LinkedIn Plays King Kong


Who doesn't love a good underdog story? LinkedIn, apparently. It's starting to look like King Kong has finally won its legal battle with spunky start-up HiQ Labs, which we cover this week. Moving from 800-lb. gorillas to tiny bees, Beekeeper has raised $50M to grab a huge chunk of the mobile workforce management market.

What's more? New York City's pay transparency law is off to a rocky start, buy-or-sell with 5MINS, WorkTorch and Sparkplug, and those crazy Swedes at Tengai are back, so cue the ABBA!


PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION sponsored by:

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


INTRO (1s):

Hide your kids! Lock the doors! You're listening to HR’s most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheeseman 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 (21s):

Oh, yeah. Florida is where woke goes to die and this podcast is where your IQ points go straight to hell. Hi, boys and girls you're listening to the Chad and Cheese podcast. This is your cohost, Joel "no wave" Cheeseman.


Chad (38s):

This is Chad "Pink Splash" Sowash.


Joel (41s):

On this week's show, LinkedIn gets high IQ as a kite, Beekeeper finds the Honey Pot and New York salary transparency law is off to a rocky start. Forget about it. Let's do this. Wave that's the first. Or what was it you said?


Chad (1m 5s):

Pink Splash. So Stephen


Joel (1m 6s):

Pink Splash.


Chad (1m 7s):

Yeah. Stephen Cobert actually said the Red Wave was actually a pink splash, kind of like when Republicans accidentally washed their clan robes with their MAGA hats.


Joel (1m 17s):

Was that what Cobert said or is that a Sowash original?


Chad (1m 21s):

No, that was Cobert. That was very great.


Joel (1m 24s):

That was Cobert.


Chad (1m 24s):

I mean, I gotta say, I would love to see more balanced politics in the US, but it's hard to ask for balance when one party is full of election deniers, racist and Jewish space laser enthusiasts. It's really hard these days.


Joel (1m 41s):

Best news is Trump may be done. I'm probably saying that a little bit early. He has a big announcement on Tuesday, which I'm sure we'll talk about on the show as well. But


Chad (1m 53s):

Yeah.


Joel (1m 54s):

His candidates got smacked around.


Chad (1m 55s):

Yeah.


Joel (1m 56s):

The party is not happy with him. From what I understand. DeSantis totally cleaned up in Florida. If it means the end of Trump, so be it.


Chad (2m 7s):

Yeah. The hardest part is you have a Trump lackey who's a hell of a lot smarter than Trump is. I mean, DeSantis is a incredibly smart dude. I mean, imagine, Trump was the president for four years. Imagine if he had half a brain, the shit that he could wrecked. All the shit that he already did wreck. Right?


Joel (2m 26s):

Yeah. I mean, if I'm just sort of looking at it, you know, non-politically, I know the Dems are really happy about the result, but you know, they may have gotten rid of Trump and gotten DeSantis in return. I'm not sure that's something that you would prefer to have happen, and you're probably more likely to have Biden run again, which I'm not sure a lot of people on either side of the aisle wants to see happen. So it'll be an interesting two years.


Chad (2m 52s):

It will. Very.


Joel (2m 53s):

It's getting kind of hectic. You'll be on a beach in Portugal and you know, who cares?


Chad (3m 1s):

Who cares?


Joel (3m 1s):

Who cares? Who cares? Well, let's get to Shoutouts.


Chad (3m 4s):

Shoutouts, okay. Okay. Okay.


Joel (3m 5s):

Aside from the election piece.


Chad (3m 6s):

Geez, I gotta start out with something fresh right out the oven. It's hot so be careful... I mean, literally.


Joel (3m 12s):

Bring it.


Chad (3m 13s):

This hasn't been dropped yet, so it looks like iCIMS is looking to make a BIG BIG move as Steve Lucas steps down from the CEO position and sources tell me that Brian Provost will be the successor. Brian's company, Accentis was just purchased by UKG earlier this year, and prior to that in 2014, he was the CEO of Convey Compliance, which was acquired by guess who Joel?


Joel (3m 41s):

I don't know.


Chad (3m 42s):

Vista Equity Partners.


Joel (3m 44s):

Vista.


Chad (3m 45s):

Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. So bringing your boy in is what it sounds like right now. It's kinda interesting because you're gonna be at ICIMS next week. So the timing's kind of weird, right?


Joel (3m 56s):

Yeah. It's a volatile time at iCIMS. We've talked about, you know, a lot of longstanding employees leaving, Obviously there was a failed IPO, whether that's, you know, market forces or just the business itself. Steve came in with a lot of hype, you know, with his Marketo background and marketing and some big acquisitions that we've talked about on the show that we've been very complimentary of. And now it sounds like Steve is out the door. So now they're having their annual event. Lots of speakers, lots of people we know. I've been invited to come out. I'm gonna have the mics handy. So I should have some good content from iCIMS, but it sounds like a lot of big things going on.


Joel (4m 41s):

That's a big deal. CEO leaving a company is not a little thing, and companies that are crushing it usually don't have their CEO leave. So hopefully we'll get some answers around all these questions surrounding circling iCIMS.


Chad (4m 57s):

It is a very interesting time. I think you could look at it two different ways. Obviously, have the new CEO come in, start to meet a lot of the analysts, a lot of the big clients. I mean, there are tons of different ways to spin this, but I, I think really at the end of the day, this is Vista's call. Obviously Vista wants to make shit happen, and who knows, maybe you know, Steve is going to go to another Vista company down the road, take it a little sabbatical, go to another Vista company. You know how that shit works. I mean, it's all just pieces on a board.


Joel (5m 33s):

Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, it's another story of someone that doesn't have the core competencies in our business coming in and trying to, you know, sort of put their spin on what they think we should be doing and ending up in an exodus. There's something to be said for people that take over companies that have actually done some of this stuff and have sold to these customers that holds firm.


Chad (5m 58s):

Experience counts.


Joel (5m 58s):

Experience counts. Well, shout out for me a little on the lighter side. Mine goes to Matt Shaver, if that's really his last name, The Cleveland, Ohio based comedian. He went viral this week on TikTok after creating a parody video, impersonating a Twitter employee getting fired via email. He made up a fictional HR lady and a gift on the email of Elon saying, "Time to leave the nest, you are fired." end quote. The parody was so good he had lawyers replying they wanted to represent him against the company. In response, Shaver said, quote, "I'm not surprised it went viral. I'm surprised that so many people believed it."


Joel (6m 42s):

Of course, it's mostly believable because Elon's mostly a jackass. A shout out to Matt Shaver of beautiful scenic, Cleveland, Ohio.


Chad (6m 52s):

Scenic, very scenic, big shout out to Ling Wu for pro promoting the brand spanking new German version of the Chad and Cheese podcast, to all of her German peeps in German, by the way, on LinkedIn. It's still incredibly surreal to me that Veritone could clone our voices. And the next thing you know, we're speaking German, Spanish, French and Portuguese. I kind of feel like a kid watching a sci-fi movie in the eighties.


Joel (7m 24s):

Yeah, that's an apocalyptic science fiction movie, by the way. My friend


Chad (7m 28s):

Terminator.


Joel (7m 28s):

I forget who said, but someone said, we're more appropriate in German. Our angry, angry demeanor comes over better in German. Anyway, so I expect us to be huge stars in Germany.


Chad (7m 41s):

I tell you what, Matt Alder also said that listening...


Joel (7m 44s):

That British guy.


Chad (7m 45s):

... to you speak French is amusing. And what I'm gonna go ahead and hit the sexy sacks if you have it there.


sfx (7m 53s):

Saxaphone music.


Chad (7m 54s):

By amusing, I think he means drawing a hot bath, putting on some Luther Vandross and having a soak.


Joel (8m 3s):

Oh, yes, yes, yes. That is Scottish for dead sexy. Yes. I think, and Matt Alder's mother tongue.


Chad (8m 10s):

Amusing there.


Joel (8m 11s):

Shout out to the job board doctor. The guy we know and love is Jeff Dickey Chases. He's got a survey that he does every year of job board owners. Apparently there are still enough job board owners to make this a statistically significant data set. Surprise to me, I'm sure it is to you. A couple highlights from the survey. Number one, duration based job posting still make up over 50% of revenue for job boards. And number two take away, 81% are either very or somewhat optimistic about their site's opportunities in the next 12 months. Recession be damned the job boards are pumped.


Joel (8m 51s):

Shout out to the job board doctor and his survey


Chad (8m 56s):

Job boards still got money coming in, still got the monies.


Joel (8m 59s):

And speaking of money, we're not yet giving money away, Chad, but we are giving away some pretty good shit on the website. If you haven't signed up at chadcheese.com? Click the free link or just go to back slash free. We're talking whiskey from Textkernel, we're talking beer from our friends at Aspen Tech Labs. We're talking t-shirts from JobGet, and we're talking rum with Plum. If it's your birthday month, a shot at getting that. Tons of free shit, you gotta sign up to get it though. And while you're doing that, leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform of choice. We love reviews. We love those stars whether they're one or five, it's our oxygen. It's how we get better.


Joel (9m 39s):

And I don't think that we have enough reviews, so please do that. If you get a chance while you're signing up for free shit.


Chad (9m 47s):

Review us in German, Portuguese, Spanish, or, or French as well. I mean that, that'll work.


Joel (9m 55s):

There you go. Everyone at Jobigo, whatever is, that's our amigos and in German. So make sure that they get out there and review us.


Chad (10m 2s):

Our amigos. Okay, so we're gonna slide into events. We talked a little bit about what you're doing next week. I have to go back to last week because the Web Summit was ridiculous in Lisbon. 70,000 plus attendees, five pavilions, at least three stages per pavilion and more startups than you can imagine. And they changed those startups out every day. This is a three day event. The speakers lounge was larger than most expo halls that we see in any HR or expo conference in our space.


Chad (10m 41s):

Yeah. The speaker's lounge, they had chefs, they had wine and champagne. And this is all thanks to our friend Keith Sonderling, the E E O C commissioner that's over there for inviting Julie and me. This was literally at another level. I understand it's tech in the broad scope, so it was tech, everything. We saw recruitment tech there. We saw Ecotech, we saw obviously, you know, the metaverse types of tech, everything that you can think of. So it was very broad, so it was big, but my God, it was fucking amazing.


Joel (11m 11s):

Yeah. And I love, you mentioned this last week, how they swap out the vendors every day. So I love that you have


Chad (11m 16s):

The startups.


Joel (11m 16s):

One day to get your vendor on your startups. Yeah, I think that's really cool. By the way, the pictures of the lounge that you shared, you'd have to like drag me out there to do a presentation or do an interview because that shit looked dope. That shit looked dope.


Chad (11m 33s):

Yes. Yes. And when you have a chef that's sitting there and they're fixing things up and they got the little squirt bottles and they're doing the little thing and then they present it to you, you're like, Oh my god.


Joel (11m 44s):

Yeah. You remember the little baguettes in Paris, right? The little chocolate filled?


Chad (11m 46s):

Yes.


Joel (11m 47s):

That was, how hard was it to get me out of the table from those things? That'd be the same thing. Yeah. Heading to Santa Monica, California next week.


Chad (11m 57s):

Nice.


Joel (11m 57s):

Our friend Tyler Weeks, big fan of the show. Shout out to him. He has agreed to wear a Chad and Cheese t-shirt on stage when he presents next week.


Chad (12m 4s):

That's what I'm talking about.


Joel (12m 8s):

Big ups to our boy, Tyler, my man, always good to see him. And unfortunately, Stephen McGrath our favorite. You know what,


sfx (12m 14s):

Welcome to all things Scottish. Our slogan is, If it's no Scottish, it's crap!


Joel (12m 18s):

Stephen will not be there, which means my liver gets a pass on this one.


Chad (12m 22s):

What? Oh man.


Joel (12m 23s):

Thank God, man. But we will, we will be missing. Stephen. Stephen, big time.


Chad (12m 27s):

That's no shit.


Joel (12m 28s):

Also, who will be missing some deal with birthdays will be missing some cake I guess, on this one. But a few few fans are celebrating another trip around the sun this week. And you remember, rum with Plum. If it's your birthday month, there's a chance to win. Our friend Mason Wong won for this month and he's enjoying a nice bottle of rum hell yeah, thanks. Thanks to Plum, but also celebrating a birthday this week.


sfx (12m 57s):

Happy Birthday!


Joel (12m 58s):

Jennifer Ravalli, good friend of the show. Jamie Carney, Charles Hillman, Mike Vogel. And today, as we record this, our friend Julie Calli celebrates a birthday. And by the way, if you haven't checked out our latest interview, Future Jerks with Indeed or by Indeed, make sure you check that out. Julie was actually at the event, has some super insight, is a great conversation. If you haven't listened to that, make sure you go back into the archives.


Chad (13m 23s):

Yeah. We did say t-shirts by JobGet right, because those things are.


Joel (13m 27s):

We did.


Chad (13m 28s):

They're like a hug from Chad and Cheese.


Joel (13m 32s):

JobGet gets some free promo at the iCIMS event with Tyler Weeks and me wearing T-shirts.


Chad (13m 38s):

So don't forget birthdays sponsored by Plum. That's plum.io. Get out there and take your plum. Is that what the kids say? Now these, these days, take your plum.


Joel (13m 48s):

Take your plum.


Chad (13m 49s):

Get your plum.


Joel (13m 51s):

It sounds like something grandma, grandma might have said back in the day, her error. What is it makes you regular? Something juice? Plums.


Chad (13m 60s):

Prune juice.


Joel (14m 0s):

That's it. Prune and Plums. That sounds like a snack made in heaven. All right, Week nine of fantasy footballs in the books. Everybody, our friends at Factory Fix are nice enough to support our bad habits that we enjoy every Sunday here in the States. Here's the leaderboard from number one to the cellar. Number one, we got Chris “C’ Mon” Mannion and number onesSerge “Gretzky” Boudreau number two, Matt “Sugar” Hill “Gang”. Dennis “Rodman” Tupper, “Smokin’” Joe Wilkie, “Republic of” Chad Sowash, Joel “It’s all gouda” Cheesman, “Chris” Christy Kelling, Jason “Statham” Putnam, Mike “Huckabee” Schaefer, James “Bond” Gilliam, “Oh” Danny Boy Shoemaker round out the 12 players in Fantasy Football with Chad & Cheese, and we're about halfway.


Joel (14m 53s):

Well, we're halfway through the season now, getting close to the end. It's been a fun trip. You and I are right there in the middle, hoping to get up to the top. The final four will be in the playoffs, so you gotta be in one of those four spots to make it happen.


Chad (15m 14s):

Topics!


Joel (15m 14s):

All right, stop me if you've heard this one before. The legal fight that's about as old as this podcast may finally be coming to a close. linkedIn last Friday announced a win in a six year lawsuit against HighQ Labs Incorporated. A now dormant company that had scraped LinkedIn data. Quick refresher. HighQ was scraping LinkedIn profile data to analyze and predict the retention risk for employees. LinkedIn issued a cease and desist letter to HighQ and a bunch of similar companies back in 2017. HighQ, which was founded in 2012, went dormant in 2019 after being unable to find further investors.


Joel (15m 58s):

Shocker. And the loss of major clients according to court records. The case isn't officially over, however, it's still set for trial because the central question it raised, whether HQ's action violated a federal anti-hacking law remains unresolved. Who's paying the legal bills at this point? Who knows? Does anyone still care? Chad, what's your take on this never ending saga?


Chad (16m 25s):

Well, it seems like, at least from these reports, that LinkedIn succeeded in diverting the real issue. They obviously presented evidence specific to how HighQ was extracting data and the focus of the trial should not have been on the how. But the bigger question, who? Who does the data belong to? Is my data on LinkedIn mine? And focusing on the method instead of the bigger overarching question, the court has created a precedent that might be hard to overturn. Not that it can't be, but it might be hard. Now think of this though. What is the impact for startups? Indeed scrapes. Google scrapes, but they are past the point where, you know, companies are rebelling against them.


Chad (17m 10s):

Nobody wants to push away Indeed in Google. But what would've happened if this was enacted back in the day when Indeed was just a little baby aggregator, right? So this could be a problem. How's this gonna impact companies that could perspectively be more innovative? Not to mention who does the data belong to? In this case, they're saying it belongs to LinkedIn, it belongs to the actual vendor, not us.


Joel (17m 38s):

Look, this is America Jack, and we may love a good underdog story, but the overdog is king in the legal system. LinkedIn did exactly what they wanted to do, use our resources to smother this smart mouth startup into oblivion. And that's exactly what happened. HighQ is outta business, it's investors are burned and its customers are back to paying out the nose for you guessed it, LinkedIn, God bless America. So where do we go from here? Number one, status quo. LinkedIn stays the 800 pound gorilla. Number two, King Kong gets a Godzilla, maybe Indeed or Slack or Twitter or Google or whoever you want to put in there might enter the picture and become a competitor.


Joel (18m 29s):

Or number three, something totally new takes over. Whispers of blockchain, for example, are being floated around. And our own homeboy, Sir Richard Collins, has just launched CV Wallet to possibly try and do just that. My guess, at least for the next decade or so. LinkedIn stands alone. King Kong ain't got shit on LinkedIn. End of story.


Chad (18m 55s):

Yeah. Yeah. It's interesting because the defacto resume for many nowadays is just send me your LinkedIn. So that's what people are using and yeah, talking about Richard and Beverly and what they're doing with CV Wallet is something that, you know, should have been done a long time ago. The only problem is I don't think the tech was available to be able to do that. So I think we're gonna see some new products pop up. The question is traction, right? And being able to thwart the huge fucking monstrosity we know as LinkedIn.


Joel (19m 31s):

Yeah, I mean the economy is a scale and if LinkedIn was just, Hey, here's your profile page, and that's it. Like, it used to be sort of like, remember MySpace when it was just, Hey, here's my online profile and the only thing you really did was check out new bands or adjust your top nine friends or how many top friends you had. I mean, LinkedIn has this, you know, economies of scale, everyone's on it, network effects, they got the dopa hit when you post something. People like it, people share it. The communities there. If it were just, Hey, it's a resume, I'd say it could, it could be dethroned. And I think the idea of having like a resume in your Apple wallet or your Android wallet is really appealing, but it has none of that other stuff, right?


Joel (20m 16s):

It's not a B2B sales channel, it's not a dopa hit. Like if, if, if blockchain can solve that sort of, or bridge that gap, I think there's something there. But otherwise I see nothing on the horizon that's gonna dethrone LinkedIn.


Chad (20m 34s):

Well, and it's interesting too because the malice now toward Facebook and Twitter, you know, the Zuckerberg and fucking Elon Musk there are more people that are flocking to LinkedIn for more social interaction than they have been with Twitter and Facebook.


Joel (20m 50s):

Yeah. Yeah. You joined what, Mastodon this week?


Chad (20m 53s):

Yes.


Joel (20m 54s):

That's the Twitter killer. How was that? What was your take on Mastodon?


Chad (20m 57s):

It feels like a mom and pop shop, to be quite frank. Yeah, sometimes the servers are slow. I mean, you have to pick the server that you want to be on, which is kinda weird, you know? So it is definitely different, but it's worth checking out. I think I have maybe five people I connected with on Mastodon. That's about where I'm at right now.


Joel (21m 18s):

Yeah. As much as I love the fact that you can actually edit your tweets or your masts or whatever, Mastodons


Chad (21m 27s):

They're tweets.


Joel (21m 28s):

Or whatever they're calling it, I don't think, like, I'm too old and I've built like too much on these, I guess old in quotes, "social channels" to like go try and build a new one. I just don't have the energy or the care. Like you're on TikTok and you're doing stuff on TikTok. Like, I don't have the energy. I'm too busy looking at, you know, you know what?


Chad (21m 51s):

I look at big booty Latinas and bug fights. Yes.


Joel (21m 54s):

That's right. That's right. And speaking of bug fights, let's talk about Beekeeper. Damn, that's a good segue. The 10 year old Zurich Switzerland based startup that connects the non desk or desk-less workforce to operational systems and communication channels, has raised $50 million in a series C funding round. This brings total funding to $146.5 million dollars. The company intends to use the funds to continue to invest in product and development and establish its leadership in the frontline success category. Since 2020, Beekeeper has seen growth with thousands of frontline business locations now using the platform in more than 150 countries.


Joel (22m 44s):

Desk-less. It's a thing. Chad, what's your take on beekeeper?


Chad (22m 47s):

So Beekeeper was founded in 2011. It took a pandemic for this segment to explode. It took the great resignation for employers to understand how important this segment is. Think of how disconnected some of those employees felt, how little control or influence they actually had as well. And then employers were like, eh, oh, wait a minute, this could actually make employees' day better, which means we might be able to retain them. Not to mention we might be able to provide some efficiencies that are in there. Oh, wait a minute, this might be good for business? It takes a goddamn pandemic for companies to start to understand this and for a platform that made sense the entire time to actually gain traction, I mean, humans are just fucking stupid.


Chad (23m 37s):

Anyway, Beekeeper revenue raised 100%, aka double during the pandemic. They just opened a marketplace in June of this year. So they, much like we've seen with applicant tracking systems and core talent platforms, this is a great way for an organization to not have to build or buy, they partner until they actually get to the point where they can start buying shit. But I mean, overall, I think, to me, this is something that has been long, long overdue.


Joel (24m 5s):

Yes, your Honor. It's true. This man has no desk. Sorry, I had to throw that in there. A little Ghostbuster's reference. I gave a mobile presentation back in the early 2010s. And one of the slides that I had in my presentation was eBay, who had actually built an intranet app for the iPhone and Android so their employees could go on this app and get everything on the internet on the go, Right? It was a cute little idea, but it was very cool. And you could see like where this thing could go for a single enterprise. What Beekeeper did was let's take that idea and give it to an entire company.


Joel (24m 47s):

And what was a cute idea, really way ahead of its time in 2012, the world is caught up with beekeeper, and now it's like, Oh, they've been doing that for 10 years. They're super entrenched, they've grown organically. Their client list is just jaw, jaw dropping, especially for a little company in Zurich, Switzerland that's made inroads like this. The world has come to them. I love these stories where these companies grow organically. It's a good idea. And just over time, what was way ahead of the curve has finally come to roost, to fruition.


Joel (25m 28s):

Beekeeper is a great success story. I love these stories versus the ones that's like, Oh, they launched three years ago. They're a billion dollar valuation. They've hired a million people in 12 months. Like, I love these, grow organically stories that the world catches up to them and they had a good idea that came to fruition a decade later. Sometimes good things come to those who wait and do the good work and put in the time. Congratulations, Beekeeper!


Chad (26m 1s):

Something to be said about discipline and patience and being able to actually put a business plan together that is not high on burn.


Joel (26m 18s):

And imagine a company in Switzerland being ...


Chad (26m 27s):

It's like clockwork.


Joel (26m 28s):

So rigidly committed to a vision.


Chad (26m 30s):

Like clockwork.


Joel (26m 31s):

German, Austrian, Swiss DNA. Gotta love it. Gotta love it. Slip it in. Chad. Oh, our new segment. We introduced it last week. We got some stuff we wanna slip in to the show here. That is sort of unofficial news. What you got?


Chad (26m 43s):

Julie was like, leave it to you and Jewel to sexualize everything. And I'm like, what are you talking about? We're just slipping in some news. I don't understand.


Joel (26m 53s):

Hey, if her mind's in the gutter, that's not our fault.


Chad (26m 58s):

That's what I said. That's what I said.


Joel (26m 59s):

That's not our fault. So Twitter, Meta all kinds of stuff. Meta, 11,000 layoffs. Letter from Zuck.


Chad (27m 5s):

Geez.


Joel (27m 5s):

Which I'll give him some credit. It was sort of humble pie, you know, we got ahead of our skis.


Chad (27m 13s):

He's learning.


Joel (27m 14s):

I feel bad now. Now they hired 40,000 people during the pandemic, apparently.


Chad (27m 19s):

Yes. They hoarded talent.


Joel (27m 20s):

This is a small fraction of the 40,000 that they hired.


Chad (27m 23s):

Exactly.


Joel (27m 25s):

I suspect there'll be more.


Chad (27m 25s):

Yes.


Joel (27m 26s):

Layoffs as we go on. But yeah, tough times at Meta continue.


Chad (27m 31s):

Amazing. Yeah, I I gotta say that this, with Elon's antics that are out there. I mean, he used to look like the smartest man on the planet. Now he looks like the goddamn village idiot with him making those stupid moves. Guys like Zuck, who literally, I mean, he was framed as the enemy and the bad guy forever. Now, you know, he can do these things and he looks like the adult in the room.


Joel (27m 58s):

Elon is now the cloud cover for Zuckerberg. Zuck cannot be happier to have Elon in the social media space.


Chad (28m 6s):

Exactly.


Joel (28m 6s):

But yeah, we've got so 50% layoffs at Twitter. Apparently they're hiring people back that he fired because he realized, Oh, we need those people to do some of these things that we needed to do.


Chad (28m 18s):

Trainwreck.


Joel (28m 18s):

He killed the whole work from home thing. Remember Twitter was like, we're a hundred percent forever work from home. Elon said, Psych, get your ass back in the office. He's fighting with AOC on Twitter, which is kind of hysterical.


Chad (28m 34s):

He blocked her.


Joel (28m 35s):

Yeah. Mr. Free speech, Mr. Free speech blocks a congresswoman. Does he let Trump back on the platform? Maybe that's the big announcement on Tuesday?


Chad (28m 46s):

No.


Joel (28m 46s):

I don't know. I don't know.


Chad (28m 49s):

No.


Joel (28m 49s):

It's crazy. I also wanted to slip in there, a company called Island is doing enterprise web browsers for companies. So you got a mobile workforce or work from home. Do you really want 'em on Chrome? Do you want 'em on Safari? Do you want 'em on, you know, Firefox where they can kind of get into trouble? These guys are making a corporate web browser for security reasons, for monitoring. I'm sure they just got $60 million or a billion and half valuation. I think it's a cool idea. No one, the fact that no one's thought of it, I thought I'd slip it in to this segment. That Island doing enterprise browsers is kind of cool.


Chad (29m 25s):

You did a double slip in there.


Joel (29m 30s):

Yeah.


Chad (29m 30s):

Just so the listeners can hear that. You did the double.


Joel (29m 35s):

I did a double D on that one, didn't they? I did a double. All right. Speaking of slipping it in and double Ds. Let's talk about New York City.


Chad (29m 49s):

New York City?


Joel (29m 49s):

Listeners will remember that New York City's salary transparency law went into effect earlier this month. And I'm absolutely shocked, Chad, it hasn't gone as smoothly as planned. As numbers started rolling out this week, New Yorkers began calling out some companies for posting extremely broad salary ranges. $50,000 to 145,000 for a reporter opening. $125 to 211,000 for a senior technical writer and $106,000 to 241,000 for a general counsel position. In one case, Citigroup listed several jobs with a salary range of zero to $2 million. I think we both predicted that was gonna happen, although none of us said zero.


Joel (30m 35s):

I think it was $1 to a million. Anyway, some companies just stopped posting altogether. Chad, I'm sure you're shocked that this is happening. Employers are testing the limits of the law. Imagine that. What's your take on the rocky start to New York City's salary range transparency law.


Chad (30m 48s):

Yeah. Well, I mean, you know, you're gonna break some eggs. It's what's gonna happen. You're not gonna get it right, right out of the gate. I mean, again, this is a shot over the bow. And for companies to start doing this and to start playing these games, they again demonstrate that they really don't give two shits about the job seekers that are out there. I mean, seriously, from zero to $2 million, Give me a fucking break. They said it was a glitch. They said it was a glitch. Yeah, but then they went back and there was like another hundred thousand dollars. You know, Well, wait a minute. That's not a glitch. That's just us being dumb asses. I think what's going to happen, is you're going to start to see individuals who spy this out and they start kicking it over to New York City officials.


Chad (31m 40s):

As soon as that starts happening, as soon as the enforcement starts happening, that's when it's over. Obviously, there'll be court cases, that's where this is going. It's gotta go to court. Welcome to America! Attorneys get rich and all this other bullshit when really all the employers have to do is be transparent with the people that they want to bring in. This to me is incredibly foolish. It's very Elon Musk like you can say shame on you, but they don't give a shit, man. They just don't care.


Joel (32m 9s):

Yeah. What does it show me? A 10 foot wall and I'll show you an 11 foot ladder. That tends to be the default for most Americans. You see, you talk about lawyers. How many lawyers do you think Citi Group has?


Chad (32m 19s):

Oh yeah.


Joel (32m 19s):

Couple hundred at least in house. So they probably had a lot of fun with that one. Let's throw out zero to $2 million and see what happens. See what they do. I actually do think that the, the public shaming is a little bit embarrassing for companies more so than the legal battles or the fines some of these companies, I think, I think being called out does matter to, to some of them. You know, some of this is growing pains that you mentioned, but some of it is just flat out avoidance. I'm not sure those companies can be helped. The ones that are like, let's just take the jobs down and hire a staffing firm to find these people or just source these people.


Joel (32m 59s):

But sometimes government has to save business from itself. Yes. The capitalist is saying that. So more than half of job seekers said they have flat out declined a job offer after they found out the salary. That's according to recent survey from our buddies at Adzuna.


Chad (33m 18s):

Yeah.


Joel (33m 18s):

What's more, another survey show that over the last five years, US workers have wasted 480 million hours applying for jobs with the wrong salary. At the end of the day, salary transparency is not only good for people, it's also good for business. And I'm optimistic that at some point we'll get 90 plus percent of companies happily, willingly, voluntarily abiding by laws like the ones in New York City. Call me the Eternal Optimist, but I am optimistic.


Chad (33m 47s):

Really? Hope so. I think it's gonna take a couple of cracks from the bat first, and then they'll get moving.


Joel (33m 53s):

Yep. Some shaming on social, some fines, some legal battles and, we'll see. But it is good for business. It is good for business.


Chad (34m 2s):

It is.


Joel (34m 3s):

It's good for screening. It's good for retention. It's good for all kinds of stuff.


Chad (34m 5s):

Treating people right is never a bad thing. Yeah, Yeah, yeah.


Joel (34m 8s):

Get with the program people. All right, Chad, let's play a little buy or sell, one of our favorite games. You know how it works? We talk about three startups that have recently gotten money. We read a summary and then you or I buy or sell that company. Are you ready to play a little buy or sell?


Chad (34m 29s):

Let's do this.


sfx (34m 31s):

Ding, ding, ding.


Joel (34m 32s):

All right. Number one, we got Sparkplug. The San Francisco base provider of an incentive management and wage supplementation platform for frontline workers has raised $8 million in a Series A round. This brings total invested to $11.5 million. Well known media guy Jason Calicanis is an investor. The new money will go towards hiring key executive hires and making investments into data development and behavioral science expertise. The company works with more than 1000 US retailers and over 200 brand partners. Chad are you buy or sell on Sparkplug?


Chad (35m 9s):

I didn't have to go too far down the rabbit hole for this one after being in sales for my entire life. Sparkplug is a solution looking for a problem. A platform like Beekeeper would do more for an organization than Sparkplug does. Sparkplug is like a rat hitting a button for a pellet and good to great salespeople. They're not motivated by the quick fix. So for me, quick message to the co-founders, Andrew and Jacob. If you want to understand what really make people tick, read Dan Pink's book Drive.


Chad (35m 50s):

This one to me is a sell. Very easily.


Joel (35m 53s):

Oh, I saw this one a little differently. Wanna make essential workers feel really essential? Make them feel like part of the business? The platform gives frontline workers the ability to earn like owners by rewarding them with cash for every sale they make. The customizable incentive software also empowers brands and retailers to drive sales by mobilizing in-store employees to serve as influencers while delivering real-time campaign data to track and manage efficacy. The big question will be adoption. Will companies who think, you know, we pay enough forego this as an option, is it too complex to implement for most businesses?


Joel (36m 38s):

Aside from those issues, I think it has a lot of promise. I'm gonna buy Sparkplug.


Chad (36m 45s):

Earn like owners. You just drank the fucking Kool-Aid.


Joel (36m 49s):

WorkTorch, the Wichita, Kansas based startup has raised $2.2 million in seed funding. Formerly known as Quick Hire, WorkTorch is a career discovery platform for the service economy workforce. The funding will support growth into new markets, including Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, Dallas National, and Atlanta, led by two African American sisters. The platform currently has a roster of over 40,000 service industry applicants actively looking for jobs. Chad buy or sell WorkTorch?


Chad (37m 20s):

So last week we talked about Qwick, and that to me made complete and other sense from Jump Street. But WorkTorch? Is this a placement platform? Is it a career discovery platform? Is it a retention platform? I get that employers need all of those, but the messaging, especially in early startup mode, they're all over the board. The founders don't have any background in the recruiting and talent management space, but the timing is right for hospitality industry focused platforms like this. Another thing was the rebrand from Quick Hire to WorkTorch really necessary at this point. It just feels like they're all over the place for me.


Chad (38m 0s):

I love the idea and I love the concepts they're pulling together here, but I cannot handle founders without focus, without discipline. So unfortunately, even though I like the aspects of this, it's just way all over the board and it's a sell.


Joel (38m 16s):

Yeah, even their testimonials on the site still talk about Quick Hire instead of WorkTorch. So they need to do a little updating and you mentioned focus as a thing. Look, it's a cute story. You know, shining a light on diversity, on businesses and startups is important. I think that we do a good job of that here on the show. That said, I don't see anything here that gets me outta bed in the morning, if you know what I'm saying. Look, there's lots of competition, including some well funded players who are already entrenched in this space. I don't think they're doing anything all that sexy or interesting. I'm extinguishing the light at WorkTorch.


Joel (38m 57s):

This is a sell for me as well.


Chad (39m 0s):

It is very hard to get you out of bed, I would say. So, you know.


Joel (39m 10s):

Come on, man. I said I'm extinguishing the WorkTorch. That's good Dad humor.


Chad (39m 17s):

Good Dad humor. Yes.


Joel (39m 18s):

All right. Let's go to Five Mins or minutes. The London-based digital upskilling platform has raised $5.7 million in US dollars in a seed round for its micro-learning platform. Founded in 2021 the company uses social media techniques to train staff in education technology. It hosts employee training content that staff engage with in a similar way to how users engage with social media content. It is presented in a similar way to TikTok. Using scrolling videos that are presented to users via a personalized algorithm. Are workers more likely to engage with and finish courses if presented in a way that mimics videos used for entertainment?


Joel (40m 1s):

i.e. Big booty Latinas and bug fights. Chad, are you a buy or sell on 5min's?


Chad (40m 8s):

So if TikTok has taught us anything, it is that short, snackable content is addictive. Training content is usually boring and hard to get through, but if you can make that content snackable, then it's easier to get through. Not to mention when you're chugging through one video, one short video after another, it feels like you've gotten through more, right? As opposed to sitting through an hour worth of boring fucking content. So, you know, if I were an L and D platform, I'd be contacting 5minutes ASAP within the next five minutes because this baby is a buy for me.


sfx (40m 49s):

Applause.


Joel (40m 49s):

All right. Attention spans are dead. I remember my first job at McDonald's. They sat me down in a training room, they put in a VCR tape and I had to watch like eight hours over a couple days.


Chad (41m 7s):

It was horrible.


Joel (41m 8s):

Of training videos.


Chad (41m 9s):

So Horrible. Awful.


Joel (41m 9s):

Oh God, it was awful. Look, our pre-internet, pre-mobile brains are gone building an upscaling solution that's mobile first, TikTok like, and video-centric is not only timely, but it's pretty brilliant. The name kind of blows. It'll be confused with 15five, which is sort of in the same space as well. But for me, man, it's another buy. All right, that concludes another episode of buy or sell. When we get back, let's go to Sweden.


Joel (41m 49s):

All right, Chad, those nutty Swedes are back.


Chad (41m 51s):

Gotta love them.


Joel (41m 53s):

Straight outta Stockholm. The company that brought us the real life digital recruiting robot head has pivoted to a more scalable model. Avatars. The new Humanlike Tengai avatar and candidate app, which Tengai says has a friendly appearance and human-like voice that candidates will like, provides on-demand access to an AI powered interview process complete with efficient screening and assessing candidates personality traits related to work performance. Chad, are you down with this pivot or are you going to miss the bald plastic, creepy androgynous digital face of Tengai?


Chad (42m 30s):

First and foremost, Tengai was amazing, but this is about scale, scale, scale. The robot was literally the best way to get attention for their unbiased recruiting framework, which t and g has had for decades. But, the robot could never scale. The avatar can scale. So I think what we're seeing here is that this, maybe some people see it as a PR stunt, but it's an evolution. Really. And when we were there in Sweden, I think it was back in 2019, you know, we had this discussion about scalability, maintaining, you know, the physical robots and those types of things and being able to move in this direction. And that was already on the roadmap. So to be able to see it actually come to, you know, fruition is pretty awesome.


Joel (43m 17s):

Yeah. If the pandemic where people don't wanna talk to other people or you wanna have, like a ph