oDesk - down the virtual, global company and collaboration rabbit hole

I just created an account on oDesk and, frankly, have fallen down a rabbit hole.

Of course, Drupal was the vector once again: I had Daryl leave a comment, with his username linking to a trends page showing Drupal jobs on oDesk. This intrigued me, so I dug into the system a little more.

For starters, there is a Drupal 5 test. I haven't taken it yet, but I fully intend to kick the tires on it. The testing system is run through Expert Rating. I want to explore this more, maybe even to the degree of developing tests for modules and components ... this feels like a useful function that could kickstart a lot more items.

Finishing up the Drupal bits, it looks like the oDesk Community section is Drupal-powered. The oConomy section is particularly interesting -- you can see that $48M worth of work have flowed through oDesk, and that the odometer is part of a custom module that they've developed (view source shows you all this).

The Global Provider Map has tons of interesting information -- Canada has 3253 Providers, with an average hourly rate of $24.92, and average feedback score of 4.29. And then there's Iceland -- 24 providers, $50.19 an hour average. Where the hell is Bouvet Island? The Maldives?! 11 providers...

Do work, get paid. I'm excited to think about how this can be used by startups especially, or to prototype startup ideas. Or, for that matter, working with global communities to build their knowledge worker populations. Hey Evan, it's time to bring the world to to Whitehorse, and vice versa.

I could go on to describe some details on how this works -- a crazy desktop app that monitors your "Activity" levels at the computer, takes screenshots and webcam shots (yes, webcam shots -- wearing pants is required), and creates your time log. But, I'm really just scratching the surface myself as I familiarize myself with the system. Has anyone out there used oDesk before? As a programmer or a buyer? I'm interested in feedback from people that have actually gone through the process...

The rabbit hole? I can truly run and interact with teams, companies, and businesses all over the world. This is the ad hoc network of professionals with varying sets of skills that I've been thinking about since a bunch of university friends and I sat down in 1995 and thought about online pizza ordering for Toronto.

oDesk Certified  Professional

Update: OK, I took the Drupal test and got 92%. Not bad, and I was impressed by the depth of some of the questions. oDesk Certified Drupal Administrator