Future of Work: Interview with Ariel Seidman, Founder and CEO of Gigwalk.com

One of the interesting existing trends out there is the  “free agent” economy in which individuals leverage websites like eLance, oDdesk and Gigwalk.com to find a job. These sites provide a  “‘match.com”’ approach to finding a job. They are , bringing together someone who needs work to be done (demand), and someone who can get the job done (supply). Unlike some of the other sites out there, they seem to be making significant inroads into the enterprise — companies are using them. Gigwalk matches people with businesses that want to outsource work but don’t want to hire full-time employees.”Trust and reputation are critical,” says founder Ariel Seidman. “We’re helping facilitate a transaction between two different people.” As a recent NPR interview points out, some people are even using Gigwalk.com to find jobs at companies such as Microsoft!

Outsourced work is an increasingly important and practical trend. It enables companies to keep their costs down — selling at a lower price while protecting their margins. And it also is good for individuals, who need to find more efficient ways of getting work done. Note: Outsourced work is often confused with Offshoring, which is “a company taking a function out of their business and relocating it to another country.

Since Outsourcing is such a hot area, I will probably talk to other companies in this space later on. However, because they seem to be taking a different approach from the other players, I decided to first talk to Ariel Seidman, CEO and Co-Founder of Gigwalk.com , however, because they seem to be taking a different approach from the other players.

Or as Ariel described it “‘they are the next generation of career sites.”

Gigwalk offers its services only on mobile platforms. One of Gigwalk.com’s  key selling points, for example, is that you can use their app to track and verify  “outsourced work.” only offer its services on mobile platforms. And one of their key selling points is that you can use their app to track and verify the ‘outsourced work’. This can be accomplished by taking a picture photography, a video, or a recording of an activity.

Ariel says that “work highlighted on their site tends to be very local, such as when it is outsourced to a specific country, such as Russia. Although it is difficult to observe someone when they are working “Gigwalk leveraging the mobile technologies to enable that verification. You can verify their location and the actual work.”

Today, companies like Linkedin, which is becoming becoming the biggest job site on the web, only enable you to post your resume. And after what we have seen with the recent Yahoo incident with its CEO listing inaccurate information on his resume, that information might not always be accurate. Thus, verification is becoming increasingly important. More and more companies are seeing that many people are stretching the truth or listing incorrect information on their LinkedIn profile.

Ariel stated that there are a lot of individuals using services such as his to supplement their current income, which is a. Another sign of our economy’s woes. Even if people have a job, they are not earning enough to meet their expenses. Ariel says, “There’s an income gap that needs to be filled.,” Ariel says.

Gigwalk.com sees several types of individuals on their site. There are people , such as those who have a very specific skill set, like such as the ability to program in a certain language. There are also others who, “communicate more effectively” and can take a person’s desired outcome and figure out how to meet that person’s needs. They can get the assignment and then run with it and ask questions along the way.

When I have used these types of services, there’s definitely been some back and n forth required to clearly define the best way to solve my needs. Recently, I used TaskRabbit.com to find someone who could export my blog and make a book out of it by importing it into Blurb or Lulu.

I didn’t have the time to do the work myself (Even though it was going to be a present for my family), so I thought it would be easier to “‘outsource”’ this project. However, there’s been considerable back andn forth between my excellent Rrabbit and myself. She has forced me to be clarify my request such as “what size do I want my book,”what do I want to do about low resolution pictures that I have I have on my blog,” etc?

As many have pointed out, there’s a growing trend of specialization, even in a more consumer-open market business such as Lance and Gigwalk.com. For example, My Task Rabbit is a specialist in blogs.

One of the biggest challenges mobile developers like Seidman face is the proliferation of mobile devices. The Android device, for example, reminds me of the good old Unix days, when all flavors of Unix (Sun, Silicon Graphics, IBM, etc.) were not created equal.

Another challenge is finding good people. Interestingly, while there’s a shortage in finding good engineers, big companies hesitate to use companies like Gigwalk.com to find talent. And then there’s the challenge of finding somene who truly understands the time commitment a start up requires.

With Facebook going public soon, many people are dreaming of a new Silicon Valley gold rush. As Ariel points out, many of these individuals don’t understand what working at a start-up entails. For those who want a nice work life balance, being a true Silicon Valley entrepreneur will not be easy. I think companies like Ariel’s company should consider hiring people on a “‘trial basis.”’

When describing his company’s culture, Ariel asked me if I had ever heard of a “honey badger.”? He said it was the most fearless animal in the jungle and doesn’t take any s***__T from anyone.” That’s the type of person Gigwalk .com wants to hire. They want to hire “people like who are fearless, and who are willing to fail. They want to hire people , you know, who are not afraid of their own ego, and you know, who will like be persistent when it comes to solving a at a problem.”

Some trends to think about: 

  1. Go mobile first – Product Design
  2. Use mobile as a verification device which in is “‘inherently different about mobile”– Product Design
  3. Observed or verified work
  4. Private Groups of contractors
  5. Specialization
  6. Hiring on a trial basis first