All Things Upwork

oDesk Squeezes In to Help Juice Pitcher Companies

We’re excited about tonight’s sold-out Juice Pitcher event put on by TheFunded.com and Vator.TV.  This unique startup pitching and networking event democratizes access to exposure for promising early stage companies.  136 companies competed for the chance to present tonight to an audience of over 300 investors, founders, and members of the press.  Aaron Patzer, of Mint.com, and Munjal Shah, of Like.com – two leading Silicon Valley CEOs – will be speaking at the event to educate and motivate the participating startups. See this video on Vator.tv » In fact, we’re so excited about Juice Pitcher, we’ve extended our oDesk Challenge offer to the 10 finalists (who haven’t yet been announced).  These early-stage companies are under constant pressure to do more with less, and a great way to do that is enlist the help of teams of online contractors.  Through participation in the oDesk Challenge, we’re going to help them find the very best talent on oDesk, so they can begin reaping the benefits of having an online workteam on their side. Our CEO, Gary Swart, and several members of our team will be attending tonight’s event – if you’ll be attending, we look forward to seeing you there!… Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Contractually Speaking…

Contracts are most likely not your favorite part of freelance work. Hammering out a watertight, legally binding agreement can be a bit of a distraction when what you really need to do is get some work done for your clients. So your choices are: operate on a handshake, purchase an off-the-shelf contract, or employ a lawyer to draft a custom one. While we aren’t lawyers, and wouldn’t presume to tell you how to write your own work contracts, there are a few items that may be worth considering. Below are some of the terms that can cause heartburn when drafting a contract, and how we address them in the oDesk Marketplace User Agreement. Don’t Stiff Me (Services and Fees) – Determining what work is to be done, and how much to be paid is most likely the crux of your contract. oDesk’s take: oDesk encourages you to be upfront about your rates, and guarantees payment for hourly work. Providers should act in good faith to complete the desired work, and buyers are obligated to pay for hours spent (within the agreed upon weekly hours) or the agreed fixed price. I won’t be back. (Termination) – An escape clause can be a touchy subject. Addressing the possibility that the project or working relationship won’t work out can cast a dark cloud over an agreement, but it’s necessary that both parties be protected. oDesk’s take: Hourly assignments may be terminated by buyer or provider at any time, and the Buyer is obligated to pay for hours worked prior to termination. Fixed Price Assignments may only be terminated by mutual agreement. Who owns what? (Work Product and Buyer Deliverable) – Assigning ownership of Intellectual Property is important. Who own the source code? What happens if your client hires a… Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

Congratulations to our Top 25 Providers for September 2009!

We are pleased to announce our best Providers for September 2009! We have over 250,000 Providers on oDesk, but these ones stood out as the cream of the crop this month, as they performed the most hours of work with the highest feedback rating. They have been given special badges recognizing their achievement. oDesk Buyers, you might want to get in touch with these Providers soon…they just completed assignments and are available now, but probably won’t be for long. Click on their profile to check out their work and contact them for an interview! BEST FREELANCE DESIGNERS Top 25 Freelance Designers for September 2009 were: 1 Joanna C. Web Design, Logo, Collaterals, Brochure, Joomla 2 Nikolay Atanasov 3D Generalist / Post prduction 3 David Moehle Voice Talent/Start to Finish Digital Audio Creation and Editing/Writer 4 Francis M. ►► Photoshop | Illustrator | Indesign Cr8TiVE @rtistâ„¢ 5 Salman N. Senior Ruby on Rails/ PHP/J EE/ Flex/ Flash/HTML/CSS Developer 6 Evgeniy Ognarev Illustrations, character design, flash animations, storyboards 7 Allen Kerry â–º 3D Artist Character Modeler, 12 yrs Game dev exp, Fulltime biz, US â—„ 8 Kamal Garg Photoshop, Flash, HTML/DHTML/XHTML, Versatile Website & Logo Designer 9 John Basile Scraster Professional Screencasting 10 Peter Safwat Flash Designer & Developer + Web & Graphic Designer 11 Cheryl B. Graphic designer, 18 years building better brands 12 Kamal Pahuja 3D Modeling, Texturing, Lighiting – Freelance Website/Flash Designer 13 Tania I. Logo Design, Brochure, Website, Stationary, & Illustration Expert 14 Dexter B. Dedicated Illustrator • Professional Artist • oDesk Recognized 15 Nitya S. Web & Graphics… Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

Design of the Month Contest – Let the Voting Begin!

We’re excited to announce that voting has officially begun in our oDesk Design of the Month contest! This time around we have 57 submissions, each of which was built by oDesk providers, and we must say we’re quite impressed with the entries. Here at oDesk we have the privilege of bringing businesses and individuals together with remote workers to collaborate on oDesk, and seeing amazing results come out of it. Our buyers are proud of their products and likewise ourrebeccaturner providers are proud of their hard work. This month’s contest is rather unique because it was open to all types of design work. It allows buyers a chance to show off their masterpieces, from logo and illustration, to video, to web design and everything in between! We’re also excited to showcase the incredible design talent of our community and honor some of the best work done through oDesk. Winners will be chosen entirely by community voting which will continue through October 31st. The grand prize winner, or Design of the Month will officially be announced on November 1st. So what are you waiting for? Click here to cast your votes – you are allowed to vote for up to 3 apps per day. Facebook guru? You can also vote via our Facebook App. That way, your votes will show up on your walls, and your friends will be encouraged to vote as well. The grand prize winner will get $1,000 oDesk credit, an iPhone, possible press opportunities, and of course, ever-coveted bragging rights! The three runners-up will each get an oDesk t-shirt. So what are you waiting for? Check out the competition (we think you’ll be as impressed as we are) and cast your vote today! Good luck to… Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

Redesigned Assignment Detail Page

We’ve redesigned our assignment detail page and think it will be useful for all users — buyers and providers alike. To access the new page, visit My Jobs > Assignments and click on any assignment, active or ended. For buyers: The assignment detail page is your central screen for each provider. It shows key information, statistics, and actions all on one screen. Everything you need will be one-click away… see the provider’s local time link to the provider’s work diary see how much time (and money) was spent last week, this week, and for the entire assignment send a message to the provider or staffing manager change rate or weekly limit make bonus or fixed-price payments end an assignment manage feedback for ended assignments For providers: The assignment detail page is your central screen for each of your assignments… view your own work diary for that assignment see how much was earned last week, this week, and for the entire assignment send a message to the buyer end an assignment give refunds Let us know what you think!… Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

Announcing the oDesk API Center

“Work is no longer tied to a single location – it happens anywhere on the Web, anywhere in the world.” – Gary Swart, oDesk CEO The oDesk iPhone App announced today was built by leveraging oDesk APIs, which are now publicly available in the oDesk API Center. In releasing access to our APIs, we’d like to encourage developers and managers to create custom workspaces that shape existing oDesk tools to fit their own specific needs. The APIs currently available: * Authentication – Allows for login/logout functionality to be implemented from outside the oDesk site. * Provider Search – Facilitates the searching of oDesk provider data. * Provider Profile – Returns detailed profile information about a provider or list of providers. * Team – Provides multi-directional interaction capabilities with the oDesk Team and its members. * Work Diary – This method retrieves all screenshots captured from a user account within a single day. * Get Snapshot – Retrieves one or more snapshots of activity from a user account in a company’s team at defined points in time. Visit the oDesk API Center at: http://developers.odesk.com/… Read Full Article

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The Key to Long-Term Success

Jasmine with oDesk friends, April 2008We’re always talking about building long-term relationships on oDesk, about building success for both buyer and provider. We practice what we preach in our customer service department. It has nearly doubled to 17 providers in five months — and performance metrics are growing faster, even as provider turnover drops to practically zero. That last stat, one longtime provider says, comes from having a strong team environment. “Things change when you love your work,” says Jasmine Sison, who has been with the team for two years. “I am always looking to find new ways of making my work easier and faster without sacrificing quality.” Jasmine quit her in-house job and has worked full-time for the oDesk team since January ’08. She notes that the posting that led to this great fit seemed perfectly suited to her from the start — it wasn’t just work she could do, it was work she wanted to do. “The position was something that interested me and I am very good at doing,” she says. “A nice combination of my education, acquired skills and experiences that I have gained from other work and work environments.” As director of customer service, Shannon Adkins makes sure the job stays interesting, and that her providers continue to feel engaged, with brief weekly training sessions in which they troubleshoot a recent difficult case. She also uses oDesk’s transparency to keep everyone involved. “All metrics are published to the entire team, and all team members know how they are doing relative to their peers, as well as how oDesk as a whole is doing.” And those who are doing well receive bonuses. But Shannon looks not just to the present, but the future: “We provide a clear guideline of how to… Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

Spotlight Providers (September 2009)

Each month we like to highlight 4 providers who’ve received exemplary feedback. Great job Alexey, Beverly, Misha and Tamara — you’ve earned this!   Alexey Z C/C++ Technical Lead Total oDesk Hours: 217 Overall Feedback: 5.00 (Based on 1 feedbacks) Comments: I would like to stress his ability to deliver work right on time, as you dont see this too often. His communication skills were excellent, and he could quickly understand my needs. Beverly B MarCom and Administrative Assistance by Seasoned Professional Total oDesk Hours: 101 Overall Feedback: 5.00 (Based on 1 feedbacks) Comments: Beverly was a great provider. She had all the right tools and helped us on our webinars, PowerPoints, and content creation projects. Thanks! Misha B (Affiliated with UACoders) Drupal/PHP/MySQL/HTML/JS/CSS Total oDesk Hours: 1,289 Overall Feedback: 4.62 (Based on 14 feedbacks) Comments: Misha is a talented and capable developer with an in-depth knowledge of Drupal. He is a pleasure to work with and a valuable part of our development team. Tamara B 2400+ oDesk HRS-90WPM Transcribe, Transcription (audio/video) Total oDesk Hours: 2,440 Overall Feedback: 5.00 (Based on 41 feedbacks) Comments: I have been working with Tamara for over 1 year now. I have never been so happy with a service provider! She gets the job done fast, accurate, and loves what she does. Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

Message Center Now Supports Attachments

The Message Center is one of the most heavily used screens in all of oDesk. It is used primarily to interview candidates and potential employers, and to communicate with your team. We’ve gotten a lot of requests for the ability to attach files to oDesk messages. Now you can! Anywhere you send a message to another user, whether from the candidate list, the team room, or replying to a message in your Inbox, you can attach a file. You can attach files to tickets, too. Keep that feedback coming! Occasionally, we listen…… Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Building a Website: What technology should you use?

Should your next website or software app use PHP, ASP, AJAX, JavaScript, Flash, or another technology that you’ve just heard about? Should it be hosted on your LAMP or Windows server, or reside in “The Cloud?” I recently had a friend pursuing his entrepreneurial spirit who wanted advice on how to create a new interactive website. He has a fantastic idea and some basic understanding about current Internet technologies and asked if he should use a wiki, blog, HTML, custom PHP, or an out-of-the-box solution to run his website. Over the years I have had many clients come to me with technology questions. Some people read an article and get very excited about the “Technology Du Jour” when their time would be better spent focusing on the user experience and scope of the project lifespan. Others get very involved in the technical details, when defining the big picture would address their concerns. As a rule, I steer clear of potential clients who know that they want to use Flash, or AJAX. The success of the project rarely depends on the type of tools but rather on the expertise of the person using them. I learned this from my father – he was a successful auto mechanic who guaranteed his work and would be cautious of a customer that brings his car in and asks for a new brake master cylinder to fix the squeak in the front end. It is always best to fully evaluate the best outcome and then look for the best solution, rather than try to make the solution fit the desired outcome. When approaching a new technology application, as developers, we always keep the user experience in mind. We first focus on what the project is trying to accomplish and determine about how to get it… Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Are You a Consultant on the Go? There’s an App for that…

I was on the road last Thursday, after a Client meeting, and I had an oDesk conference call in 3 minutes. I pulled over at the nearest strip mall, parked, pulled out my iPhone and dialed into the meeting just as someone on the call said: “OK, I just e-mailed out the agenda. Everyone please let me know when you have it open” So I muted the call, and pressed the home button on the iPhone, which switched me back to the main menu (the call remained connected). Cool… Then I launched the E-mail app, and found the e-mail containing the meeting agenda. I was able to open the MS Word Document and view the agenda while still on the call. Very cool…. About two minutes in, someone on the call asked me a question: “Henry, are you available next Tuesday at 2:00? “ So I tapped the yellow bar at the top to switch back to the call, unmuted it, then pressed the home button, launched my Google Mobile app (review, review) and pulled up my Google Calendar. “Yeah, I’m free. Want me to go ahead and send out the meeting invite?” I created a new event, invited attendees, and sent the request out with just a few swipes of the finger. No sooner than I did that, I got an incoming call from a Friend, so I switched back to the phone, and with one click was able to put the conference call on hold while I took the new inbound call. “Hey, I’m on a conference call, can you text me?” I hung up the phone, and switched back to the MS Word Document, and a few seconds later I got a pop-up window with a text message: “Hey… Read Full Article

The Way We Work

(Non-Technical) Freelance Jobs to Boost Income

So, you’re one of the lucky ones who has weathered the economic downturn and has held on to your full-time gig. Unfortunately, thanks to mandatory furloughs and benefit cutbacks, that full-time work may now have part-time pay. Here’s some areas we’ve seen that offer opportunities for non-technical professionals to boost their income with online work: Say “Hire Me” in multiple tongues. For the multi-lingual among us, translation jobs are a great way to keep your language skills sharp while feeding your piggybank. With nearly 500 active translation jobs in a variety of languages – and more openings getting listed every day – you know translators are in demand! Do you speak legalease? Congrats are in order if you do – legal jobs are one area where business is booming and there are plenty of opportunities to earn some extra money writing contracts, doing legal research, or providing advice to young businesses. Pitch us! As companies tighten their belts, the budget for PR jobs gets tight. But there are opportunities for folks with the right skills to save the day by providing freelance press release writing, event coordination or strategy consultation. Content is STILL king… There’s opportunities for people in a wide range of fields to write articles for print and web use. If you have free time, mad writing “skillz” (and know enough not to use the word “skillz” in your professional writing), you should check out some of the blog & article writing jobs. Got other ideas for part-time freelance work? What are you doing to make extra money this fall?… Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

Take the oDesk Challenge – Meet The Providers (Part 2)

Here’s a continuation of yesterday’s post, showcasing some more of the types of providers available for hire here on oDesk. These are the rockstars we’ll help you find when your venture-backed startup signs up to take the oDesk Challenge. Alexander Bondarenko, Web Developer Alexander Bondarenko is a developer based in Kiev, Ukraine. With a master’s degree in computer engineering from the National University of Ukraine, Alexander has the skills that many businesses look for on oDesk. With expertise in PHP, Javascript, HTML, Smarty, Jquery, and the Zend Framework, Alexander has been a successful provider on oDesk for more than 3 years. Vadim Kravchuk, QA Engineer Vadim Kravchuk is a QA Engineer based in Zhitomir, Ukraine. He has a master’s degree in computer engineering from Engineering and Technology University of Zhitomir. His skillset includes LAMP, PHP, Perl, Delphi as well as administration of ISP, Postgres and Deputy Director. His testing expertise includes manual and automation, black and white-box testing. He is proficient in requirements/architecture/code analysis. Vadim has been testing oDesk projects for the last 3 years. Suzanne Davis, Customer Support Rep Suzanne is a customer support representative based in Burns Flat, Oklahoma. She has a background in administration and customer service beginning with companies such as Convergys and Duke Energy. Along the way she transitioned from working in physical call centers and executive offices to working from home answering customer calls while still providing executive level service. She has held roles as HR Manager, Customer Service Trainer and Head of a Customer Service department for several firms, and is now part of the oDesk Customer Support team. Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

Top Tech Skills You Used to Know

The speed of innovation means new technologies are being introduced every day. What you may not realize is that some of the “older” tech knowledge is still in demand today, and with an abundance of new-generation programmers flooding the digital realm, programmers with some old-school knowledge can be worth a pretty penny.  Here are five savvy skills from yesteryear that can still prove themselves valuable, even if they don’t pop up in every day conversation. LOTUS NOTES Lotus Notes has a history spanning more than 20 years, causing some industry analysts and mainstream business press writers to make predictions of its impending demise, but the numbers don’t lie: IBM reported an increase of 100 million seats over the last decade. While the market for jobs requiring Lotus Notes skills has been up and down, there are a few folks out there consistently looking for those with the knowledge to handle any Lotus-related curveball that may come their way. UNIX SHELL The Unix shell was unusual when it was first created in 1977. On systems using a windowing system (as many do these days) some users may never use the shell directly. On Unix systems, the shell is still the implementation language of system startup scripts, including the program that starts the windowing system, the programs that facilitate access to the Internet, and many other essential functions. Due to the recent movement in favor of open source software, most Unix shells have at least one version that is distributed under an open source license, which may further explain why this “old school” technology is still a desirable job skill. COLDFUSION ColdFusion was anything but cold when it hit the digital realm in the mid 1990s. Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

Take the oDesk Challenge – Meet The Providers (Part 1)

This Monday, we announced the oDesk Challenge – and we’ll continue to post more details over the next few days. We’ve been asked about the types of providers available to hire on oDesk. Below are a few examples of the stellar providers venture-backed startups may be interested in hiring through participation in the oDesk Challenge (and there are 320,000+ others, as well!): David Kadavy, Graphic Designer Although David bills himself as a graphic designer, he’s more like a Marketing and Product department all in one. Based in Chicago, he is experienced in branding, product management, user experience design, graphic desgin, front-end XHTML/CSS coding, SEO, and Google Analytics. David has Silicon Valley startup experience, and has several endeavors of his own, including Flatmate Meetup, nom.ms, and the Through a Friend Facebook Application. Thea Go, Customer Service Rep Thea Go was a Quality Analyst in an American multi-national company the Philippines. When she got pregnant she started thinking of a alternative ways to make a living and at the same time be with her baby. She started with small projects, building her career expertise in several fields of work. She built her reputation through feedback scores and work history, and has recently joined oDesk’s very own customer support team. John Kim, SEO Consultant John Kim is a Search Engine Optimization lover with the track record of a VC-funded startup behind him. As Five9.com’s founding CEO & principal lead generator, John grew the company from his apartment in Alameda, California, to a business that generated $10M annually through the web. John has helped half a dozen VC funded startups achieve their online marketing goals. He has a reputation for frankness with clients and passion for lead generation. Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

Share with Twitter

We have launched our first integration with Twitter. In addition to sharing on Facebook, Buyers can share their job openings on Twitter to get more candidates from their network. Providers can share test results and promote their profile, letting the world know they are ready to work on oDesk. With the oDesk ‘Share on Twitter’ you’re in full control – you decide what you want to showcase on Twitter, and we will not share your oDesk information without your approval. Activate Twitter now! Got feedback? Please let us know what you think in this thread. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

First Impressions Online: Make your written communications count!

Here’s the scenario: You just got a callback on a job interview for a big league position, and you have a meeting with the hiring manager tomorrow afternoon. The ironing board immediately comes out to press your suit into a flawless statement of power. A quick visit to the hair salon turns the mop on your head into an executive-level style. That evening you review your resume and portfolio, making sure both are updated with your latest and greatest accomplishments. You make every conceivable effort to absolutely knock the socks off the interviewer, because everyone knows the cliché: You never get a second chance to make a first impression. And yet, when it comes to written communications online—be it for freelance work, full-time positions, or even general inquiries—folks haphazardly shoot out emails or post profiles with nary a proofread. The fact is, sloppy online first impressions are the equivalent of showing up to an interview—or conducting the interview—wearing ripped jeans, a dirty T-shirt, and a baseball cap advertising beer. And yes, these E-impressions matter just as much as the real thing. Like it or not, the text you type isn’t just your flawless business suit, it’s also your perfect haircut, friendly smile, attentive posture, and firm handshake all rolled into one. If that sounds a little frightening, well, it should. If anything, text-based first impressions are even more important than their in-person counterparts, simply because so much rides on so little. On the flip side, introductions though an email or online posting can be immensely advantageous, in that text-based impressions can be endlessly reviewed, revised, and polished beforehand. As such, there’s no real excuse for a poorly-worded first impression, and if you send just such a communication to someone like Jerry over at PSPrint.com, don’t expect to hear anything… Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

Take the oDesk Challenge – What We’ll Do

Yesterday we announced the oDesk Challenge at TechCrunch50 – and we’ve already received some great questions about what exactly we’re doing for venture-backed startups. Today’s post introduces the process and the oDesk team who will be by your side throughout it. Once a venture-backed company signs up as an oDesk buyer and posts its first job, our team takes over. Just let us know you want to take part in the oDesk Challenge, and we’ll get to work – starting with a brief phone call with you to understand what skills you’re looking for. We’ll then handle sourcing & interviewing candidates for you, and serve up the top 3 candidates for your job within a week. Please visit www.odesk.com/oDeskChallenge for more details! One of these ‘oDesk Challenge’ account managers will find the top 3 candidates for your job Amit Bakshi amitbakshi@odesk.com donot deleate Rebecca Daneault rdaneault@odesk.com donot deleate Josh Breinlinger josh@odesk.com donot deleate Customer Service 22,000 oDesk providers Interact with your customers via phone, email, and chat Hourly Rates $4-15 Graphic Designers 87,000 oDesk providers Do your HTML, CSS, and offline graphic design Average Hourly Rates $10-30 SEO/SMM Experts 43,000 oDesk providers Blog writers, social media account managers, and SEO linkbuilders Average Hourly Rates: $8-30… Read Full Article

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We won a TC50 Audience Choice Award! Thanks for all your help

Yesterday, at 4:30pm, after a long day of demoing oDesk in the TechCrunch50 DemoPit, Michael Arrington dropped by our table to inform us we won an Audience Choice Award and a chance to demo on stage to all 2,000 conference attendees.  We were already thrilled at the warm the reception our product had been getting all day, but this was a truly spectacular opportunity and a great way to end the day. Here’s the demo our CEO, Gary Swart, gave.  The panel of experts consisted of Marc Andreessen, Roelof Botha, Paul Graham, Tony Hsieh, and Marissa Mayer. Thanks to everyone who stopped by our demo table and gave us the chance to earn your vote.  And thanks for everyone who blogged, and facebooked, and especially tweeted on our behalf.  The twitter activity was amazing.  We love these events, as they give us the chance to get in front of users, old and new, and remind us that we’re playing a small part in Changing How the World Works!… Read Full Article

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Visit oDesk in the TechCrunch50 DemoPit (and give us your poker chip!)

As we mentioned in our earlier post, we’re thrilled to be in the TechCrunch50 DemoPit this morning.  Here at the conference, every attendee is given a poker chip, which counts as a vote for the DemoPit company the attendee is most excited about.  The company with the most votes gets to present on stage as the “Audience Choice Award.” So, our job is to get you to visit our demo booth, blow you away with our demo, and get you to give us your poker chip!  Please stop by and give us a chance to earn your vote!  (Voting closes at 2:30pm)… Read Full Article