October 29, 2020 Using Crowd to Scale a Subjective Product Like Writing with Verblio’s Steve Pockross

In this Uprisor Future of Work conversation, Clinton talks with Steve Pockross, CEO of content creation marketplace platform Verblio. They discuss how the crowdsourcing mentality has evolved, what platforms can do to build trust with new customers, and why it’s possible for two-sided marketplaces to deliver value to customers and fair compensation to freelancers at the same time.

Enjoy the conversation and check out highlights from the episode below.

Developing an open mindset

Clinton and Steve start by talking about how travel and exposure to other cultures can be transformative, shaping an individual’s communication, listening, and critical thinking “Your brain is always on,” Steve says about his time spent living in Chile and Brazil. In addition to a new language, you learn that your way of doing things is not the right way and not the only way. The two posit that this self-awareness may lend itself to work in a collaborative setting like crowdsourcing later on.  

Evolving crowdsourcIng and earning Trust

In managing a marketplace platform of 3,000 U.S.-based freelance writers and a content creation SAS environment for customers, Steve believes in building trust on both sides to achieve real collaboration. Verblio’s customers can train their freelance base to improve content quality over time through the platform. Feedback is shared, meaning all writers can see the feedback a customer leaves on past content. This helps train new writers and results in better quality content over time. Clinton and Steve also hit on the fact that building out a preferred team of contractors using platforms like Topcoder or Verblio allows businesses to keep their momentum during times of uncertainty — like a global pandemic — since they already have a virtual workforce. 

Avoiding the Problem for Freelancers

Clinton and Steve end by addressing the potential problems with two-sided marketplaces and how platforms can provide value to both sides. Verblio has employed a couple of key elements to avoid putting freelance writers in a race to the bottom:

  • They control the price of the product. Unlike competitors who charge different rates based on a writer’s ratings, Verblio charges the same rate per piece of content for all writers.
  • Verblio has inverted the system so that writers compete for clearly defined jobs based on their ability to flesh out a customer’s requirements, rather than customers wading through resumes and writer profiles to try and find the best fit.

Steve shares that while most companies are founded by entrepreneurs looking at a market opportunity and then finding labor to provide value to clients, Verblio was founded differently, and it’s origin is part of what makes it great.

Verblio was created by a journalist. Our founder said, “I want to find great skilled work opportunities for the amazing amount of my colleagues out there in the next generation of work.” —Steve Pockross

Thank you to Steve Pockross for offering his perspective on the ways businesses can leverage crowdsourcing to build a flexible, scalable content team.

Annika Nagy


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