Matt Barrie is the CEO of the largest outsourcing marketplace — Freelancer.com. And how large is large, well how about 3.4 million professionals and 1.6 million projects under the companies belt, it’s rather simple to see why they are a leader.
I had the pleasure to do an email interview with Matt so let’s it checkout.
Q1: Ross Dawson explained that Freelancer.com is one of the “largest general service market places.” With that said what do you think your responsibility is — in promoting crowdsourcing?
Of course, our mission is very much to promote the industry globally. We’re working hard to inform every small business on the planet about online outsourcing and crowdsourcing and to get them to try it.
Q2: “Today’s technology, specifically the Internet, empowers entrepreneurs like no other time in our history.” Is that a true statement and why?
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Thanks to technology and the Internet, it’s never been easier—or cheaper—to start a company. Every business today is in some way an Internet company: you’re either selling via a website or finding customers through the Internet. The great thing about an Internet company is that most of the things you need to build an Internet company today are free—your webservers, operating systems, databases, and so on. And what’s not free is cheap—your Internet connection, domain names, web hosting, payment gateways like Paypal—even buying ads on Google or Facebook to promote your business. Even if you don’t know how technology works, you can now hire freelancers inexpensively to put it all together for you—whether it’s a website you need, an iPhone application or even someone to build or manufacture a product for you.
Q3: It’s been 6 years since Jeff Howe coined the phrase “crowdsourcing.” Do you think that service marketplaces are mature enough to not only service “70% of the world’s population” but the massive multinational companies, as well?
It’s still early days for the crowdsourcing space. We are are the largest marketplace in the world for outsourcing, but when you compare our 3.5 million users to the 350 million on Twitter, you realise that the industry has some way to go. Today big businesses are already being served to an extent by outsourcing—huge companies for the last 15 years have been putting offices and factories offshore. We’re the latest iteration of this trend, bringing it to consumers and small businesses.
Q4: I often talk about the “crowdsourcing ecosystem,” — specifically telecommuting and Cisco’s Smart Work Center. What roll to you see these industries playing in support of crowdsourcing?
Of course, the richer and more interactive the Internet becomes, the more types of work that will be able to be done remotely and the more the industry will boom. Three years ago, there were about 20 categories of work that we saw online through our marketplace, mainly around IT jobs (website design, graphic design, copywriting, SEO etc). Today there are over 470 categories of work—we have an astrophysics section, and aerospace engineering section, biotechnology, genetic engineering and industrial design. We expect to see more and more job types over the next few years!
It’s very clear that Barrie sees crowdsourcing as a very powerful tool for the client and the crowd. What are your thoughts on any of Matt’s responses? I would also love to hear your thoughts on the Cisco Smart Work Centers.