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AiThority Interview with Dave Bottoms, VP of Product at Upwork

AiThority Interview with Dave Bottoms, VP of Product at Upwork

Hi Dave, please tell us a little bit about your role at Upwork. How do you work with AI and other intelligent technologies to build workplace tools?

As GM of Marketplace and VP of Product at Upwork, I oversee the overall product strategy and execution of Upwork’s marketplace, connecting talent and clients all over the world. I lead multiple teams responsible for delivering value to clients who rely on Upwork’s global work marketplace to find and hire the best talent. While we are still in the early days, the rapid rate of change ushered in by Generative AI is certainly impacting both the ways we work to build products, as well as the very products we are building for our customers.

We very much see generative AI as the newest capability in our product development toolkit, and a massive force multiplier for both businesses and talent who come to our marketplace to find and get work done. One of our most ambitious goals is to foster the most AI-empowered independent talent in the world.

As announced on November 6, we are providing both the best third- and first-party tools and educational resources to enable talent to harness the power of generative AI to work smarter, and ultimately get more done. One example of this is the launch of Upwork Chat Pro, a new GPT-4-powered app currently live as a limited-release beta and developed by our Upwork Labs team to allow professionals to start and complete work faster and more effectively.

How has Upwork evolved in the GPT era? What are your key offerings in the AI space?

At Upwork, we’re seeing firsthand the transformative impact generative AI is having on professionals and companies alike, supercharging productivity and efficiency for talent and businesses that need to get mission-critical work done.

AI is the fastest-growing category on our platform this year. Our goal is to become the preeminent destination for AI-related talent and work, while also improving the efficiency, effectiveness, and speed to match on our platform through improvements to our core product experiences and capabilities.

We first welcomed the era of generative AI at Upwork with the launch of the AI Services hub, a singular destination for customers to source the AI talent they need, and get matched with AI-powered solutions and expert talent across virtually every category of work. We also aim to ensure talent on Upwork has access to the most modern generative AI tools to dramatically increase productivity and quality of work. The AI Services hub has seen a 10x increase in average monthly visitors since it debuted in July.

Recently, we built on our offerings with the announcement of an extension of the hub with a new suite of generative AI apps, offers and educational content specially designed for talent this week.

Could you tell us more about your latest generative AI offerings? How do you differentiate your AI apps in the education marketplace?

As I shared above, we introduced a new set of AI apps and offers, alongside new educational content so that independent talent on Upwork can harness the power of generative AI to supercharge their productivity and improve the quality of their work.

Additionally, we launched limited access to Upwork Chat Pro, a new generative AI application embedded directly on Upwork’s platform and powered by GPT-4, developed to allow independent professionals to start and complete work faster and more effectively.

Upwork’s unique position as a two-sided marketplace allows us to introduce our global talent pool to a comprehensive array of best-of-breed AI-based tools and resources. We are partnering with industry-leading developers like Adobe, Amazon, ClickUp, and Miro, that have incorporated Gen AI into their products.

In making these tools available for trial or discount, we are ensuring that our talented professionals have every opportunity to leverage AI tools to do their best work.

In addition to offering these apps to independent talent, our learning center, Upwork Academy, is adding educational content in the new AI Education Library, including AI-related courses, AI learning paths that cover the basics of AI, as well as mini courses. It’s this combination of apps, tools and educational resources for talent that will help upskill their capabilities and leverage the power of generative AI so they stay competitive and become more productive.

What has been your most memorable experience related to Generative AI capabilities in 2023?

Upwork has been fueled by cutting-edge technologies since the company started more than 20 years ago.

We were founded on the idea that technology could break down barriers and borders and bring people together to unleash their uniquely human potential to work together in ways made possible by the technological advances of the last few decades.

Think about the most significant technology shifts in our lifetime – from personal computers to the Web, mobile devices, and cloud computing as the foundational building blocks underlying our own work marketplace.

Today, we’re undergoing another seismic shift with the advent of generative AI and how it will directly impact the future of work. I am particularly excited about the transformative possibilities already unfolding for professionals and businesses tapping into generative AI.

It’s a game-changer for work, and for Upwork, as we seek to help so many professionals and companies embrace this moment of opportunity to deliver major critical business outcomes and ultimately work smarter and more efficiently. It’s truly an awesome and memorable experience to be at a company that is working tirelessly towards empowering millions of professionals to embrace the power of generative AI to continuously serve their respective customers.

Thank you, Dave! That was fun and we hope to see you back on soon.

Dave Bottoms leads Upwork’s Marketplace organization, a global team responsible for the core Talent Marketplace, search & discovery, ads & monetization, core mobile experiences, as well as new product innovation and analytics.

Upwork is the world’s largest work marketplace that connects businesses with independent talent from across the globe. We serve everyone from one-person startups to large, Fortune 100 enterprises with a powerful, trust-driven platform that enables companies and talent to work together in new ways that unlock their potential. Our talent community earned over $3.8 billion on Upwork in 2022 across more than 10,000 skills in categories including website & app development, creative & design, customer support, finance & accounting, consulting, and operations.

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