One my of customers found someone on Fiverr to do some mechanical modelling. That worked out well so we tried to use a PCB designer on Fiverr to modify a PCB design. That did not turn out as well as there were some high voltage circuits that required spacing for safety, and the designer clearly did not understand the safety issues.
Being short on resources for the software side of the project, we also discussed trying to find a software developer on Fiverr. After looking at the Fiverr terms, I’m not sure this model is appropriate for complex tasks that require a collaborative relationship, vs a throw-it-over-the-wall relationship. A few quotes from the terms:
- You may not offer direct payments to Sellers using payment systems outside of the Fiverr platform.
- To protect our users’ privacy, user identities are kept anonymous. Requesting or providing Email addresses, Skype/IM usernames, telephone numbers or any other personal contact details to communicate outside of Fiverr in order to circumvent or abuse the Fiverr messaging system or Fiverr platform is not permitted.
- All information and file exchanges must be performed exclusively on Fiverr’s platform.
A few concerns:
- Fiverr prevents developers from developing and using their own brand and reputation outside of Fiverr (such as a Github profile).
- Uploading files is not collaboration – how do you do complex software development without using Git? How do you review changes and iterate on solutions? See this for an example of how great work is done.
So it seems Fiverr is a gatekeeper leveraging low cost labor to provide solutions. This might be OK for logo design, and many other simpler tasks. But for complex systems and truly innovative solutions that require collaboration, I’m not sure it is the right model because you have to move from a gatekeeper to an enabler model to really scale innovation. How to be an enabler and develop a process that rewards all involved – that is a topic I’ve very interested in exploring more. It seems Ebay and Amazon are similar to Fiverr in that they tightly constrain the supplier/customer relationship to preserve their gatekeeper status in the relationship – a race to the bottom that really only benefits the biggest players and platform owners. It seems there has to be a better way – perhaps through the use of blockchain technologies? Interested in your thoughts!