Freelancing vs. Crowdsourcing: Should Enterprise IT be in the Talent Management Business?

With the recent merger of oDesk and Elance, boasting a community of about eight million freelancers, it appears that the online talent marketplace is booming.

“For businesses hiring people for one-time projects in areas like software development, website design, customer service and translation, there is no longer a need to stay local. A company in New York can arrange for someone in Uzbekistan to create its website, for example. And chances are that the Uzbek worker will be willing to work for much less pay than a comparable one in New York.” – NY Times

Taking a step back, this growth is a very natural and expected evolution. Taking a proven model like contracting, then adding the scale and automation of the internet to create an accessible talent pool of 8 million workers, just makes plain sense.

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The 2 Types of Work: The Type That Wins, and the Type That Delays Losing

There’s a fantastic special running on PBS’s NOVA series that details the incredible feats of architectural innovation behind some of Europe’s greatest cathedrals. This special focuses specifically on the stone mason’s challenge in building incredibly tall (reaching to the heavens), strong (everlasting), and graceful (wide internal space) monuments to their beliefs.

The problem these masters faced was that they were stuck using the exact same skills, tools, and materials that builders had used for years to build big, bulky, and tightly packed castles.

At the time these cathedral architects were in direct competition with each other to cement their legacy (pun intended). Each wanted to be known as the artist behind the most elaborate and beautiful of these buildings. Yet it wasn’t simply about who had the best design or who could work the hardest. What these early builders were trying to do had never been done before. They had to find innovative solutions to problems that one had ever tried to tackle with stone. They had the near impossible task of building enormous, beautiful, and safe “bubbles” out of rocks.

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Big Bets, No Limits, Open Source – How Tech Giants Flip the Process using Community Innovation

I have a simple rating scale for blog posts

There’s the ones that you read that sort of suck a few minutes out of your life. Not much different than overhearing a conversation between your dad and his best friend about their jean shorts.

Then there are the posts that catch you. They explain something new. Perhaps they frame something you already know in a fresh new way. You enjoy them. You wish you wrote them.

The last category are the mind-blowing ones. The simplest way to categorize these is to bucket them as the ones you just don’t forget. You wish you had the skills to write them.

Masters of their own destiny

This week, Gigaom’s Om Malik posted one of the latter types. At least as far as I’m concerned. It’s an excerpt from an article he wrote for Fast Company. The article is: Masters of Their Own Destiny – Why Today’s Giants Build the Tech They Need To Stay On Top.

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Reversing the Innovation Process

I stumbled across a gem of a quote in the “Talk of the Town” section of an old New Yorker magazine yesterday. The subject matter was focused on art and design, as members of a Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) panel were judging products for the best fit in the MoMA gift shop.

Applied to the world of community software development, this quote rings home a problem, and a solution, to a situation we are all familiar with:

“‘Reversing the process is always so interesting,’ Tsao said, ignoring Chorpash’s comment. ‘I mean, the best chefs go to the greenmarket to see what’s fresh, but we are so egocentric about design – it’s always, I want to make something. When industries are dying because they don’t have the imagination to revitalize themselves, we, as designers, can be catalysts to reanimate these companies.'”

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Why Your Contractors Will Never Create Your Community

The arguments for curating a community around your company, products, and/or API are pretty simple and clear. Software is eating the world. APIs are the new business development medium. Developers are the new kingmakers.

It only makes sense to curate the kingmakers. The problem is the disconnect between building a community, while simultaneously contracting out work.

This concept reminds me of one my favorite scenes from the Godfather Part II:
— Michael Corleone: We saw a strange thing on our way here. Some rebels were being arrested, and instead of being arrested, one of them pulled the pin on a grenade he had hidden in his jacket. He took himself and the captain of the command with him.
— Guest: Ah, the rebels are insane!
— Michael Corleone: Soldiers are paid to fight; the rebels aren’t.
— Hyman Roth: What does that tell you?
— Michael Corleone: They could win.

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The Final Frontier of Cloud Democratization – Technical Talent

One of my favorite posts from the CloudSpokes blog, as we ramped down the blog after merging communities.


In the early days of Salesforce, CEO Marc Benioff masterminded a brilliant marketing campaign titled, “No Software”. Perhaps inspired by Apple’s campaign around “Think Different”, the No Software mantra was clearly an emotional play, targeted to a very specific set of individuals.

Much like “Think Different”, which is not grammatically correct, “No Software” isn’t exactly true. Salesforce.com is most definitely software, but at the time delivered through a vehicle that was completely novel and refreshing (SaaS, aka, Cloud). The connection here likely revolves around Benioff’s adoration of Apple’s Steve Jobs, though it could just be a coincidence of two great marketing visionaries coming up with short and expressive mantras…

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