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  1. Post only private jobs otherwise you will be spammed with candidates that generally can’t do the job. Yes, that means you have to invite the people you want so you need to know who you want to hire and what skills they need.
  2. Test all the candidates before hiring by asking them to do a job that would directly involve what they would do.  For example, if I was looking for a web designer I would ask them to design a mockup in photoshop of a web page and send them a wireframe as a guideline for what I wanted.
  3. Interview through Skype as this will give you an idea of their english language skills and if they can properly understand your task.
  4. Run a paid trial on all hires asking them to START & FINISH one task.  This can cost you some money initially but when you find the right person it pays off. It also gives you a little longer to see if their character and work habits fit your needs.
  5. Use code repositories such as github to watch and monitor their work. For design work I usually setup a shared dropbox folder.
  6. Fire fast as chances are they aren’t going to get better than their trial.
  7. Hourly only as most contractors don’t know how to estimate and will usually take a job and drop it half way if the fixed rate isn’t enough.
  8. Communication is key, you need to clearly communicate what you need done and put the effort in upfront.  Also, a clear task list and system to manage development tasks helps. Presence on skype to answer questions as they work is key as well.
  9. Don’t hire companies/agencies.  They charge more and you are usually dealing with a project manager that communicates your job to the programmer so communication breaks down. Also,  if someone has 100,000 hours they are probably just a company using 1 account.
For the hourly rate it’s pretty straight forward, you get what you pay for. For example you aren’t going to get an amazing programmer for $5-10/hr but you can get someone very competent for $20-30/hr.

Other resources:

Let me know if you have any tips about hiring on odesk.

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I recently setup a few LAMP servers on the RackSpace Cloud and thought I would write a post to document the process. I needed separate servers for a couple different projects and wanted to be able to quickly setup new LAMP servers in the future with their imaging system so I don’t have to repete this process again for future servers. I looked around and found the RackSpace Cloud Server which seem fairly economical, you can start at around $11/mo per server and scale from there whereas with Amazon EC2 your starting cost is about $72/month albeit for a more powerful server (small instance plus S3 storage).

Quick Breakdown of what needs to be done to get your server up and running:

  1. Setup a RackSpace Cloud Account and create your Ubuntu Cloud Server
  2. Setup an account with SSH for Remote Access and sudo permission
  3. Update/Upgrade Server Packages using Aptitude
  4. Install/Setup LAMP Stack and Email
  5. Secure Server with a Firewall
  6. Create Server Image

(more…)

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