Tim's Blog

The phone call
Ricky Lee, the CEO of Twogateways.com, called me earlier today to clarify a few things about Twogateways that I wrote yesterday.

We had an agreement that Twogateways has more facilities to protect and provide for the businesses than they do for the freelancers. The Twogateways team is concerned that it takes chickens to lay eggs. And Ricky impressed upon me how difficult it was to find that balance between the two.

The only way this website is going to be a success is with more job postings. And the businesses want assurances. Fair enough, I thought. And the way they get it is through the quality of the freelancers. The prices that Twogateways charges freelancers is one method. Unfair as it sounds, it will weed out those who aren't hungry enough or successful enough to gather enough money money to invest in Twogateways. The management is of course generally assuming that there is a correlation between ready cash and ability.

The good news is Twogateways is aware of that assumption and Ricky is experimenting with what he calls "sponsorships". ie, full-verified accounts for those who approach him and have excellent portfolios and credentials. If you're good enough, he says, you don't have to pay a cent to be a full member of Twogateways. And that makes perfect business sense -- by attracting quality freelancers to meet Twogateway's quality clients. All you have to do is get through Ricky.

Bringing business in is well and good, but freelancers also want assurances, I said. That's when Ricky revealed that Twogateways currently has a kind of case-by-case vetting system for businesses who post and they do have a policy of removing job posts of those who are just experimenting with Twogateways and aren't genuine. The rating system is well-considered, but it does have a fundamental flaw that makes it absolutely useless. Freelancers never, never, never give past employers bad ratings, no matter how badly they've been treated -- have to be friends with everyone, right?

I assured Ricky that I honestly thought that Twogateways is providing a much needed service. That is obvious enough. But that still won't stop the vast majority of freelancers (who are poor and casual) from feeling alienated by Twogateways' pricing policies. Whether Twogateways likes it or not, talk like that will be around for a long time. And they have to address it more aggressively at some point.

Some of the ways might be more broadbased ear-to-the-ground PR techniques that gets Twogateways out there and on everyone's lips and shows the desires that Ricky and his team have. For example headhunting at graduation day (a great technique all the politicians know) to gather more quality young freelancers together to form a core group. That way you'd also know the sort of people who are in the workforce. Or for the professional class, organising RM10 business lunches for businesses and freelancers to meet and exchange cards under the auspices of Twogateways. It isn't very costly, Twogateways will get some press and it allows freelancers to believe that Twogateways is also concerned with their needs.

Something for everyone.

posted at 10:01:35 PM on 09/17/2003 by timyang - Category: General


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