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2022 Best Podcast Award
Disability Solutions

BrassRing Acquired, LinkedIn vs. Degreed, RippleMatch, IPO?

How's that saying go? Empires don't die with a bang, they go out with a whimper. Or something like that.

If you're thinking the acquisition of Brassring, after it was snatched up by IBM a decade ago with a price tag just north of a billion dollars, is kind of like that whole whimper thing, you're not alone. And good luck recognizing the company who wrote the check this time 'round. If you're more into up-and-comers, however, this week's got that too, with university employment solution RippleMatch getting big money to take on Handshake and the other companies hoping to own the college recruitment space. Want established players? Of course this show discusses the latest LinkedIn news. With their latest initiative, newly minted unicorn Degreed might be a little nervous. The whole show is bookended with McDonald's latest strategy to combat candidate ghosting.

As usual, this bit of aural gold is powered by Sovren, JobAdx, and Jobvite.


Disability Solutions helps forward thinking employers create world class hiring and retention programs for people with disabilities.


Hey guys, it's Cheese. Look, Chad's on vacation this week, which means two things. One, we have a guest cohost be nice to him. Just like Chad, he's a middle aged bald white guy. So you probably won't even notice a difference. And two, since Chad does all of our editing, this episode is going to come at you *raw. So what we say is what you'll get no filter dogs barking and doorbell's ringing. So buckle up. This is Chadless and Cheese.

*NOTE: Raw means Joel has podcasted for 4+ years and barely knows how to set-up his own mic, let alone produce a clean podcast. - Chad

INTRO (37s):

Hide your kids! Lock the doors! You're listening to HR’s most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheeseman 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.

Joel (59s):

I hope you love East coast bias and mad science. Welcome to the Chad and Cheese podcast. I'm your co-host Joel "lean, mean and vaccine" Cheeseman

Chris (1m 10s):

and I'm Chris "yes, I listen to yacht rot" Russell.

Joel (1m 14s):

On this week's show LinkedIn tells Degreed, hold my beer. Hey, do you smell an IPO? And no, no, no. That's McDonald's anti-ghosting strategy you're smelling, I'll have a number three with a McOrange. Thanks.

Sovren Promo (1m 31s):

You already know that Sovren makes the world's best resume CV parser, but did you know that Sovren also makes the world's best AI matching engine? Only Sovren's AI matching engine goes beyond the buzzwords. With Sovren you control how the engine thinks with every match the Sovren engine tells you what matched and exactly how each matching document was scored. And if you don't agree with the way it's scored the matches, you can simply move some sliders to tell it, to score the matches your way. No other engine on earth gives you that combination of insight and control. With Sovren, matching isn't some frustrating "black box, trust us, it's magic, one shot deal"

Sovren Promo (2m 15s):

like all the others. No, with Sovren, matching is completely understandable, completely controllable, and actually kind of fun. Sovren ~ software so human you'll want to take it to dinner.

Joel (2m 32s):

Chris Russell. Welcome to the show, man. What's up?

Chris (2m 37s):

Hey, now I'm a good replacement for Chad. I think.

Joel (2m 42s):

Like I said, another middle-aged balding white guy. What could go wrong?

Chris (2m 46s):

You can keep the same avatar Joel.

Joel (2m 49s):

Hey man. Yeah. So some people don't know who you are, you and I go back 15 years, at least. All County Jobs and Cheesehead for who remember that stuff. But those, for those that don't know, you rattle off, I guess the number of shit, that your stuff you're doing right now. And, and it talk about your podcast and just get them up to speed.

Chris (3m 12s):

Yeah. Rick Tech Media is my company. I've been in the space for 20 years, ran a bunch of job boards back in the two thousands. And a couple of other startups that went bust. Was a corporate recruiter for a couple of years until I got fired. And since then been doing Rec Tech Media. So I'm an entrepreneur, podcaster, writer, consultants, and kind of a recruiting junkie if you will.

Joel (3m 40s):

Yeah. Yeah. So you haven't, you haven't started a new job board lately. I guess that's very telling because you used to love to start those things up.

Chris (3m 47s):

I do a lot of consulting jobs today.

Joel (3m 50s):

Yeah. You're you're also an avid sports fan and I want to make sure that you're not on the ledge right now. The Yankees are in last place and the red Sox are in first place. How do you feel about that?

Chris (3m 60s):

I've stopped watching the Yankees at this point. Joel.

Joel (4m 4s):

You're probably pretty torn up about the A-Rod, J-Lo breakup too, right?

Chris (4m 8s):

Oh God, no, but I'll just say that analytics has ruined baseball, let's put it that way.

Joel (4m 13s):

Analytics has ruined baseball, but you're a Knicks fan. So there is room. <inaudible> for what happens to him there, man. Whatever I want. I want some of that shit.

Chris (4m 25s):

Whole new level. Fourth place in the NBA East and coming for the Nets.

Joel (4m 32s):

Come'in for the Nets, all right. All right. Apologies to all of our international listeners who hate when we talk about regionalized and Americanized sports. So Adam Gordon, sorry about that, man. Let's get, let's get to some outs. Shall we? I'm going to make it short. Chad's the big shout out guy. So I'll keep it brief. Victoria Conley everybody she won our beer drop last month and she beer dropped the beer droppers. She sent Chad and I a six pack of beer called John out of Philly and a couple of tomboys, a sweatshirt, and even a koozie.

Joel (5m 13s):

Chris, are you familiar with the terms, John, as a New Yorker, Connecticuter.

Chris (5m 17s):

And it was Sean John Puff Daddy.

Joel (5m 21s):

Yeah. The term John is like a thing of a ma jiggy, I guess in Philly. It's it's new to me. Yeah.

Chris (5m 26s):

Wow never heard of that.

Joel (5m 28s):

Wikipedia that shit. If you're interested, you got any shout outs?

Chris (5m 31s):

I do actually. Shout out to my 18 year old daughter, Joel.

Joel (5m 34s):


Chris (5m 35s):

She <inaudible> is going to be 25% raise, She bolted a $12 an hour job at a daycare for a waitress job at a country club making $15. And perhaps she'll now stop asking me to borrow 20 bucks every other day for gas.

Joel (5m 54s):

Daycare job. Jesus.

Chris (5m 56s):

Ironically though the job she got is thanks to pandemic, because a country club told her in the interview that they normally hire temporary workers from Europe to come in and do the serving stuff. But because of restrictions they had to hire from the US obviously, so good for her actually. So.

Joel (6m 14s):

So she's in what grade?

Chris (6m 16s):

She's a graduating high school in a couple of months.

Joel (6m 18s):

Okay. So you're going to be an empty nester, right?

Chris (6m 20s):

Yep. She's off to Endicott College in the fall North of Boston there and yeah, I'm already saving my pennies.

Joel (6m 28s):

So Chad became an empty-nester this year, essentially. Like, what are you looking forward to with the kids out of the house,

Chris (6m 35s):

Less of a mess, she makes.

Joel (6m 39s):

You know, I'm so jealous, cause I have a four year old I'm going to be like 89 by the time my kids are out of the house.

Chris (6m 45s):

So, leaving the door open every, every five minutes and leaving your crap all over the bathroom sink, you know.

Joel (6m 51s):

Nice, nice, nice. Well, shout out again, not necessarily shout out, but make sure you guys speaking of Victoria, if you haven't signed up for free shit, you gotta do it. We're giving away free t-shirts, we're giving away free beer sponsored by AdZuna. We're giving away whiskey sponsored by our buddies at Sovren and teaser alert, we're going to be starting, that the ink is still drying on the agreement where we're going to be starting wine with Cheese and Chad sponsored by High Bar. So We're fully committed to destroying every liver possible in our industry.

Joel (7m 32s):

And we couldn't be more excited.

Chris (7m 35s):

Well, you left out the Vodka, cause that's what I like Joel. So, I'm more of a vodka guy these days.

Joel (7m 40s):

Yeah. Vodka's kinda stretching it. We're gonna, we're gonna wait for weed to be legalized in the U S and we're gonna. We're pitching Peter Weddle on "Weed with Weddell". We're we'll see if he'll go for it. I'm not sure. I'm not sure he's that into it, but we'll see.

Chris (7m 55s):

Send me some Tito's listeners.

Joel (7m 59s):

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Any other shout outs for me, man?

Chris (8m 2s):

I got, well, I got one quick rant actually.

Joel (8m 4s):

Oh a rant. Okay. Hit us.

Chris (8m 8s):

Dear Facebook, Please stop trying to turn every one of my posts into a job ad. I mean, what the fuck? Joel. Everything I posted on Facebook, they want to take it and turn it into a job ad for the Facebook marketplace. It's happening to everyone. If you have any kind of word related to recruiting or hiring in your posts, it automatically asks you to turn it into a job ad. And I'm sick of it. I like to find the engineer who started this thing and have a little sit down with them. So that's my rant of the day.

Joel (8m 40s):

Little, little, little New York justice. Is that what you'd serve up a little, a little Capone style, Gotti, Gotti justice.

Chris (8m 48s):

On a Louisville Slugger. You know,

Joel (8m 52s):

You're the most laid back rancher on the planet. That's awesome. Let's get the topics. Shall we? I got shit to do. All right. In the news guys, Infinite Computer Solutions. I've never heard of them. Maybe you have acquired IBM/BrassRing this week. I guess empires fall, not with a bang, but they die with a whimper, I guess. Okay. These guys out of Rockville, Maryland, Infinite Computer Systems provide business tech and product engineering for telecom high-tech healthcare, media, entertainment, insurance, banking, financial, retail, public sector services, all kinds of fucking industries.

Joel (9m 34s):

They've signed a purchase agreement to acquire IBM's talent acquisition suite, including IBM lead manager, brass ring, and onboard. As part of the transaction Infinite we'll work closely with IBM to transition identified employees. After the closing, the company will also assume responsibility for service and support for up to 240 global customers using the purchase products worldwide, as well as all sales and marketing. A little bit of history here for those that don't know, IBM acquired Connects Us/BrassRing back in 2012, for $1.3 billion in the shadow of SAP's acquisition of Success Factors and Oracle's acquisition of Tulio.

Joel (10m 16s):

At the time, it was widely touted as IBM had more than 200,000 consultants around the world, working on IT implementation and other strategic business processes. And with Connexa assessments, IBM could then help its clients assess, hire, and train these people. Over the next decade, the partnership floundered, I guess that's fair to say, being passed up by the likes of iCIMS, Job by Greenhouse and other ATS providers, which leads us to today and the sale. No terms of the deal were disclosed. I got to think it was akin to the clearance rack at TJ Maxx.

Chris (10m 52s):

It wasn't 1 billion that's for sure.

Joel (10m 54s):

Yeah. It wasn't 1 billion. We'll see, we'll see what happens. And if they can revive the brand, I myself doubt it, Chris, it sounds like you agree.

Chris (11m 5s):

Yeah. I mean, it seems like an odd fit. Brass Rings is one of the oldest ATS tools in the market. My big question is how come Watson couldn't fix that shit?

Joel (11m 15s):

You know, I gotta say, it was a TA tech in Phoenix or somewhere and the IBM folks actually came on and talked about machine learning and big data when that was sort of popular and I thought the product was okay and that there could have been some synergies there, but I don't feel like their heart was ever into it. IBMs had their own bit of issues if we can say that nicely over the last decade or so losing ground to a lot of other players, but this was clearly an issue of look, we bought this turkey a decade ago. We haven't been able to turn it into the juggernaut that we thought it would be. Let's cut. Let's cut bait and move on.

Joel (11m 56s):

Yeah, I know you appreciate that as a fishermen. And I think it's just gonna, it's going to die on the vine, whatever, you know, whatever they call it, infinite ATS or infinite talent, or who knows what? I don't think we'll be hearing much about it in the years to come.

Chris (12m 12s):

No, and we haven't heard much about it lately anyway, so it means they're taking either offloading an aging product, taking the money for it and running. There'll be, it'll be interesting to see if Infinites wants to revitalize it, you know, if it can be, you know, I don't know how it's still so legacy probably. I mean, I don't think they've come out with any updates to it recently, you know, no one is talking about them at all. So at this point it's just kind of a dwindling, like user base that ...

Joel (12m 42s):

Yeah. Sounds to me like Infinite saw 240 global customers and said, can we make 240 new Infinite Computer Solutions customers out of this thing? And if that's all we get out of it, if we can turn half of those people into our clients.

Chris (12m 58s):

It's a classic buy versus build, you know? Yeah.

Joel (13m 2s):

Yeah. I think it's a little bit of that, but I think it's just sorta like somebody called the Infinite that that was an IBM and said, Hey, you know, you guys got some coins in your couch that you want to throw at this thing. And somebody said, yeah, fuck it. The world's opening up. Employment's going to blow up. Why not take a flyer on this ATS, human capital, big data, whatever thing and see if it can work. But do you remember the Brass Ring acquisition a decade ago?

Chris (13m 29s):


Joel (13m 30s):

Yeah. Yeah. I got admit, I was, you know, you and I are both in sort of job board, you know, nightmare or heaven, one of the two back then and, and that whole space was weird at the time you had jobs to web and success factors and Taleo and people just throwing money at this shit. I think it's fair to say that the new generation of these, of these platforms, whether it be iCIMS, Jobvite even looking further into the future with, you know, the Seek Outs and those guys, these companies will be relics of the past and only old guys on podcasts will talk about them. I'm sure.

Chris (14m 9s):


Joel (14m 10s):

Well, speaking of old guys, or maybe newer guys, LinkedIn is in the news. In a blog post, LinkedIn announced they'll launch, a skill building platform called LinkedIn learning hub. That's a mouthful during the second half of this calendar year, you'll be introduced to that referred to as LXPs. This is an incredibly hot market for the likes of Degreed, who we actually talked about last week and has become a $1 billion valued company. Unicorn alert. Companies will essentially integrate all their training content these are courses, articles, podcasts, books, documents, videos, events, pretty much anything into LinkedIn's LXP and the system will index the content, make it searchable and create collaboration pieces around each learning path.

Joel (14m 59s):

Companies can access skills, insights to understand the skills of their employees. They already have, including how they compare with peer companies and how they're evolving. I talked a lot about this last week. I think it's a little bit of having your cake and eating it too, for companies. They don't have to send their workers, you know, to a nice MBA program only to have them, you know, go somewhere else a couple of years later, after getting their degree, they can continue to educate their workforce, make them feel special, enhance their skills, without risk of losing them because they have a nice, shiny MBA from a nice college.

Joel (15m 40s):

I think LinkedIn has a nice upside in terms of their brand and they already have a lot of the relationships with the companies. However, I feel like similarly to LinkedIn launching an ATS, they're not going to be able to do it as well as companies,

Chris (15m 58s):

Sorry, whatever happened to the ATS from LinkedIn, by the way?

Joel (16m 1s):

Exactly. I think it's still there. As far as I know, they, they dropped that a few years ago.

Chris (16m 9s):

I definitely think LinkedIn does, you know, terms, the goal here, they, you know, their original marketplace sucks. You heard haven't heard a peep out of the ATS lately, but I do think LinkedIn learning will be homerun for them. I mean, to me it just makes total sense.

Joel (16m 26s):

Yeah. I mean, one of the advantages they have is they bought a company called Lynda awhile ago, L Y N D A and Lynda was essentially education and learning new shit and everything else. So if LinkedIn can harness what they've learned from that and have a nice certified, I don't know, program or a way for people to get certifications or badges that then they can then add to their LinkedIn profile. That's pretty convenient. And that's pretty, I'd say that's, I mean, that's a nice add on to your LinkedIn profile and which has already the default resume for pretty much everybody that's a professional.

Joel (17m 8s):

So I gave him a better than average chance to make this thing work and be successful. However, based on your comment they're also in the news AIM Group reported recently that they're, they're going hard into the gig economy. LinkedIn Gigs offer could launch this fall, according to AIM Group, by the way, if you're not, if you're not subscribed to AIM Group,, you should do that. I know Chris and I are readers. Anyway, LinkedIn, isn't giving details on the gig attack, but it's developing several products that could tie in and even allow payments to gig workers. So you'll like them as an education platform, an upscaling platform.

Joel (17m 53s):

Do you like them as a gig platform?

Chris (17m 56s):

I don't know. I mean, they failed the first time with their ProFinder thing they think they had. Was it well executed? The digital wall is interesting. If you can pay somebody through LinkedIn that's pretty cool. Pretty cool. If you can do that, take that away from PayPal and things like that. The question is like how much of that piece of the, you know, the commissioner they want to take. I know I used to, I used Upwork a few times, a few years ago and they take 20%, which to me as a freelancer, I don't know, it seems a bit much, for taking 20% of my overall project fee.

Chris (18m 42s):

I'd love to see LinkedIn to come in, you know, under cut them a bit. And I do think it's really gonna affect Upwork a lot if LinkedIn does go into this market. So my big offend is short of work stock, perhaps for the announcements. <inaudible>

Joel (19m 2s):

On this show, don't buy stock or sell stock based on our recommendations. Please, please. How do you, how do you feel about Facebook as a gig competitor. And they've been talking about that for a while.

Chris (19m 15s):

Oh, they already have them. They already have jobs on there. What's the difference would just, you know, putting once they make a digital wall to themselves.

Joel (19m 20s):

Well, it's a gig platform, right? Yeah. You do work. You know, you get paid through Facebook, you get reviews on what you're on your landscaping abilities or your design abilities. I mean, ultimately like if everyone has this gig platform, I mean, not everyone is just going to be on every platform and like not the talent has to go somewhere. So to me, this is this fragmentation of the gig economy is ultimately bad. Nobody, nobody wants to buy talent on multiple platforms and no one wants to offer their services on multiple platforms. So to me, this is going to be like any other industry where it fragments, it becomes disparate.

Joel (20m 8s):

And then you get a few, you get two main players and then you get like a Dr. Pepper and that's it. Or you get like a, we talk about communo, who's only really targeted towards the creatives and the design folks. So maybe you get like job board fragmentation where you're only a technical or you're only design or you're only accounting or you're only whatever.

Chris (20m 31s):

Yeah. I think, I think you're on the money there. I think there's going to be a niche-ification of the gig economy. And I think you already seen, I mean, there's 20 different gig job market places you can go to. I've got one of my uncle HR lancers, which is HR pros and recruiters there. But I think almost every industry is going to have their own gig marketplace at some point, as we move forward.

Joel (20m 55s):

Yeah. You use, I assume you, you build a lot of shit. You contract that out, right? Yeah. Or you use it. Do you have, do you have a platform of choice? I know you're not using HR lancers to build your WordPress sites

Chris (21m 10s):

No, it's not a WordPress.

Joel (21m 12s):

I'm just joking. I say that jokingly. I have no idea what, what Chris is using. I'm just curious your experience with platforms and any advice you'd give to listeners.

Chris (21m 21s):

If you're looking to start any kind of like, you know, job marketplace, there's lots of software out there. Some good, some bad, you can build it on WordPress too, but I don't recommend WordPress for any kind of a marketplace like that. Wordpress is too clunky and need breaks a lot. But yeah,

Joel (21m 38s):

No more like hiring talent or are there places where you'd like to hire folks? Yeah. Like, do you get you know, banner ad makers at Fiverr or

Chris (21m 47s):

Fiverr is probably my favorite one. Okay. So my podcast intros, things like that on there, you can hire writers on there. Someone that's.

Joel (21m 56s):

No an Upwork user?

Chris (21m 59s):

I haven't, I haven't used Upwork lately to hire anybody if I used it more as a freelancer in the past.

Joel (22m 6s):

Okay. All right.

Chris (22m 7s):

Let's move on here. So the artist formerly known as Neuvoo .

Joel (22m 15s):

I don't know if I'm saying that correctly.

Chris (22m 12s):


Joel (22m 12s):

Neuvoo. Yeah. Currently they didn't know how to say it either. I talked to people at the company. They weren't, they weren't really sure. These guys aren't messing around. So they're job aggregator. I'd say, Indeed is competition. Anyone that's in that space Jubal, Globally. So according to Aim Group, they did some really great reporting this week. is eyeing it a new funding round and a possible IPO that they got confirmation from the company. So this is probably news to quite a few people. So the site is now the 25th fastest growing company in the world according to the financial times.

Joel (22m 57s):

In 2019, the AIM group listed Neuvoo / as the 35th most visited job site in the world with 11.3 million visits per month, a year later, the company which had just rebranded as had moved up to number six on the charts with a bullet with 54.6 million visits per month. Quite an uptick, if I must say so myself. So this month they hired its first Chief Financial Officer and last week they posted an opening for a director of financial reporting and tax. For those in the know, you only make these kinds of hires, when you're going to raise a bunch of money, you go public, et cetera.

Joel (23m 41s):

So both additions anticipate serious fundraising, still a tad non-committal, friend of the show, and president Michael O'Dell said the company hasn't yet made concrete plans for the IPO. And he didn't say what talent aims for in terms of evaluation. Quote, "this is more of an exercise to make sure we have the talent we need in place. If and when an opportunity arises," that's really cute. Michael, we're just, we're just exercising our right to hire really high priced people just in case, just in case the opportunity comes to go public. What are your thoughts here, Chris?

Chris (24m 19s):

My guess is no, I'll tell you why in a second, but, you know, I love, first of all, I love what is doing, just from an execution standpoint. I've followed these guys for awhile. You know, Indeed needs competition because they are the dominant player in the market and we need a buffer to that, as an industry, and I think is well underway doing that. Their growth started out globally. So they really kind of launched almost globally if you will, in many different countries, I think from like 60 countries today. So I think a lot of their growth has come from those other countries. The U S market for them, you know, there's still, I mean, there's still below ZipRecruiter, I believe and things like that, but it's a great company overall, I like what they're doing, like their mission and they have a good team in place there overall.

Chris (25m 5s):


Joel (25m 5s):

I think they're still buying CareerBuilder in the States.

Chris (25m 8s):

So, so I don't think they're gonna go public. And here's why, so number one, going public never did much for Monster or Dice. Historically, if you look at any job boards that have gone public, the market has not been kind to them from an investor standpoint, investors like growth and is growing fast. They'll always be at the wim of the job market, in my opinion, right? So when the pandemic comes along, you know, stock's going to take a hit, right? Going public means you must constantly be looking for new revenue sources and that, you know, that's part of what helps sink Monster kept throwing money at, you know, throwing banner ads up on the site just to get money, launching stupid products, buying shit they didn't need.

Joel (25m 54s):

Don't forget the, the blimp, don't forget the blimp.

Chris (25m 58s):

You know, I think any kind of job marketplace is just best suited to be a private company. In my opinion, overall, just having grown up in this space. What I think they should do is, you know, do what Indeed does and take a page out of their book. They should, you know, they should by CareerBuilder by Monster backfill with their jobs and just, you know, gain users. That's what they need most is users right now in the US anyway. Ultimately you're in the applied business when you launch any kind of a job marketplace. So if you can't succeed at driving applications, then don't go into that business.

Joel (26m 32s):

Gotcha.Let's let's ask the judges, judges? Oh, I'm sorry, Chris. They don't agree with you whatsoever. So I think they're going to go IPO and I think they're going to go IPO for few reasons. Number one is they kind of have to, they raised around 54 million, according to Crunchbase, when you raised 54 million, the investors want some sort of a liquidation event. And you can say Monster sucked as a public company is as Dice does now but the people who invest in those companies early on would disagree that they sucked because they all got paid once the IPOs happened. In addition to that, you've got a perfect storm of the world reopening, everyone talking about hiring, going through the roof, you got free money in the system because the fed just keeps lowering rates.

Joel (27m 20s):

You got VCs that have sat on companies for a year. They're hungry for profits. They're hungry to like cash in on these companies. And then lastly, you have allegedly ZipRecruiter is on the border for IPO to go an IPO land. You got,

Chris (27m 38s):

Hold on, stop. Sorry. Ziprecrutier on the show about IPO hasn't happened yet. You can talk about that for a year.

Joel (27m 45s):

This year 2021 is only four months old now

Chris (27m 49s):