healthy comment discussion followed a post in which we looked at the topic of "spec work," or freelance work done for a client before an agreement of compensation is formed. One of the most vocal opponents to spec work is Andrew Hyde of TechStars and StartupWeekend fame, whose blunt opinions sparked a debate over how a marketplace for freelance work should properly function. Today, Hyde and a few friends are launching Pick, a marketplace and directory that connects clients with freelancers.Back in January, a
Freelancers in fields like design, development, photography, copywriting, marketing and management can sign into Pick and create a profile to share their portfolio and contact information. More importantly, however, Pick asks freelancers to list their work availability and a price range. This allows clients to narrow their search to find freelancers in the specialty they need based on location, availability and price.
"The [freelance] process is a mess. There are a ton of freelancer sites out there, but freelancers never promote them because they largely exploit the community. I thought there had to be a better way," Hyde told ReadWriteWeb. "I wrote my solution and said someone should build it, and nobody did, so here we are."
Through the creation of Pick and the growth of its community, Hyde hopes to put a dent in other marketplaces which he says are providing platforms for what he calls "exploitsourcing." With a 2008 post titled "Spec Work Is Evil / Why I Hate CrowdSpring," and in 2009's "An Open Letter to 99designs," Hyde has become a leading voice in the movement against spec work and the services he believes promote it.
"It is a major ethical flaw of both parties," said Hyde of spec work in 2008. "Some designers I have talked to have escalated this lack of ethics to be on par with some very serious crimes, while other see it as dumping oil down a rain drain. A lot of people don't take this lightly at all."
On the bright side of the negativity surrounding spec work, Hyde has channeled his passion against the practice into a new place for clients and freelancers to meet without the worry of exploitation. For startups that need design, copywriting or other freelance services, Pick could soon become an excellent alternative to the more common marketplaces.
Having just launched, the service is a bit of a ghost town and is currently invite-only, but Hyde hopes to see around 1,000 users by week's end. Freelancers can request an invite and clients can currently visit the site and browse the available profiles.