When Stepstone acquired Appcast, the boys wondered why Indeed failed to snatch-up programmatic's most well-known and successful companies. Maybe Indeed wasn't even interested. Turns out, they were, as proven by the recent announcement that they acquired second-rate competitor, ClickIQ.
In this episode, the guys bring in some special guests - Rob Prince from Talent Nexus and Julie Sowash from Crazy and The King - to get to the bottom of things, as well as cover a broad range of topics, including Facebook's issues, Recfest roundup, Hirevue's impending sale.
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Intro: Hide your kids. Lock the doors. You're listening to HR's most dangerous podcast, Chad Sowash, and Joel Cheesman, are here to punch the recruiting industry right where it hurts. Complete with breaking news, brash opinion, and loads of snark. Buckle up, boys and girls. It's time for the Chad and Cheese podcast.
Julie Sowash: All right, can we talk about something now?
Chad: This is a wrap up.
Joel: This is a wrap up, but we have some news.
Chad: We do have news.
Joel: Specifically, the ClickIQ acquisition by Indeed, who's getting sloppy seconds by not getting on the Appcast train. We have HireVue rumors of a sale. I guess it's official. They're selling HireVue. It's on the chopping block, and then some other fringe news. But primarily the RecFest roundup and our thoughts on that. If you love special guests from-
Chad: This is it.
Joel: ... exotic locations, this is the show for you. We're here in London,
Chad: In a pub. What pub are we in?
Rob Prince: We're in the Grove in Surbiton, just down the road from the office.
Joel: We've pulled Rob in from pouring beers. We thought we'd throw him on the show. No, actually, Rob Prince, with Talent Nexus. Rob, what's your position there with the company?
Rob Prince: Client Services Director.
Joel: Client Services Director. We'll get to you in a second. We're also for the second time bringing in the better half of the Sowash bond.
Chad: This is nepotism personified right now.
Julie Sowash: Yeah. It is. I'll let you be on the podcast.
Joel: Julie Sowash.
Julie Sowash: Hello, hello. What's your current title besides care and handler and feeding of the Chad.
Joel: Just super badass bitch.
Julie Sowash: Super badass bitch.
Joel: Senior consultant and cohost of the Crazy and the King podcast.
Julie Sowash: Diversity oracle.
Joel: Guru. Badass bitch.
Chad: I think you said that earlier.
Joel: All right. All right. Rob, let's get to you quick. Talent Nexus. Who are they, why should our audience care?
Chad: And why did you make us look so Goddamn good?
Rob Prince: Because it's so easy. Because it's so easy. [crosstalk 00:02:51].
Chad: The British.
Julie Sowash: Don't lie.
Rob Prince: Overly polite.
Rob Prince: Talent Nexus, we're a marketing agency. We work exclusively within recruitment. Today we've got two sides of the business. We've got the programmatic side, which is all about just helping job boards and employers get their candidates for cheaper, and then we've got the employer branding and content side, which is the side that I deal with more than the other side. And it's the side that led us on to doing the video with you guys. Video's a big part of what we do at the moment.
Joel: So you're going to have something really smart to say in regards to the ClickIQ Indeed acquisition. Correct?
Chad: Wait. Before we get there, I have a rant.
Joel: Before shoutouts you got a rant?
Chad: Yes. Yeah.
Joel: Go for it.
Chad: I was talking to Richard yesterday from ClickIQ [crosstalk 00:03:36]-
Julie Sowash: Oh. He called you out on LinkedIn.
Chad: ... CEO of fucking ClickIQ. And we had a legitimate pointed conversation. I said, "Richard, right now we said it on the podcast and you heard it. Indeed is fucking stupid for not buying Appcast, and you guys, I mean pretty much ..."
Joel: We're on record.
Chad: Yeah. We're on record. And he just looked at me, he turned red and he breathed really deep and he's like, "Yeah, yeah." I was like, "Well, just so you know, you are validated because now you are the big player. Right?" And then guess what happens today?
Joel: As he's waiting for the check to clear in his bank account. He's breathing heavily.
Chad: He's like, "If Chad and Cheese say this shit onstage, I am fucked."
Joel: Actually, the validation is in our show.
Chad: That's good... yeaaaa.
Joel: Because we criticized it and it happened, because somebody was smart enough to make it happen.
Rob Prince: I'm 90% sure that that redness was actually sunburn. He was definitely a cagey about it. He's apologize to you on LinkedIn today. [crosstalk 00:04:43] straight up sunburn.
Chad: Yeah, I've got to say, no, congratulations dude. That is fucking awesome. I mean in the short amount of time Appcast, now ClickIQ ...
Rob Prince: Big week.
Chad: Big week, so ... we'll get to shoutouts. We're going to do that after, whatever. This is big fucking news. You're in programmatic, Rob, you're in programmatic, you know this shit. What does this mean for the industry overall?
Rob Prince: I think it is a potentially long overdue waking up. I think the industry's is speeding up, it's waking up. You talked about the Appcast acquisition earlier this week. It's funny that they've both happened at the same time. I'm sure it wasn't planned like that, but these things do tend to happen in twos, don't they?
Chad: Indeed lost on the Appcast thing and they're like, "Fuck, we need to pull the trigger on this one. That had to be what happened. There was a bidding war-
Joel: Was ClickIQ the consolation prize?
Chad: I think they were going for both of them, myself. I think they're going for a clean sweep. What do you think?
Rob Prince: Honestly, I have absolutely no idea.
Joel: What do you think, though, Rob? This is an opinion show.
Chad: Asked you for what you think, Rob.
Joel: We don't take kindly to "I don't know."
Rob Prince: My guess would be that it was planned purely because I can't see Indeed losing that bidding war and nobody knowing about it.
Julie Sowash: Especially for the price that Appcast went at.
Chad: Yeah, especially for the price.
Joel: What was Appcast's market share here in the European market?
Rob Prince: I couldn't tell you the numbers, but they're certainly the leading providers.
Joel: So same as the US, Appcast was the leader.
Rob Prince: I mean within the UK you're looking at Recruitics and Appcast would be the two versions that people know.
Joel: Do we know the dollar figure?
Rob Prince: No, I don't think Click's been released. The whole release, I thought, it was interestingly worded release, especially if you compare it to happened earlier in the week. I think the phrase is something they've, they've agreed signed to agree that they will acquire rather than the version earlier in the week, which was, "Hoorah, we got bought." ClickIQ's is a bit different to that. And I'd be interested to know whether that's slightly clumsy wording or whether that means that he's talking about something different.
Joel: Knowing Indeed's PR as I do, it was probably strategic, all of it in terms of wording and PR. So my question is if the big dog, Appcast, the relationships with the agencies, okay, that's an advantage and a head start. But now you have click IQ with the full resources of an Indeed. A year from now, two years from now, is Appcast still the one the agencies rely on and use, or does ClickIQ make headway into that world and overtake Appcast in, say, three to five years?
Chad: I think you have to take a look at StepStone's priorities. If they're looking to make sure that-
Joel: World domination.
Chad: Yeah, I mean if they look for literally making sure that they shore up what they have in the US, which is, I mean really dominating infrastructure for programmatic in the US, and then being able to also shore up now what they have in Europe, which is where they're at, if that's their focus, then I think they're still doing well. But the amount of money that Indeed spends or could spend on this could definitely overtake anything.
Chad: The big question is do they have the focus of yesteryear? Back in the Paul Forster days, Paul Forster focused a fucking laser. Right? And that's why they overtook everybody-
Joel: Focused beasts.
Chad: Yeah. And now they have no focus whatsoever. I mean, they're all over the place. So the big question is can they become the Indeed of yesteryear and prioritize and focus in one area to evolve and become something bigger? Or are they just going to fuck this up?
Joel: Rob, you know StepStone better than we do. What's your take on their reach into North America, there's rumors that they're looking into to eBay's properties in Canada. Do you have any particular insight into StepStone, a European company as they grow into North America?
Rob Prince: StepStone have always been a growing ambitious professional, is probably the word I would use.
Chad: They're German, so they're going to be uptight and professional. [crosstalk 00:09:16]. They're more uptight than the British, aren't they?
Rob Prince: German?
Joel: Ze Germans.
Rob Prince: You could ask anybody in the pub that question and you would get the same answer, which is of course. I can't see them being anything other than efficient and smart here. You called it earlier this week. The acquisition is a good one for them. It's a real sign of intent. It's the first proper acquisition of a programmatic business, which is a huge leap in the right direction for the industry. I think that's where that's going.
Joel: My question as well as when you have job sites StepStone and Indeed buy up these programmatic solutions, don't you have to say that inevitably there's going to be a little bit of skewing in favor of their properties versus the network properties, and ultimately you're going to send more traffic to either StepStone or Indeed's properties than you are the competition?
Rob Prince: It is vital for a platform like that that it is a agnostic. That's why the platform would be valuable and work. You're looking at me with cynical eyes, which I [crosstalk 00:10:33].
Joel: ... transparency around where the money's being spent. And right now there really is no transparency around where it's being spent.
Rob Prince: And it's why there's the understandable nervousness and then it's ... you're talking to people at RecFest yesterday and everyone gets what the nervousness is. And it's why, Richard, in his LinkedIn post earlier, even called it out in, one of three paragraphs, one of them was about the platform remains agnostic, and it's all about spending money in the most efficient way. It's not about directly funneling money into whoever owns us. It has to be like that. Can you imagine a platform working in a way that wasn't that? That has to be the way that a platform like that works.
Joel: Yeah. So they may be saying that out of one side of their mouth, but are they telling a different story internally on the other side of their mouth?
Rob Prince: You'll have to get them on.
Joel: Assuming they'll tell the truth. Well, Richard's British, right? You always tell the truth.
Chad: Yeah. Okay, so moving on. Let's go ahead and get the shoutouts.
Joel: It's commercial time.
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Chad: It's show time.
Joel: Well, I'm curious if you have an opinion on the transparency and where the money's going.
Chad: I don't think Indeed has anything to actually win and / or prove through transparency. They're the big dog when it comes to traffic. They're going to do what they want to do, how they want to do it, when they want to do it, and they don't give a fuck what anybody else thinks. So, I wish and hope that we find out how to make actually a network that that is more targeted and it makes sense, but I don't have the confidence, at least on the Indeed side of the house that that's going to happen.
Chad: Now, I think on the StepStone side, we have an entirely different conversation where they do, they need to be transparent. I think there's a yin and yang to this. They can be incredibly transparent, win the public support, love all that other happy or shit. But the question is when does Indeed pull out of Appcast, and they're like, "No, you're not pushing shit our way through Appcast. We're only going through ClipCast? When's that happen, and how does that actually damage that footprint and that infrastructure that's built in the US and the UK?
Rob Prince: Well, I think one of the important parts of this conversation is that it'd be very easy in this situation to conflate business decisions, business strategy with transparency. For platforms those to work, I mean, and what we did, and we do loads of programmatic stuff in line one of that agenda is to be completely transparent and open with client budget, so everyone knows exactly where everything's going because that's the only way that we could operate.
Rob Prince: That is different to the second part of that, which is what do Indeed do now knowing that Appcast is in one camp and they have ClickIQ in another. But they're different things. Being transparent with customers is just a vital component of what they do. If they transparently step out of that relationship with the other team, then fine, but they shouldn't be conflated, because that would be letting them off the hook, I think, just allowing them to not be transparent because it's strategically sensible for them to do so. That's bullshit.
Joel: I think it's incredibly naïve to think that more money won't be flowing into Indeed and Glassdoor. And that's all I've got to say about that.
Chad: So, thanks Jamie, Leonard and Bobby and especially Lois, because I think she does all the work. No, wait. Francesca, I think, does all the work, right?
Chad: So RecFest was one of ... we've never been to-
Joel: If we had a bomb sound effect, this would be where we would play it.
Chad: And I will put it in there some, maybe, I don't know, but we've been to how many, just about every conference that's out there in this industry, this was not a conference.
Joel: By the end of the year we will have launched up pretty much every ...
Chad: This is not a conference. This is a fucking festival. I mean it was a festival, circus slash ... I mean, it was amazing because from my standpoint, I saw recruiters, recruiting teams, talent acquisition let down their guard, become more transparent, more authentic, and actually not just share, but engage in the community more than I have at any other conference.
Joel: Yeah. Particularly with the English who are historically a very reserved people, they had no issue with letting go some sort of truth serum must've been in the air.
Chad: Yeah. It was called a bar opening at noon.
Joel: It might've been the pub that was onsite at every single stage. They got them talking. But yes, it was fantastic. They held nothing close to the vest. People were very open. And I think the speakers as well, it carried over to being very open and honest, feeding off the crowd and being real in terms of opinion and context.
Chad: That list of speakers I've seen, not just because we are on it, I mean come on, but the best list of speakers-
Joel: It might have had something to do with it.
Chad: ... it was ridiculous. It was really, it was awesome.
Joel: Yeah. And Jamie's a genius by having us be the closing speakers, by the way.
Chad: Because he knew we would blow shit up.
Joel: The smartest man in European recruiting.
Chad: I think your favorite, Rob, your favorite presentation was Torin Ellis.
Rob Prince: Oh yeah, 100%. Yeah. It's been a long time since I've seen somebody control a room like that. And I think often the problem with talks about diversity as they're boring, is often what happens. It sounds like people just telling-
Joel: Did you say boring?
Rob Prince: Boring.
Julie Sowash: Yeah. Joel knows that.
Rob Prince: Right? It's getting told that you have loads more work to do and that everything's in a pretty bad state and it's your fault, which is all true ...
Joel: You can't see Rob, but he's a white male in his late 20s. Would that be correct? I just want to make some context around this before we get to the female on the other side of the table.
Julie Sowash: No, but it's good that Rob recognizes that it's all his fault. So yes, go ahead, Rob.
Rob Prince: Importantly, it's not that the stuff isn't important. The delivery of the stuff tends to be dry in an HR context. And you're looking at a big top 10 full of what, three, 400 people, all of whom were leaning forward on the edge of their seat, just soaking up every single word.
Joel: And it wasn't just fear that Torin would be calling them out during his speech, which I love.
Julie Sowash: That was awesome.
Chad: On the other side, I mean, Julie obviously not only knows Torin well because she's the-
Joel: To say she has a unique perspective on this would be an understatement.
Chad: She's on a podcast, Crazy and the King with Torin Ellis. But I actually turned and looked over to her many times and it was almost she was at church.
Julie Sowash: You're never not in church with Torin. That's the only way it goes.
Chad: So, talk about that. Talk about what that means to your community overall.
Joel: Was this same old, same old to you or was this Torin in his element?
Julie Sowash: This was definitely Torin in his element. I've seen him perfecting this presentation over the last few months, and it just gets stronger every time. And I think that in particular, this was very meaningful because Mama Ellis was there. So she was there and she got to see him present.
Joel: That's his mother, by the way.
Julie Sowash: Well, yeah. Mama Ellis. That's how it works.
Joel: I thought you said Obama Ellis.
Julie Sowash: Jesus Christ. Really? Mama Ellis. Thank God for editing.
Joel: Carry on. Mind the gap.
Julie Sowash: And I was interested to see honestly how his messaging would transfer over to a European audience, and if there would be that same engagement. And it was pretty powerful in the room. Everyone really, like Rob said, was on the edge of their seat-
Joel: He had a few standing ovations. A few people stood up.
Julie Sowash: No, I mean, it was pretty bad ass. And I think the difference between what Torin does and what a lot of us have done from a D&I perspective is a validation thing. Torin is a king. He knows his place and he knows he doesn't need to be quiet. And we spend a lot of time buying our seat at the table. "Here's the day to get my seat at the table." "Here's this to show that I have value." Torin already knows that he has value and he already knows that D&I has value and he's not apologetic about it. He's bold about it. And I think that's where we really need to go as a D&I conversation because we need to get people like you guys to be on board with what we're doing.
Chad: White dudes.
Julie Sowash: Yes. White dudes.
Joel: And for our audience, D&I is ...
Julie Sowash: Diversity and inclusion.
Joel: Thank you.
Julie Sowash: And that's the big thing, is that he's just not scared to just call it as it is. And that's the difference. And that's why he draws people in. It's not about the numbers or anything else. And he has backup. There's not fluff there, but that he really knows that he needs to pull us all into a movement and not a data conversation.
Joel: Does Torin think that he's making a real difference, or does he feel he's fighting just such an uphill battle that it's going so slowly that it's disheartening?
Julie Sowash: I had this conversation today myself, and there are 10 a lifetime's worth of work to do. And even even 55 years after the Civil Rights Act, we have so much progress to make, but I think it feels like a little bit less of an uphill battle right now, because we're starting to see cracks, or we're starting to move forward. And so a few podcasts ago, we talked about just diversity fatigue. Sometimes, as a person who fights this battle every day, it's exhausting and you're pissed and you just want to give up because people keep fucking it up.
Chad: There's a lot of that.
Julie Sowash: Yeah. And when that happens, I call Torin and I say, "Dude, I'm fucking exhausted today. How do I make this better?" And he was like, "You just got to keep fighting." And so I really do feel like he knows he's making a difference, and when he can inspire the rest of us to keep going, that's where his real impact is. He alone, I alone can't change it. But when we have partnerships that start to have that conversation, we start to move the needle.
Joel: So you do feel like headway is being made, albeit maybe slower than you'd like?
Julie Sowash: Sometimes it's-
Joel: Just from an outsider's perspective, the examples that he gives, the Papa John's founder, the UPS driver, these are within the last few years, if not months. These are new stories. This isn't 1967 history lessons.
Chad: Nooses in a fucking GM.
Joel: Totally. And we've talked about that on the show. If I'm a champion
of diversity, every story I see like that, I'm deflated. How do you keep going?
Chad: What is the message to everybody out there who's really not directly impacted with this? What do you tell them? Especially from a disability standpoint, I
don't have a disability? Why does this help me?
Julie Sowash: So, your question first, right?
Joel: My question first.
Julie Sowash: Three steps forward, two steps back. Today is a scary time for us. As a person with a disability, as a woman, as a mother with women that are coming up in the world, as a mother with a young gay son, it is a scary time. And that makes the battle that much more
worth fighting, because we can see, I think a lot of us got so ...
Julie Sowash: Complacent, appeased when Obama got elected. We were like, "Hey, look, we did it."
Chad: "We made it."
Julie Sowash: "We've made it. Things are going to be better. We got gay marriage, things are moving in the right direction." And through this and Brexit and all the things that are happening in Italy and all over the EU, we can see how fragile that balances in the world of equality. And so we have to ramp up the fight.
Julie Sowash: Yeah, it's hard, but it's all fucking engines are go right now, because if not, we're going to lose. And if we don't get on board, it's fucking over for a long time. You know this, I'm looking at exit strategies for my kids and my husband and all of these things that we need to maybe do. That's hard. But then ...
Joel: Meaning exit the country.
Julie Sowash: Fuck, yeah.
Julie Sowash: Yeah. Exit strategy.
Joel: That's a whole different Brexit. Isn't it, Rob?
Julie Sowash: How do I get these kids out of here if I have to get them outta here?
Joel: That's a Checksit. Oh wait.
Julie Sowash: A Chexit?
Joel: That's a Chad exit. I don't know.
Julie Sowash: No. It's a Cho- no way. I'm not going to say that.
Joel: I don't want to say Sexist, like a Sowash exit, because that's [crosstalk 00:25:03].
Chad: Do you like that?
Julie Sowash: No. No, no.
Joel: Anyway. Keep going. His question next.
Julie Sowash: Yes. So your question, what do you say ...
Joel: It's commercial time.
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Chad: It's show time.
Julie Sowash: Two things, and you've been, you Chad, have been really good about this, is that-
Chad: Not you, Joel.
Julie Sowash: You did good yesterday, Joel.
Joel: Three steps forward, two steps back, right?
Julie Sowash: You did good three times yesterday. Three times. Yes. I recounted them to Chad last night. I did.
Joel: He'll slide back. Don't worry about it.
Julie Sowash: We're really on the fucking right track, finally. The biggest lesson that I've learned in the last 12 months is when to shut the fuck up. When should I as a white person stop talking and start listening more? And a lot of times I think that white people want to talk because we feel like talking is validating the point. I'm saying I stand by you with all of this information that I'm giving and all of this stuff that I'm doing, and I'm so busy validating who I am, I stopped listening to you. And so as white people, we need to listen better, we need to listen more, and we need to listen with an open mind. And sometimes that's going to be super fucking painful, because we have to accept our place in the world and our privilege, and we have to accept who we are and know that we're not responsible for the current situation, but we can't continue to be complicit in it. And that's the biggest thing, is you can't continue to take your place in the world without saying this isn't okay.
Julie Sowash: And until white men stand up, and I mean, it is really, it's mostly white men and a lot of white women who have thought they're doing the right thing and really have been total bullshit about it. I mean, it's a facade, until we started to get super, super, super fucking angry and realize what we're going to lose, that's the thing.
Joel: You can do that. Super angry?
Julie Sowash: Oh, I'm super fucking angry. Super fucking angry.
Joel: Rob, I'm curious as a Brit, do you listen to this and think, "Oh, that's some American bullshit?" Are you picking up what she's dropping?
Rob Prince: Something I half realized yesterday, and it's just been crystallized listening to you talk now, is that I think, often the conversation around diversity gets watered down as a product of people being so desperate for people to do something that they don't want to put them off by asking for too much. So, it gets watered down to the point of absolute beige and it's just shit. It's just, "Oh, please do something, please update your cover photo so it looks a bit more inclusive." There are a couple of good shouts out yesterday at RecFest, don't use stock photos, you dicks, which was great.
Julie Sowash: That was awesome.
Rob Prince: That was nice. That was nice to see. But what I've realized is what Torin did so well and what you do so well is being unafraid to actually ask for what is required. Not watering it down to the point where it becomes meaningless, just because that'll mean you take a half a step forward. It's like no, we need fucking three steps and then another three. So I'm going to ask you for the three. And Torin did that really well. He insisted, if you're going to come up and speak to me later today, and if I see you around and you see, I saw you on stage, whatever, I'm going to ask, "What are you going to do? Are you going to stand up and actually do this stuff?"
Rob Prince: And that is such an important part of this. Watering it down isn't going to get you anywhere.
Joel: I did love, on the stock photographs, Torin said, "If you do use stock photographs of someone in a wheelchair or someone of color, the message should be: We need more of you. And I love that. That was super awesome.
Chad: We don't have these. We need these, right?
Joel: Yes, exactly. We want to see you at our company.
Chad: How hard is that?
Julie Sowash: Jesus, you know how fucking hard that is, are you kidding me?
Joel: She's climbing that mountain, dude.
Chad: Somebody with a master's degree in a wheelchair can't get a fucking job, entry level job, right?
Joel: In today's economy, by the way.
Julie Sowash: Well, and can you imagine anyone in talent acquisition or in marketing or an HR saying, "Yeah, put it on our website that it's okay that we need you people, we need you guys to come." Can you fucking imagine anyone getting approval to say that? There's no ability to be transparent in the brand. It's all this aspirational bullshit that James Ellis talks about.
Chad: It's risk averse bullshit.
Julie Sowash: It is risk averse bullshit. And it's right, because we should be saying "This is what we need, this is what we're lacking." There are some companies that really are a little bit better about that, sorry, a lot better about that, but for the most part there is literally just no clearance on the risk to the brand to say this is what we need. It's so scared and it's so fearful all the time.
Rob Prince: And there's a huge dishonesty to it. If you're not prepared to say, "We need more of x, y and z, because by saying that you're acknowledging that you don't have enough of it in the first place.