Location Independent: Bernard Vukas’ Travel and Work Experiment

December 13, 2012 by

Sights and sounds that many of us will never see or hear are just another stop on the road for Bernard Vukas—from Ottoman mosques in Turkey, to rice and curry shops in Thailand, to a beachfront office in the Philippines. With a lifestyle that is nothing if not location-independent, Vukas—a Microsoft Office Business Applications (OBA) developer originally from Croatia—has embraced the “work anywhere” freedom enabled by online work. Read Full Article

The New Era of Workforce-as-a-Service is Here

December 11, 2012 by

Last week, I attended a fireside chat event with Gary Swart, the CEO of oDesk, where I was blown away by the concept of an on-demand online workforce and how Gary predicts that by 2020, one in every three employees in the workforce will work remotely online. This topic also came up a few days ago at an event I attended at Stanford, where Mary Meeker gave her talk on 2012 Internet Trends. Mary asserted the trend towards an on-demand Workforce-as-a-Service (WaaS) using platforms like oDesk, which enable employment to be asset-light with very minimal fixed costs. I’ve now realized that the on-demand workforce is a reality and many tech giants here in the San Francisco Bay Area are embracing it. In this blog post I’m going to discuss on-demand workforces and how oDesk leverages this trend. Read Full Article

The Latest Coveted Business Address: ‘Global Nomad’

December 10, 2012 by

Although his home is in northern New Jersey, Jay Shapiro's preferred business address is “global nomad,” as he runs his business — mobile app development platform Infinite Monkeys — from a laptop with no fixed address. Often it’s from his lake house in Canada, but occasionally it’s from his custom-built motor home — a carbon-neutral, heavily modified Ford F650 he calls the “EcoRoamer,” in which his family tours the world. “With the advent of online project management tools and access to a huge talent pool, we could assemble a team with all the skills you could possibly need to build a company," he says. "We have staff literally spread across six continents. They are an incredible team that brings us a level of skills and cost-efficiency we could never get in the past." Read Full Article

Planning for Contractors: Managing Your Money And Your Skills

December 3, 2012 by

Freelancing is the fastest-growing sector of the economy, but traditional safety nets often don't apply. As a result—as cynical as it may sound—there's only one person who is able to look after you and your self-employed future: You. Here's some guidance on two of the most important considerations for long-term freelance career planning—saving for retirement and staying professionally relevant. Read Full Article

Beyond Tech: Agile for Anyone

November 28, 2012 by

National Public Radio (NPR) was facing an innovation challenge: In five years, they hadn't produced a single successful new show—but had spent millions on failed experiments. Agile—traditionally for web and software development—is transforming the way NPR does radio programming: As one blogger describes, the philosophy that products should be released early and iterated often means new programs are essentially in public beta. As NPR’s example illustrates, the principles that define Agile can transform your business, whatever industry you're in. Read Full Article

A Voyage into International Event Planning

November 26, 2012 by

Planning an international event is certainly not easy — at least, that’s what I thought as I planned two large events in Bangladesh and the Philippines for oDesk this year. I had never been to Bangladesh or the Philippines, nor do I have relatives there. Plus, in addition to planning the events from 7,000 miles away, I was working with a rather conservative budget. At first this project seemed extremely daunting and nerve-wracking, particularly when one event was estimated to have 1,000 attendees! But with a little prep and on-the-ground support, I’m happy to say that these events were a success. We had excellent feedback from our members and we learned a lot about contractors, their countries and ourselves in the process. As a result, I wanted to share my experiences to help future event planners. I won’t sugarcoat it, it does involve a lot of work. But with the tips laid out here, I hope you can benefit from my experience. Read Full Article

The Future Workforce: Technology Fueling a Revolution in Job Creation

November 20, 2012 by

Our friends over at Singularity University recently published a fascinating article in The Washington Post about the impact of technology on the future workforce. It features an email exchange with Vivek Wadhwa, Singularity’s Vice President of Innovation and Research, and futurist Ray Kurzweil, in which they discuss whether the rapid advancement of technology will have a net positive or negative impact on employment in the future. They both make intriguing points, but one that I feel strongly about falls on Kurzweil’s side of the argument—which is that Internet technology is creating a revolution in employment, one that’s for the better. Read Full Article

Beyond Orientation: Successful Online Team Onboarding

November 13, 2012 by

Many clients simply give new hires a brief orientation process and a workflow manual to read. But taking it one step further with an extended onboarding program—like intense job orientation—can be a powerful tool for integrating new hires, especially when the team is distributed around the country or the world. Here are some strategies for making new hires as successful as possible through a thoughtful onboarding process. Read Full Article

Creating Work-Family Balance Through Flexible Work

November 7, 2012 by

High levels of work-family stress are causing many people to look for more flexible solutions—and often, that solution is the life of an independent worker. A recent survey by professional staffing company Mom Corps found that 52 percent of employees would start their own business in order to get the flexibility they’re looking for. "As professionals come to terms with the idea of flexibility, they are gaining confidence in seeking their preferred work environment and shaping their careers accordingly," said Allison O'Kelly, founder and CEO of Mom Corps. Read Full Article

How a Rural Tennessee County is Fighting Unemployment With Online Work

October 30, 2012 by

In 2009, Perry County faced a bleak future. The Tennessee county had the third-highest unemployment rate in the nation at 27 percent, even lower than during the Great Depression. As factories had slowly but steadily abandoned Perry County, leaving in their wake low-wage jobs as the sole employment option, the county knew it would take an innovative solution to create meaningful employment. In response, they launched an online work initiative, and now they're helping people create careers and build skills, and turning the statistics around. Read Full Article

“Straight-Shootin’” Insights from oDesk’s Events in Texas

October 18, 2012 by

The oDesk team recently traveled down to the thriving startup hub of Austin, Texas, to host both a client user group and a Contractor Appreciation Day (and to have some really great barbecue). We met with an extremely entrepreneurial and passionate group of both clients and contractors, who had some great insights to share about how to build a business on oDesk. Here were the top three highlights. Read Full Article

“Less-Owning Startups” and the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

October 16, 2012 by

What do you get when you combine a high rate of entrepreneurship with a new mentality regarding ownership? You get today’s millennial generation—and that confluence has significant implications for the economy and the future of entrepreneurship, according to oDesk CEO Gary Swart. In his recent article for Forbes, Gary discusses how millennials' high entrepreneurship rate, as well as their tendency to prefer "access to ownership" instead of ownership itself, will change the way startups are structured in the future. Read Full Article