Build a software firm in three hours, for $1000

When Runge and Kutta invented their numerical methods for solving differential equations, they did not mean it will be a computer algorithm, simply because they did not have computers in the 19th century.

Several standards for building a software development organization list processes which need to be carried out to make the whole thing work. You absolutely need someone to do HR, someone to do marketing, someone to do risk management (and if you never heard of ISO15288, please do yourself a favor and go read it now). The good news is, that in the modern outsourcing marketplace, you can hire specialists in any of these tasks – within hours.

oDesk is a mega-marketplace for outsourcing/off-shoring jobs. From Creative Writing and Document Translation, to Data Entry, QA and Software Development, oDesk trades tasks of different complexity and size, from hours to months. oDesk offers pretty good UI, employee tracking features (including screen monitoring for per-hour employees), and a reputation/ranking/review system for both employers and employees.

oDesk features:

  • Instant hiring – find candidates in hours and hire them in seconds. Same goes for firing, of course, which makes the hiring less risky than in the real world.
  • Cheap workforce – low-qualification tasks, such as “fill a table with what you can find on google about..” may cost as low as $1/hour, shipped overseas. As it always happens in free market, things becomes cheaper for the buyer and more expensive for the seller.
  • Scheduling freedom: some company actually hired a QA team in the time zone to get them bug reports overnight.
  • Finding candidates with a very specific, narrow skill set. If you need to make a Firefox plugin, or an iPhone app, you will likely find a dozen engineers who have finished a similar project just a week ago and have the API class names fresh in their memory. If you need to do online marketing survey from sites in Japanese, you will have it two orders of magnitude cheaper than local experts. Same goes for proofreading, improving English and translation.
  • No need for tedious task prioritization: hire as many people as you like. No need to wait while your in-house team gets to that.
  • Fixed price/per-hour payment.

You can review past works/employment history on oDesk itself, with employer reviews. oDesk also offers series of qualification tests for candidates.

The interesting part starts with giving hiring privileges to a contractor. If you have a software product idea, hire a recruiting specialist to find the right people to raise a complete firm from scratch. Have separate people write the spec, design, draw screenshots, code, test it, have them all interact, make them hire you a marketing team to set up a google ads campaign, and also to register a paypal account for sales. Needless to say, you can monitor them all from your smartphone.

This is how idea-to-market time can be shortened dramatically. On the other hand, if you are an engineer (or other information worker) stuck in the middle of nowhere or born in a less happy place on the planet, oDesk enables you to sell your talent without leaving the chair. This is how oDesk makes our world a better place.