This post ties together some thoughts about the two major new oDesk initiatives:
- Good Fit
I contend that MOST contractors on oDesk, if given the choice, would willingly CHOOSE "mandatory" Good Fit over the current "job applications quota" or the upcoming Connects systems.
You may be wondering: What on earth is "mandatory Good Fit"?
Well, this may not be the best term for the concept, but the idea is simply this:
Extend the concept of "Good Fit" and take it to its "ultimate" conclusion:
Rather than contractors searching for jobs and applying for jobs and clients selecting them, what if clients could simply post work orders, and oDesk would assign them, and contractors would be given their assignments, and do them, and get paid for it.
What! Oh, no! Never! Yes, yes, I can hear some of you howling at this idea. There are a million reasons why that would be wrong or won't happen, etc., etc.
I don't think oDesk will do anything like this. BUT... What, after all, is the purpose of "Good Fit?" The IDEA (however poor the execution) is to match contractors with jobs in order to enhance client satisfaction. It is also promoted as a way to help contractors find the jobs that are right for them.
I think most of you reading this would reject the whole idea of extending Good Fit far further, to the point that you can simply log in, get your assignment, and go to work.
But isn't that what a lot of "real-world" (non-contractor) work is? You show up for work, you do what you're told, and you get paid. You don't "bid on jobs" every day.
Now, if that was what oDesk actually did, it could cease to be classified as a client/contractor meeting service and could risk being classified as an employer, with all the legal and tax complications that entails.
So this isn't a prediction or a recommendation. But as a thought experiment... Don't you think that MOST oDesk contractors would PREFER this? (By "MOST" I mean some number over 50%.)
How many contractors are really and truly here just for the money? I contend: most of them. Forget the talk of freedom or being your own boss or the ability to work from home.
Most contractors on oDesk are here for the money, and if you gave them the choice of signing up for "mandatory Good Fit," most of them would do it if it meant a regular source of revenue that they didn't have to scramble for.
I'm not criticizing them for that. I'm not disparaging you if YOU think you'd prefer that.
Imagine NOT dealing with Connects, NOT dealing with job applications, and NOT applying to jobs at all, but just being given a chance to work based on our skill and experience and productivity. Maybe oDesk takes 20% of your pay, and it doesn't guarantee full time hours or everybody, only the more productive, better-liked workers.
Imagine, if you will, that you're a CLIENT, and you can simply write some specifications or upload some files, and have oDesk make sure that your work gets done, at a speed and/or level of quality that is commiserate with how much you pay. Imagine being able to skip the whole ordeal of "looking for contractors" and "interviewing" and "doing project management." A LOT of clients would go for that.
Many people here have complained loudly about Good Fit. But Good Fit, if executed well, and implemented the way oDesk's higher-ups maybe ENVISION it... (which may be impossible, I realize)... would be a step in that direction...
I think there's value in the kind of service you're talking about, and I expect it will exist one day. But I think it would be a bad idea for oDesk to turn into that. It's really a totally different thing.
@Preston H wrote:
Don't you think that MOST oDesk contractors would PREFER this? (By "MOST" I mean some number over 50%.)
Yeah, I would. If Good fit was correct. But I see many jobs that are good fit, and Good fit just skips those.
On the other hand, some jobs here are services more similar to getting haircut or buying a new pair of shoes. You can't pass to oDesk someone's taste same as you can't expect someone else will hit your taste in wine, movies, etc.
Yeah, that's another point. The tech just isn't up to it right now. I think it's fine to have what's basically a reccomendations engine, but I don't think you could leave it to make actual decisions.
I have repeatedly asked questions about "Good Fit" and "Automatic Hiding" Algorithm from forum moderators but they have never answered my question. I know why because they do not have an answer for that. I am a graduate in Machine Learning and System Algorithms from Berkley. From my background I am 100% sure that both of there features can never be implemented properly and work the way they are planning to make it work till they pretty much redo there job postings and job application criteria. Also they will have to modify there feedback system as well to make the "Good Fit" and "Automatic Hiding" work properly.
My current long term project on oDesk is an e-learning platform. I am currently implementing 360 comptency survey model in the platform. What that does is pretty much like the "Good Fit" feature but the basis of that is a fixed valid input from the employer and fixed definative input from employee to do a 360 assessment. In simple words, an employer enters a questions with possible answers and the best suitable answer. An employee is asked to select the input only from those answers and than the algorithm I coded matches the answer given by employee with the answers preferred by employer when creating the assesment survey.
In case of "Good Fit" and "Automatic Hiding" there is no input from client who is looking to hire and no input from freelancer who are applying on these job postings. Also the feedback system does not play any part in taking any valuable feedback from the client who you worked for to contribute to this algorithm. So practically as a system algorithms and machine learning engineer I do not see any way how this "Good Fit" and "Automatic Hiding" can work. I would like if any of the mods here can come and explain to me how there engineers coded this feature ? I dont think they will ever provide any proof of these two algorithms to work and yield the results which they are claiming to be the great for this platform.
A small test to prove my point regarding "Good Fit" being flawed :
As per my research there are some contractors on Odesk in Machine Learning and System Algorithms category. Anybody of you can create a job posting with this description :
" I am looking for an expert in Machine Learning and System Algorithms"
Almost all the recommended contractors for this job posting by oDesk will be from System or Network Administration background which has nothing to do with System Algorithms. The recommended contractors will not be even 5% match of what the actual requirement is by the client.
In my opinion oDesk needs to rethink about most of the features they have implemented recently. I guess everybody here knows that they are greatly flawed and can never lead to the type of results oDesk is expecting to get out of them.
"So practically as a system algorithms and machine learning engineer I do not see any way how this "Good Fit" and "Automatic Hiding" can work. I would like if any of the mods here can come and explain to me how there engineers coded this feature ? I dont think they will ever provide any proof of these two algorithms to work and yield the results which they are claiming to be the great for this platform."
"In my opinion oDesk needs to rethink about most of the features they have implemented recently. I guess everybody here knows that they are greatly flawed and can never lead to the type of results oDesk is expecting to get out of them."
well done - you've just summed up in one post what people have been screaming about on several very lengthy threads recently, and noone from odesk has shown any sign of even understanding what the problem is (Which is why I think they won't answer it). I have called it the elephant in the room, and it is getting bigger and smellier by the day:
all the good ideas and good intentions come to nothing if the good fit algorithms don't work - and they don't.
would I like to sidle up to my computer on a Monday morning and be faced with having to write a 10,000 word article in Polish about llama farming that passes copyscape, for $5?
No. (though I appreciate your good intentions...)
@ john T
"The tech just isn't up to it right now. I think it's fine to have what's basically a reccomendations engine, but I don't think you could leave it to make actual decisions."
The problem is, it IS making actual decisions. It's deciding where to put individual job applications in a list depending on which it thinks deserves to be most visible to the client. That's a decision too far already.
Yeah, I agree. Though at least it's not making final decisions, which is what Preston's OP seemed to be batting at.
I think more advanced matching tools for both client and freelancer to use would be more valuable than this idealistic, but I think ultimately technically naive, automated stuff. Not that they're mutually exclusive, but I think oDesk are betting too heavily on the latter and under-developing the former. Maybe not; I guess we'll see.
oDesk should hire you, if you were willing to work for them.