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Getting The Pulse

It’s helpful to check the pulse of the recruitment industry from time-to-time. It’s especially useful when the company rep who comes on the show has a newsletter called The Pulse. That’s why we brought industry veteran Michael Woodrow, CEO at Aspen Tech Labs, on the podcast. With over 120K source sites and 9M jobs in their kitty, Michael is able to speak from a position of deep understanding about the labor markets. We discuss job openings, popular trends (ChatGPT alert!), just how bullish Michael is on ZipRecruiter and whether or not a hard or soft landing is on the offing. Tune in and get smarter.

Mike's last interview - Woody's Google for Jobs LOVE/HATE

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 & Cheese Podcast.

Joel: Oh yeah, if you don't know, ask your parole officer. What's up, kids? You're listening to the Chad & Cheese Podcast. I'm your co-host, Joel Cheesman, joined us always, the Dr. Dre to my Snoop Dogg, Chad Sowash is in the house. And we welcome Michael Woodrow, President at Aspen Tech Labs. Michael, welcome back to the show. It's been a minute.

Mike Woodrow: Hi guys. How's it's going?

Joel: Doing well. Doing well. Those listeners who don't know you or are new in the last four years, tell them about Michael Woodrow.

Mike Woodrow: So, yeah, it's Micheal Woodrow, President of Aspen Tech Labs. What Aspen Tech Labs does is we kind of power the back of the Internet job postings, the backbone. We move a lot of jobs from company sites directly to our about 300 customers, job boards, advertising platforms, etcetera. So we collect job postings daily, or more often, kind of clean them up and move them into platforms like ZipRecruiter and Dice and The Muse.

Chad: Talk about you, Mike. Talk about you. You're in Cally right now. You're usually on the slopes in Aspen.

Joel: Company headquartered in Aspen. Yeah, Mike has as a tough life.

Mike Woodrow: I'm an executive recruiter by training. So I had an executive recruiting firm. I come from that background, so I kind of know what it takes to fill positions. I've filled hundreds of recruiting positions, senior positions. Still have involvement in a recruitment firm, but that's how I got into the space. And then in the early 2000s, I launched a little job board and used some older technology, and then in about 2005, re-launched it and met my former partner, who's Ukrainian guy. So there's a little Ukrainian story to Aspen Tech Labs, or actually a pretty big Ukrainian story to Aspen Tech Labs now. But that was, we launched Aspen Tech Labs back in 2007 as a job board platform, which we still have called JobMount. So we launched niche job boards for our customers, and then we got into the scraping business, the data collection business, probably in about 2010.

Chad: Is that because you guys needed it or you had prospective clients?

Mike Woodrow: Our customers were asking for it.

Chad: Makes sense.

Intro: They were like, "Yeah, all right, you launched this job board for me, I need jobs." And some job boards, or we like to say a lot of job boards, don't want those paid feeds. They want real jobs or they want specific jobs. So that's how we got into scraping, and then now we have about 25 people that we call spider-men and spider-women who do are scraping for us and keep track of all the data that comes in. We scrape about 130,000 companies every day, right now, in a 120 countries.

Chad: Damn, that's a lot.

Mike Woodrow: So that business started with a couple of customers saying, "Hey, can you scrape some jobs for us?" And we were like, "Okay, we'll figure that out," and now we collect that jobs data, and any kind of data, if you can collect it and normalize it, it's valuable today in 2023. And so we operate mostly in the job space, but we dabble a little bit in auto and in property. A little bit more than dabble in auto, but auto and property are two of our other verticals, actually, and healthcare. So we collect a lot of healthcare data too. So we're really good at collecting data, going back tomorrow, looking to see if anything's changed and then collect what's changed or aggregate it and normalize it.

Joel: How many job board clients are on your software platform? How many job boards are you powering right now?

Mike Woodrow: We have about 100 job board clients.

Joel: Okay. Refresh my memory. The origin of that was like for SEO, I remember. Like have all your jobs search friendly and indexable. Am I right about that? It's been a while.

Mike Woodrow: Yeah, that was, I used this older technology when I launched my first job board and I launched it, and nobody could find the jobs. They weren't out there.

Joel: You weren't alone.

Mike Woodrow: So that was a big piece of me moving over to this platform that now is JobMount, that the jobs are all very well organized and set up for Google to easily find them.

Chad: Let's rehash a little bit of our last conversation, and kids, we'll have a link in the show notes on this one so you can listen to that one. But back in January of 2019, the three of us got together and we talked about some things that are still being talked about today. One of those being Google For Jobs. So there's been a huge change and shift, and will it be there, and will it go away? And then here as of late, we start to see that they're beta testing paid jobs. So your thought back then was that Google is going to be a force. Google For Jobs is going to be a force. The question is, today, do you think it's gonna be a force for good for the rest of the ecosystem?

Joel: Or evil?

Mike Woodrow: The ChatGPT thing is really interesting to see where that's going.

Joel: Oh you jumped right into that, didn't you? Oh my God.

Mike Woodrow: But it's certainly a big competitor that we didn't even think about back in 2019 about Google. But a friend of mine is a senior person at Google, and he tells me that Google cares about making it easy for people to find whatever they want on Google. They obviously make a lot of money doing that, but they wake up every morning thinking about, is it a good visitor experience for someone to come and find whatever they want; a restaurant, a job, a car, whatever? And so they're still very focused on that. So jobs fits into that. And one thing that we're seeing with them recently, I'm a big... I don't know about advocate. I'm bullish on Google For Jobs. I think it works really well. It's clean. If I were a company, and I say this all the time, make sure your jobs are getting on Google For Jobs. It's free clicks. Why pay Indeed if they're putting your jobs on Google For Jobs and your jobs aren't optimized? That's something, just it's easy to do. So I think it's super important.

Mike Woodrow: I do think it's gonna be a good thing for the industry. People are putting... One thing that they're focused on these days is addresses. Most job posting surprisingly don't have street addresses, but Google wants to, between their mapping and between everything, they want the job postings to be very specific because people search on things like jobs near me or X jobs near me or something. So addresses is something that is super important and becoming more important. They're telling their most important partners, unfortunately, we're not one of them apparently, but they're telling some of our partners that you need to put street addresses on job postings.

Joel: Is mapping coming, you think?

Mike Woodrow: Yeah, so, man, if you think about it, you think someone would wanna say, "Hey, this is where I drive my kid to school," or, "This is where I do whatever. What jobs are gonna be near there?" Or, "What jobs are gonna be around?" And that technology should exist. So I think it's super interesting. The paid thing, I don't really think it's a big threat to the industry or anything, so I'm actually a little surprised that they're monetizing it, but they're trying to monetize it. There's no question that they're more serious about it. They've been doing updates to their algorithm. We follow really closely. They've been doing updates to their jobs algorithm about 3-4 times a year for the last two years. So they're on this.

Joel: Why are you surprised they're monetizing it? Chad and I have been predicting it for about eight years now, like before the show started. Why are you surprised by that? They are a for-profit business, right?

Mike Woodrow: Yeah, I don't know that it'll be super easy for them to monetize it, I guess, but maybe it will. I don't know.

Joel: It's like Indeed in the early days. All I need is about a dozen clients to pay me a ton of money to get their jobs indexed or higher in the search rankings. They don't need a million clients. They need a few job boards. They already have LinkedIn and ZipRecruiter. They'll pay them a few million dollars a month, I would assume to have their jobs...

Mike Woodrow: Yeah, I just don't know if that's gonna move... It's gotta be a big chunk of money to move the needle for Google, and so you're talking about, is there a $5 billion opportunity for them? I don't know, maybe.

Chad: Well, which is why they got out of the APIs, what, the search APIs and Google Hire. They saw that the trajectory for Google Cloud in other aspects of business were just bigger, much bigger opportunity. So are you surprised they shut down those other two platforms and they kept this one going? Why do that? Why not just go ahead and keep search the way it is? But they can't make that kind of money if they're ejected out of this.

Joel: You don't think the math nerds at Google believe that they can't make that kind of money? There are enough agencies, enterprise businesses and job boards.

Chad: Did you think they thought about that when they built an applicant tracking system?

Joel: Yeah, that was spaghetti at the wall. Clearly, Google For Jobs is a real business, they think, which is why they've launched a pay-per-click component to it. I think it's beyond the testing-and-see-what-happens phase.

Mike Woodrow: Yeah, and I think also, if they can be successful, then maybe there's something they can do in autos or there's something they can do in some other verticals. I really thought that the Google For Jobs thing was really a keep using Google, come to Google for everything, jobs too. That's where I thought they were going with it.

Chad: That makes sense. Yeah.

Mike Woodrow: And that did make a lot of sense, but maybe they're trying to see if there's a big enough revenue opportunity, and then if there is, some of these other verticals, like I'm talking about autos, that'd be huge too.

Chad: Does it just turn into more arbitrage though? As we're starting to cycle jobs through job board A to ZipRecruiter to Google For Jobs, has it just become a huge arbitrage game at this point?

Mike Woodrow: You know, I've always been really negative on the arb game because the candidate experience is just so bad.

Chad: It sucks. Oh, yeah.

Mike Woodrow: And so we have a good thing in our industry, why screw it up? And so I've always been against the arb piece. It's not that easy to arb, I don't think the Google side. I think it's just the ads are expensive and so it's tougher. I think they're smart about taking a big piece of whatever they do, and so the way the arb works in our industry is there's 20 ¢, 25 ¢ here, 30 ¢ here, and there's people who can kind of scrape a little bit off the top and it works. I think with Google, it's harder to do that.

Chad: Any more Google jokes? I'm gonna step to StepStone next.

Joel: Go to StepStone.

Chad: Okay, so last show we also talked about Europe and about StepStone. Were you surprised that StepStone bought Appcast? And if so, are you surprised what they've done with Appcast thus far?

Mike Woodrow: Yeah, StepStone was very open that they were looking for a US opportunity, and they were looking all around, kicking a bunch of tires and everything, looking for a US opportunity. And I don't know the numbers or anything, but I would imagine that Appcast has been a big win for them. Again, like I said, I don't know, the numbers but Appcast numbers have to be down because Amazon was advertising just crazy for a year, a couple of years, and most of that was on the Appcast platform, and they've pulled back really significantly on that. But I think it's a great business. I think the StepStone guys were smart. A whole bunch of their businesses are our clients all over the world, our customers all over the world, Sun Group, Totaljobs, PNet in South Africa, all these are StepStone businesses, so they've got businesses kind of all over.

Joel: Did they leave money on the table though? A lot of people think they sold for a little too cheaply.

Mike Woodrow: Appcast?

Joel: Yeah. $72 million, I think was the number.

Mike Woodrow: I think had Appcast knew what was gonna happen with COVID and advertising and everything like that, sure, but...

Joel: Hindsight?

Mike Woodrow: $72 million for a relatively small business is a good number.

Joel: It'll buy a lot of beer.

Mike Woodrow: Yeah. Yeah.

Chad: Well, it's interesting...

Mike Woodrow: Yeah, so I think those guys did okay. We don't have to worry about them.

Chad: I think it's interesting StepStone has retracted out of France. We started to see some chinks in the armor. Totaljobs, they're going through some changes. I think they're preparing for IPO. So there's some big changes, I think, happening at StepStone. Do you think we will see Appcast start to finally gain some traction from a usage standpoint in Europe? Because the US is one thing. Europe is an entirely different ball game.

Mike Woodrow: I don't think I have a good perspective on that. You're right, it is. It's completely different. The UK, is kind of a solid, really established market, and then the rest of Europe is just a little bit piecemeal. But yeah, Appcast has not taken hold in Europe as strongly, but I know they're working on it. I know they're working on it. They're definitely focused on it. And I think their business model makes sense.

Chad: It's kind of hard for them though, because their business model on how they actually, they won, let's just say, programmatic early, was to be the rails for agencies, for programmatic and performance-driven advertising. So they powered all of the agencies and then they were bought by StepStone. So at this point, it's kind of like, will they or won't they? You've got the RecruitX who was, obviously they bought KRT. You've got Pando that's out there. You have now all these competitors who could perspectively take advantage of some of the StepStone IPO focus, more focused on that than the actual market itself.

Mike Woodrow: Yeah, Appcast is super focused on direct customers. They started with the agencies, but then moving over, and like you said before, getting the top customers, starting there first and taking that agency piece out of the equation, I think they're gonna be successful.

Chad: So that didn't work for Monster and it didn't work for Careerboat. It hamstrung them. What makes you think it's gonna work for Appcast, to be able to go direct to client instead of through the agencies?

Mike Woodrow: Well, yeah, I guess I don't have the full answer. I'm a big fan of Appcast. I think these guys are smart. I think that they're trying to make sure that the visitor experience is high quality. They're trying to work on things that some of the other guys don't care so much about it, and I think that over time, they're gonna build share.

Chad: Last year we also talked about ZipRecruiter, and you were very bullish on them. And you said that pretty much their brut force ability is driving their success, but that brut force seems to have gone limp over the last couple of years. What the hell's happening at ZipRecruiter?

Mike Woodrow: They are super focused and have been super focused on SMB, so the middle piece of the market. So they had their layoffs, Indeed had their layoffs. Once you're a public company, the game changes. And so I'm thankful, I would assume you guys are thankful you don't have to report quarterly, I'm thankful that I don't have to report quarterly, and I'll always be up over last year.

Joel: My wife wants weekly reports, by the way, which can be more brutal than public markets, but that's a different show.

Mike Woodrow: Yeah, so I think once you go public and you have quarterly reporting responsibilities, the game changes and you just really have to dial it down. But we work super closely with those guys. I'm still bullish on ZipRecruiter. They're smart guys. I think their advertising is pretty cool.

Joel: Do you own shares? Do you own the stock?

Mike Woodrow: I don't.

Joel: Okay. So not that bullish.

Mike Woodrow: I just feel like I'm long enough into some of our customers that I don't really need to own their shares. I've got a bigger stake than some shareholders do. Yeah, so I think to have a direct pipe into Google and some places like this, they're working on some really cool things, and I think they care about the visitor experience. I know they care about the visitor experience. I know for sure they do because we've got a product called Jobs Control, that we follow clicks through to see where they land and they're a customer on that product, so they care. They wanna know. They distribute their jobs. They wanna know what the situation is for the visitors, and that's rare.

Chad: So talking about scraping, talking about labor market information and getting the pulse on what the hell is happening right now, you guys scrape... You've been scraping data forever. How long have you been warehousing that? How long have you been being able to analyze that? What's the whole back story and how much data warehousing do you have?

Mike Woodrow: So we started collecting data for our customers and configuring it for them. So if we scraped for Dice, they want the data delivered this way, if we scraped for ZipRecruiter, they want it delivered it this way. So we weren't very smart about it in the beginning. We just collected it, configured it and send it on. And then we realized we've got this huge pool of data because not only are we scraping Amazon and Walmart, but customers kind of come and go. Like this month, for instance, we added... I just looked at the report. We get a daily report, we added about 430 new scrapes and about 330 scripts were cancelled, so just customer flow. That's pretty normal. And so there's very few months that are down, so we're a few down months recently, which I think is not a big surprise with the industry. So there's always scrapes being added and scrapes being subtracted. And so what we decided to do was take all these scrapes that were being cancelled and continue scraping them and collecting the data. Now we've got this data, but we had eight fields for Dice and 10 fields we were collecting for ZipRecruiter and everything, and we looked at the data and we were like, "God, this is a mess."

Mike Woodrow: So it took about two years to really figure out how we could aggregate it. Because you think of all these job postings are the same, but they're really not. They're looking at things differently. There's a couple extra fields. Somebody's adding an industry classification, someone's adding this, whatever. And so it took us a couple of years. We launched this big jobs data quality project, both for our customers and to aggregate and normalize the data. So that took a couple of years, and last year, in about the middle of 2022, we felt like we were at the point where, okay, we've got this data normalized and we can make some sense of it. And so that's where it all started. And we have some historical data going back further than that, but not too much further than the middle of last year. So now we're starting to build it and we have a big... Everything we do is AWS, Amazon Web Services. I'm a big advocate of those guys, and Amazon's a customer too. They have a job board called AWS Educate, so we work closely with those guys.

Joel: Such a name dropper.

Mike Woodrow: Right, you gotta throw out a couple of them.

Chad: Smart man.

Mike Woodrow: Google, Amazon. We have some good customers.

Joel: Amazon, ZipRecruiter, I know all the famous people. Let's bring us back into 2023. The Pulse, you talked about it, a lot of data, a lot of things you guys are finding out. Give us a 30,000-foot view of the current state of employment and workforce issues.

Chad: Date of the Union of Jobs.

Mike Woodrow: Yeah. So we have Job Market Pulse. We're putting out quarterly reports and some other things like that. One thing that that we look at that's really interesting is we have all of the S&P 500 companies in our database. So it's easy to see, "Hey, what's going on with S&P 500 companies? Is that representative of the US or not?" Kind of think it is because it includes the Walmarts of the world and some of the big hiring companies, and then it includes Exxon and some of the Microsoft and companies like that. So back in November, they had about a million job postings out there available. And remember, all of our data comes directly from the company sites, not from job boards where maybe they're duplicating things or they're doing whatever. This is directly from the company site.

Joel: Is that global or US? Just so I know.

Mike Woodrow: So that's US.

Joel: US? Okay.

Mike Woodrow: The number I'm giving you is US, about a million jobs US in November, and now that total is dropped below 800,000 jobs. So that's a pretty big reduction in job counts. More than 20% since November, and now we're sitting here at the end of March.

Joel: So what the Fed hopes to happen is happening ultimately. They want fewer...

Mike Woodrow: Yeah. And so, I've been in this game for a long time, since the '90s, so my perspective really is that when employment was really ridiculously low, kitchens and everybody was short staff, okay? So everyone knows that, restaurants open four days a week, all that kind of stuff. Over the last six months, that has started to fill in, and I think that's why we're seeing very low numbers on new claims for unemployment, even though we're hearing about all these kind of layoffs. So all those positions started to kind of fill in and we're getting to the point where I think they're full. You hear about hiring is still challenging, but people have filled position. And now we've got all these IT and these kind of more senior level positions that were announced and that just takes six months or so to work their way through.

Mike Woodrow: People get a couple months of pay, the big companies have to give 60 days I think, and then they pay a couple months after that. So we're still in that cycle that a lot of those people are still kind of in between, kind of working or not working whatever, and I think it's gonna be a soft landing. I really do. I think it's gonna be a soft landing and we'll end up somewhere around 4%, 4.5% unemployment, which is I think good for the country and it's certainly good for our industry.

Joel: And something that's good for my life is that Taco Bell is the number one employer in the polls. So that means a lot of people are still going to Taco Bell, which is good for me. I wanted to point that out. How much of it is... All right. You mentioned ChatGPT, all these tech people are being unemployed, but we're seeing hundreds of new apps being built around ChatGPT, companies hiring AI folks. Obviously, it's gonna be a huge thing with all the big guys; Google, Facebook, Amazon. They're all gonna get in this game. How much impact are you seeing job postings for ChatGPT, job postings for AI, what are you seeing in the polls in terms of AI?

Mike Woodrow: AI is you, guys have been at conferences, people have been talking about AI in our space for the last, I don't know, five or 10 years.

Joel: Yes.

Mike Woodrow: You don't see that much kind of coming into play. But I'll tell you what's some things that are really happening. Now, one is ChatGPT, the date is old, right?

Joel: Yeah, '21.

Mike Woodrow: September, 2021, and that'll come quicker and quicker and quicker. Will it get to real time, what we call realtime, one or two days old? I'm not sure how long it's gonna take to get there. That's a lot of data and processing that. So I think, for our industry, I'm not sure that it's gonna be a huge, huge deal. Here's something that's super cool though. So you ready for me to drop a few names here?

Chad: Oh, let's do it. Here we go. Here we go.

Mike Woodrow: So my daughter's an AI PhD student at Stanford.

Chad: Oh, hello.

Mike Woodrow: So serious stuff, right? She's here with me this week and she was coding and she has an extension on her computer that Stanford has access to from ChatGPT. She starts coding and it tries to finish her line of code for her, because it knows what she's doing. Seriously, I watched it. And after she does it, she'll run it through and it'll say, "Hey, here's a better way to do this." And I use this example with her, I'm like, "Is it like Google translate that if you don't really know what you're saying, you're not really sure what's coming back?" And she's like, "Exactly." But if you know what you're doing, it's telling you a better way to do something. So she's actually making a presentation to our team tomorrow about how they can use ChatGPT to be quicker with their coding and more efficient with their coding. So that's some cool stuff.

SFX: Shall we play a game.

Mike Woodrow: That's being used now. That's not like next year, next month Elon Musk says.

Joel: So bring that into our space. Don't you think...

Chad: Well, that's on demand QA/QC. That's what's happening right now, right?

Joel: Yeah.

Mike Woodrow: Yeah.

Chad: But that could literally be taken over after it's been trained enough.

Mike Woodrow: Yeah, her argument is, at this point, you still need someone who's smart enough to see what's happening. Is it doing what you want, what you really wanted it to do, or just what it thinks you wanted it to do? So that's cool. And so it's already being used and this is just literally a Chrome extension.

Joel: Yeah. So bring this into our space, Mike. I mean, job postings, why couldn't... Same thing. I'm starting to write a job posting and it starts writing it for me. I mean, what vendors, what businesses in our space are gonna be disrupted by what your daughter's seeing on the ground?

Mike Woodrow: It'll certainly make it easier to write a job posting and things that are important like, "Hey, could you check job posting for diversity and inclusion?"

Joel: Rejection letter.

Mike Woodrow: They'll say, "Hey, here's a better way to say this", or, "Here's this." The thing that I think is super interesting is it's easy to generate content. So Google is, the search engines and everyone are the really big on original content. So what is original content gonna be like starting a month ago?

Joel: Well, there'll be new tools and there already are that make it sound more organic. They'll take the AI wrote this and they'll rewrite it and AI can't... It'll be like this game of Whack-a-Mole.

Mike Woodrow: There's already tools that can say, "Did AI write this?"

Joel: Yeah, and there are tools that will rewrite the AI, so that AI can't say that AI wrote it.


Mike Woodrow: Yeah, exactly.

Chad: So, a question, are companies like Textio in mortal danger?

Joel: Yes.

Chad: I mean, why do I need to spend the kind of money that Textio wants me to spend when I can just hook up a Chrome extension and and have a nice day? I mean, is it pretty much their day in the sun is over or they just need to sell as soon as humanly possible?

Mike Woodrow: They're gonna be under pressure, but good companies adapt to new technology. So if they can help people use AI to do a better job writing and not instead of having a 1000 customers have 10,000 and charge them half as much, I don't know. I mean that's what I would be thinking about if I were them.

Joel: Michael's so diplomatic.

Chad: He is. He's bright and shiny too. It's like, I'm happy just talking to him. I don't get this just having a regular conversation with Joel, Mike. Thanks, man. [laughter]

Mike Woodrow: I mean, what about you guys? ChatGPT is gonna create podcast.

Joel: This is our show, Mike. This is our show.


Mike Woodrow: What if they created a podcast that were actually funny? No, I'm just kidding.


Joel: Oh, damn.

Chad: That's a very good question. We already have our voices cloned by Veritone, so being able to actually generate the content, and then, yeah.

Joel: You literally could do our show without us at this point in multi-languages, which is crazy.

Chad: Five different languages at this point. So at the end of the day, when we're talking about the actual job polls, what's the biggest insight that you saw out of this information over the past, let's say, three months?

Mike Woodrow: The biggest insights that we see and the thing that we're getting the most customer attention from is from the wage benchmarking. And we say wage benchmark, it's who's hiring and what are they offering? Because the recruiters don't really have control over the pricing, the wages, but they do have input into, "Hey, we're not filling these positions." And one of the reasons is because Taco Bell is paying $2 more in our market than than we are at Walmart or wherever. So yeah, I think that's the most interesting and that's something that's still evolving, or 20% States are starting to put the regulations in, and you guys, at least I say I know this, candidates wanna see it. They wanna see what what it is.

Chad: Yes, of course.

Mike Woodrow: And I think recruiters really want candidates who really want the job to apply. So, even though companies don't necessarily wanna post it, the Chambers of Commerce and everyone are kind of fighting that in each State, but it's coming. And I think that's the most interesting data I think that's out there.

Joel: Mike, I wanna get your take on remote. The world has changed since we last spoke and remote jobs have obviously been a big topic on our show. Talk about, are the big metros dying? Are job postings moving elsewhere around the country? Are multiple postings for the same job being posted in different areas and is that skewing the actual number of open jobs? How many jobs do you see out there that actually are remote and really promote the fact that they are remote? Talk about that.

Mike Woodrow: Yeah, so we track the remote job postings and very few jobs actually put remote in the job title, less than 5%. And part of that's because you need to have a location for a job. It's just the way that the old school systems are set up. You have to put a city in or something. So that's part of that, that's why they pop the remote up in the job title. But Apple and the financial services, companies want people back in the office. So my son works for a company called Dataminr and they collect breaking news from social media. It's a big company in New York. It's like a thousand people or whatever. But they have a whole bunch of people who are fully remote forever. So I really think it's gonna be company by company. But I think Google's got people in the office, what, three days a week. They're having a little more trouble in the US than they're having in other locations. Like in France, they're in the office three days a week. That's just, everybody's in the office.

Mike Woodrow: And so I think people are gonna come back into the office. I do, I think they are. I don't think it's gonna be five days a week, but I do think people will want to come back into the office, and companies, we haven't talked about the Ukraine thing at all, but when people aren't in the same place, it's a little harder to collaborate and we're constantly building new products and everything and good companies are doing that. Being together makes it easier. And just kind of you hear about these companies who are saying, "Oh yeah, we're gonna meet once a quarter in wherever and we're gonna bring everybody in from all over and do that," I don't know. That's pretty expensive and that seems like it's not really practical to do that over the long run. I think people are gonna come back in the office on some kind of a three day week basis and that's gonna become the new normal over time. That's just my perspective.

Chad: So, real quick, talk about Ukraine, because you did have and probably still currently have workers that are in Ukraine. I mean, how did that disrupt business? It had to have because it disrupted their lives. How did that disrupt and and how did you at that point start to work toward a solution for them?

Mike Woodrow: We have an amazing team and we kind of call it family. So there's 60 people in our company. Right before the war started, we moved a handful of people out to Portugal and Poland because I was worried about power and internet. That's what I was worried about, and that's what most of us were worried about. And then obviously this happened. So we have 45 people still in Ukraine and the people are amazing.

Chad: Wow.

Mike Woodrow: We have not lost a single customer over the war. So nobody was disrupted. People needed something to do other than worry about the war. So our people decided to work. And so that was awesome for our customers and for the company. The people are fatigued now. The people who are still there are really tired, really tired of this, and I could imagine it.

Joel: Yeah, of course.

Mike Woodrow: One of my guys is having his first baby, his wife's having her first baby in a few days, lives by an anti-missile battery. So that thing's firing at night.

Joel: Geez.

Mike Woodrow: Just something you just don't think about. So the people are amazing, customers have not been disrupted because of, there we go, with AWS, oh, here's another plug I'll put, Starlink is fricking awesome. Absolutely awesome. I'm not a huge Elon Musk guy.

Joel: And I've got Elon on speed dial right now.

Mike Woodrow: That stuff...

Joel: Elon's coming out to Aspen next week.

Mike Woodrow: That stuff works. And we've got a handful of those things that we put in place after the war started. So we got equipment, some of it was delivered to Ukraine, some was Portugal, we moved over to Ukraine and that stuff works great. So, resilient people and I think we did a pretty good job as soon. As a war started, we told everyone, "Move wherever you want. Take with you whoever you need and we'll pay for it until further notice." So thanks to our customers for supporting all that. But that took the pressure off I think. People felt like, if I'm staying, I'm here 'cause I wanna be, not because I have to stay and I can't figure out what to do. So yeah, so it's been tough, but the people are great and we built a good company and I think, hopefully we reward the people so that they feel like it's a quid pro quo.


Joel: That's Michael Woodrow, everybody. President at Aspen Tech Labs. Michael, for our listeners that wanna connect with you or learn more, where would you send them?

Mike Woodrow: Just or as Chad knows even better, at


Chad: Lana!

Mike Woodrow: Yeah, big shout out to Lana.

Joel: And with that, I'm headed to Taco Bell. Chad, another one is in the can. Thank God I didn't throw my dockers away from the '90s 'cause I'm going back to the office. We out.

Chad: We out.

Outro: Thank you for listening to, what's it called, a podcast, the Chad, the Cheese. Brilliant. They talk about recruiting, they talk about technology, but most of all, they talk about nothing. Just a lot of shout outs of people you don't even know, and yet you're listening. It's incredible. And not one word about cheese. Not one cheddar; blue, nacho, Pepper Jack, Swiss. So many cheeses and not one word. So weird. Anywho, be sure to subscribe today on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, or wherever you listen to your podcasts, that way you won't miss an episode. And while you're at it, visit Just don't expect to find any recipes for grilled cheese. It's so weird. We out.


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