Forbes article23 Aug
Note: The Forbes article was updated after a discussion with the author. It now reads much closer to my actual thoughts on oDesk, outsourcing, and my business in Billings. But if you read the original version of the article (the paragraph referencing me begins with “Entrepreneur Tom Rupsis”), then please continue reading…
Well, this Forbes article is going to cause some grief. I’m very disappointed about the section in which I’m mentioned, and let me explain why.
It’s true that I use oDesk because of the acccess to skills it gives me. I’ve managed thousands of hours worth of work from highly skilled contractors in countries around the world…from India, the Philippines, China, Bolivia, Canada, Mexico, and right here in the US. I’m an active and enthusiastic user of oDesk.
But that is definitely not to say that there aren’t very qualified and talented people right here in Billings. This is a great town in which to live and work. There are even people in town who are very skilled with Sharepoint (*gasp*). But for the particular project referenced in the article, I needed someone with solid programming skills who had integrated Sharepoint with a Novell network before.
There are a few Sharepoint implementations in Billings and probably fewer Novell networks. The likelihood of finding someone in town who could do that particular piece of the project in town? Slim to nil. But I found that skill from a contractor on oDesk and had the work completed in about 24 hours.
Back in a previous life, I did have to hire several people with advanced skills for a company in town. I had very few applications from local candidates and none were exhibiting the level of skill needed at that company. I ended up hiring two Montana natives who were looking to come back home after working in larger metropolitan areas and building their technical chops. Like I said, this is a great place to live and work. People want to come back here to raise their families when they grow weary of the pace and competition of the big cities. I also hired a couple local candidates with entry level skills and tried my best to help them develop. They’re doing great work now, from what I hear.
My other point of contention with the article is that it presents me as not being able to find enough people locally to help build my business. That’s total bunk. If I wanted to hire people to help my business grow I could do that in a heartbeat. I’m self-employed, I have no employees, and I hope to keep it that way. My business is just the right size to keep me busy while allowing me the time to give my clients the personal attention they need and deserve. Using contractors through oDesk helps me greatly in that regard.
So, for those people here in Billings and throughout Montana who would take offense to my section of that article, I hear you. And I agree with your dismay at reading that. I take offense to that myself. I’m removing myself from oDesk’s PR list.