Elance is thrilled to be in Dhaka this week, kicking-off our exciting new operations in Bangladesh.
While we’re in Dhaka we’ll also take part in several Elance events and government-sponsored happenings. Each activity this week has an eye towards helping boost economic development for the talented people in this deserving region.
The festivities began with a bang on Wednesday, where Elance sponsored our own Work Differently Summit 2012. More than 200 eager Elancers and future Elancers were on hand as we swapped stories and shared insights. It was great connecting with local professionals, as the pictures here show.
On hand for the summit and spearheading activities was Elance’s most-recent hire, Saidur Khan. Our new local Business Development Manager, he’ll be based in Dhaka and help us grow the Bangladesh community even faster. Also of note attending from Elance were Kjetil Olsen (VP, Europe) and Alex Yoon (U.S. Director of Marketing and Talent).
We don’t think getting great work done at a fair price should be like pulling teeth.
Jaime Bellos of Detroit-based mydentaltrip.com would agree. Why? Simple. He and his business partner Rich used Elance to bring their entrepreneurial dream to life. Through our online freelance web designers and web programmers Jaime got their “unique” dental startup’s website up-and-running fast.
A great idea (in our humble opinion), mydental.com is a website allowing people to combine their dream vacation with getting some dental work done. On their website you pick a destination (Costa Rica for example), select the dental work you need (perhaps a bridge replacement?) and then local dentists in Costa Rica submit their quotes. It’s a great solution for getting in some relaxation while saving a bundle on your dental bill.
We have lots of talented folks who work hard behind the scenes, helping create a great experience for Elancers. One shining example is our Marketplace Operations Team. They’re the group that maintains the quality of our Elance marketplace.
Garnor and Jon from the Elance Marketplace Operations Team
To shed some light on the Marketplace Operations team and their role, we sat down for a quick chat with Garnor, Jon, Gina and Bill – four managers on the Marketplace Operations team. Here are some highlights of that discussion:
Q: What’s the role of the Marketplace Operations Team?
A: Our mission is to help all Elancers have a great experience and outcome when using Elance. We believe that the key to that is creating trust. Businesses who use Elance want to know that they’re hiring freelancers who can get the job done right. Similarly, our freelancers want to know that they’ll get paid for the work they complete. And, all of our members want the right set of educational and help content available when they need it.
Hummingbird Hall is one of Jamaica’s most popular wedding services. It’s a true destination for love birds from around the globe.
But when owner Alisha Fuller first dreamed of building a website worthy of her boutique venue, she couldn’t find the best man (or woman) to create the website. In fact, located in rural Montego Bay, Jamaica she couldn’t find anyone nearby to affordably help realize her vision. And with competition moving fast, she couldn’t wait another day.
That’s when Alisha took the plunge and committed to Elance. She first found a graphic designer, then those elusive world class web developers, to bring her site to life. “Elance opened the world up to us,” she explained. “It means we’re not limited to things we can get done here.”
When network engineer Jeff Pewarski first earned his Cisco Certification, he soon received an email from Cisco outlining the opportunities for freelance jobs through Elance.
At first he was skeptical and figured there was a catch of some sort, perhaps a huge fee to join or some hidden costs down the road. But as Jeff soon found out, there are no fees to join Elance and as soon as he registered he was free to begin applying for jobs requiring Cisco Certified professionals.
It has been a great experience for Jeff so far. He is employed full-time and working on Cisco systems every day, and he uses Elance to find clients for weekend jobs which earn him extra money and expands his professional network. His Cisco Certification is noted on his profile and clearly visible to potential clients, which makes him stand out from the competition, and gives clients the peace of mind that they are getting someone with the required credentials.
With the Presidential election just weeks away, folks at the Republican National Convention are talking jobs, jobs, jobs. Except of course for a large number of GOP movers & shakers, who were actually listening – to a seasoned Elancer talk about (you guessed it) … jobs.
Specifically, during the GOP convention people turned a keen ear to Elance client Chris Abbott. Chris was front-and-center in the Huffington Post-sponsored Entrepreneurial Expo held Wednesday in Tampa. Co-sponsored by Microsoft and NBC News, the Expo allowed people in search of job solutions to circulate among select entrepreneurs, discussing “What is Working” on the American job front. Huffington Post Editor In Chief Arianna Huffington and LinkedIn Co-Founder Allen Blue were among the many dignitaries who gleaned insights from Chris at the Expo Wednesday.
Owner of CV Jones and an Elance client for several years, Chris had much to say to Arianna and others about what’s possible when the right jobs are matched with the right online freelancers. Chris was able to enlighten many political and business leaders on the advantages of hiring online workers to spur job growth in America.
They say the future is all about mobile. And in the case of Andreas Pilz, that’s literally true.
In 2009 Andreas was living in Germany and decided it was time to move to Berlin, longing for the city’s rich startup ecosystem. However, he was hesitant to move there because he had business partners in Nuremberg, plus entrepreneur friends in Cologne and Hamburg – all of whom Andreas wanted to spend time with. Essentially, he wanted to live in four cities at the same time, and visit startup events in many more cities too.
What to do?
It’s a no brainer. Andreas bought a mobile home.
Having been a digital entrepreneur since he was 18 years, Andreas had been running most of his businesses online for years anyway. Now 35, he has an established network of freelancers partners he uses for different tasks. Through the years his customers have grown accustomed to Andreas conducting most of their meetings through Skype. As he began looking at his situation, Andreas he had no physical limitations to where he could and should do his work.
As many of you know, Elance recently sponsored the Silicon Valley StartupBus, one of ten buses throughout the country that were headed to Austin, Texas for the SXSW conference. With the StartupBus competition bringing entrepreneurs together for three days to create a startup company, eight teams formed on the Silicon Valley bus, and one of the businesses launched was Herry Lian’s Gourmair. With the help of several Elance contractors, Herry’s team was able to create a launch website for Gourmair as well as prepare for the initial and execution phases of the platform, all before reaching Austin.
Getting Gourmair off the ground was no easy feat, says Lian. The short deadline and crowded conditions of the StartupBus competition challenges entrepreneurs, and while Lian describes the experience as “amazing,” he also says it was “very stressful… as most of us slept very little, and we had to deal with challenges like having internet outages.” Not only that, but as Lian began his journey to Austin on the bus, he came to a troubling realization: there were no developers to be found on the bus. Once he discovered Elance had given the members of the Silicon Valley bus access to their own Workrooms and contractors, Lian and his team were “thrilled” and “definitely appreciated having Elance support.”
Nowadays, a text message serves as a primary form of communication between family members and friends. But imagine being able to submit reviews for a business or company through a simple text. This was the idea that Silicon Valley entrepreneurs Jesús Salas, Song Zheng and Jesse Clayburgh developed into TxtRoo, a new company formed as part of StartupBus, a competition founded two years ago that gathers entrepreneurs from around the country to build startup companies from scratch. Entrepreneurs have a three-day bus ride heading to the SXSW conference to assemble teams, brainstorm new business concepts and then turn their ideas into reality.
This year Elance sponsored the Silicon Valley bus, providing them with a sendoff breakfast before their journey to Austin as well as access to qualified Elancers and Workrooms that would help them build their startup. One of them ended up being TxtRoo, a SMS platform that enables feature-phone users to connect and interact with local businesses. TxtRoo allows customers to read the recent reviews for a business and leave a review themselves through a text message. Once a customer submits a review, the business owner can then take full advantage of that customer base to reach out and promote deals to specific markets.
Due to its unique functionality, the TxtRoo team did not come up with the idea for the platform until the middle of the first day, meaning they had to work quickly. But on the Elance platform, they had access to web developers, a product designer, an animator, and a researcher to implement their ideas. According to Salas and Clayburgh, the StartupBus experience was incredible and unlike anything else—a combination of “amazing people, resources, and tight deadlines” and “long nights, short naps, [and] intermittent Internet access.”