The Way We Work

Navigating Through Unpredictable Income: Tools & Best Practices for Financial Planning

March 19, 2013 by

For all the benefits of working as an independent professional, there is one common challenge: an unpredictable income stream. According to MBO Partners’ latest State of Independence in America report, the top source of concern for freelancers is a lack of predictable income. Getting by without a predictable paycheck requires organization, preparation, and budgeting. Fortunately, in response to this need, a plethora of online services and software have become available to help the growing number of freelancers and contractors manage their incomes and stay prepared in the face of financial uncertainty. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Getting an SBA Loan for Your Small Business: Part I

February 19, 2013 by

Growing a small business — even with the amazing tools available to the modern business owner — can be a challenge, and one of the biggest challenges is often finding the money to power that growth. As the owner of an oDesk-based business and someone who recently completed the process of applying for (and receiving) a Small Business Adminsistration (SBA)-backed loan, I’d like to share some of what I’ve learned. Here are three steps to get you started in the SBA loan process. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Disruption Ahead: Reflections on DLD13

February 11, 2013 by

Recently I had the opportunity to present at DLD (Digital-Life-Design), Europe’s leading innovation conference. Held in Munich, this year’s conference theme was “Patterns that Connect.” Of course, the ultimate “connector” today is the Internet. It’s changing the way we access the services and products we want and need, by eliminating the friction of intermediaries. This new model, which we call “direct access," is revolutionizing both the consumer and enterprise world. At DLD, discussions of the ‘direct access’ model abounded. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

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 Way We Work

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

The Way We Work

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

The Way We Work

“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

All Things Upwork

oDesk Hosts Panel on “Talent Wars” Moderated by TechCrunch

October 15, 2012 by

Last week, oDesk held a panel in San Francisco on “Talent Wars: How Startups are Fighting Back,” discussing the critical role of talent to growing startups as well as the approaches startups are taking to build successful teams. TechCrunch reporter Colleen Taylor moderated the panel featuring Gary Swart, CEO of oDesk; Kevin Harvey, General Partner at Benchmark Capital; Rob LaFave, Co-Founder and CEO of Foodzie; and Sandra Miller, Managing Director of New Venture Development at Singularity University. The panel confirmed that many businesses are finding it extremely difficult to access the right people, and that the problem is especially acute for startups — which are in dire need of talent in order to grow, but do not have the resources to compete with large companies. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Small Town Living, Big Town Talent

August 22, 2012 by

Tom Rupsis moved to a small town in Montana so his kids could be close to family. But the beautiful scenery and small-town charm did nothing to alleviate hiring challenges for his growing IT consulting business. He needed to fill several technical positions, but found most applicants minimally qualified for the job. His situation is not unique: While studies have shown that rural residents generally live happier and less stressful lives than their urban counterparts, they also have their challenges. One problem that significantly affects businesses in smaller communities is “brain drain”—the flight of technical talent from rural areas to urban centers. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Truly Lean Startups Use Online Contract Developers

July 30, 2012 by

The Lean Startup methodology is a great way to launch your new business idea as quickly and efficiently as possible. The practice has also spawned the Lean Software Development concept, which focuses on developing software in a lean manner—primarily by eliminating all forms of waste in the development process. However, the truly cutting-edge lean startups are taking it to a new level by using teams of contract developers to develop not only their web presence but also their product itself. Read Full Article