In a world where the traditional employment paradigm has collapsed and online freelance marketplaces are inefficient and painful to use, an alternative is sorely needed. Professionals need an evolved platform from which to sell their services, and business owners need a way to quickly and reliably source and work with trusted talent.
Aegora.com is creating that platform. Rick Carlile, one of Aegora’s co-founders, says,“I’ve spent years using online freelance marketplaces to buy and sell services, and they’ve allowed me to create some terrific businesses – for which I’m very grateful. But it’s been damned hard work!”
“These OFMs were designed nearly a decade ago, and carry a lot of obsolete baggage. But their biggest problem is a terrible signal-to-noise ratio; you put an advert looking for a programmer on an OFM and you’re immediately swamped with thousands of applications, largely from spammers. Likewise, if you’re a sincere, skilled person who wants to sell your services it’s heartbreakingly difficult to differentiate yourself from the swarm of other service providers. There’s always a trust gap.”
“Plus these OFMs were designed and created when outsourcing to third-world countries was in vogue, so there was an almost colonialist mentality where they expected Western managers to need to ride herd on foreign ‘software sweatshop’ workers. That created a lot of issues.”
Others had tried to solve these problems, but in every case they did it by manual filtering. Getting in the middle of user interactions becomes expensive fast, and many of these marketplaces went bust. Carlile explains the solution. “Services like LinkedIn show us that people are happy to create professional networks online, because that’s how we behave in the real world. It’s something we do naturally. Not only are networks natural filters, they let us reach out to strangers, with trust.”
“Trust spreads through extended networks like ripples across a pond,” says Carlile. “If I need an attorney, but I don’t know one, I’ll ask you if you know anyone with the relevant expertise. If you recommend someone, I’ll trust her – because I trust you, and you trust her. But I’ll trust her just a bit less than I trust you. The further out you go, there’s still that trust there but it diminishes with each jump.”
Carlile continues,“With networking, not only did we bridge the trust gap, we solved filtering. When you can selectively filter projects, applicants, and so on based on peoples’ network proximity, you have this groundbreaking but simple and natural mechanism that lets you focus on people who are going to be valuable to you. It creates a very civilized system.”
Aegora (aegora.com) is in early development. However, they’ve opened their doors to the public via an invitational Alpha. Says Carlile,“We’re a grassroots movement, so our community is what will help us get where we’re going. We want to start engaging with people from day one. If Aegora’s vision strikes a chord with you, I urge you – join us!”