Imagine yourself as an entrepreneur in a startup who worked on a product for quite a while. Eventually, you come in contact with investors and customers who are really interested in your product. Due to the size of your company and the lack of a professional company website these customers are less likely to buy something from you.
Imagine yourself now as a mobile developer. Previous years you trained yourself to design and build mobile applications and had some great projects you worked on. However, the company that had you on their payroll fired you. Although with your skills it wouldn’t be difficult to find a job, but you want more flexibility than your previous job.
Both scenarios are possible within the platform Odesk.com. Odesk is a freelancer platform that creates its value by the number of businesses that are posting jobs on the site, but also the freelancers that are offering their services on the platform. Thus, the supply and demand create the value of the platform while the platform is a mediator for the users.
Freelancers are users that offer their skills and experiences on the platform, for a price they consider to be right. When there are a lot of competitors, it’s best to compete with price. This also stimulates people with a rare skill to offer their services since no competition would influence the price. Also, freelancers are able to apply for a listing job.
Businesses on the other hand can post jobs on the platform. When posting jobs, its common to fill in details for the job. Freelancers could apply to the job and businesses can pick someone out of the crowd. Businesses can select on experience and skills, but also writing style to pick the person that fits best to the job. This way, connecting to people jobs is a two-way relation.
Besides oDesk being a mediator in freelancers finding jobs, oDesk offers protection to the businesses with their tool that captures work-in-progress snapshots of freelancers working on the job. Also, businesses only have to pay when they approve the work that has been done. In return for the services oDesk offers, Odesk receives a 10% fee of each payment. If the freelancer works per hour, Odesk receives 10% of the hourly rate.
oDesk is operating since 2003, and has more than 1 million businesses that used their services. A while ago, oDesk and their competitor elance joined forces and are now connected with each other. Together, they have 9.7 million freelancers signed up; 2 million businesses that use their services and approximately $940 million worth of work done annually.
oDesk is ensuring the world becomes more connected and is supporting competition among its users. However, since the world nowadays gets more connected through more platforms, I wonder what their next big step will be in staying competitive with other businesses that might enter their market.