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It's a fair bet that 'Five billion people connecting (via the internet) will disrupt the labour markets.' That's the somewhat laconic observation from Matt Barrie, chief executive officer of leading crowdsourcing business, Freelancer.com.

Crowdsourcing is radically changing both the nature of work and the employer-worker relationship by allowing employers to define what they want and the price they are prepared to pay, while workers essentially compete for the job. It's a confronting concept for many businesses and employees, but it's a trend gathering pace because of the agility it promises.

Mr Barrie will join futurist and crowd-watcher Ross Dawson to present crowdsourcing workshops in Sydney later this month which will explain further just how disruptive online crowds can be.

The workshops are intended to showcase crowdsourcing, and explain to business users how to tap the power of crowds, build businesses through crowdfunding, and even set up crowdsourcing businesses. Mr Barrie claims that; 'It has never been easier or cheaper to build a business and hire a digital workforce to build your business.'

Freelancer.com has now built a pool of 3.4 million workers, has tackled 1.5 million projects and has revenues of $US120 million. Australia is the fourth largest market for the company after the US, UK and India.

According to Alec Lynch, founder and CEO of DesignCrowd, who will also present at the workshops, the value of crowdsourcing as demonstrated by his design crowdsourcing company is that a business which puts up $500 to source a design tonight should expect to receive 10-20 responses tomorrow, and within ten days have 100 designs to choose from.

'It's outsourcing on steroids,' he said at a briefing in Sydney today. Mr Lynch said crowdsourcing was also disrupting conventional business models, saying that his organisation also provided 'white label services' to conventional design agencies.

Mr Barrie agreed that some of Freelancer.com's largest customers were agencies which used the Freelance.com marketplace to access programmers.

Mr Dawson, co-author of the recently published book, Getting Results from Crowds, said that the bottom line with crowdsourcing was that it provided business with 'Opportunities to do things better and more efficiently.'

For Australian organisations which were geographically remote from most of the larger markets, participating in the 'connected world' was imperative he argued.

Further information about the workshops can be found at http://bit.ly/crowdsyd


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Beverley Head

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Beverley Head is a Sydney-based freelance writer who specialises in exploring how and why technology changes everything - society, business, government, education, health. Beverley started writing about the business of technology in London in 1983 before moving to Australia in 1986. She was the technology editor of the Financial Review for almost a decade, and then became the newspaper's features editor before embarking on a freelance career, during which time she has written on a broad array of technology related topics for the Sydney Morning Herald, Age, Boss, BRW, Banking Day, Campus Review, Education Review, Insite and Government Technology Review. Beverley holds a degree in Metallurgy and the Science of Materials from Oxford University and a deep affection for things which are shaken not stirred.






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