What a start-up calls itself usually says a lot about it. It can also say a lot about its prospects for future success. Enter Skillit, a company that connects the supply of skilled workers with contractor demand in the $1.6 trillion annually construction industry through its platform for sourcing, skills assessment, hiring, and training. And you thought a name like Skillit would be serving Grand Slam breakfasts at your favorite brunch spot, didn’t you? Nope, and Fraser Patterson, founder and CEO of the company is on Firing Squad to tell you why he’s the next big thing? Hey, we’ll be the judge of that, pal. Listen and reveal Skillit’s fate.
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Intro: Like Shark Tank? Then you'll love Firing Squad. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to put the recruiting industry's bravest, ballsiest and baddest start-ups through the gauntlet to see if they've got what it takes to make it out alive. Dig a foxhole and duck for cover, kids. The Chad and Cheese Podcast is taking it to a whole another level.
Joel Cheesman: Oh yes, it's another Firing Squad, everybody. What's up? It's your favorite guilty pleasure...
Chad Sowash: That was orgasmic.
Joel Cheesman: AKA The Chad and Cheese Podcast. I'm your co-host, Joel Cheesman, and as always, the Barbie to my Ken, Mr. Chad Sowash...
Chad Sowash: Yes, the sexy one.
Joel Cheesman: Is on the line. And we are just excited. We got a Scot in the house, everybody.
SFX: Welcome to all things Scottish. Our slogan is, "If it's not Scottish, it's crap!"
Joel Cheesman: Let's welcome Fraser "Don't call him Fraser" Patterson, founder and CEO at Skillit. Fraser, welcome to the podcast.
Fraser Patterson: Hey guys. Yeah, thanks for having me.
Joel Cheesman: Good to have you here.
Fraser Patterson: A little intro?
Joel Cheesman: Yes.
Fraser Patterson: So yeah, as you pointed out, I was born in Scotland, which you've made quite a thing of. Yeah, I grew up holding a tape measure, come from a construction family and was kind of pulled into construction, pushed into academia by a grandfather. I went to this Harry Potter-like boarding school in the north of Scotland and then made my way... No, no, literally. When I saw Harry Potter for the first time, I actually thought it was filmed in my boarding school. It's uncanny. It's like a facsimile.
Chad Sowash: Holy shit.
Fraser Patterson: And yeah, and fell in love with the math teacher and math and from there, I kind of became a carpenter. I was an apprentice. I was a journeyman carpenter, and I was also a math teacher and lecturer and researcher. So yeah, live in New York, married, kids, and love cooking and building startups. And I'm an extreme optimist with a passion for leading indicators of bad news.
Chad Sowash: So you fell in love with a math teacher?
Joel Cheesman: Yeah, that's another podcast.
Chad Sowash: So yeah, you fell in love with a math teacher. Was she...
Fraser Patterson: That actually just slipped out. [laughter]
Chad Sowash: Did you marry the math teacher?
Joel Cheesman: I bet it just slipped out.
SFX: What are you doing, stepbro?
Fraser Patterson: God, I appreciate that. I was in an all-boys school. Let's put it this way, mathematics was packaged well as a subject to me and I fell in love with the subject.
Joel Cheesman: He just said "packaged". Fraser, by the way, has never heard our show. So he's in for quite a ride on this one. I gotta know, do Scots construct... Is there like a kilt and a tool belt combo that you can wear, is popular in Scotland?
Fraser Patterson: Well, I mean, all Scots have got their own clan's tartan. So mine's a Patterson. There's an Anderson, which is my mom's maiden name.
Joel Cheesman: But I can't go to the Home Depot equivalent in Scotland and get a tool kilt?
Fraser Patterson: It's been a while, so... None of that was available when I was there.
Joel Cheesman: This is going nowhere. Let's tell him what he's won, Chad.
Chad Sowash: It's the dry Cheesman jokes that...
Joel Cheesman: It works great on the weekly show.
Chad Sowash: It should be great. Yeah, yeah. Okay, Fraser. Welcome to Firing Squad. This is how it's gonna play out. At the sound of the bell, there it is, you're gonna have two minutes to pitch Skillit. At the end of those two minutes, we're gonna hit you up with 20 minutes or so of Q&A. Be sure to be concise or you're going to get the "crickets". That just means tighten your game up. At the end of Q&A, you're gonna receive one of three of these: Either big applause, "Skillit serves up a full course Michelin-rated meal. Talent and companies will be hungry for this platform baby." A golf clap.
Chad Sowash: "We're gonna need a new chef and sous chef because Skillit is leaving a bad taste in our mouth." And last but never least, the firing squad. "Instead of Skillit, you should kill it. Get back into the kitchen 'cause you're gonna need to cook something else up." That's the Firing Squad. Are you ready?
Fraser Patterson: Brutal. Love it. Yeah, ready.
Joel Cheesman: Alright, Laser, I mean Fraser, your pitch starts in...
Fraser Patterson: Yeah. So Skillit is building the world's first data-driven, skilled labor recruiting platform for the construction industry. So we provide mid-market and enterprise contractors with really easy access to a rapidly growing network of the nation's best craft workers, so like carpenters, electricians, plumbers, concrete workers, and a suite of tools that are basically purpose-built to make craft recruitment radically easier and faster and smarter for their recruiting team. So we do this by collecting data across hundreds of variables from each and every worker directly. We don't scrape data, this comes right from the worker, everything from trade experience, skills, qualifications, attitude, desired pay, even their future moving plans. And this gives employers for the first time, accurate, full 360-degree understanding of a craft worker, but it also means they can actually find and hire the best employees that they're looking for.
Fraser Patterson: It also enables us to build powerful software that automates a lot of the rote work that craft recruiters have to do every day. So that frees them up to do more important stuff and be the hero of their organization, if you will. Today, we're laser-focused on solving our customer's biggest hair-on-fire problem, the skilled labor crisis, so sourcing skilled labor. And we're doing that by becoming America's best matchmaker to craft labor and employers. But the big vision here is use this proprietary data set that we're building and this digital infrastructure to really train and upskill our talent network so they become increasingly important to our employers. And if we can achieve that, then I think we can make skilled labor one of the greatest assets on earth and actually increase the quality and quantity of skilled labor in the world. And that way, I think, we can achieve our housing and infrastructure and clean energy goals.
Joel Cheesman: We'll take it. We'll take it. Alright, Fraser, it's already been touched upon. We're recording this right around lunch time, or I am at least. And when I hear Skillit, I think of the grand slam breakfast at Denny's, but that's a different episode altogether. How did you come up with the name? Was it a hard decision? I mean, I get it as I look at it. What was the number two name that you were going with that lost out? Talk about how you came up with the brand.
Fraser Patterson: There wasn't a number two name. So August 2019, I took a vacation with my family. I was exhausted and I was basically... I built this vertically integrated GC in New York and we were struggling to hire craft labor, so carpenters and general labor. And while I was thinking about how there had to be a better way to do this, I was actually reading a magazine and there was an article called design... Or a company called Designit, "Designit" one word, and it reminded me of this article that I've been reading and this train of thought about the four-year college degree, the ROI on that is starting to play out, it's not very good. And the future, I don't think, is degrees or school, but skill. And so it had this energy behind it. It was a bit of a thumb in the eye to all the folks throughout the years that made fun of me for being a carpenter and a laborer. And so I had a kind of like... I don't know. It had a kind of "fuck it" energy to it. And so Skillit, that's where the name came from.
Joel Cheesman: Okay, okay.
Chad Sowash: Skillit, fuck it. Yes.
Joel Cheesman: You have a nice folks-y, "I'm a carpenter", sort of a Jesus Christ angle to your pitch here. But you've founded other companies. You're an advisor. You're a business guy. But you don't have experience particularly, in recruitment or employment. So how did you land here? And how was your lack of experience may be an asset into this business?
Fraser Patterson: Yeah, that's a good question. As I mentioned, I founded the company in 2021 after being a GC on the hiring side. So I'd been struggling to acquire craft labor and retain and train and upskill craft labor. I'd also been on the other side. So as you pointed out, I was a carpenter for many years. I was on the trade side. So I was starting to realize that the problem we were facing was really a data problem. So a lot of my time as a contractor was spent in the dark, not knowing how to source workers. 'Cause we've just ignored them for, well, forever, frankly, the desk-less worker. We've built all these tools for knowledge workers and not craft workers. No way to use job boards well 'cause the data isn't there. You can't really assess people's skills. You don't know how much to pay them. Connecting with them is really tough. And so yeah, I think that Skillit was born out of that frustration, but there was definitely a naivete, but I think it also gave us a unique insight. This isn't a labor issue, in my opinion. It's a data issue. And I can speak a wee bit more about what it means to be skills-focused instead of role and job-focused. 'Cause I think that's the future. But we're already starting to see how this plays out in really interesting ways.
Chad Sowash: It's also behavior-focused.
Fraser Patterson: Behaviour-focused.
Chad Sowash: Because we take a look at, yes, all the white collar... There are a lot of types of positions that automatically went online, they went to job boards and so on and so forth. Construction wasn't that. So how do you get candidates into the system? Because this isn't the usual way they find a job. And obviously for you to scale, you need to get those candidates into the system so that they fill out all that information about them so that you have the data and you can actually make this happen. But behavior is really the big key, changing their behavior on how they go after a job. How do you do that? And how do you get them in the system?
Fraser Patterson: Yeah. I think there's a couple of things that are at play here. One is we just assume that the world's deskless workers don't know how to use technology, which is rubbish. They're all using Amazon and Netflix all day long. Just no one's ever taken time to actually have empathy for them and figure out, "What's your day like?" So if you're standing by a pile driver in the freezing cold with gloves on, maybe downloading Zoom and getting on an interview isn't the best way for you to get in front of employers. And I think the other thing as well is the world's seen a huge change in the last five to 10 years. The trend has been for more and more workers to expect more. Because they're on Netflix, because they've got these natively digital experiences, they want a faster, easier recruitment process themselves. But also, they are moving away from gig work. So it's really interesting. You see most graphs will show you this trend that gig work is eating the world. In construction, 98% of the workers that are... Of the tens of thousands that are coming on to Skillit, they want full-time work with a company that respects the craft, pays them well, trains and upskills them. They're looking for a home. So that's our value prop. We didn't go out there with, "buy low, sell high" mentality of staffing agencies and RPOs, et cetera.
Fraser Patterson: This is essentially going out and saying, "If you create one Skillit profile," which we make super easy to do, just to give you a wee insight there, we basically... It's a self-serve process, captures a lot of great data on their skills, their expectations. We also do proprietary craft assessments that show them for the first time how they actually compare to other workers nearby. But also, we speak to every worker.
Chad Sowash: You actually vet them. I went through the process. So the question here though is, you have to get to scale. How do you get tons, loads of construction workers into the system? I understand that they know technology. It's just the difference between desktop versus mobile, texting versus Zoom. Totally get that. We understand that 100%. What I don't get and what I need to understand from you is, how do you get to scale with actually getting more construction workers in?
Joel Cheesman: When's the SuperBowl ad, is what we wanna know. When's the SuperBowl ad?
Chad Sowash: We know that's not gonna happen. But how are you doing it? How are you getting to scale?
Fraser Patterson: So a few things. One is we've got a really powerful content strategy, we've got a great digital footprint. We've been able to use that highly data-driven understanding of workers. And actually, it's pretty unparalleled. It means that when we speak to, say, carpenters in New York, it's a different positioning or messaging. It's more personalized than, say, a concrete worker in Charlotte. So we're pulling in workers. And the 52% of workers that join Skillit recommend another worker, we're also building our product so that it becomes... They can network the workers. So this is not for right now. This is not the phase we're focused on, but we're gonna be networking the workers so that they can actually engage with each other. Not a social play. We don't believe in building a social platform. We get compared to LinkedIn a lot.
Fraser Patterson: Maybe the same or similar outcome, but not the same strategy. And there's powerful network effects that we're starting to see play out. So there's real value to the worker tools that we're starting to build, the career guidance, salary tools, leader boards, et cetera, and also value to workers platforming other workers. So for example, almost all customers have an employee referral program. If you network the worker, we can actually enable them to bring in... Am I rambling? Alright, alright.
Joel Cheesman: Yeah, yeah. A Scot that talks a lot, imagine that. That's so weird.
Fraser Patterson: We're not exactly loquacious, but yeah, sure.
Chad Sowash: Yeah, never heard that before. Never heard that before.
Joel Cheesman: "You may take our lives... " Anyway, sort of dovetailing into that, you guys just raised, what was it, $8.5 million. It's a total of $13.6 million, which is a really healthy...
Chad Sowash: That's a big applause.
Joel Cheesman: Organic growth. Good stuff. So what are you spending the money on? How do you plan on spending it? Obviously, I think go-to-market is some of that, but how else are you leveraging the cash?
Fraser Patterson: Yeah. So obviously expanding our sales, marketing, customer success teams, product and engineering teams. We've started a really successful sales rollout. So we wanna basically be building on the implementation and activation and an expansion of customer accounts. I think really importantly as well, it's a good healthy signal to our customers because they're looking to build... A lot of these companies have multi-year project pipelines. And what we're essentially building out is a craft recruiting and intelligence platform that has essentially several years of capital in the bank as a runway. So they can confidently engage with us. I think that that goes a long way to giving these larger mid-market and enterprise customers confidence that we're gonna be around for the next few years to build this out and they can rely on us.
Joel Cheesman: That's good. So you mentioned being around for a while. So let's talk about the competition. FactoryFix is a sponsor of the show. I assume they're in that mix. It's interesting that you say the gig economy is not on your radar as a competitor. You threw out LinkedIn, I assume you don't consider them a competitor, but maybe there's something there that we don't know. Talk about the competitive landscape and where you guys are different and how you fit in.
Fraser Patterson: Yeah. So today we're laser-focused on the construction, W2 construction industry, top 10 trades. These are really critical trades to our critical infrastructure and clean energy goals that we're seeing huge tailwinds behind. So we're laser-focused on that. W2, for the aforementioned reasons, we're really... Over time, once we've solved... Once we've built that data model out and can actually show that the hiring outcomes using Skillit are superior than all the other solutions combined. So faster access to workers, better outcomes in terms of interviews, better retention. We plan to be 10/99, we also... We're in early talks with unions. So this is gonna be both open shop and union. We wanna give our customers a single solution where they can hire anywhere in the country, eventually anywhere in the world, regardless of the flavor of that labor.
Fraser Patterson: But I think LinkedIn is not really good for the desk-less worker. Not many of our customers are going on to LinkedIn to find carpenters and plumbers and electricians. And it's not because their technology doesn't necessarily work. It's because that that demographic didn't feel ever communicated to or catered to by... Kind of felt like an imposter in that room. But we do see ZipRecruiter, Indeed, all the obvious job boards. We know most of our customers are using Indeed. We consider that to be our primary competition. And becoming a larger share of hires than them is one of our internal goals. But a lot of the problem here is that, with these solutions is they're point solutions. They're not really truly verticalized. They haven't understood the worker. They don't build out the tools to make the process... There's no automation potential. And often, it just exasperates all the downstream problems.
Chad Sowash: So I'm gonna go back to products and things that obviously employers care about the most. So what is the current size of your database and what is your internal goal for the end of the year? What are the marks you guys are trying to hit?
Fraser Patterson: So we don't get into the numbers 'cause how we're actually acquiring the workers is a wee bit proprietary, and I get into trouble when I talk about actual numbers on the worker side. But just to be clear...
Fraser Patterson: Sorry to disappoint, but it is what it is. But on the customer side, we have customer goals, we have market goals, how many trades, how many regions, and we're making great progress towards those. And today, what we've done over 200 times is launched what we call "trade region pairs". So launching a trade in a region and satiating our customers' hiring goals, we've done that successfully over 200 times now. So the network is starting to grow on the labor side. We're growing really fast on the customer side, 50% month-on-month growth there. So very healthy. And look, the goal here really is get to a point where in the next 18 months, we are essentially the critical W2 labor platform for the top ENR and the mid-market and from there, go up and downstream.
Chad Sowash: Okay. So it sounds like the way that you're rolling out is more of a regional effect. You're picking areas that are highly, let's say for instance, in need of construction. I'm sure you're doing your research in that area. And then you're rolling that out region by region. And you're doing that not just with all of your construction and pipe fitting and so on and so forth. You're doing that specifically in certain areas and then starting to grow that. Is that correct?
Fraser Patterson: Yeah. So the strategy here is really acquire high-quality demand, so high-quality customers. That gives us the ability to then acquire local supplies of labor. And then we can repeat that and go land and expand with those customers, but also that means we can build the labor supply and then start an outbound motion to pull in customers who are, essentially, hiring for the same trades in those regions, like carpenters in Nashville and electricians in Phoenix. And we've been really methodical about how we do that because we've developed a kind of labor... We call it a labor acquisition investment formula. We're quite literally figuring out what is the cost of acquiring labor in all these markets, and what are the top regions, and what are the top trades, crane count, all of these variables go into our mix to inform our go-to-market.
Chad Sowash: Okay. So when you actually go into these areas, are you working directly with unions as well? Because in many cases, they are the supply. And to be quite frank, you could be the operating system for unions. And I mean, obviously, there are several unions that you're going to be touching. So is that one of the strategies that you wanna be the operating system for the unions that are out there who really have the supply already baked in?
Fraser Patterson: Yeah. We were actually in Washington just at the end of last year with the TAUC. So we're starting early conversations with the unions. Most... Skillit can get very large with purely open shop. It's 88% of all of the skilled labor in the US is not affiliated with a union. But we think that there's a huge value to partnering with unions over time and, yeah, very possibly helping to digitize and power their whole experience, their dispatch experience. They have similar challenges to what our customers have in terms of acquisition of labor, recruitment, retention, training, upskilling. So yeah, I think we can help power their members experience, but we're a little... That's a little bit off from now. Not our primary focus.
Chad Sowash: Okay. So right now we do have a limited labor supply, as you had said before. When Joel and I went to school, we actually had what they had comprehensive high schools, where you could go through instead of trying to get ready for college, you would go into electricity to be an electrician, to be a carpenter, to be a plumber, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. We wiped those off the map with stupid trickle-down economics, pushing everybody to be able to get a piece of paper as opposed to skills, right?
Fraser Patterson: Yep.
Chad Sowash: So that being said, one of the biggest issues we have is that we don't have enough labor. We have plenty of demand. We just don't have the labor to be able to supply to it. So when it comes to training, are you guys looking at prospectively partnering up with training organizations and/or prospectively pulling in and using maybe some of that money to do a little training yourself?
Fraser Patterson: Yeah. So we believe that by starting with the customer and digitizing the worker, building that digital infrastructure, getting big with that digital infrastructure will enable us to actually start to build products for the workers. So yes, in essence, we can already see the strengths and weaknesses of a worker, we can provide that information to a customer, that customer can then better target the training that that individual worker needs. So it can become much more personalized, which of course leads to better retention and so on and so forth.
Fraser Patterson: And of course, I think the powering of that... Yeah, we can connect with trade schools. There's lots of green shoot, labor supplies popping up in an effort to solve this huge problem. I think being really front row with the data, and the labor data on the workers and the trust of the customers as their data-driven craft recruiting solution, I think that gives us a great opportunity to inform all of these entities on how they should be training and upskilling and connect... Build the piping to connect them.
Joel Cheesman: I'm interested in your comment about Washington. Are you guys lobbying? What are you doing in Washington? Is there immigration policy that you'd like to see happen or not happen?
Fraser Patterson: So, we were invited by The Association of Union Constructors. They're a premier national trade association for contractors. We've had a lot of interest from unions because we're... I think we're tackling this in a unique way and I've taken a anti-Travis Kalanick approach to dealing with unions which is... To actually engage and figure out, can we work together, and how, and not get to scale and then become contentious with one another. And those conversations are fascinating 'cause they have very unique challenges, which I think, over time, we can re-architect and build product for. But for now, no, no lobbying.
Joel Cheesman: Yeah, I don't wanna make it a political interview. It's about the business. Maybe we can talk about immigration and other things at some point down the road. You mentioned, at some point, hiring around the world, which makes me think there is either an international push now or that there will be in the future. Talk about your global aspirations.
Fraser Patterson: Yeah. So we are getting pull right now internationally, but we're choosing, obviously, to stay focused on the US. That's par for the course. But I've lived in different countries. I've lived in the UK, I've lived in Mexico, and I've been in the industry in all these industries and frankly, it's a very similar problem and this really is a global issue. I think if we're gonna achieve these huge lofty goals of clean energy transition, de-carbonization of our real estate, the electrification of our real estate, housing goals, infrastructure goals, immigration is a key piece of that. And I think once we've got to phase two where we can actually start to build product for our worker, I really do see us starting to operate internationally before even being a household name in the US and potentially, yeah, using data-driven immigration as a tool to help solve supply-demand. And I think there's a really worrying idea that robots are coming to the rescue, and I don't know if that's something that interests you, but I think it's a fascinating topic. It's... I don't see that happening in construction...
Joel Cheesman: Yeah, go ahead, go ahead. Give us your take on AI automation, how that's gonna impact the business.
Fraser Patterson: Yeah I mean, we've seen a huge proliferation of AI across media, banking, healthcare, but that's because these industries naturally produce massive amounts of information, white papers, blogs, et cetera, social posts. That's how you train on a large language model to power an AI. There's no data in construction. There's no data flying off of a carpenter each time they're doing some trim work. So we... The world's intelligentia has ignored that, that the industry itself is not naturally gonna produce information that can help train and refine a language model and AI. So on the one hand, it's gonna be extremely hard for us to fully autonomous anything in construction, but also, it's massively risky. I mean, it's high-risk. You can understand that construction companies are really... Have a low-risk tolerance. So the first part makes it unlikely, and I think the safety part makes it unlikely squared. So this falls on us. This is on humans to solve this problem, which is exciting. That's a great future where you're not just... I don't know. Maybe crossing an ocean is one way to solve climate change in a boat. I think it's better to get out there and build solar farms and help connect people to do that.
Joel Cheesman: Fraser, I know exactly what you're saying because I've put together an IKEA couch before. I know how hard construction labor is.
Fraser Patterson: Yeah.
Joel Cheesman: What do you guys wanna be when you grow up? Is it get acquired? I have a hard time seeing an IPO for a company like this. What do you wanna be? What's the end game here?
Fraser Patterson: Oh, go public. Hard to see an IPO? Really? For a... I don't see that hard at all. But we're not... I don't wanna build to anything less. I think what we're building has so much potential, both domestically, internationally in terms of becoming a critical labor platform, a company of consequence that actually solves a real world problem. And I don't wanna put that into anyone else's hands, frankly. I would only trust us to go public. That is the goal. I've been acquired before. I don't like it. And I'm not saying that I would die for fiduciary duty to entertain all of that along the way, but we're aiming to go all the way. I think Skillit is building, potentially, a really important company for the 21st century. All the tailwinds are behind us. We just need to keep building.
Joel Cheesman: Going on all the way, Chad. Jesus Christ. Global aspirations, IPOs. This thing must be really F-in expensive. Talk about the pricing. How are you gouging companies so much to have this kind of mentality?
Fraser Patterson: Yeah. No, we're not. Actually, we're about 70% cheaper when you tie in together all of the various costs that construction companies are spending across the various point solutions they've got, from Indeed, like job boards, RPOs, staffing agencies, et cetera. We charge a monthly subscription for each region and role and the value equation continues to evolve, but it is a affordable monthly subscription for access to all... An unlimited number of hires. You have unlimited seats. It's better on the bottom line, not just a better solution.
Joel Cheesman: Was there an actual number in there? I dosed off a little bit.
Fraser Patterson: No, I didn't provide one.
Joel Cheesman: Okay, thanks. I just wanna make sure that...
Fraser Patterson: You need coffee, man.
Joel Cheesman: That was the case. Alright. He's a little dodgy. Is he ready for the firing squad though?
Fraser Patterson: It was only 30 seconds. [laughter] That's awesome.
Joel Cheesman: Alright, Chad, he's chomping at the bit. He's on his third cup of coffee. Go for it, Chad.
Chad Sowash: So Fraser, I grew up in a construction family. Every single male, I swear, had a hammer with him, or fitting pipes all damn day, and they were always busy. And every single one of them had a chip on their shoulder because they had all of these individuals who went to "college" had the paper, that looked down upon them, although these guys made a damn good living. We've gotten away from that. And I can kinda like feel that chip on your shoulder, which I love. I love that 'cause that drives a startup. It drives a founder. Now, I understand that you're very, very early in this journey, and being able to actually get the skills on over the paper but getting the data, that to me is going to be one of the very hard pieces for you guys, especially even as you roll out these trade region pairs. Investing in sales and marketing makes a hell of a lot of sense, but the thing is, as a guy who's done go-to-market for years, you have to have that product solid, and which means we need candidates and you need a lot more data to be able to make sure that you get in there.
Chad Sowash: So driving candidates with grassroots and a content strategy. The whole network effect thing sounds great, it sounds wonderful, but you're gonna need more than that. I really believe you're gonna need more than that. 98% of construction workers who come into Skillit, they want full-time, that doesn't surprise me at all. They don't wanna gig from job to job. They want to have that 40-hour-a-week schedule where they know they have stability. That's what they want. Here's the thing. I really believe you need to become the operating system for the unions.
Chad Sowash: And the reason why I say that is because they have so many things that you need. Number one, they have the supply. Number two, they have the training. They have all of those things. Not to mention, you talk about going to DC and starting to partner with government. Government needs this too. They need an answer. The unions need an answer. The government needs an answer. Which means I don't think you're ever gonna have problems with additional cash if you can start to demonstrate this type of go-to-market and operating system type of business. And then at that point, I don't think an IPO is hard to see at all. This is very early, very early in your journey. But also, this is what companies are not doing and they're not doing well. I've gone through your process. You do ask a lot of questions, but those are the data points that are needed. And I think you've got a great idea, you just have to pull all of this go-to-market together. Which is why I'm gonna give you a big applause. I really think this is something incredibly needed in our industry and obviously our country.
Joel Cheesman: Alright, alright.
Fraser Patterson: Thanks, Chad.
Joel Cheesman: Lord Fraser, don't get cocky 'cause it's my turn. I'm going from big chips on the shoulder to big waves in the ocean. Listeners know that I love a good wave. It's much better to be a pretty good surfer on a great wave than a great surfer on a shitty wave. A little tidbit of information for our listeners, according to a report by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, an estimated 2.1 million manufacturing jobs could go unfilled by 2030 and the cost of those missing jobs could potentially total $1 trillion in 2030 alone. That means there's demand and not enough supply, which means my friend, you're in the catbird seat for an industry that is going to need money, influence, attention. We mentioned government a little bit. We didn't mention the IRA in this call, the Inflation Reduction Act, which puts a lot of money into repairing, let's be honest, a crippling and decrepit American infrastructure...
Chad Sowash: Yes.
Joel Cheesman: That needs a lot of help. There are seven million or so men, I believe, on the sidelines, that are just opting out of the workforce. I think that the society's impression of laborers is changing slowly but surely. They're not viewed as losers like they were back in the day. I think that all that bodes well for your business. I hope you prove me wrong on the IPO thing. And maybe I'll even buy a share or two if you actually get on the NASDAQ.
Joel Cheesman: I think this is also a global problem. There's a little thing called a war going on in Europe. Ukraine's gonna need to be rebuilt. Europe as well is gonna pitch into this process. I think it's all very good. Immigration, as you mentioned, I don't see that changing. I think that's a political grenade that no one's touching, which means the labor supply is gonna continue to be short, which means companies are gonna be paying you a lot of money to help solve their problems. I have a hard time finding any bad around this business other than maybe unknown threats that we don't see. I don't see any Coke competitors out there that'll squash you like a bug. So for those reasons and Chad's alone, I too...
Joel Cheesman: Am giving Skillit a rousing applause. And it's making me a little hungry talking about it. That my friend, is a double-double bi-rating, which gives you...
Chad Sowash: Big applause.
Joel Cheesman: The Careless Whisper.
Chad Sowash: Big applause.
Joel Cheesman: Yes, big applause. And of course, I gotta play it one more time.
SFX: Welcome to all things Scottish. Our slogan is, "If it's not Scottish, it's crap!"
Joel Cheesman: Alright, Fraser, you survived the firing squad. How do you feel?
Fraser Patterson: Feeling good. Yeah, enjoyed it. Good format. And great to meet you, guys. Keep doing the great work, it's awesome.
Joel Cheesman: Can we consider that a round of applause for our show as a first time?
Fraser Patterson: Yeah, absolutely. It is.
Chad Sowash: Joel needed hugged a lot when he was a kid. Yeah. [laughter]
Joel Cheesman: I need a hug. I need a hug. Alright Fraser, before you leave us, where can our listeners find out more about the company?
Fraser Patterson: Skillit.com, S-K-I-L-L-I-T dot com. We're also on LinkedIn, obviously. And you can find us on Twitter and Facebook. It's SkillitUSA.
Joel Cheesman: No TikTok?
Fraser Patterson: We are on TikTok, but I think it's probably SkillitUSA as well.
Joel Cheesman: Okay, good. Alright, alright.
Fraser Patterson: It's fairly new. Yeah.
Joel Cheesman: Good to hear. I would have changed my review of the product. And with that Chad, another firing squad is in the can. We out.
Chad Sowash: We out.
SFX: This has been the Firing Squad. Be sure to subscribe to The Chad and Cheese Podcast so you don't miss an episode. And if you're a startup who wants to face the Firing Squad, contact the boys at chadcheese.com today. That's W-W-W dot C-H-A-D-C-H-E-E-S-E dot com.