Firing Squad: Grayscale's Ty Abernethy


You're probably texting right now, aren't you? And if you're not texting now, you will be soon.

That's why text recruiting remains such a hot solution. And that's why industry veteran Ty Abernathy launched Grayscale. But there's a lot of competition out there - hello Canvas, TextRecruit, Emissary, Rectxt, and the rest - so escaping the Firing Squad with his pride intact is no guarantee.


Did Ty survive, and what about that name, the one that sounds more like an investment firm or a bad '80s Tarzan movie?


Gotta listen to find out.


PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION sponsored by:

Disability Solutions works with employers each step of the way as consultative recruiting and engagement strategists for the disability community.


Firing Squad INTRO (0s):

Like Shark Tank? Then you'll love Firing Squad! CHAD SOWASH & JOEL CHEESEMAN are here to put the recruiting industry's bravest, ballsiest, and baddest startups through the gauntlet to see if they got what it takes to make it out alive? Dig a fox hole and duck for cover kids the Chad and Cheese Podcast is taking it to a whole other level.


Joel (23s):

Firing squad. Boy, I am itchy with the trigger finger today. Happy to be here, Chad, what's going on? As usual, everybody this is your favorite podcast, the Chad and Cheese podcast. And this is maybe your favorite show on the podcast firing squad.


Chad (39s):

It's mine.


Joel (40s):

And today we welcome Grayscale and co-founder and CEO, Ty Abernathy. Ty. Welcome to Firing Squad.


Ty (50s):

Thank you guys. It's good to be here.


Chad (52s):

Wasn't grayscale what you caught during Game of Thrones? Wasn't that the bad, the bad disease, grayscale.


Joel (1m 1s):

I thought it was a bad eighties movie about Tarzan? Grayscale Legend of Tarzan. Wasn't that? Greystoke yeah,


Ty (1m 10s):

Let me just call out that. First of all, I'm the worst at naming companies, but yeah, we were about like three months in and I watched Game of Thrones, but like I started having people, like, are you a Game of Thrones fan? Or like, you know, why, why did you name your company Grayscale? And I'm like, okay, let's not after the flesh eating skin disorder on Game of Thrones, but you know, it'd be cool if I just like embrace that. I think.


Chad (1m 34s):

Yeah, why the hell not?


Joel (1m 36s):

Let's get into a little bit about you. And then Chad, we'll go over the rules and we'll get into this company you call Grayscale. Sound good?


Ty (1m 44s):

Sounds good.


Joel (1m 45s):

All right. What do our listeners need to know about Ty Abernathy?


Ty (1m 55s):

Well, I enjoy long walks on the beach. I, my long, long hair is flailing in the wind right now. I'm winking at you. Now, this is off to a bad start a little bit on the, yeah, my background's in recruiting. I started a company called Take the Interview. It's now rebranded Convey IQ in the video interviewing space and number of years ago and stumbled into the world of high volume hiring on that journey. And that sent me down the path of what is now Grayscale. I'm excited to talk to you all about that.


Joel (2m 29s):

Chad, tell him what he's won today.


Chad (2m 32s):

Well Ty, you will have two minutes to pitch Grayscale at the end of two minutes, you're going to hear that bell then Joel, and I will hit you with rapid fire Q and A. If your questions start to ramble, or you get just fucking boring, Joel's going to hit you with the crickets. That's going to be your signal to move along and tighten up your game. So at the end of Q and A, you will receive one of three grades and that could be big applause. Big applause means you might be the Ted Lasso of our industry, which means promotion to the premier league of recruitment tech is eminent.


Chad (3m 14s):

Golf clap. I can hear Roy Kent starting to growl, which means it doesn't look good for you. And last but not least the firing squad. That's right you're relegated. Pack up your gear and get the hell off the pitch. Are you ready to face the firing squad?


Joel (3m 31s):

He mixed that up just for you Ty so no pressure, but are you ready?


Ty (3m 38s):

I'm ready. I'm ready. Let's do this.


Joel (3m 41s):

And you're two minutes starts.


Ty (3m 43s):

All right. Well, Grayscale is our focus is on high volume hiring for enterprise organizations. So what we do, we work with brands like Amazon and Wayfair, large organizations dealing in really high volume, whether it be for, for warehouse hiring or call center facility hiring. We're designed to help streamline the process, increase efficiency throughout the process. Our product has an a candidate engagement tool. It's SMS first. So it's designed essentially to help the recruiter, who may in the case of Amazon may be working with a thousand candidates at a time, you know, to be able to create a one-to-one experience. So despite there being a one to a thousand ratio, Grayscale is designed to help facilitate a one-to-one feel for the candidate.


Ty (4m 32s):

And we do that through leveraging SMS and other channels like audio and email, very deep automation capabilities to help the recruiter be far more efficient in their day to day. And to really help eliminate a lot of those challenges that arise in the hiring funnel. From, you know, candidates ghosting you for interviews, from candidates falling through the cracks throughout the process, all the little inefficiencies that come as it relates to high volume hiring, when you're trying to drive candidates through your process very quickly, right? And in the case of large retailers, we work with that might be two or three days, right? You have to get all of your candidates through the door or through your process and hire, right.


Ty (5m 15s):

Cause it's all, it's the first offer that typically is the one that went. And so we Grayscale is designed to help you drive the process forward much faster, create a far better candidate experience and to help your recruiting team be far more efficient with your highest volume hiring needs.


Joel (5m 34s):

Thank you, Ty, and real quickly, where can they find out more about your company?


Ty (5m 39s):

It's a Grayscaleapp.com spelled G R A Y S C A L E A P P.com.


Joel (5m 44s):

All right. I teed you up for my first question, which is the name we, we joked about it obviously, but what was going through your head when you picked Grayscale and you couldn't even like secure a domain that made sense you had to throw app and then.com at the end of it. I mean, were there other names like, just help me, help me understand, is it hard for salespeople to say, Hey, I'm with Grayscale? I mean, Text Recruit makes sense, right? Like they're a competitor that makes sense, so help me understand the name, man, sell me on it.


Ty (6m 16s):

Yeah. We just figured if we could confuse our target audience as much as possible, it would somehow serve as well. And so no, I'm terrible at naming companies. Grayscale is a design term and I have some design background. I just, it's a very foundational sort of a design term as far as when you're, when you're designing new interfaces. And so it just kind of felt like we were doing something fundamental and foundational in recruiting. And so, boom, there you go. It stuck.


Joel (6m 46s):

It's better than ResumeSieve though. I'll give you that.


Chad (6m 52s):

Well, you know, it kind of, in both of them, feel like you have to get a shot because you might've caught something, but Ty, this isn't the first rodeo in the recruitment space. So what major lesson did you learn from starting up Zuzu Hire?


Ty (7m 9s):

Well, yeah, Zuzu Hire, that was my first foray. I was doing agency recruiting at the time and started that like on a part-time basis. So that's where I cut my teeth and just, you know, getting a business off the ground and sort of like 80/20, 20ing it, and like being scrappy and not raising any capital, like taking $10K out of your savings account and just like hiring a developer and see what happens. Right. So that was sort of, I learned a ton. It was like a little crash course and MBA, over the course of a year where I just learned a lot about like, just the fundamentals of getting, you know, getting an idea off the ground, really.


Chad (7m 49s):

So single out the major lesson for us.


Ty (7m 54s):

Just the, that momentum can, an idea in your head is something that is far better, far better, far better served taking action. So I learned like always have a bias toward action. And by taking those steps, things start to shape and move