If you loved last week’s episode breaking down Appcast’s acquisition of Bayard, then you’ll love this one too. Plenty of commentary and criticism in the aftermath of the deal to discuss whether or not Stepstone knows what it’s doing. Not to be outdone, Glassdoor’s R&D department woke-up long enough to build an “innovation” it calls Bowls. (Yeah, we’re confused too.) Then there’s so much AI news that we had to go rapid fire and highlight our favorite stories. And, of course, another week of sexbots, chips in your brain and living like Hugh Hefner at the Playboy mansion for the rest of your days. Good times, and a great listen.
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Intro: Hide your kids. Lock the doors. You're listening to HR's most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting industry right where it hurts. Complete with breaking news, brash opinion and loads of snark. Buckle up boys and girls. It's time for the Chad and Cheese podcast.
Joel: Oh yeah. It's National Junk Food Day and Take a Monkey to Lunch Day. So Bubbles and I are hitting up the Taco Bell after the show. You are listening to the Chad and Cheese podcast. This is your co-host, Joel "Pray for Mojo" Cheeseman.
Chad: Chad "You are not Your Job" Sowash.
Joel: On this week's show. Appcast is conflicted, Glassdoor is blinded and Shopify gets side-kicked. Let's do this.
Chad: Oh damn. I just woke up.
Joel: Are you counting down the days in Portugal?
Chad: Sadly, yes I am. Every time we go down to the bars and the restaurants and stuff they're like, how many days do you have left? I'm like, stop reminding me. So I just had a little nap by the pool. Little dip into the pool and nap into the pool 'cause I won't be able to do that in Indiana. At least not like this.
Joel: No, my... So I got back from Canada a couple days ago so my Orlando, England, Canada world tour is coming to an end. I had no idea that a crown royal hangover could last a week. Who knew that that Canadian stuff will kick you in the nuts for sure. Well, it's been a good summer and as we head into fall, we'll have a lot of good content and stories to talk about I am sure.
Chad: Amen. Amen.
Joel: But let's get to...
Joel: All right. My first one, here's a hint Chad. Oh yeah, that's right.
Chad: The Mexican pizza? Back or what?
Joel: That's right.
Chad: What's going on?
Joel: Taco Tuesday as a phrase is now free for everyone after Taco Bell won a case against itty bitty Taco peddler Taco John's this week. Taco John's CEO said, "Paying millions of dollars to lawyers to defend our mark just doesn't feel like the right thing to do." That's right, not since July the 4th has a date meant so much to Americans now that Taco Tuesday the phrase is free for everyone to use. But that's not all, Chad.
Chad: Oh God.
Joel: Because we've got some In-N-Out Burger News. That's right. Starting August 14th, if you work at an In-N-Out in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Texas or Utah and you wanna wear a mask, well you'd better have a doctor's note or go find yourself a new job. The company cited better customer service as the reason for the new rule. All good though Chad 'cause I just read on Twitter that animal style now serves as an effective vaccine to COVID so it's all good. It's all good. Shout out to Taco Bell and In-N-Out Burger.
Chad: That and ivermectin. Just go ahead 'cause that's what... That's one of the secret sauce that's actually on the In-N-Out animal style burger. My first shoutout goes to Bradley Clark for sharing the following on LinkedIn. It's an audio from the NBA player Nikola Jokić after winning the NBA Championship for the Denver Nuggets this year. Listen up.
Joel: Check it out.
S?: NBA champion, Nikola, how does that feel?
Nikola Jokic: It's good. It's good. The job is done, we can go home now.
S?: I'm curious, what you are feeling right now, and if you're looking forward to a parade coming up in Denver.
Nikola Jokic: No. I need to go home. [laughter] Okay. We won it. But I think it's not the most important thing in the world, still. There is a bunch of things that I like, that I like to do. I mean, probably that's normal thing. You know, nobody likes his job, or maybe they do. They're lying.
Chad: Dude. So Jokić is a stud. I mean, he's won the 2021 MVP of the NBA 2022 MVP of the League, 2023 finals MVP, 2023 NBA Championship, first time ever for the Denver Nuggets. Nikola Jokić just a regular guy punching the clock doing his job at the highest level and just wants to go home. I'm gonna cap this off with a little comment from Bradley Clark on LinkedIn where he says, "Jokić is one of the best basketball players in the world yet it's not his main priority. We need to normalize this, especially for dudes. You are not your job." So shout out to Jokić and Clark for emphasizing the you are not your job message.
Joel: Very interesting. So Chad, listeners won't know this but viewers of our YouTube channel will notice that I'm wearing a Larry Legend basketball t-shirt honoring Larry Bird. So Larry Bird who many think love basketball as he did breathing, the "Who's Your Air?" That he did. In his first championship, commented in Boston, "The only place I'd rather be is French Lick," meaning back home in Indiana." So this is not a new sentiment by basketball superstars although it is a very poignant one by the Joker and I appreciate Bradley for pointing that one out.
Chad: Yep. He wanted to get back to Serbia, baby.
Joel: Europeans are taking over. All right. So my next shoutout goes to Amazon, your favorite company. Well.
Chad: Oh yeah.
Joel: Well, when there aren't any more humans to hire, Chad, it's time for some self-serve Bezos style as Amazon is now offering US customers $10 to pick up a purchase rather than have it shipped to your home address. What suckers are we for bagging our own groceries and pumping our own gas for free. We could have been getting money from Kroger and the local BP.
Chad: Oh my God.
Joel: What's next? $10 for taking my own pet's temperature at the vet? I don't know where this is gonna go but anyway, shoutout to Amazon and their new $10 payoff for self-serving getting my own damn packages.
Chad: This is ridiculous. This is ridiculous. Okay, whatever. Whatever, anyway. Shoutout to Jim Lowe and DeJuan Anderson for sharing their sexy Chad and Cheese t-shirt pics on the socials. But Joel...
Chad: T-Shirts from JobGet are only one of the items listeners can win. They can also win whiskey two bottles. That's right. One from you. One from me. Power buyer Friends at TextKernel. Craft Beer from Aspen Tech Labs. If you need some tech, you need some scraping, you need some data, you need some Pulse survey LMI, you gotta go to Aspen Tech Labs. A getaway. A $250 getaway. You can win that listener, $250 Airbnb card from Abode HR, the Gen Z experts and if it's your birthday, you know this, you know this, you can win rum from plum.io. And if you haven't taken your assessment yet, your Plum assessment, go to plum.io knock that out. But to be able to win all of this, you gotta register. You can't win if you don't play, chadcheese.com. Click on the free link up in the upper right hand corner and boom, you might end up a winner.
Joel: By the way, the t-shirts I think you highlighted are Canadians.
Chad: Oh Jesus.
Joel: I went to Canada and I shipped a whole bunch of Canadian shirts 'cause it's a hell of a lot cheaper to do it in Canada than to do it from the US. So I have a funny story if you'll humor me. So in America it's just straight, what does it weigh? Doesn't matter if it's balled up, doesn't matter if it's flat, just how much does it weigh? And then they send it. Well, in Canada I show up with all these shirts and they're balled up, whatever. And I give the employee one and she goes, well that's gonna be about $14 to $15 per shirt and I'm like, hold on a second. [laughter] So what do I... I order a shirt in Canada and it's gonna cost me 20 bucks to get it shipped to me and she says, "Well, no. It's because it's kind of balled up." And then she pulls out this apparatus where it's sort of like a thin ruler shaped mailbox thing. And she said, "If it fits through this, it's much cheaper." So I said, "Okay, we're doing that." So I'm sitting there like 50 shirt bags, shaking these things out, flattening them up, pushing the air out of them, getting them through these little things. And it was way cheaper, talking $4 versus $15 to ship these things. But I made a few Canadians unhappy standing in line behind me thinking, what a dumbass American that I have to deal with.
Chad: All you had to do was say you're sorry and they would've been okay with it.
Joel: Sorry. And by the way, did you say birthdays?
SFX: Really? Can you feel the tension?
Joel: Oh yeah.
SFX: In the air right now? I know I can. I can feel it all the way down in my plum.
Joel: All right. Another group of fans are celebrating another trip around the sun. They are great folks and we love them. We're talking about Trent Cotton, Lilly Siegel-Gardner, David Segal Bernstein, Swanindu Holder, Susan Parham, Serge Classen, Thomas Barrett, Jeff Hunter, George La Rock out with your you know what out, Roy Mauer and Sir Richard Collins. That's right, that's right. Another.
SFX: Happy birthday.
Joel: Another birthdays.
Chad: Hello. That rolls right into events, kids. That's right. You know what's coming up? It's called RecFest. It's happening in Nashville. It's on September 13th and 14th. And the Chad and Cheese will be MCing the Disrupt stage on day one with special guests. Gonna tease that out there and I couldn't tell you who it is yet. At the end of the day, we're also working on the mechanical bowl for Cheeseman. Okay. We don't have it yet but we're trying to get there. Remember kids, RecFest is all about bringing the entire team. It's a day of learning, it's a day of bonding. And yes, there's gonna be some drinks and possibly some dancing but definitely get out there. Then we have HR Tech in Vegas. That's October 10th through the 13th where we're gonna be spending two whole days in the Fuel50 booth drinking, interviewing and whatever shenanigans we can come up with. I've been thinking about this one. We're gonna have to have some giveaways or some crazy shit that's happening.
Joel: Yeah, we're throwing out new cardboard figures. [laughter] We're throwing out custom t-shirts. It could escalate fast.
Chad: That could be sexy.
Joel: Quite quickly.
Chad: Then a few days later, fuck we gotta get on a plane and head to Paris. The only reason I'm doing this is because I love this fucking show. Unleash World in Paris October 17th and 18th. It is a staple event in the HR and recruiting industry. And this one, you gotta think about this one. If you're a startup and we talk about startups all the time and a lot of startups listen to this podcast, you gotta check out the Digital Startup Competition. You gotta get your voice out there so that the other partners, the other practitioners can hear who you are, what you pitch and not to mention, it helps you out. Go to the Startup competition. All of these events are at chadcheese.com, click on events in the upper right hand corner right next to free and register for them all. We'll see you all. Nashville, Vegas and Paris baby.
SFX: All right. All right. All right.
Chad: It's the topics.
Joel: All right, gang. Well, we covered the acquisition of Bayard by Appcast last week and the move has its critics. Notably Appcast now becomes a competitor to its own clients, other recruitment agencies and job boards. Despite the potential benefits of providing brand and digital media strategy, going direct to corporate clients could strain Appcast's relationships with existing agency clients. That said, the company believes they intend to maintain its partnerships and continue providing programmatic technology to other agencies. But wait Chad, there's more. Appcast sugar daddy StepStone has launched a chatbot, wait for it, two years after acquiring Chatbot Pioneer Mya. I'm sure Paradox and Veritone are losing lots of sleep.
Chad: Oh yeah.
Joel: Over the new chatbot. Chad, what are your thoughts on this ongoing drama?
Chad: Well, first off you didn't mention that I have a very direct statement from an anonymous Appcast employee that says, "Tell Cheeseman we're not buying CareerBuilders," so your prediction I hear is submarining right out of the gates. He said, "We don't want that mess," In addition to our commentary during last week's Appcast goes full blast episode, and everything that you just read down I think that was mainly AIM Group stuff which was a great article by the way. Here are some listener comments and questions. First, one listener says, "Bayard much like agency tech player Radancy, now cannot be seen as an unbiased advocate for the employer. Ad agencies are meant to be about people, relationships, customer service. Those are hard standards to uphold when you grow to a certain size and start adding so many SaaS and tech elements." So, what do you think about that?
Joel: I think they are overestimating the importance of people. And particularly long term. Look, I think the people thing is still a big deal. I think the lunches, I think the front row tickets at Bulls games, whatever kind of perks, the nine holes at whatever is still important. But long term and we're gonna talk about some AI Palooza going on last week. But Spotify which we'll touch on, launch what they call a sidekick which is essentially like a little Batman or a little Robin to your Batman.
Chad: Shopify, yeah.
Joel: That is there for all the answers. I think a smart agency is gonna make technology where you feel like you have a little Robin to your Batman there to answer all your questions, there to make you sort of confident, give you data on how things are going. That you don't need to call your rep who's, let's be honest, is probably gonna churn out in a couple of years anyway. You're gonna have a trusted digital partner that's gonna be an agency expert to help you with all of your things. So to me long term the human thing is overrated. [laughter] I think the boutique agency is overrated. They're gonna have to create some tech that makes you feel like that agency rep is in your ear whenever you want it at all times, minus the three cocktail lunch.
Chad: First off, this is not a black or white discussion. I think that there's plenty of gray in between. And the boutique agency, I think there's still, still plenty of want and/or need for that white glove service. When you get bigger you don't get that white glove service as much and there is a lot of churn. If you get into some of these boutique agencies who have had reps who have been around for, shit, decades. It's just a different feel, you know? So I think this is gonna be for the companies and actually the partners too who they want to do business with and how they want to do business. If they want that sidekick from Shopify which we're gonna talk about later, then awesome. But there are still going to be some more older, traditional, they want to feel like they're being taken care of because they're spending a lot of money. And so the boutique agencies I still believe have a long runway. That's me. Let's go to the next listener comment. Now that Appcast is an agency, how would other agencies react? They either need to find a new tech platform or just dump technology altogether. What do you think about that?
Joel: Well, they can't dump tech altogether.
Joel: That's just a losing strategy.
Joel: That's just... Yeah. That's just cut the cord now and retire. So I don't think that's an option. I think for sure... Look, the history tells us that when these acquisitions are made, that when things happen, competitors get pushed out. They get squeezed. Products and services get less effective. Maybe they get more expensive like squeezing on the cost. You and I talked a while back when JobVite bought TextRecruit and Canvas was still around. And we had this little debate about, Canvas is done. And I think you were like, no they gotta have other options in the marketplace and yada yada. Well, fast forward a few years later, there is no Canvas. It's JobVite TextRecruit or whatever. And now iCIMS just has their TextRecruit which is their own product. So longer term again, no agency is going to wanna get into bed with Appcast long term. Either they're gonna have to white label somebody, this puts Jobcase, Pando, JobAdX even in a, to me a pretty good position to either get acquired or become a Switzerland, if you will, white label solution for programmatic because that's not gone. I think there's an opportunity for Indeed even to sort of make nice with some people. But I don't see any agency right now thinking long term, Appcast is gonna be our programmatic solution. They have to diversify, they have to look at other options.
Chad: Yes, and that goes into our third this is actually a listener question that goes right into what you were saying. How many independent tech players are now left in the programmatic job advertising space and will they retool to go after agencies that are currently using Clickcast? I think that is a smart decision for any of the other programmatic players that are out there depending on how much development they have to do. I think there's going to be some opportunity for some of those boutique agencies who, again, they don't wanna give their money to Bayard. It's gonna be Appcast and I know Bayard's gonna go away but still they know that it's Bayard and they don't want their money going to really a head-on agency. So I think there's opportunity there. I'm just not sure who has the runway and cash to be able to make that happen.
Joel: Yeah. And you mention a good point, like the Bayard name is going away. So Appcast is essentially going to become an agency. So it becomes even harder mentally to say, I'm gonna use... It would be like if it was Bayard programmatic, we're gonna use Bayard programmatic as a competing agency. So I don't see that. As far as how many there are, there just aren't. Terry Baker when they sold Pando or when Appcast sold, it was like, the number of companies that can be off the board is small. So some phones gotta be ringing off the hook for the last few independent programmatic solutions. And the bidding has to be going up nicely for them. I don't know how it's gonna shake out but it's gonna be complicated. Although some people are gonna be spending the next year in Fiji enjoying the riches of their programmatic solution that got acquired.
Chad: Yeah. I think the big payday was in 2019. I think everybody held on and they were like, we're gonna wait. Pando did find a, obviously a good payday and a good sugar daddy out of Veritone later, but I really think that the payday was there. But again, listeners, we appreciate the comments, the questions, and if you have any of those, feel free to DM either Joel or myself, and we will do our best to try to get those on the show. I wanna talk about StepStone. I think it's interesting because I actually reached out to Sebastian Dettmers, who's the CEO of StepStone, and...
Chad: Because they just launched a "StepStone's latest AI prototype". It's an AI interviewer. It's a chatbot, kids, that gets job seekers ready for their next job interview. So it's a chat interface that seems fairly basic, mainly because it's a prototype. I totally get that. So I asked Sebastian, StepStone acquired Mya Systems over two years ago. Is this a prototype Mya Systems tech, or is it Mya still relegated to being used by Totaljobs? And we really haven't seen anything out of that. And Sebastian said, "It's related to Mya as a foundation, but it's mainly StepStone engineering plus large language models." Which means it's not Mya at all. It's odd because StepStone's chatbot Mya, was supposed to bring better user experience to StepStone's Totaljobs out of the UK, but where is it?
SFX: Where's the beef?
Chad: We're having a where's the beef moment, I feel, for StepStone. And I'm gonna tie this around with Appcast. Here's a great example. If you go to mya.com, that's M-Y-A.com, the page hasn't changed since 2021. No announcements of new product innovation, no videos of the product in use of Totaljobs, just a stale old ass page from mid-2021. That's the StepStone way, okay? And Appcast cannot afford to allow that amateur hour shit during this Bayard transition. Appcast, we're looking at this, and as I see this from the outside in, and even from the inside out in some cases from sources, that Appcast is really, really the adult in the room when it comes to business around our industry. It's not StepStone.
SFX: Doesn't anyone notice this? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.
Joel: I'm gonna give them a little bit of a pass, I think. We've been hard on StepStone for a couple of weeks.
Chad: We have. Sorry, Sebastian. Just how I feel, man.
Joel: Not a... Yeah. Sebastian is easily the best CEO that's still in high school, apparently from his picture.
Joel: So the Mya deal, I don't know. It felt kind of fire sale. It felt kind of like COVID, what the hell are we doing? I don't know if some investor knew another investor, maybe they just bought it off the clearing track. I don't know. But we do a European show, and there just is not a huge outcry for chatbots in the European market. I think that may be changing, which is maybe why they focus, but I think the real focus is the impending IPO that is apparently coming down for StepStone. They need to come to market with the programmatic solution, the agency solution, and yes, I think the buying career builder solution, even though I've been said, but that's insane. And a chatbot, right? They need to have some AI shit. They need to have some LLM in their tour with Wall Street. So to me, I don't think their customers were begging for it. I don't think until now the IPO, it has become a focus but it will be. Yeah, it's garbage from what I can tell and Paradox are just running circles around what they have, but at least companies will be able to check off the box. Yeah, we got the chatbot. But for the most part, I don't think there was a lot of heat on them to do this. They just kind of waited around instead of firing some engineers. Like most people, they said, hey, build out this chatbot thing. And they said, all the tech is shit. And they said, well, let's just start over. I don't know why Mya doesn't just redirect to StepStone's...
Chad: Well, it does redirect to StepStone, but it's the same exact page. There's just no effort that happened there at all.
Joel: Yeah. And these are big companies with people that do that shit.
Joel: And speaking of no excuses, Chad.
Joel: Let's talk about our friends at Glassdoor.
Chad: Oh, wow.
Joel: They're introducing anonymous community features like interest bowls and company specific bowls to boost user growth and facilitate workplace conversations.
Joel: The platform leverages its Fishbowl acquisition and plans to differentiate itself as a constructive space while protecting anonymity. Moderation challenges will be addressed and potential premium features may be explored in the future. Glassdoor aims to compete with LinkedIn's identity focused approach targeting real and open discussions. Chad, your thoughts on the move by Glassdoor?
Chad: Yeah, it feels like just a new feature that's added to Glassdoor's employer brand protection racket that they've been running for years. Right? Anyways, it's weird. Glassdoor acquired Fishbowl back in 2021. And we said that on that week in the podcast, anonymous employee forums are nothing but chaos and breeding grounds for trolls and gossip and distractions. With the sneak peek explainer video, it feels like Glassdoor is trying to move more toward LinkedIn. But does anonymous actually make sense? If I can reach out to someone on LinkedIn that isn't anonymous, why would I reach out to just simply somebody who I can't validate on bowls, on... If they're really an HR manager or what have you? But so I went into bowls and the first two groups are bowls. I'm sorry. That was recommended for me. First off was the overheard at work bowl. And here's how the very first post I came across posted by an HR manager. "Does anyone have an executive level HR leader that gossips with her executive admin and creates so much drama? The admin runs all over telling people the information that's becoming a nightmare. How can I get this to stop? The HR leader seems to be surprised and will relay information back to the admin who then shares it with others." Who wants any of this shit out there? Number one, okay. I mean, I automatically right out of the gate drama. Okay, number two. The second bowl I was actually recommended was the fertility bowl. Yes.
Chad: Post by a talent acquisition professional. "I am about six and a half months pregnant and I was just minding my own business, and a male coworker came up to me and said, "Don't take this wrong but your boobs have gotten huge." Like, what the fuck?" This is the kind of shit that you're going to get in these forums. This is not professional. This is more about real gossip and great distraction from real work. This is not real discussions and real work. This is real gossip and distraction, right? So any employer who, I don't know how you manage this, this is the problem, right? Because anybody can actually access it. You can get into it as whomever you want.
Chad: I don't know. It just, to me it seems horrible, like a horrible, horrible idea.
Joel: Yeah. Let's take a quick look in the R&D department at Glassdoor real quick. See, let's see what? Oh geez. Oh geez. All right. So Glassdoor bowls feels a little bit like a T-Rex. You're wiping on some SPF 50 as the comet comes crashing in.
Joel: That that's gonna help them. Look, Glassdoor's traffic has been stagnant for two years. I mean, the lights are on, no one's home. I don't even know who they got to build out this project. It's more or less a Blind wannabe. Blind has around 9 million users. Apparently, they're hoping to get a few of them over. Glassdoor still has a lot of traffic at 55 million, but the future is not looking bright for Glassdoor. And to me, desperation moves like bowls is not the answer. Look, ultimately the world is going towards video, posting on TikTok about your employer. No one cares about anonymity like they used to. It actually is a negative if you wanna get internet famous. So people are fully happy to tell everyone that their employer sucks on TikTok. That sort of hurdle is gone. And frankly, AI makes these sites obsolete because I can go to Bard today by Google and type in, what is it like to work at Wells Fargo? It's gonna curate information from all these sites and give me a human, timely answer about what it's like to work at the company, both from a pro and con perspective.
Joel: So for me, the combination of video and TikTok and reels and whatever else, and people becoming famous on hating their company, and AI basically taking all the information out there, giving you a timely answer, mean that Glassdoor's time as a review site apex predator are slowly declining, maybe quickly declining. And this move into bowls just underscores how bad it is at Glassdoor.
Chad: Yeah, it's more like bowels. It's that bad.
Joel: Ooh, that's good, Chad. That's good.
Chad: Bowels Glassdoor...
Joel: Like most of your jokes...
SFX: 60% of the time, it works every time.
Chad: That's right.
Joel: All right, let's take a break and talk some AI. All right, Chad, a bevy, a bevy of AI focus news this week.
Joel: Let me count the numbers and the ways. Number one, studies say using generative AI in business improves user's performance by 66%. That's averaged across three case studies. Number two, Hollywood is facing its first industry-wide shutdown in more than 60 years, largely due to the rise of streaming and threats of AI. Number three, Shopify is launching an assistant called Sidekick, whose CEO said it may finally give independent retailers the power to go head to head against Amazon. Number four, a pro Ron DeSantis super PAC commercial uses AI as a version of Donald Trump's voice in a new ad attacking the former president. Number five, Suumit Shah, founder of Dukaan app, no clue, recently boasted on Twitter about replacing 90% of customer support staff with chatbots, prioritizing profitability over empathy for employees. Maybe they can all find work on Fiverr, Chad, who's CEO, and this is the next story, said she believes AI will accelerate job creation by speeding up manual tasks, allowing more time for creative and interpersonal work. Chad, make the crazy pills stop.
SFX: Doesn't anyone notice this? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.
Joel: What are your takes and your highlights from all the AI news this week?
Chad: Yeah. We've got a whole block again, kids, a whole fucking block. Just because everything's happening, we're looking for case studies. And this first one actually three studies that supported the customer service agents. The AI could handle 13.8% more customer inquiries per hour. Now, Teleperformance, which we talked about a few weeks ago, a company that does nothing but handle customer service for their clients, said that they had a 30% rise in the number of customers they could handle because their humans had co-pilots.
Chad: And so there are great studies that are happening. Second one, business professionals who used AI could write 59% more documents per hour. That's ridiculous. I don't need more documents. Not to mention, I wonder how many hallucinations were in those documents. But here's the big one. Programmers used AI. They could do 126%, 126% more projects per week. Humans start becoming more of a QA QC element instead of the coding workhorses in this case. Everybody's looking for cases. Cases are being pushed at us very, very quickly. But the big question is, especially with all these cases, are we just training the large language models? And that is one of the things that writers and actors are having taking to issue. Pay and then also also this, Bob Iger during an interview last week, commented on the WGA and SAG strikes, "It's very distracting to me. There's a level of expectation that they have that is just not realistic, and they are adding to the set of challenges that this business is already facing. Quite frankly, very disruptive." Here's a response to that quote from Guardians of the Galaxy actor Sean Gunn, play it up.
Sean Gunn: I think that when Bob Iger talks about what a shame it is, he needs to remember that in 1980 CEOs like him made 30 times what the worker, what their lowest worker was making. Now, Bob Iger makes 400 times what his lowest worker is. And I think that's a shame, Bob, and maybe you should take a look in the mirror and ask yourself why is that? And not only why is that, is it okay? Is it morally okay? Is it ethically okay that you make that much more than your lowest worker? And if so, why? Why is that okay? If your response is, that that's just the way business is done now, that's just the way corporations work now, well, that sucks. And that makes you a shitty person if that's your answer. So you should come up with a better answer than that.
Chad: Yeah. So it sounds like Sean has been listening to the Chad and Cheese podcast for a while, because that is just about verbatim what we've been saying for a few years. As guys like Bob Iger rake in the cash, writers and actors need to solidify what their future looks like financially. And they need to be on the offense against technology where large language models can write scripts, voice commercials, and maybe even become body doubles for next to nothing. So that does nothing but put more cash in Bob's pockets while writers and actors that aren't top tier actors, continue to get the shaft. They're going on the offense, which I think is pretty amazing. And you're not going to see this happening from customer service reps, right? They don't have, there's not a customer service rep lobby... [laughter]
Chad: That's out there. These guys have one. So, do you think that this is going to make an impact on anything other than just their own industry?
Joel: Well I would say I was 100% bearish on the writer's strike. To me, the actors coming out and particularly the big name actors, I know Matt Damon is out there, I think there's some news about Tom Cruise. Hollywood still needs the big time marquee names and like you said, it's the small actors, it's the extras, it's the writers for sure that are putting out content that AI can easily replace. You're not gonna replace Brad Pitt in a movie with a digital Brad Pitt anytime soon. Now, that may eventually happen. So I was glad to see that. I think that this isn't my lane. Hollywood isn't necessarily, as you can tell by my looks, isn't exactly what I'm an expert on, but I got to think that history says the market will find ways to produce content that does not include writers, these extras that the market is going to, for shareholder value for quarterly revenue, they're gonna do more reality TV. They're gonna do more unscripted stuff. And by the way, the new "Bachelor" coming out is 71 years old. So like that kind of shit, by the way, he looks younger than both you and I put together.
Joel: But anyway, 71, he had the Clooney package at the plastic surgery facility that he got updated.
Chad: Lead press on face.
Joel: Anyway, there's gonna be more reality stuff. There's gonna be more international stuff. A lot of talk about Netflix producing stuff overseas where they don't have these laws, they don't have these issues. You can't unionize. So ultimately and unfortunately, the market is gonna find ways to keep producing cheap content regardless of what Bob Iger says. Now, I think that, and we had a great interview with Tom Kenny yesterday that we'll publish at some point in the near future, but that's a short-term solution. I think that's really short term thinking. I think long term, if we don't have an incubator for new content creators, if we don't have an incubator for the next Robert De Niro, the next Meryl Streep, we're all gonna lose in terms of lack of creativity, lack of just life on screen...
Chad: There're gonna be no more De Niros. That's the thing.
Joel: Yeah. I think Broadway is gonna become really important because live actors and seeing things live. Things are gonna be really interesting long term. But I think once you start losing that creative edge and why we watch these things to begin with, Hollywood is gonna have to eventually look in the mirror and say, "We have to bite the bullet. We have to pay these creators a fair wage. We have to give them fair terms on streaming and residuals." I think that's ultimately where they're gonna have to end up. But I think for the short term, there's gonna be a lot of pain, a lot of shitty content that we have to watch until we get to the point where everyone realizes, "Yeah a creative, creative genius and creativity matters," and we're losing that in the way that we're doing business today.
Chad: Yeah. No question. And then jumping over to Shopify real quick.
Chad: And looking at large language models, their Sidekick, which is really just a copilot, but it's a copilot for entrepreneurs who use Shopify. These are individuals who, in many cases, going against Amazon. And this new model is really cool 'cause it's like a personal assistant. It is a digital assistant, but even more so like a personal assistant. And if you take a look at some of the demos of what it can do just for the Shopify shop, it was pretty amazing. And this is just phase one. So I think watching truly smart and amazing people use large language models for business will be exciting to watch. While we talk about the risks and we'll continue to do that, we've also gotta look at the upside. And there's some amazing upside to these technologies. We're going to need, whether it's for actors, the screen guild or even smaller entrepreneurs, we're going to have to have legislation that starts to put rules in place. Whether Europe does it first or the US does, we are going to have to do it, or it's gonna go off the rails, and it can incredibly fast with this tech.
Joel: So some of the stories that stood out to me... And also by the way, Apple is creating Apple GPT apparently.
Chad: Yeah, go for it.
Joel: So we're gonna be able to talk about Apple doing some shit in a few weeks, probably. So I'll talk about Sidekick at first. How many small businesses, "Hey, I love to make," I don't know, "Soap. I love to make organic soap," [laughter] or, "I love to do," I don't know, "Coloured shoe... " Whatever's like... People have these gifts.
Joel: And then they run into like, "Oh, I gotta make a company. Oh, I gotta pay taxes. I gotta do all these things." Sidekick is amazing because now you have an expert where you can say like, "What are the tax laws around employees in Nevada?" Or, "How do I fire somebody?" Or, "How... " All these questions that are really challenging for small business, they'll now have a copilot, a Robin, if you will, to answer those questions. I think what's gonna be interesting is how long is it gonna take someone in our industry to create a Sidekick for recruitment or for small business? So think about how many small businesses, "Gee, I gotta hire. I don't know what the hell to do. I just post something on Craigslist and hope for the best."
Joel: If they have a sidekick that's like, "Okay, here's some great ways you can recruit someone locally," or, "Here's how you use LinkedIn or how... " "What does it cost? Give me a price breakdown between Indeed and all these other solutions." Somebody needs to create that. And I'm sure that they will, not just 'cause I'm saying it, but somebody needs to create these things because co-piloting for recruiting, small business, hiring is gonna be a big thing. So to me, Sidekick is a sign of things to come.
Joel: The next thing that stood out to me, the political ad.
Chad: Oh yeah, the DeSantis...
Joel: Holy hell.
Chad: Yeah, the DeSantis one. Yeah.
Joel: Look, you think Facebook in '16 was crazy? This shit is crazy. And you and I are old enough to remember... Remember Willie Horton?
Joel: Remember Lee Atwater, the ad that was created and how, look, to say that it was a little stretch was being nice?
Chad: Oh wow.
Joel: There is no regulation on this. There is nothing that even says at the bottom, "This is an AI-generated video," or, "This is an AI-generated... "
Joel: Voice, right? Nothing. This is gonna be Wild West. And as these candidates start losing in the polls, they start... They're gonna get super desperate. There's gonna be some crazy ass ads and shit that goes down. People like my dad are not gonna know what the hell's going on.
Joel: It's gonna create immense confusion in the marketplace and for voting. And oh my God, this is... If AI runs amuck in the election in '24, it's gonna make 2022, 2020, 2016 look like child's play, because AI is gonna just fuck everything up in the election. Anyway, that's a little bit darkness for me. [laughter] The third thing that stood out for me is the customer support reduction. 90% is no joke. And this is going to be a symptom of many companies. As soon as Wall Street catches on that you can release 90% of your customer service, you can let go of a percentage of your salespeople, your marketing people to AI, things are gonna get really ugly in terms of layoffs, and this is just a sign of that. There's a new solution, a new software solution called Air. It's at air.ai, if you wanna check it out. They're doing beta signups right now. And the people that I know that have been using it say that it is mind-blowing. They can do up to 40-minute customer service calls. They sound like a human being. They answer you as... The question as if it is the right answer to that question. Some shit like that is gonna disrupt the world in a big way. So for me, the three things to really focus on from this week is the Sidekick, the political landscape is gonna get nuts, and I think the layoffs in terms of customer service are gonna get pretty ugly.
Chad: Yeah, there are gonna be very few areas that are not going to be touched by AI. Even from a plumber's assistant, you have your copilot with you to be able to help you with the diagnosis of the problem or AC, your HVAC, right? And that could be very helpful in an uptime in being able to get people into positions, those types of positions. But other positions, you're right, like the Teleperformance situation. I guarantee you, they're gonna be looking at shedding people very quickly, 'cause they've been training that AI for a good amount of time.
Joel: Yep. It's funny how both sides have used the morality argument in the past few months. You have Elon Musk saying it's a moral issue that people should get back in the office. And now it's a moral issue that companies should continue to retain customer service people. So the morality issue, to me, doesn't hold a lot of water, whether it's the company using it or the employees, because ultimately, the dollar decides how companies are gonna respond.
Chad: If that's the world you wanna live in, I hate to be in your world.
Joel: One world we'll talk about right after the break is the world of sex bots. Hang tight.
Joel: Oh, you thought we were done with AI, Chad? Oh, no.
Joel: Oh no. We just saved the sex bots for last. Former Google executive, Mo Gawdat, is warning the world of sex dolls seemingly "alive" and dating apps with AI "avatars" that are as good as the real thing, minus, of course, the shared barbacoa bowl at Chipotle if you're on a date with me. Anyway, he suggests that AI could simulate human sexual intimacy, leading to a redesign of society and relationships. Gawdat said, "If we think a few years further and think of Neuralink," which you've talked about, Chad, that chip in your head, "and other ways of connecting directly to your nervous system, why would you need another human being in the first place?" Chad, sex bots are evolving. Your thoughts?
Chad: Relationships are hard. Let's just go ahead and put that out there, right?
Chad: And if you're not an amazing-looking dude, it's gonna be really hard for you to find a date. Unless you're very charismatic, what have you, if you're a total douchebag, it's gonna be hard. Hit the easy button. And the easy button could be a sex bot, or it could be, we talked about the AI, a sexual partner that is on your phone that's literally just a AI sexting bot.
Chad: There's gonna be a variety of all of those, and they're going to be, unfortunately, they're gonna be very, very big industries. I mean, they are. Beyond that, I don't wanna think about [laughter] chips in our heads and animatronic women that are running. I just can't go there. Okay? [laughter] I just... I refuse. [laughter]
Joel: Look, you're right. Dating is hard. Relationships are hard.
Chad: They are.
Joel: How much easier is it to just default to putting on a headset and the Neuralink chip to where you actually feel, your muscles feel like you're touching someone and you're... That is crazy shit. And so we share articles in a Facebook feed, everyone that doesn't know, and we share this article. And I was reading it for the conversation here. And as I'm scrolling down, looking at stuff, and you know how you get ads in a lot of these sites that are just random ads? And I'm scrolling down and I look at a woman on a couch. I'm like, "Oh, she's kinda cute." And I keep scrolling. I'm like, "Wait a minute." I scroll back. It's a fucking sex bot. I was tricked as I'm scrolling to think that's a real person. [laughter] And I thought, "Wait a minute, that's not a real person."
Joel: So even the literal robots, the physical ones, not just the AI ones, are blowing my mind. So the guy talks about a company or an app called Replika in this story. It's R-E-P-L-I-K-A. It's already live. I go to this thing. It's scary as hell. And I finally get VR. I finally get why everyone's excited, [laughter] because you can put on a VR headset and you can interact with a "person." And it doesn't have to be sexual, it could be like, "Hey, we're watching the game together," or, "Hey, we're gonna go have wings together," whatever. So that is really scary stuff. The site says, "It's an AI companion who is eager to learn and would love to see the world through your eyes. Replika is always ready to chat when you need an empathetic friend." There are already 10 million people using this app that I just found out about. And with AI, this companion is with you. Your whole life now can be at the Playboy Mansion as Hugh Hefner. You can throw in as many women as you want, doing whatever the hell you want. We are so screwed as a species. Forget population collapse because we're not having babies now, [laughter] we're really not having babies in the future. I present you again, one of our favorites, Bill Burr, to describe exactly what the future is gonna look like.
Bill Burr: They're going to make Victoria's Secret supermodels, just absolutely like Paris Runway looking supermodels. And you're gonna be able to come home to one of these things. And it's gonna laugh at all your jokes. [laughter] It's gonna sit down and watch the game with you. It doesn't get any better than this. [laughter] Yes, it does. [laughter] And it's gonna get up and make you a fucking, I don't know, a Bundt cake or a meat pie, whatever the fuck you people eat, right? [laughter] There's not gonna be a human woman in here that's gonna be able to compete with that for longer than 90 minutes. Even on your birthday. By the third trip to the fridge, she's gonna be like, "Yeah, fucking get it yourself. What am I? Your slave? [laughter] Go fuck yourself." And after when you've been with one of these robots, sex dolls, these, you're not gonna be able to go back to a real woman. With all her hopes and dreams and her needs. [laughter] You're gonna be coming home, she's like, "What is going on with you? We're not connecting. We need a date night." All you'd be thinking is like, "How do I shut this fucking thing off? [laughter] What is it on? Nagging mode?"
Joel: And my Oculus is in the mail, Chad. We out.
Chad: We out.
Outro: Wow. Look at you. You made it through an entire episode of the Chad and Cheese podcast. Or maybe you cheated and fast-forwarded to the end. Either way, there's no doubt you wish you had that time back. Valuable time you could have used to buy a nutritious meal at Taco Bell, enjoy a pour of your favorite whiskey, or just watch big booty Latinas and bug fights on TikTok. No, you hung out with these two chuckleheads instead. Now go take a shower and wash off all the guilt. But save some soap, because you'll be back. Like an awful train wreck, you can't look away. And like Chad's favorite Western, you can't quit them either. We out.