Startup Resources

The Next Silicon Valley is Closer Than You Think

January 13, 2014 by

Researchers found that cities known for supporting “anchor institutions” like large companies and well-funded universities (e.g., Boston, Mass.) employed significantly more technology inventors, but they were not producing a proportionally larger amount of citation-weighted patents. What’s the takeaway of these findings? The best cities for technology innovation have a varied ecosystem, with at least one large institution and many smaller companies. oDesk’s own VP Matt Cooper takes this discussion one step further in his Inc. column, arguing that the rise of online collaboration tools has rendered geographic location all but moot. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

For Productivity, Stop Crushing It & Be the Tortoise

January 10, 2014 by

Here we all are at the beginning of 2014 with shiny new backpacks full of resolutions, goals, plans, and projects. What thought process and workflow will you use to meet your goals? What if you started hitching your creative pursuits to the habit of consistency not flashes of brilliance? What if you invested only fifteen minutes a day, six days a week, regardless of how you felt? What if you gave yourself permission to be the humble tortoise, not the glamorous hare? The industrious ant, not the swashbuckling grasshopper. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Book Review – “Remote: Office Not Required”

January 7, 2014 by

Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson's recent book "Remote: Office Not Required" delves into some of the underlying philosophies about remote work that shape the culture of their company, 37Signals. More of a collection of loosely connected, blog-like articles than a definitive management tome, the book largely covers content that will be familiar territory for this blog’s readership. That being said, the authors speak from hard-won experience and there are plenty of practical takeaways that make the book worth a read for even seasoned remote workers and managers. Read Full Article

Startup Resources

Big Idea 2014: More SMBs Will Be Started Than Ever Before

December 31, 2013 by

In his recent LinkedIn column, Gary predicts that more small businesses will be launched in the upcoming year than ever before “because it’s easier than ever to do so.” Citing more accessible, on-demand technology, as well as a positive shift in investors’ attitudes towards entrepreneurial endeavors, he makes a compelling case for an uptick of small business growth. Read Full Article

Startup Resources

From Soggy Bottom to Silicon Valley: Bootstrapping Lessons From a Startup Disaster

December 6, 2013 by

Let’s say your startup is underfunded. How can you triage your branding needs? How do you identify and prioritize the most essential marketing initiatives? Correctly answering these questions can help your company stay afloat during the initial bootstrapping phase; failing to do so, as oDesk VP Matt Cooper learned the hard way, can cost you dearly. In his recent article for Inc. magazine, Matt details the lessons he learned from a failed boat rental business he started with his uncle. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

The Way You Work: oDesk Client Govind Davis on Motivating Remote Teams

December 4, 2013 by

The co-founder and CEO of MCF Technology Solutions—a specialized systems integrator that designs, develops, and implements cloud-based platform solutions—Govind Davis has built an almost entirely virtual company. Aside from three local employees, his staff of approximately 60 people works remotely from around the world. Here, he shares five of his best pieces of advice on how to continuously cultivate and motivate remote teams. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Leadership In A Virtual World: An Interview With Bernard Wilson

November 15, 2013 by

Located in Australia’s sparsely populated Northwest Territory, Darwin is better known for underground mines and tourist traps than for a bustling tech scene. But that hasn’t stopped Bernard Wilson. He’s capitalized on the power of remote work and cloud computing to forge his dream company, Primetime Entertainment. In the process, Wilson has learned valuable lessons on leadership and the importance of remote team relationships. Read Full Article

Startup Resources

The World Doesn’t Need Another Silicon Valley

November 11, 2013 by

It seems every emerging startup hub worldwide aims to recreate the unique entrepreneurial conditions of California's Silicon Valley. But is that possible—or even advised? In his previous column for, oDesk VP of International & Enterprise Matt Cooper interviewed Jon Bradford, the managing director of Techstars London about why entrepreneurs should think more like athletes. In his latest article—part II of that interview—Matt and Jon discuss how startups might actually benefit from being located outside Silicon Valley, and how other entrepreneurial hubs shouldn't necessarily aim to be the next Silicon Valley. Read Full Article

Startup Resources

Entrepreneurs Should Think More Like Athletes

November 5, 2013 by

Visualizing success is a powerful thing. For athletes, it is an essential part of training, alongside practicing the strategies and techniques that will bring them that success. Could the same hold true for entrepreneurs? If the success of the American startup ecosystem is any indication, the answer is yes. In the latest post for his column, oDesk's VP of International & Enterprise Matt Cooper interviews Jon Bradford, the managing director of Techstars London, who discusses how visualizing success can play a significant role in startup outcomes. Read Full Article

Startup Resources

Show Me the Money: 8 Tips on Securing Startup Funding

October 15, 2013 by

You’ve built what you think could be the next best thing—the product everyone needs, only they don’t know it yet. In order to take your company to the next level and bring your product to market, you need funding. I've been at this juncture, learned lessons the hard way from past startups, and also helped oDesk raise four rounds of financing. How to raise funds is one of the main things entrepreneurs ask me, so with the advantage of hindsight I thought I'd share some tips on startup funding. Read Full Article

Online Work Tips & Best Practices

The Way You Work: SMB Owner Marjorie Asturias Shares Her oDesk Success Tips

October 10, 2013 by

By using online freelancers as the foundation of her business, Marjorie Asturias has grown her social media marketing company while working the way she wants. “We are a virtual company," she said. "I had an office a couple of years ago...until I remembered part of the reason I started this business was because I hated going into an office!” While growing her own virtual business, she has developed her own strategies to best attract, hire and manage her online workforce. Here are six of our favorite oDesk success tips and tricks from Marjorie. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

The “New Professionalism”

October 2, 2013 by

Being a linchpin for that company didn't prevent me from getting a pink slip. That was the day I stopped believing the promises of the Old Professionalism. Rather than go hunting for a job similar to the one I'd had—a type of job that was quickly disappearing—I started my own business. Four and a half years of self-employment have taught me that there's more financial security (and fun) in creating my own livelihood than in relying on someone else to pay my salary. Running a business forced me to develop certain habits, and those habits now provide more long-term stability for my family than busying myself making someone else rich. Read Full Article

Startup Resources

oDesk CEO Gary Swart: 7 Things I Learned from Startup Failure

September 23, 2013 by

My former company, Intellibank, was sort of like Dropbox done wrong. You’ve probably never heard of Intellibank, because it came and went like so many startups do, but it was a promising company with smart people. We raised money and could have been the next big thing, but it never happened. Why? Though Intellibank was not successful, I don’t view my time there as wasted. From the mistakes we made, I learned what not to do — and from there, I’ve arrived at some essential truths that can lead to startup success. Read Full Article

Startup Resources

How to Build a Disruptive Business: Analyst Sangeet Choudary Weighs In On Where To Focus

September 19, 2013 by

Sangeet Choudary is a widely published technology analyst and innovation consultant. His popular blog Platform Thinking analyzes disruption and innovation in digital markets; he also contributed to the book “Managing Startups,” is a mentor at several incubators and accelerators, and serves on the advisory boards of prominent startups like SkillShare. We caught up with Choudary to hear his thoughts on how to build a disruptive business; "platform thinking" and why it's important; and disruptive innovation, especially as it relates to entrepreneurs and marketplace business models. Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

The Way You Work: oDesk Client Jay Shapiro

August 15, 2013 by

Ever wanted to start your own business...while simultaneously traveling the world with your wife and two kids in an eco-friendly RV? Well, that’s what oDesk client Jay Shapiro wanted to do — and did. By tapping into online work, he was able to build Infinite Monkeys — a site that allows anyone to easily create a mobile app — while he remained happily on the road. Along the road to success, Jay made some important discoveries about the benefits of online work and developed his own best practices for leveraging remote teams. Here are five of his best nuggets of advice. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Behind The Runaway Success Laptop Stand: An Interview With The Roost Founder (& oDesk Alum!) James Olander

August 14, 2013 by

Earlier this summer, a cool new ergonomically designed laptop stand called The Roost hit Kickstarter, with a modest funding goal of $9,300. Today, just two months later, the innovative stand has raised $190,000. Fortunately for us, James Olander — who designed, created and launched The Roost — also happens to be a former product manager at oDesk. We caught up with him to hear all about The Roost and its amazing success (sneak peek: it involved oDesk freelancers!), and to find out why ergonomics are so critical to remote work success. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Virtual Newsroom Earns Pulitzer: An Interview With Editor David Sassoon

June 6, 2013 by

This year’s list of Pulitzer Prize winners included a first for the prestigious award: a completely virtual news agency. InsideClimate News, an online-only publication, won the National News Reporting category. The non-profit news agency is headquartered in Brooklyn, NY, but only publisher David Sassoon clocks in at their official office. Other reporters and editors are flung across the U.S. — even around the globe. oDesk recently talked to publisher David Sassoon about the organization’s journey from a two-man blog to an award-winning investigative news site. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Mary Meeker’s 2013 Internet Trends: Why Millennials Are Disrupting the Workforce

May 30, 2013 by

Millennials will be the ones to save us all. Why? They are more entrepreneurial than ever. They have to be, because they are making their way in a world that no longer offers safe, stable career paths and in turn offers volatility and uncertainty. They need to be that and more — including opportunistic and constantly evolving — to have the best odds of closing the current talent shortages, and to disrupt work for the better. If they succeed, that will benefit us all. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

oDesk Announces New Study on Millennials and the Future of Work

May 14, 2013 by

Here at oDesk, we are extremely lucky to have some of the world’s most innovative, leading-edge entrepreneurs at our fingertips—our freelancers. As “solopreneurs,” they represent the next generation of professionals; those who realize that the 9-to-5 is a relic of the past and that work should be on your own terms. We recently surveyed the professionals on oDesk about their views on entrepreneurship, their career paths and the future of work, and today we are excited to announce the results. The study, “Millennials and the Future of Work,” was released in partnership with Gen-Y consulting firm Millennial Branding. Read Full Article