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For the past few years, my ultimate invention candidate has been the Star Trek Transporter (illustrated on left).
"Energize!", and you can go anywhere anytime. (My previous candidate was the Star Trek Replicator, to get my chocolate shake anywhere anytime). Why? Because the best places to work are not necessarily the best places to live (due to cost of living, deminished social life, being away from family and friends).
A lot of people end up living in foreign countries to pursue the career they want (e.g. me) and it's not easy to spend time with your family (who live in Pakistan and the UK). Skype and Gmail allow us to remain in touch, but they don't allow me to play with my nephew (picture on right).
I have a good friend whose main goal is to find a career where he can travel back and forth between Pakistan and the US, while not sacrificing the big bucks (he was working as a top programmer for a US company). He started a small outfit in Pakistan and was looking to get them some programming work. Naturally, I got him into oDesk as an Affiliate. He fairly quickly got a $100K+ project, quit his regular job in the US, and is now full-time involved as the Affiliate Manager.
Let me first outline some tips I got from him:
- He found job openings where his skill set was relevant (don't blindly apply to everything)
- He applied himself, and also had his Providers apply at the same time (so they appeared together in the Candidate List)
- He clearly outlined who he was (Affiliate Manager), who else was in his team (Providers), links to the oDesk Profiles of his Providers (use oDesk Short URLs in the cover letter), and why they were good for the job
- He had a US number where he could be reached during his business hours (you can either get a VoIP box from Vonics or Vonage, or get a SkypeIn account)
But the cool thing for me was that oDesk helped him achieve his equivalent of the Star Trek Transporter. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, has gone to his oDesk Buyer's offices in Texas, and spends time with him family in Pakistan while overseeing his (growing) Affiliate outfit. You could argue that it's better than the Star Trek Transporter. Captain Kirk always worked with the same people on his ship, and actually lost a few people in every episode (the poor Red Shirts). They should have just enjoyed their chocolate shakes in interstellar space and talked to the Klingons over Yahoo IM.