to the profiles of those you’re communicating with.
  • We’ve also made significant investments in our matching algorithms — which help clients find the best contractors for their job and helps contractors find the best jobs for their qualifications — starting with a substantial upgrade to our skills infrastructure.
  • We launched a new look and feel for the oDesk brand, which better reflects the long-lasting professional relationships users build on oDesk. Love the way you work!  

(But it wasn’t all work and no play — we did have some fun in 2012 too.)

So thanks again, oDeskers, for making the past year such a great one. You are the heart of oDesk, and you are also trailblazers for the rest of the world — you have shown that incredible things are possible when you embrace the freedom and boundless opportunities that working from anywhere, with anyone in the world, can bring. I look forward to seeing all the wonderful things you will accomplish in 2013, and I hope the New Year is a happy, healthy and prosperous one for all of you.


Gary Swart

Chief Executive Officer

Gary Swart is the CEO of oDesk, the world’s largest online workplace. Gary is a thought leader in entrepreneurship; how best to hire and manage teams; and the future of work, including online work. He is passionate about helping small businesses thrive, fueled by his extensive experience working with startups and small businesses that use oDesk, as well as by mentoring entrepreneurs and business school… read more