How oDesk Runs Its Business On The Cheap


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Gary Swart spoke on April 23, 2009 at the BizTech "How to Run Your Business on the Cheap" Event

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  • How oDesk Runs Its Business On The Cheap

    1. 1. How we run our business on the cheap San Francisco Entrepreneur Group Gary Swart, CEO [email_address] April 2009
    2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>What is oDesk? </li></ul><ul><li>What makes oDesk unique? </li></ul><ul><li>What’s different today? </li></ul><ul><li>5 ways to run your business on the cheap </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use free or low cost tools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid high cost marketing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leverage the extended enterprise </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Here the right resources, the right way </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prioritize ruthlessly </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. What is oDesk? <ul><li>oDesk is the marketplace for online workteams, with the best business model for both buyers and providers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For Buyers: Guaranteed work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Every hour billed is an hour worked </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For Providers: Guaranteed payment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Every hour worked is an hour paid </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Background </li></ul><ul><li>25 Employees, 43 remote oDesk consultants </li></ul><ul><li>HQ in Menlo Park, CA </li></ul><ul><li>Funded by Benchmark, Sigma, Globespan, & DAG raised $29MM to date ($16MM in the bank) </li></ul><ul><li>Started in 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>Where are we today? </li></ul><ul><li>Over 237,000 tested and rated knowledge workers representing hundreds of technical disciplines & skills </li></ul><ul><li>Both individual freelancers and development companies from 150+ countries </li></ul><ul><li>Buyers post both Time-Based assignments and Fixed Price Jobs </li></ul><ul><li>Buyers pay for verified hours worked or for milestones delivered </li></ul><ul><li>Avg. time to hire is < 4 days; Avg. # candidates per job is > 20 </li></ul>Over $68MM in gross services performed….
    4. 4. What is oDesk? <ul><li>Average Job Size of $4,227 </li></ul><ul><li>Work categories include software development , web development , graphic design , data entry and writing </li></ul><ul><li>Summary statistics available in our oConomy </li></ul><ul><li>Hire, Manage, and Pay contractors as if they were in your own office </li></ul><ul><li>Do more with less </li></ul><ul><li>Access a global client base and talent pool </li></ul><ul><li>Be Agile </li></ul>See http://
    5. 5. What makes oDesk unique? See work as it is being done Pay only for verified work done on your project Unprecedented real-time visibility across the team Activity Logging shows keyboard strokes and mouse events in each random screen shot interval “ oDesk is a great way to make it feel like an employee who is across an ocean is working inside your local office” - oDesk Buyer Guaranteed Work. Guaranteed Payment.
    6. 6. <ul><li>Hierarchy </li></ul><ul><li>Friction </li></ul><ul><li>Bureaucracy </li></ul><ul><li>Inflexibility </li></ul><ul><li>IT-driven technology / Lack of user control </li></ul><ul><li>Top down </li></ul><ul><li>Centralized </li></ul><ul><li>Teams are in one building / one time zone </li></ul><ul><li>Silos and boundaries </li></ul><ul><li>Need to know </li></ul><ul><li>Information systems are structured and dictated </li></ul><ul><li>Taxonomies </li></ul><ul><li>Overly complex </li></ul><ul><li>Closed/ proprietary standards </li></ul><ul><li>Scheduled </li></ul><ul><li>Long time-to-market cycles </li></ul>What is different today? <ul><li>Flat Organization </li></ul><ul><li>Ease of Organization Flow </li></ul><ul><li>Agility </li></ul><ul><li>Flexibility </li></ul><ul><li>User-driven technology </li></ul><ul><li>Bottom up </li></ul><ul><li>Distributed </li></ul><ul><li>Teams are global </li></ul><ul><li>Fuzzy boundaries, open borders </li></ul><ul><li>Transparency </li></ul><ul><li>Information systems are emergent </li></ul><ul><li>Folksonomies </li></ul><ul><li>Simple </li></ul><ul><li>Open </li></ul><ul><li>On Demand </li></ul><ul><li>Short time-to-market cycles </li></ul>Enterprise 1.0 Enterprise 2.0
    7. 7. 5 ways we run our business on the cheap
    8. 8. 1. Use free or low cost tools We use it for… We like it because… Mail, Docs, Wiki WYSIWYG Blogs Communication Hiring On-demand, Quality Community Slick, Free Collaboration Scalable, Free Voice, chat, webcasts Scalable, Free Accounting WYSIWIG CRM Customizable Dashboards RSS Real-time Updates Support Web-based, Free
    9. 9. 2. Avoid high-cost marketing <ul><li>Harvest demand before creating demand </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Search – SEO and SEM </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SMM (blogging, Twitter, Facebook) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Make your product easy to buy </li></ul><ul><li>Leverage your customers/users to get the word out </li></ul><ul><li>Share whenever you can - e.g., oConomy, blog, speak at events ;-) </li></ul>
    10. 10. 3. Leverage the “extended enterprise” <ul><li>Product roadmap informed by user input </li></ul><ul><li>User support and training provided in user forums </li></ul><ul><li>Enhanced functionality developed by third-parties using your APIs </li></ul><ul><li>Quick growth and scaling of an eco-system across multiple geographies by Partners/Distributors </li></ul>
    11. 11. 4. Hire the right resources, the right way See http://
    12. 12. 5. Prioritize ruthlessly <ul><li>Test and learn </li></ul><ul><li>Cut what’s not working </li></ul><ul><li>Be the best solution to at least one problem </li></ul>
    13. 13. Thank you! Gary Swart, CEO [email_address]