Companies rise and fall - usually because of of ego and hubris - and our industry is no different. Take CareerBuilder and Indeed for example; each to varying degrees are facing headwinds thanks to the unbridled belief that the good times will always roll and the competition is unworthy. Based on news this week, it’s looking more and more like Indeed is on the road to be the next CareerBuilder, and the boys dig in. Additionally, consolidation continues, as Fama has acquired Social Intelligence, making them a juicy acquisition target for the likes of Checkr and Sterling. What’s more, the CEO of MillerKnoll put her foot in her mouth and is paying the price on social media, while Amazon’s AWS is taking aim at Google and Microsoft’s OpenAi as another player in the artificial intelligence arms race. By the way, if you’re in Vegas for UNLEASH America next week, stop by the WorkHuman booth on Wed. and say Hi (you might even get a T-shirt).
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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 Surprise Drug Test Day. Thank God it's the week before Talent Toke happens next week in Vegas. Hey kids, you're listening to the Chad and Cheese Podcast. This is your cohost, Joel...
SFX: "All right, all right, all right."
Chad: This is Chad "Is alive or Memorax" Sowash.
Joel: And on this week's show, Indeed backs up, CareerBuilder shrinks up, and Fama levels up. Let's do this. Vegas baby.
Chad: Holy shit. My god. Dude. Just the preparation for getting ready for this. Yeah, it's a bit much.
Joel: It is, it is. I'm gonna spend the weekend drinking Gatorade and sleeping, I think, to help prepare for this.
Chad: Yeah. Pedialyte, I would go with Pedialyte. Get some Pedialyte, cut it with something like cranberry juice or something like that. That is the fucking breakfast of champions.
Joel: Pedialyte. I'm gonna go one step further, my friend.
Joel: On camera here, I'm showing you ZBiotics.
Chad: What the fuck is that?
Joel: It's a hangover remedy that I'm gonna be trying in Vegas, so...
Chad: Oh, I like that.
Joel: Pray for me, America. Pray for me.
Chad: Well, that being said...
Joel: Oh my god.
Chad: Let's get to shout-outs, baby. First and foremost, shout-out to Textkernel, that's right, for being crazy enough to bring us on stage with them during the Vendor Summit with our buddy Chris Conrad...
Chad: Talking about whether vendors should be building partnering or buying in a new AI, ChatGPT automation world. Textkernel is legit, they bought Sovren who's the legit OG, right?
Chad: But they're the legit OG of this, doing the hard stuff, the heavy lifting, the white labeling so that vendors can focus on their core products. So, check us out at the Vendor Summit.
Joel: And they are piling on the talent in the US.
Joel: Every day I see a new LinkedIn update like, "Congratulations, new job at Textkernel," is what I saw. The troops are on the beachhead, if you will, of America, and it's nice that we're taking the stage with them before they become too cool for us in the States.
Chad: Knock on wood, that's not gonna happen.
Joel: I hope not, I hope not, I hope not. But yeah, that's just the beginning of a jam-packed schedule.
Chad: Yes. I'm glad that's early, by the way.
Joel: That is early.
Joel: Yeah, that's like, "Dude, you gotta get there early, so we can do... " "Okay, cool." So, then we got a ferris wheel which is probably not the right thing to say. It's like a glass container, a glass egg on a tire going around Vegas. Anyway, it's the high roller event.
Joel: Apparently, it's sold out. This is our friends, HiringBranch, that's having us come in. It's 30 minutes of all you can drink. By the way, shout-out to Evan White.
Chad: Yes, who comes up with the coolest shit.
Joel: Dude is PR extraordinaire.
Joel: We'll get to more of his events here in a second. But this guy, if you're looking for a PR, look him up on LinkedIn. Anyway, he actually created a little card for everyone that's attending this thing.
Joel: That they're gonna share on LinkedIn. He's also got Talent Toke which we'll talk about in a minute. Anyway, to Evan, shout-out to you, man. You are above and beyond. And by the way, my man sent me a golden Tequila Panther. Did you get one of these? It's like Sex Panther's evil twin. It's a golden... It's like a liter, a full liter of tequila in this golden panther and has emerald eyes.
Chad: Oh shit.
Joel: It's insane. It has capped off my basement bar like I never thought I could.
Chad: He sent me a tequila cowboy boot. [laughter] And it was delicious. It's already fucking gone, dude. It was delicious. I usually don't do tequila because it makes me bullet-proof and I get in fights. But I can do it at home, because there's nobody to get in a fight with. [laughter] Thanks Evan, we really appreciate that.
Joel: Let's feed Chad as much tequila as possible in Vegas, everybody.
Chad: Not gonna do it.
Joel: Let's buy him all the tequila we possibly can. But yes, High Roller, that's our second gig and it keeps rolling from there.
Chad: Yes, nothing like being locked up with Chad and Cheese for half an hour with all the drinks you can stand. Anyway, shout-out to plum.io. Not only are they awesome at making sure that we have great Canadian maple syrup for the next five years of our fucking life, Caitlin, Neil, Jason and the whole team, they're gonna make sure that Cheesman gets fed one night, and that's not cheap. So, thanks for dinner. We can't wait to see you. And if you haven't yet, go to plum.io and take that Plum Assessment.
Joel: That's right. And this is no buffet, baby. So get the pocketbook out, pay in loonies 'cause we're eating on the Canadians.
SFX: Take off, will you? We're doing our movie. Don't wreck our show you hoser.
Joel: So then, it's back to business for us. And we've partnered with Workhuman to be in their booth for a whopping four hours of recording, palm pressing, baby kissing, t-shirt giveaways, maybe shots, maybe beer. Yeah, the party keeps rolling on in the Workhuman booth. So if you're there on Wednesday, make sure you stop by and say hi or listen to the interviews that we're conducting while we're there in the booth, but that's pretty exciting.
Chad: Yes. And they have a, what they're calling a gratitude bar, but I'm not sure that it has alcohol. So, more than likely Chad and Cheese will be bringing the alcohol to the Workhuman booth. And they scheduled four hours which I think is legitimately crazy. But hey, I appreciate it. We'll be there.
Joel: They've decided not to go all the way. So fortunately we'll be taking it all the way.
Chad: So shout-out to Maya and the crew over at TaTiO for orchestrating another Drinks With the Chad and Cheese event at the Vesper Bar in The Cosmo. Have you seen this place? Dude...
Joel: It's sick.
Chad: It's gorgeous...
Joel: It's totally sick.
Chad: Okay, I'm gonna say that this is more of the Chad brand where if it smelled like Mexican pizza, it would be more the Cheese... This thing is fucking gorgeous man. I can't believe... Obviously, Vegas is above and beyond just about and everything that they do, but this bar in the Cosmo is, it just an amazing venue. So, thanks to TaTiO and hopefully you've been lucky enough to actually get your seat. If you haven't, go to chadcheese.com, click on events and then in the upper banner, the entire header, there's a click, just click for sign up and you might be able to get in.
Joel: Chad, you mentioned Taco Bell and our next event might just lead everybody to Taco Bell.
Chad: It will match Arnie, that's for sure.
Joel: Just saying you were there at the first ever one is worth it.
Joel: Talent Toke, I thought this was a joke when I first saw it. But our friend, our friend Evan has coordinated in an event at Bellagio?
Joel: Is that right? Yeah.
Chad: With the fountains.
Joel: Oh the fountains?
Joel: Okay, all right. So, apparently the best of the best green is gonna be available. Just go, 'cause you just said you were there, go to TalentToke.com, sign up, it's gonna be crazy. And yeah, I hope Gordon Ramsay's pub and grill are ready for the onslaught at Caesars after I get a whiff of what's going on at Talent Toke.
Chad: Yeah. And from my understanding, we're getting the best of the best from Cookies, a brand of the Ganja. Can't wait to get a little Cookies.
Joel: And what else could happen at Talent Toke?
SFX: All right, all right, all right.
Chad: Then right after Talent Toke, shout-out to PandoLogic who we're meeting at the Selfie Museum. We're going to the Selfie Museum for more drinks, food, craziness. I hope we can fit a fucking nap in there somewhere, because we're gonna need a little recharge.
Joel: Oh my god, Monster, 5-hour Energy, I don't know. I hope Julie has her purse stocked with some 5-hour energies for us on that night. It's actually the Museum of Selfies, my friend. And as I was with my family, as listeners know, on vacation in Vegas. We actually walked by the Museum of Selfies and thought, "Oh, this might be something fun for the kids." Basically like, it's a, it's a glamor shots for the new kids, like it's...
Chad: You've been there?
Joel: I haven't gone in. But I was like, "What is this?" 'Cause I thought, Museum of Selfies...
Joel: Maybe it's like somewhere in 1862, somebody took a selfie and it's like all these historical selfies. No. There's many rooms and you can pick themes to have your picture taken. It looks like a blast, you know Pando does it right, so it's not gonna be some chump event. And also I just wanna throw this out, we're not gonna be there probably 'cause of the nap and the 5-hour Energy shots that we'll be doing. But at the Ice Bar friends at ERIN...
Chad: Oh yeah.
Joel: Erinapp.com, they're gonna be doing right across from our Museum of Selfies at the Ice Bar, they're gonna be having a party as well. Go check out erinapp.com if you want an invite to that.
Chad: Little crazy, little crazy.
Joel: Just a little bit, little bit. How old are we? How old are we now? Good god.
Chad: I'm 25 motherfucker, that's how I feel.
Joel: Good god, good god. And speaking...
Joel: Of birthdays, Chad...
SFX: Really. Can you feel the tension in the air right now? I know I can. I can feel it all the way down in my plums.
Joel: All right. You know what that means, Chad? We got some birthdays to celebrate. Some of our fans are celebrating another trip around the sun, let's get to that list. Berry Doctor, Berry Doctor. Real name? I don't know. Let's check him out.
Joel: Duarte Mendoca, Rick Kramer, Danielle Kasinski, Matt Lozar, Gia Johnston who was the winner of Rum with Plum. Happy birthday to you. Gia, happy birthday to you. Chris Bravik, Michael Simon Carl, Dave Larry, Jonathan Zilla, Steve Gilbert, Dan Wokee, Charlotte Adams. And our friend, Lars Schmitt, all celebrate another trip around the sun.
SFX: Happy Birthday.
Joel: Happy Birthday everybody, and if you like rum and it's your birthday, you can win a bottle of rum, but either way, you're a winner, if you go to chadcheese.com/free. This month's winners, we're gonna announce our Textkernel whiskey winner goes to Jim Schneider, long time fan and friend of the show.
Joel: Our Aspen Tech Labs beer winner goes to Tom Hunley, Fishers Indiana. And I promise there was no playing with the votes on that one. And if you love t-shirts, we got JobGet sponsoring our shirts, go to the website, sign up, you'll likely get a shirt. And again, if you're at Unleash, hit the Workhuman booth on Wednesday. We'll have shirts there.
Chad: Yeah. And don't doubt the polling of this kids because we have Dominion doing it. It's all good, it's fine.
Chad: What could that be, Joe?
Joel: We know that sound in America, I don't know about Europe. Do they have the beep beep truck backing up? Probably something's on it.
Chad: That probably sounds entirely different though, much like their police sirens and whatnot, you're like, "What the fuck is that?"
Joel: By the way have you heard a Tesla back up before.
Joel: It's like a space ship, sound like...
Joel: And it gets higher as it goes like faster. Anyway, job search engine Indeed has backtracked on its plan to introduce paper application or PPA pricing.
Chad: Say what?
Joel: After customers complained of high bills and poorly explained guidelines. Instead, PPA will now be presented as one option alongside the legacy pay-per-click model. The company will also cap charging at 1000 per ad after customers complained that applications and pending charges piled up at overwhelming rates. Indeed is still came to introduce its new pricing model, called, Pay-for-results, it will be available next month to most employers in the UK and the US with a roll out to other countries to follow. Chad, listeners know what we're talking about 'cause we broke this shit back in the day, your thoughts on Indeed's back up?
Chad: Big, big props to Greg Spencer over at the AIM group. And if you're not subscribed to the AIM group, they've got great market intelligence, go to aimgroup.com, pretty awesome stuff. But yeah, no, that's Indeed backing up the bus. So clearly, Chris Hyams, Hyams, Hyams, whatever.
Joel: Our love child.
Chad: Have identified a major malfunction in their attempt to force every company using Indeed into a CPA or a CPSA model. This is what ego does, Joel, it drives you to make mistakes because of the worth you ascribe to yourself. All of the Indeed arrogance has finally come back to smack them in the fucking face so would you like to hear what they're going to do now?
Joel: Please tell me.
Chad: I'm gonna predict it.
Joel: Oh production okay.
Chad: Yeah, yeah, so it's simple, they're going to do what they probably had planned to do in the first place, they're gonna boil the frog, they will allow customers to use the old model and then slowly wean them off by forcing one group at a time, instead of everyone all at once. Seriously, we've seen this with Organic, first they kicked off job boards, then they forced them to pay, then they kicked off staffing, etcetera, etcetera etcetera. So this was a slow boiling of the frog model that worked, so why, oh why, would they go away from this model when they know historically, this is what worked for them.
Joel: So you're saying they turned the heat up too fast and now they gotta dial it down a little.
Chad: They just threw the fucking frog in the fire, dude. There was no water at all. They threw that shit in the fucking fire.
Joel: Alright I got a prediction for you, you remember new Coke?
Chad: Yes. Yes.
Joel: Okay, alright, so Coke has arguably the top three or four brand in the world next to cigarettes, and I guess Budweiser, so Coke decided, "Let's put out new Coke. That's a good idea." Well, they got kicked in the butt when they released new Coke which tasted not a lot like the old Coke, and by the way, everyone liked Coke the way it was, so why change it in the first place. So my prediction is Indeed is gonna come out with Indeed Classic, and they're gonna have that little classic under their logo and re-release it as like the old Indeed, although it won't be quite like the Indeed, everyone used to like. That's my prediction. Yeah, you said ego, I say hubris. There was a time where Indeed superpower was discipline, was focus, was keeping it simple. You and I both remember the days when Jobster changed business models every week. SimplyHired was like, "Let's do resumes. Let's do banner ads. Let's do all this shit." Indeed stood the course, and then you had another round of people like Monster launching BeKnown, trying to leverage social media, you've had these ebbs and flows, and Indeed through all that for the most part, has been really steady, consistent.
Joel: People know what they're gonna get, aside from maybe vendors and agencies and whatnot. They've lost their way. And this really, I can trace back to Google for Jobs, that freaked them out. Programmatic started to rise, people started to ask questions of, "Why am I paying this per click when programmatic has given me much cheaper rates," and so then they went into two pan, they went into forced registration, they went to... So every move that they've made is based on fear, based on unknown, what Google's gonna do, LinkedIn is still out there for them. Getting back to basics is probably a really good idea for them, I don't know if they can or if they will. I will give them credit for doing the U-turn and saying, "Okay, our bad. We'll go back to the way it was or as close as we can to that." So I gave them a little bit of credit there. But every move that we've seen them make since about 2017 is rooted in fear, uncertainty and doubt. And a lot of that is traced back to Google and Programmatic and AI, who knows what they're thinking in terms of what's gonna happen in the business with that, but yeah, hubris fear, uncertainty doubt has been Indeed's downfall. I don't think they can get back on track. This is gonna be a slow burn.
Chad: So they literally just slammed this down the throat of everybody all at once, and it just... They couldn't take... This isn't a u-turn because the CPSAs, out there, and the CPA is still out there. And any new customers that are coming on that haven't had CPC before, they're gonna be forced into this new model anyway. So it's going to be one of those... Again, it's a boiling of the frog type of a thing. Not to mention the 72 hours thing, really was just a fucking joke, where they said, "Hey, you know, we're gonna give you 72 hours to go ahead and decline any candidates that don't meet your requirements." Well, here's how out of touch these fuckers are, quote, "In the future, we may not even have a time limit referring to the 72-hour time limit for applicants to decline." Says, Mukherjee, Indeed's SVP and GM of employer, "It's not required for us. We believe so much in the quality of our matching." Are these motherfuckers delusional? Your matching sucks.
Joel: Yes. That's what happens when you're a monopoly. You lose your shit.
Chad: Talk to a client, you're matching fucking sucks dude. The arrogance is so thick, it's hard to breathe because I'm laughing so fucking hard. Now here's a response in reference to the CPSA being exactly the same as CPC, but costing shitloads more. So Mukherjee, I think that's how you say his name. This is what he said about that, quote, "There are ways to tackle the challenge, including by getting customers to share data, getting customers to share data showing how many applications results from clickthroughs from indeed.com." Again, how fucking delusional are these assholes? No employer in their right mind, no job site, no career site, no, quote-unquote "trusted partner" is going to give indeed their data. Why would they do that? It makes no sense. Not to mention, if you're a vendor that's out there today, I'm speaking directly to you right now, and if you're a quote-unquote "trusted partner" with this new candidate registration, mandatory candidate registration, they are taking all of your candidates so they can fucking close you out of the loop. You've got get that through your head. These guys are looking to just squeeze you until you are dead. That's it. And for everybody who's like, "Oh, no, Indeed is just doing the right thing for the applicant," you're full of shit.
SFX: That escalated quickly.
Joel: I also love the $1000 cap. They have customers that are used to $75 on Craigslist.
Joel: And they drop a $1000. They think that's nothing but to a lot of employers, a lot of small businesses.
Joel: That's significant. That's significant Remember the Pepsi Challenge?
Chad: Yes. [laughter]
Joel: I have no segue for that, but I just, I remember that as I'm talking about new Coke. That was... Those were good times. Those were good times. By the way, McDonald's is bringing back the Hamburglar. I'm just gonna leave that right there.
Chad: Oh, Jesus.
Joel: Let's go to another dysfunctional vendor. Per an email from CEO, Susan Arthur of CareerBuilder to staff that we got ahold of. The company is making an organizational change to bring the sales and marketing functions closer together in order to maximize lead generation and support revenue growth. Or at least that's the spin. Kristen Kelly, who joined as Chief Marketing Officer, late 2021, will now lead the combined sales and marketing organizations. What's more, Steve Cerny, who had been with the company for 17 years is leaving last one out. Turn off the lights. Chad, your take on this CareerBuilder news.
Chad: Are they dead yet? I mean, Jesus. I mean, this is fun, don't get me wrong. But, so let me get this straight, Steve, a guy with 17 years of experience, at CareerBuilder gets the axe. A guy who, according to LinkedIn, worked his way up through the ranks at CareerBuilder in 10 different positions is out. Now Kristen Kelly, who is no slouch, she has great industry cred and held CMO positions over the years, but now taking the reins of revenue, sales? Take a deep breath, Kristen, because that is an animal. CMOs talk about when they're pissed off at their CRO counterparts, especially when they're drunk together at the bar. But it's usually not something that they want to touch when they're sober. I wish Kristen well, but the question begs, when has it ever been a good idea to have sales and marketing in the same hands? It's like the separation of church and state. To be quite frank, I don't know that CareerBuilder could do anything wrong because they've done everything wrong up to this point. So making a change, I mean it seems like it's gotta be natural, right? And Steve's been there for 17 years. If you wanna make a change, you kick out the guys who have been in the seat for the longest.
Joel: Yeah. Speaking of companies that have lost their way, at least Indeed hasn't changed its logo yet. Remember when CareerBuilder did that? Yeah. What a bunch of bozos. Are we a job board? Are we a tech company? Ah, fuck it. Let's just sell the business and then like slowly die as we cut staff and office space and technology. And I mean, we've documented all this on the show. There's nothing really more that I can say, but, so I went... [laughter] I went out to some of the employer review sites.
Chad: Oh Jesus.
Joel: To get some to get some insight on some of this. So one comment was, "Sales is struggling and they are shrinking fast. Not sure how much longer they will be around." Well, this is kind of indicative of that. I'm sure they'd love to be a no sales company and just market stuff and milk their current client base until it just goes out to nothing, and two or three people are left at the company. And then the second one, which I really appreciated said they should rename the company CareerDestroyer [laughter] worst company I've ever worked for. Bad products, dishonest management, deceptive ownership, lousy brand opposite of customer centric, headed toward being dismantled. You should stay as far away as possible. [laughter] I got nothing that'll top that CareerBuilder. It has been nice knowing you, but your slow death while entertaining for podcast purposes is just kind of sad.
Chad: Yeah, I've always told friends who are looking to join companies that are sinking ships, it's a win-win for you, man. I mean, seriously, the company was sinking before you got there and you tried to keep it afloat. Not to mention... Imagine the leadership experience you're gonna gain in those situations. So this to me is a win-win for Susan and Kristen, who will obviously get great pay days no matter what happens. But, what about those CareerBuilder employees who are bailing the water out of the sinking ship every fucking day? I mean, that has got to suck. So to me, this just feels like the extended version of wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald.
Joel: Dude, someone hire Steve Cerny immediately. Anyone who's that loyal to this shit show will be your most loyal employee of all time. Like, Steve Cerny needs to be employed [laughter] by the time we go to Vegas next week. Good God.
Chad: Good luck to Susan and Kristen. You're gonna need it, ladies.
Joel: All right, let's take a break. Take a breath. We'll be back. All right Chad, Millerknoll, or commonly known as Herman Miller, if you've sat in their chairs before, their CEO Andi Owen, faced backlash this week after a video of her telling staff to stop asking about bonuses and focus on hitting the $26 million sales target, went viral. The video of the internal staff meeting showed Owen urging employees to spend their time and effort thinking about hitting the sales target, not about what they would do if they didn't receive a bonus. Some critics have questioned whether Owen's championing of workplace equity extends to forfeiting her own bonus in solidarity with her employees. Decide for yourself. Here's the audio for your enjoyment.
Andi Owen: It's not good to be in a situation we're in today, but we're not gonna be here forever. It is going to get better. So lead, lead by example, treat people well. Talk to them. Be kind and get after it. Don't ask about what are we gonna do if we don't get a bonus? Get the damn $26 million. Spend your time and your effort thinking about the $26 million we need, and not thinking about what are you gonna do if we don't get a bonus. All right? Can I get some commitment for that? I would appreciate that. I had an old boss who said to me one time, you can visit Pity City, but you can't live there. So people leave Pity City. Let's get it done.
Joel: Next up, pity city, Chad. The CEO of the Year award is over. Your thoughts.
Chad: Oh, lead by example. Those three words, just amazing because reportedly this asshole, CEO Andi Owen is keeping her bonus as she talks about everyone else without a bonus living in pity city. This is the kind of bullshit and greed that has become prominent in many businesses that preach team and family. But what they really mean is that we need you to go out there and make a lot of money for me. Fuck off. Don't worry about your bonus. Get outta pity city. I need my fucking bonus. So if you're working for Millerknoll, how hard are you working right now? I bet you're working harder on looking for a new job than you are doing your own job. Because this is a morale killer. This is a sale killer. This is a brand killer. This is definitely an employment brand killer. Who the fuck's gonna wanna work for that asshole? I have no clue why the board hasn't thrown her out on her ass by now. Any CEO, any CEO who makes this kind of move should be gone.
Joel: So after her remarks went viral on Tuesday, she emailed an apology to workers. She said, quote, "I want to be transparent and empathetic. And as I continue to reflect on this instance, I feel terrible that my rallying cry seemed insensitive. What I'd hoped would energize the team to meet a challenge we've met many times before, landed in a way that I did not intend. And for that, I am sorry." So just like Indeed backtracking a little bit of credit for the apology. Many CEOs would not make such an action so.
Chad: She's afraid to lose her job.
Joel: I'm not offended by this at all. We'll disagree on this. We have become so soft in this country that hearing get out of pity city, offends us.
Chad: It's not the pity city. It's a fucking bonus. She kept her bonus and she's telling everybody else to fuck them and their bonus.
Joel: That's not what I heard her say.
Chad: That has nothing to do what you heard her say, of course she's not gonna say, I'm gonna give up my bonus because she didn't.
Joel: I didn't research that part. If that's true, then that's... Well, if they meet their goal then they're gonna get their bonus.
Chad: Again, lead by example. If they don't get their bonus, she doesn't get her bonus. That's what lead by example means.
Joel: Then get a new job.
Chad: Yeah, she should.
Joel: And they should. If they're offended by this, if they're mad about bonus structures, they can vote with their feet.
Chad: They're not mad about bonus structures. They're mad about her keeping her bonus while she's kicking them in the nuts and them not getting theirs.
Joel: What I read was the offense taken was that the pity city, the pep talk was off tone deaf.
Chad: You call that a pep talk. That was not a fucking pep talk.
Joel: Dude. You and I played sports and growing up, this shit was said every day. My dad said shit like this to me every day. You were in the military, you heard stuff a hundred times worse than this stuff. If she were a man, would we be debating this? I don't know.
Chad: Fuck yeah, we would. If he's gonna say lead by example and he is not giving up his bonus, that's not leading by example. I don't give a fuck what gender you are, what color you are, what your pronouns are. You act like this, you get thrown the fuck out. And you can't compare this to anything in the military, 'cause there's nothing to do with that. Well, not like I could quit the military in the first place.
Joel: But they can, they can leave. You can't leave your family. I mean, technically, technically [laughter] a lot of us would like to.
Chad: Can leave them on Facebook. That's the easiest thing.
Joel: I don't know. If the issue is she gets a bonus, you don't, to me that's a different story. If the issue is like, she offended me, I'm hurt. Her words were nasty. I mean, to me that's just, we are so soft in this country.
Joel: That we need, we need to get over shit like that.
Chad: My whole problem was lead by example. If they don't get a bonus, you sure the fuck don't get a bonus.
Joel: If that's true, then I'm fine with that. Well, I'd like to say I'll review the story and get back to you, but I gotta prepare for Vegas. So [laughter] I'm getting outta pity city and I'm getting out of this story. But in short, if it's a, like I get a bonus and you don't, that's fucked up. The board should come in and, and fix that. If the issue is, her words offended me, I say get over it and grow some thick skin.
Chad: Has to do with actions, not words.
Joel: All right. Back to reality. Fama, or do you say Fama in the Queen's English? I don't know. Fama has acquired competitive service Social Intelligence. The deal expands Fama's network of background screening partners and builds on Fama's goal to become the largest online screening company in the world. Fama's AI technology searches over 10,000 online public sources to detect fraudulent or illegal activities and identify extreme behaviors that are detrimental to the workplace. Based on digital profiles found on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, as well as other online public forums. Chad, your thoughts on this deal, and be careful, your comments might show up in your Fama background check.
Chad: God, I hope so. So in February of 2020, we had Ben Mones from Fama on the show. You can check that out. And then August of 2021 Bianca Lager from Social Intelligence on the show. Like it or not, this is gonna be a part of background checking and checking on current employees to make sure they're not saying stupid shit. This is part of the new world that we lived in, kids. Social Intelligence has two rounds of funding that weren't published. Fama around 18 million in funding through Series B. And I like that Ben didn't take more, because I guarantee you he could have gotten more. To me that shows just the health and intelligence of a startup. Fama had experienced 160% year over year net revenue retention. That's huge. Wallet share is expansion. I mean that's amazing.
Chad: Increasing the size of background checking partners more than 75%, which is what Social Intelligence is bringing. There's a quote from the story. Fama has delivered more than 45 million reports to nearly 1200 customers. And Social Intelligence boasts hundreds of clients and 80 HRS partners. I think that's the big key here. They were going at the market and in entirely different go-to market ways. And that was the great part of acquisition for them, is when you are acquiring a company that had pretty much the same go-to market that you did, it's either about technology or, and or portfolio. In this case it's more like puzzle pieces. You're actually growing the go-to market in areas that you were really not focusing on. And so I think this is a really good marriage. I think it's pretty awesome. Bianca, Ben, good luck.
Joel: So the background screening business is a convoluted clusterfuck of big companies, small companies, individuals, state specific, industry specific. Like, in the short time that I was in the industry, it's a incredibly confusing disparate business. So, Fama to me always felt like a piece of the background check business. Checking people's social media, definitely important. Companies are concerned about it. It is a slog to go back in, decades long worth of tweets, Instagram posts, and they look at forums, they mentioned 10,000 sort of points of content. That's a lot of work. It never felt like a must have, it never felt like a standalone product. It always felt like a feature that a sterling or a HireRight or someone like that should offer their customers, or even Checkr for sure.
Joel: So, to me this was like a fringe business, a feature, two companies fighting for the same wallet share, which wasn't huge, probably comparatively to the background check business. So Social Intelligence has been around since 2010, I think. I don't think they've taken any money according to CrunchBase, this was a bootstrap business. I'm sure they were ready to maybe move on, saw the challenges in the recession, potential of the economy, maybe ran out of money, maybe lost a lot of business to Fama, frankly. And Fama went shopping, headed to TJ Maxx, probably got a pretty good deal. It's this consolidation opportunity, one less competitor off the board. And now they have a lot more leverage in terms of selling to a Sterling, a Checkr, whatever, and getting a premium for that sale. So to me it always felt like a feature that every background check company should have. And now I think it's a prime opportunity for a bigger background check company to come gobble that up. Sterling, we know is a public company, I think it'd make a lot of sense for them to go in and buy a social background check feature company like Fama that's really become the number one player in this space, which is a fairly new space and should sell at a premium. I'd say let the bidding begin if I'm Mr. Moans or is that Mones?
Chad: Mones. Yeah, I don't know who had the better technology, but I think that if you take a look at just signals and being able to create context within what you're looking for as a company, then you can have an opportunity not to have a ton of people going through a bunch of tweets. You just have tech doing it. Right? And then they earmark the ones that are problematic. And then you start taking a look at individuals who are having a lot of those problematic tweets, posts, what have you. I think future scope, this is gonna be a lot bigger and I think it's gonna be something that, you know, we're all going to have to live with. So I think, I mean, you know Sterling a hell of a lot better than I do. They have a huge fucking wallet. You don't see them throwing cash on the table for this?
Joel: No, I do. To me it's a feature any background check company would have. And if I were a buyer, I'm weighing one service over another, and one service provides like depth or deep background screening of social media footprints. Then I'm gonna pick the one that has the social media footprint. Particularly today with a more and more remote workforce, a more global workforce. I mean, who knows what the fuck... How many social media sites you don't even know about that other countries have and are popular in different areas. Like you need a solution to help you sort of manage and police all that. And I think Fama is in the perfect position to do that. And yes, Sterling would be the perfect check writer to bring a Fama into the the family.
Chad: From a technology stand point, Sterling feels like this old kind of like old world, kind of like background check company where Checker seems like more advanced. Would I be wrong about that?
Joel: Yeah, at least brand wise Sterling's been around for a long, long time, and a lot of the companies they've had have been with them for decades. Checkr obviously provides a streamlined, technologically focused solution that Sterling tries to sort of put some fresh paint on their solution they rebranded a few years ago, and they're trying to look cooler in the public market.
Joel: But even public market wise, they're still under $2 billion in valuation. And the last time Checkr raised money, they were at like a six or $7 billion valuation. So Checkr needs to make some moves, and they haven't in a while. This would be a really smart move for them to justify that valuation.
Chad: They have close to 680 million in funding. Checkr. For me, that would be the smartest move. To see a sterling to try to absorb something like this would be kind of nice, but I just don't know that they could integrate it into their systems just because they probably have a shit ton of old antiquated systems.
Joel: Yeah, and not even systems, but culture.
Chad: Yeah, good point.
Joel: I mean, the culture there is sort of old school.
Joel: And have been... Ben and his troops come in as this sexy, cool tech might freak everybody out. I don't know. Yeah, Checkr seems like a better fit. HireRight, maybe can work. Let's take a quick break and talk about Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and who knows who else.
Joel: All right, Chad, OpenAI, Google's Bard And now Amazon Web Services is expanding its access to custom made chips that it says can run AI software more efficiently and cheaply than competitors. Unlike Google and Microsoft, which have announced products for the general public, AWS is targeting corporate customers. It wants to act as a neutral platform for businesses that want to incorporate generative AI features, allowing them to pick their own software and models. AWS is marketing itself as the Switzerland of the cloud giants by selling access to multiple large language models, including ones made by Anthropic Stability AI, and AI 21 Labs. Chad, it's a clash of the titans. What are your thoughts?
Chad: Well, they'll all be doing this. Let's just go ahead and throw that out there. This is where everything blows up. Okay? AWS, Microsoft, Google are able to spin these up because of their cloud capabilities. And these clouds will provide their different types of instances like AWS is talking about right now. Now, look at our partner, Veritone. Now, they've been playing in the AI space for a while now. And then if you combine a player like them, a voice platform, with cloud instances that they're more attuned to their needs, in weeks you could have Chat GPT, create content for you, then feed it into Veritone. And then our clone voices could be legit, perform a podcast without us. We've performed over 1000 podcasts with about 700 of them or so having transcripts, which average about 6000 words per transcript, equaling 4.2 million words. Two things to understand here, ChatGPT can consume and train off the text, and then Veritone can provide tone and tenor to our cloned voices. Just let that sink in for a moment. That's where we're at. They're talking about these new chips and then they're talking about flexibility attuned to vendor. That's just one vendor. That's just Veritone. Right, this is going to get really crazy really fucking fast.
Joel: So my mind was blown twice this week from AI. So, number one, sort of less exciting if you haven't watched the 60 Minutes segment when they go to Google and talk about AI and Chat GPT, and look at Google's R and D and the robots they're making and the crazy shit that's going on, watch it. If you have access to look back on old 60 Minutes. It was last Sunday. Watch it. The second one. So I had heard rumblings about Beyonce's voice on a song, or AI Drake.
Joel: Et cetera. Well, you know how much I love Oasis and they've been broken up since 2009. Anyway, some musicians got together and they took Liam Gallagher's voice and they AIed it. They basically wrote songs in the voice of Oasis or how Oasis writes song. They wrote new songs, had him sing these songs, and then they had human beings apparently do the actual instruments to these vocals. So if you go to YouTube, if you're a fan, if you're interested, go search AISIS. [laughter] It's AISIS instead of Oasis. So that's pretty clever. Go to YouTube search AISIS and there's literally like a 35 Minutes album of new songs by Oasis. It sounds like sort of old 90s Oasis. It's pretty mind blowing. And then you think about, what if you had Liam sing old Beatle songs, or do a duet with John Lennon? Or can you have Axel Rose sing Zeppelin songs with Robert Plant? And you just start thinking, as a music fan, how many mashups, how many crazy stuff can you do with AI? Anyway, aside from Amazon, my mind was blown twice because it was like, hands on. See this shit? It blew my mind. So, anyway, back to Amazon. So I'm in Bard's Test universe. Have you been invited in to Bard?
Joel: Okay, so I've kind of like tested. I've done the Pepsi Challenge with both, and I can tell you that as of now, OpenAI's results are better...
Joel: Than Google. Okay. You agree. That's good.
Joel: So they're different. Google's are more like educational professorial. Open AIs feel more like everyday common man kind of answers. So, anyway, the question to me is, is AI going to be a commodity or is it going to be different? Right? Like, when Google came out, search was going to be a commodity. Everyone was going to have the same results. Everyone was going to index all the same websites. Well, Google proved that it's not. They did a little bit better. They garnered more attention. AWS survives and thrives because they just have a bigger boat. Our servers and their servers. Servers are pretty much a commodity. If you have a bigger server farm and you can lease that out. And Amazon sort of a loss leader for their other stuff. Anyway. Server, commodity, AI commodity, I just don't know. But I'm kind of betting that it's not. I'm kind of betting right now that it's going to be different and we're all going to say like, OpenAI is just a little bit better. I'm going to use that one as opposed to Bard and AWS wanting to be sort of the bones or the power of all these businesses that are plugging in AIS or APIs and using that service onto their platform.
Joel: I think OpenAI is going to have enough of a competitive offering, particularly with Microsoft in their back pocket, that I'm betting that AWS's, whatever they're calling it, AI Solutions, is going to be more like the Amazon Fire than it is Alexa. And I think it's going to fade into the ether like the Amazon phone did. Back in the day.
Chad: Well, I think the big key here is that the AI is going to be much like cloud computing. You're going to choose whether you're on Azure, you're on AWS, you're on Google's, but you're going to choose which one you're going to be on. The big key here is again or the Veritones of the world, right? The ones who have domain specific knowledge, intelligence and their focus, their AI in a specific area, if they choose Azure or what have you. So the big three are definitely going to play and they're going to be really just playgrounds for these smaller companies to come pay them a lot of money to actually make more money themselves. So that's how the hierarchy, I see, actually just falling out.
Joel: Yeah. And it may be last company standing or last company that cares. I mean, you and I remember Napster.
Chad: Yeah. [chuckle]
Joel: So you think about all these AI mashups with voices of rock and voices of hip hop. Somebody's got to get paid and all that. There's going to be lawsuits.
Chad: There's going to be regulations that have to draw for that.
Joel: The training data of all this AI, there was a time there with video where YouTube was basically out of business...
Joel: Because it couldn't afford the legal aspects of like, take my movie off YouTube, and Google came and saved them. So there's going to be a lot of expenses. A company like Google, Amazon and Microsoft can weather that. I think Veritone has to really be careful with that whole issue. Smaller players are going to run into landmines like that. It's going to be a lot of fun to watch. I'm going to sit back. I'm going to have a Toke at Talent Toke maybe, [laughter] and I'm going to relax and just watch the AI action.
SFX: All right, All right, All right.
Joel: We out.
Chad: We out.
Joel: See you in Vegas.
Outro: Wow, look at you. You made it through an entire episode of the 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 took away and like Chad's favorite western, you can't quit them either. We out.