The Startup Playbook

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Ep090 – Gary Swart (Former CEO of oDesk) on focusing on your strengths

My guest for Episode 90 of The Startup Playbook Podcast is the former CEO of oDesk (now known as Upwork) Gary Swart.

Until 2014, Gary was the CEO of oDesk, the world’s largest online workplace, providing over $1B in work through the platform from over 3 million clients and 10 million freelancers.

Over his 9 years in the role, Gary guided the company to industry-leadership and through a merger with Elance into launching Upwork.

Prior to oDesk, Gary’s career grew from early entrepreneurial ventures, to a top executive position at IBM.

He is now on the other side of the table as the General Partner of Polaris Partners, a $4.5B fund that invests in healthcare and technology.

We covered a range of topics in this interview including:
– Focusing on your strengths
– How to hire for scale
– Career mistakes and lessons learnt
– What he looks for as an investor

This podcast was produced by the awesome team at Playbook Media. If you would like to launch your own personal or business podcast, say hello to

Show notes:
Reed Hastings
Polaris Partners
Above All Human
Gary Swart

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Music: Joakim Karud – Dreams

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