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Summary:

Gary Swart, CEO of freelancer sourcing site oDesk took the stage at Net:Work 2011 to talk about how work is changing in the face of remote work trends. He started by pointing to a key competitive determinator all companies seek and must compete for: talent.

oDesk's Gary Swart at GigaOM 2011

oDesk's Gary Swart at GigaOM 2011Gary Swart, CEO of freelancer sourcing site oDesk took the stage at Net:Work 2011 to talk about how work is changing in the face of remote work trends. He started by pointing to a key competitive determinator all companies seek and must compete for: talent.

Swart said that competition for talent is rapid, despite economic woes. He specified two big problems: getting work to workers, and the hiring process, in terms of investment of time and resources. How to deal with both those problems has been steadily evolving: Work 1.0 was rigid, single-employer, and on location, probably what describes your grandfather’s career. Work 2.0 was about more flexible work schedules, better collaboration between remote teams and some ability to take work home with you. It’s sort of the model that’s still in place at big tech firms in Silicon Valley.

Work 3.0 is where we’re at now and where a good chunk of work is heading, according to Swart, and it’s only just getting underway. It means “access to the best people no matter where they are in the world,” and the “ability to work with those people as if they’re in the room with you.” Swart says it’s a transparent process, one that takes place primarily online using tools with built-in reporting elements. It’s a very situation-based, ephemeral mode of staffing, too: He applied a movie production analogy: the team comes together to accomplish something specific, then separate again.

He discussed examples of companies forming in order to source and staff remote work projects. Thumbtack is one, which serves 170,000 customers today, Swart says, and provides access to the services of 230,000 service professionals in discrete areas for on-demand, just-in-time labor requirements.

In short, we’re moving from rigid, structured, non-specific workforces to on-demand, targeted transparent freelancer-based staffing. Doing so saves on infrastructure, by cutting back on costs like transportation and facilities, and also leverages talent on a global scale that otherwise might go unnoticed and unappreciated. Swart sees Work 3.0 as just getting started, with its most significant effects on how we do business yet to be felt.

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  33. RT @gigaom: Work 3.0 is just getting underway, says oDesk’s Gary Swart http://t.co/YK5aQokl

  34. G+: Another example what Web 3.0 is… http://t.co/NIiHHcST) http://t.co/W1Zrl40E

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  36. Cole Chamberlain Thursday, December 8, 2011

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  40. Work 3.0 is just getting underway, says oDesk’s Gary Swart http://t.co/jh93WsLb via Darrell Etherington

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  47. Looks like we’re trending toward a new way of looking at talent and resource management. http://t.co/jUgaNAXH

  48. RT @greggretsch: Work 3.0 is just getting underway, says @odesk ’s @garyswart http://t.co/gXOgzTEW

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  51. GigaOM | Work 3.0 is just getting underway, says oDesk’s Gary Swart: http://t.co/VfPoS7g3

  52. “@gigaom: Work 3.0 is just getting underway, says oDesk’s Gary Swart http://t.co/zkplSESg” (I haven’t finished 2.0 yet. can we prioritise?)

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  56. Work 3.0 is just getting underway, says oDesk’s Gary Swart http://t.co/xgTq7I0S

  57. Thanks for the shout-out at @gigaom’s #workconf today, Gary! http://t.co/SaZ5xZi0 /cc @odesk Odesk is an awesome company.

  58. Work 3.0 is just getting underway, says oDesk’s @garyswart http://t.co/FZboItgi <- We and @supportspace are believers!

  59. #Work3.0 interesting concept for what comes next in talent management world: http://t.co/ej3cm4CW

  60. We are at Work 3.0 level now ! Nice talk Gary. http://t.co/JL3hOPVy

  61. Work 3.0 is just getting underway, says oDesk’s Gary Swart http://t.co/QHRQhjDX. Good video on global work.

  62. Nilofer Merchant Thursday, December 8, 2011

    Work 3.0 spelled out. http://t.co/2wWtwIe2

  63. This is how we work today! Globalization FTW :-p RT @nilofer: Work 3.0 spelled out. http://t.co/CWV64r8H

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  69. El nuevo lugar de trabajo: La oficina ha dejado el edificio http://t.co/KK5lVpau

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  72. RT @nilofer: Work 3.0 spelled out. http://t.co/2wWtwIe2

  73. Really, oDesk changes my life. This is best steps taken of CEO.

    Thanks…………..

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  75. Work 3.0. The Office has Left the Building – http://t.co/gQQovVUB

  76. RT @i_intelligence: Work 3.0. The Office has Left the Building – http://t.co/gQQovVUB

  77. Md. Jaynal Abedin Thursday, December 8, 2011

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  80. Mark Uppelschoten Friday, December 9, 2011

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  83. Work 3.0 is just getting underway, says oDesk’s Gary Swart http://t.co/a13DBbfJ competition for talent is rapid, despite economic woes.

  84. Regus USA & Canada Friday, December 9, 2011

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  87. #Work 3.0 is just getting underway, says Gary Swart from @odesk http://t.co/cT71o4jw RT @RegusBlog cc @SmartWork_BE @EuroGreenIT

  88. Jean-Marie Bonthous Friday, December 9, 2011

    Work 3.0 is just getting underway, says oDesk’s Gary Swart http://t.co/HD2acmge

  89. Mariana Cunha Friday, December 9, 2011

    Work 3.0 is just getting underway, says oDesk’s Gary Swart http://t.co/tNeUZP01

  90. oDesk’s Gary Swart: Work 3.0 is just getting underway http://t.co/vILhBj4U

  91. Shadrach White Friday, December 9, 2011

    RT @MarieHattar: oDesk’s Gary Swart: Work 3.0 is just getting underway http://t.co/vILhBj4U

  92. Mine too and thousands more, thank you oDesk

  93. Jerome Paquay Friday, December 9, 2011

    Work 3.0: all companies seek and must compete for on thing: talent http://t.co/2RP2Sxwb

  94. Beyond flexibile work arrangements, Work 3.0 connects #postdigital workers & cuts opertaional costs http://t.co/YYnGys85 #yam #humancapital

  95. As the global freelance economy prevails, I would like to see more local-focused efforts. A lot of these sites such as Elance and Odesk are so saturated that it makes it hard to compete as a freelancer. You end up driving your prices further and further down! I know it helps improve lives in countries where wages are lower, but how can I maintain my standard of living if I have to match their wages?

    I’m based in Canada, so I’ve been using another site called, HiretheWorld. (http://www.hiretheworld.com) Knowing I can support our local economy, with the same benefits of online work, all make it worthwhile. (less competition too there).

  96. Marcus Löfqvist Friday, December 9, 2011

    Are your organization getting ready for Work 3.0 “access to the best people no matter where they are in the world” http://t.co/hMkPPZKQ

  97. Work 3.0 is just getting underway, says oDesk’s Gary Swart http://t.co/JKvYlkdd #work #hr #rrhh #trends by @etherin

  98. Managers Magazine Saturday, December 10, 2011

    Santi_Garcia: Work 3.0 is just getting underway, says oDesk’s Gary Swart http://t.co/aFsz6k0U #work #hr #rrhh #trends by @etherin

  99. RT @siljanovski: We are at Work 3.0 level now ! Nice talk Gary. http://t.co/JL3hOPVy

  100. Jorge C. Sá Couto Saturday, December 10, 2011

    Work 3.0 is just getting underway, says oDesk’s Gary Swart http://t.co/j9AyGZMt Very interesting http://t.co/68Y0eA42 :)

  101. Depré Thierry Sunday, December 11, 2011

    Work 3.0 is just getting underway, says oDesk’s Gary Swart http://t.co/DihbFgqR

  102. Work 3.0 is just getting underway, says oDesk’s Gary Swart — Online Collaboration http://t.co/dtpccpJG

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