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Naughty or Nice 2023

Hallelujah! Holy sh!t! Where’s the Tylenol? This week, we’re checking it once, we’re checking it twice, and we’re going to talk about who’s been naughty, and who’s been nice in 2023. It's a combination of eight companies and individuals, so pour yourself an egg nog and enjoy. Just don't shoot your eye out!


Intro: 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: Ohhh yeah. Hallelujah. Holy shit. Where's the tylenol? Hey, kids. You're listening to the Chad and Cheese

podcast. I'm your co-host, Joel Kringle Cheeseman.

Chad: This is Chad. I'm feeling naughty, Sowash.

Joel: And on this week's episode, we're checking it once, we're checking it twice. We're gonna find out who is naughty and Nice in 2023. Let's do this. What's up Chad.

Chad: Hello. Hello. Hello.

Joel: Hello. Hello. Hello. Well, you are cleanly shorn for the holidays. My man.

Chad: You can only see my top half. Wait a minute.


Joel: I don't wanna know anything about those jingle bells, my friend. I don't wanna know anything about those jingle bells. That's not my department.

Chad: It's a jingle bell rock, is what we call it.

Joel: The podcast has not devolved into that realm quite yet. When we're that hard up for listeners, maybe we will explore...

Chad: Give it time.

Joel: Explore the bottom half of the shorn Chad.


Joel: Speaking of which I'm aware, he didn't make my list. Did cardboard Chad make the naughty or Nice list this year?

Chad: No. I think, he definitely should have made the Nice list. But we will say honorable measure.

Joel: Well, we know. He got a little naughty with cardboard Dolly Parton, at Shem, I don't know the jury's out on whether cardboard Chad was naughty or Nice this year. So anyway Chad, I think this is the fourth or fifth year that we've done this.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: The news is pretty light in the holiday season. So all the podcasts and every show out there takes an opportunity to look at the past, look at the future. Which we'll certainly do, in a little bit. But we wanted to do another Naughty or Nice list. Chad and I came up with two recipients each of a naughty award and two recipients each of a Nice award from 2023 in the world of work. I know you have a beach to get to. It's already happy hour as it always is in Portugal. And I have gifts to wrap. I'm not a very proficient gift wrapper, so it takes me a long time.


Chad: That's why they made gift bags.

Joel: That's right. That's right. So, here's how the format's gonna work. We're gonna go, I'm gonna go first with a Nice, then you're gonna go with a Nice, we're gonna take a break, two Nices in a row and a Naughty. And we're gonna load up the naughtiness, on the backend, which is how we always do. And then we'll call it a day. And wish everyone to do and a happy holiday break. Sound good to you?

Chad: Let's do it.

SFX: Oops. Winning.

Joel: Alright. Number one on my Nice list here. Okay. So as of 2020, the pandemic, the work from home, the remote workforce, unicorns galore. We were always wondering like, who was gonna come out of this group the big winner. And we had Oyster, we had Remote, we had Velocity Global, we had Personio. HiBob, Eightfold is kind of trying to be in there, and by all accounts, it seems to look like Deel. D-E-E-L is the big deal. So let me give you some numbers here. They're five years old, okay? They have a woman co-founder. My list is kinda heavy on the females this year. Woman Co-founder.

Chad: Love it.

Joel: They've raised $679 million. They have a $7 billion valuation, by the way, a few a year ago, I think of that was it 12 billion? So if they've almost been split in half, imagine what everyone else has done in that time. Remote has a $3 billion valuation. Oyster has a $1 billion valuation. According to LinkedIn. Their headcount has grown 118% in the last six months, 236% in the last year, and 675% in the last two years. September of 2023, their hiring has ramped up. So since the fall, they've gone back into an uptrend where most others have flatlined or gone down.

Joel: Customers include Dropbox, Nike, Shopify, Reddit, Subway, and your favorite, Red Bull. A story by the information says that they've hit $400 million in ARR, for 2023. That's up from 295 million in January. And in 2020 they made a meager, a modest $1.4 million. So if you wanna talk about Rocket Ships, Deel is a rocket ship. So what's up for the future? They have an I to an IPO in 2025, according to a story in Bloomberg. They have $550 million in the bank and they remain profitable to the tune of roughly $5 million per month over the next 18 months. They plan to spend as much as $200 million on acquisitions. So can you say M&A for 2024 and an IPO in 2025, Deel makes the top of my Nice list this year, and it looks like they are gonna be the big winners of the remote work trend that we saw Take hold in 2020. So, Deel very Nice.


Chad: Cheers to Deel. And I'd say in comparison, Deel had a 10 by 10 booth at HR Tech in 2022. Eightfold had

two spaceships for God's sakes. And it just looks like Deel is running their business, in a much better fashion, obviously than the Eightfold kids are. So, yeah. Cheers, cheers to Deel.

Joel: By the way, I think their founders are both under 30. So if you wanna look at some zest and some youngins coming up, look no further than Deel.

Chad: Some zest.

SFX: That's winning.

Chad: Alright, my first Nice, get ready. Google for jobs. That's right. In 2023, we've seen several signs of life from the Google for Jobs project. Tom Chevalier over at Appcast Labs noticed Google performing new layout tests and what I would call a public beta, providing screenshots of jobs showing up in paid ad section. You heard that. Then Alexandra Tchaikovsky shared screenshots of different Google for Jobs layouts providing more fluid user experience versus the current chunky look. Yes, it's taken forever to get here, but progress is good. Why does Google make the Nice list? Well, Indeed needed to do something to respond. So in a very out of character move, they tried forcing cost per apply and cost per apply started on the market all at once. Indeed had to get in front of Google because they've educated the market for years on CPC. And if Google was coming to the market with CPC for jobs, well, Google wins that fight. So Indeed needed to get the industry educated on their new products quickly, too quickly. So quickly, those efforts collapsed under their own weight. Yes, Indeed's inability to roll out new products just imploded because Google forced the market. So the Google for Jobs project gets placed on my Nice list for driving excitement and bumbling in the market. We're looking forward to all that Google has to bring us in 2024.

SFX: Alright. Alright. Alright.

Joel: Very Nice. Warming up with a couple of Nice listers. Alright, we'll take a quick break and get back to two more Nices and we'll tease you with little Naughty, and then bring it into ultimate naughtiness at the end. Alright, Chad, you're about halfway through with beer number one. I'm curious of how far we're gonna get by the end of the show.


Chad: I'm no lightweight.

Joel: Before the break, I had Deel, as my first Nice list recipient. I went super big...

SFX: I'm happy.

Joel: On the first one, super big. You know how I like it, and on this one, I'm gonna go super small. 'Cause I wanted to kinda balance my Nice list out.

Chad: I like it.

Joel: Now, you and I have been doing Firing Squad. It was our first show outside of our weekly show. It was the first kind of like we wanted to do a Shark Tank kind of thing, do a lot of startups and who wanted exposure. So we've been doing Firing Squad for a long time. We've killed a lot of companies. We've lifted a lot up. But there was one last year that took me totally by surprise. And generally with Firing Squad, I look at the company, I look at CrunchBase, I look at the founders, their experience and what they've done. And I generally have a good idea of how I'm going to comment about the company, what my rating and review's gonna be. What's that?

Chad: Or you think you do?

Joel: Or I think I do. So this past year, a company called Vette, came on the show and Vette what they do is they have real human beings. They have a contract workforce of like 600 people. And when you apply to a job, they have an integration into Indeed. And when you apply, you get a note saying, "Hey, would you like to interview now?" And they go, "oh, okay." And then they actually get a call from a human being. I thought that sounds like the worst idea for 2023 that I've ever heard. Chatbots are taking over. Automation is taking over. AI is like... No one is going to pay for human beings to talk to people. Forget about it. So we got on the call, Amber Wanner is the founder again, we're going female on my Nice list.

Joel: And they launched in 2020. They've raised about two and a half million dollars. So they're on par with that usual startup flavor, a little bit of a couple million and getting into this. And I thought, I'm gonna destroy this company. She pitch it to us, sold me on it, and I got to thinking that, man, we need some humanity in 2023. And this company, little startup is taking on the paradoxes and the big guys, and like bringing humanity to this industry. When we both gave them arousing applause. I expected to give them the guns. After we talked with them, I messaged Amber and I said, "If you want someone to help you, if you needed... Like, I wanna help your mission and your cause." Full disclosure in the time since then, I'm on with the company, so take my niceness with whatever you want, but full disclosure, I'm helping these guys. And it's real exciting the energy around what they're doing, the humanity that they're bringing to our industry, which tries to get more and more robotic every year. So for me, my second Nice list recipient goes to Vette, and that's, in case you didn't know.

Chad: As in Corvette. And I love the whole skipping of the interview scheduling. It's funny because that's been like, literally that was like a platform for I don't know how many startups, a couple of years ago. We kinda evolved past that, but that was one of the biggest issues. And now this platform, literally, I think it was like 80% or something like that. You probably know better than I do. Skips the interview scheduling entirely. Because as soon as you apply and you go through the little application process, you can go directly to the interview if you meet all the requirements. And that to me was just genius.

SFX: That's winning.

Joel: Alright, let's get to your second Nice.

Chad: Well, if you've been listening to the podcast this year, kids you know, if you've been watching news you know, it's power to the people. It's the UAW is helping people understand they are stronger together. More importantly, Rugged individualism was pure bullshit. Something manufactured by the C-suite, because as individuals you can't create a movement. And movements are what scare the shit out of boards everywhere. And C-suites everywhere, which is why people like Elon Musk and Mary Barrack hate unions because one person isn't a factor. One person can't really move the needle, but hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands, now you're talking. Plus even those people who were not in the union saw a bump, which UAW, president Shawn Fain calls the UAW bump. GM is bumping non-union wages, not to mention their increasing benefits for non-union employees told Toyota, 9% wage bump, general dynamics, non-union and benefits bump while Stellantis is providing bumps and they're actually slated to build new plants in Illinois. There are plenty of unions out there doing the hard work of pulling people together and creating fair and equitable movements. But in 2023, there was one union head and shoulders above the rest, and that was Shawn Fain and the UAW.


Chad: Howard of the people.

Joel: Is it safe to say that if you had a person of the year, would it be Shawn Fain?

Chad: Yes. 'Cause he represents more than just him, right? It's like you see a lot of these people who represent a technology and whatnot. He represents these workers, the people who do the hard work every single day.

Joel: I have a sneaking suspicion that Shawn Fain might make your predictions list somewhere for 2024. I don't know. You have to tune in for that one. Alright. Enough niceness. Enough of the Nice. Let's get into the evil, the evil people. The naughtiness. The naughtiness. Okay. Making my first Naughty lister. Alright, Chad, you mentioned unions, power to the people, the rise of the worker, which was all a positive trend in 2023. The trend that I see in my Naughty list, if I'm going the opposite direction, is the powers that be having a real problem with the power that workers were garnering. And specifically in the work from home movement. Get your ass back in the office. Remote work, hybrid work conditions, like all of that came to a head. And the powers that be were not happy with what was going on. Greed always as good and it was very prevalent in 2023. So my first naughty, she's the pity city CEO. I'm gonna play the soundbite from her, which is entertaining. And then we'll talk about it on the other side. Enjoy.

Andi Owens: Great question, Chris. A lot of questions came through about how can we stay motivated if we're not gonna get a bonus, what can we do? What can we do? Some of them were Nice and some of them were not so Nice. So I'm gonna address this head on. The most important win thing we can do right now is focus on the things that we can control. None of us could have predicted COVID. None of us could have predicted supply chain. None of us could have predicted bank failures. But what we can do is stay in front of our customers, provide the best customer service we can. Get our orders out our door, treat each other well. Be kind, be respectful. Focus on the future because it will be bright. 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 you gonna do if we don't get a bonus. Alright? 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. Thank you. Have a great day.

Joel: So that was Andi Owens, CEO of MillerKnoll. Andi, by the way, made over $5 million last year. Only one million of that was salary. 2 million was received in stock options, and another 2 million was awarded as stock, and the rest came from other types of compensation. This was all about her and not the workers. There was such a tone deaf element to 2023. The power structure was disrupted. And the pity city, CEO, to me was the epitome of the CEO of 2023, being really unhappy with the workers, not getting the bonuses that I want, not getting paid enough while the workers had to pull the weight to get her what she wanted. Very selfish, very greedy. A very common theme for 2023. So for me, it was easy. My number one Naughty goes to Andi Owens the pity CEO of MillerKnoll. Alright, that's my first naughty. There's a lot more naughty to come. We'll be right back. Alright, Chad, let's keep the naughty going. Your first one is...

Chad: Child labor. My first shout out, though, I'm gonna start this off positive, is I'd like to thank Reid Maki, the Child Labor advocacy Director at the National Consumers League and Child Labor Coalition for coming on the show and doing an interview on this topic months ago and enlightening us on this topic. So in 2023 states like Minnesota, Arkansas, New Jersey, Minnesota I said Minnesota. Missouri, [laughter]

Chad: Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, and many more are rolling back to the 1930s. That's right. The child labor laws, which were created in the late 1930s. They're rolling those back. And these states, politicians say it's because their labor shortage has impacted industries like meat packing and construction. Yes. Kids and slaughterhouses and construction sites. That doesn't sound dangerous at all, does it? So when Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed her state's new, more permissive child labor law, she said the measure would, "Allow young adults to develop their skills in the workforce." First and foremost, a 14-year-old is not a "young adult" Plus, I can guaran fucking tee you that none of Kim's kids, grandkids, or anybody who's close to her fucking DNA are working any of these jobs, okay? So she's just looking for poor people to do the work at an incredibly cheap labor. Right? More importantly, here are the economic, the living wage in Des Moines.

Chad: Yes. Des Moines for a single mom with a kid is $67,000 a year. While the average meat packing salary in Iowa is less than 25k a year. Minimum wage is still set at 725 an hour, which is a pitiful 15k. So why so low? When Tyson Foods, Global Foods, JBS, National Beef Packing, and Seaboard Corp. Financial statements show a 120% collective jump in their gross profits since the pandemic and a 500% increase in net income. So these long lists Tyson Foods, Global Foods, JBS, National Beef Packing Company and Seaboard Corp. Recently also announced a $1 billion dividend and stock buyback. And on top of that, these companies paid more than 3 billion to shareholders since the pandemic began. So names of the 2023 Naughty List are Iowa Governor, I Hate Poor People, Kim Reynolds, Tyson Foods, Global Foods, JBS, national Beef Packing Company, and Seaboard Corp for turning the clock back to the 1930s. Shame on you. You're getting a lump of coal.

SFX: Doesn't anyone notice this? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.

Joel: Alright. Starting the Naughty off on the right way. Alright. My second one is Aussie twofer. Chad. That's right. Australia. The Arkansas of the Southern Hemisphere never ceases to entertain us, which brings me to, first up we have Nicole Duncan. We've never talked about Nicole in the show. I did it in my research and this is what she had to say about work from home.

Nicole Duncan: Absolutely passionate about people returning to work. This generation is just selfish. In our younger days we had to, we caught trains, buses, whatever, ferries to get to work. Yes, it did take two or three hours, but you've got to be in the office 'cause you don't know what you don't know. And until these CEOs make a decision and get bulky about this, it's not going to change 'cause the unemployment rate is still too low. So...

Joel: You can't blame people for choosing to work from home if they're given an option, Nicole. But I think you'll find that more businesses are not going to give that option.

Nicole Duncan: Well, that's the trouble. I mean, as you rightly said, the first question people ask is, what's your flexible work policy? And then what's the salary I'm on? And things like hotels are suffering in the city. I mean, there's less business travel. They do it all on teams, so they're suffering. There was a big article in the AFR on that last week. I mean, cleaners, people who make your coffee, your lunches, all of those sorts of things. We want a vibrant city for visitors to come to. And it needs to look busy. It needs to look vibrant.

Joel: People who make the fastest...

Nicole Duncan: Not to look as sort of slow and rambling.

Chad: Yeah.

Nicole Duncan: And we examine the city all the time and it's a very big frustration. They get distractions at home.

Joel: And I used to go to school uphill both ways in the snow. I mean, like, is there more? Get off my lawn moment than Nicole Duncan. So a little bit about Nicole. She's the CEO and managing director of CR Commercial Property Group. So shockingly, she has an interest in people getting back to work and the world getting back to the way that it was. She also employs less than 50 people according to LinkedIn.

Chad: Oh, Jesus.

Joel: So this isn't about her company and her people. This is about the money that she's making on commercial real estate and making sure that that faucet does not dry up. She also has zero jobs posted on their website, which means she doesn't hire people. Like she's not a big hiring company that needs people in the office. It has nothing to do with her. It has everything to do with her bank account. So she's clearly talking her book in this interview, but is there a better... I couldn't find a better get off my lawn interview than I did with Nicole Duncan, but I said this was a double Aussie Naughty list Chad, and this brings me to Tim Gurner. You remember Tim Gurner who was the CEO that said out loud what everyone else was thinking. Let's hear what Tim said back in the end of summer. I believe.

Tim Gurner: I think the problem that we've had is that we've... People decided that they didn't really wanna work so much anymore through COVID. And that has had a massive issue on productivity. Tradies have definitely pulled back on productivity. They have been paid a lot to do not too much in the last few years and we need to see that change. We need to see unemployment rise. Unemployment has to jump 40-50% in my view. We need to see pain in the economy. We need to remind people that they work for the employer, not the other way around. I mean, there's been a systematic change where employees feel the employer is extremely lucky to have them, as opposed to the other way around.

Tim Gurner: So it's a dynamic that has to change. We've got to kill that attitude and that has to come through hurting the economy, which is what the whole global, the world is trying to do. The governments around the world are trying to increase unemployment to get that to some sort of normality. And we're seeing it. I think every employer now is saying seeing it. I mean, there is definitely massive layoffs going off. People might not be talking about it, but people are definitely laying people off and we're starting to see less arrogance in the employment market. And that has to continue 'cause that will cascade across the cost balance.

Joel: So we covered on the show. I won't spend too much more time on that. By the way, Tim is one of Australia's richest men. So he knows about the little guy. He knows about the working man and woman and what they're going through. So for me, my Naughty list ends and begins in Australia in this case. But no better soundbites that I could share than those two winners. Grab an oil can of Foster's if you're in Australia, 'cause it sounds like some of the execs are pretty raw.

Chad: This is gonna surprise nobody. My last Naughty list goes to Elon Musk and his killing of Twitter. I have to admit that I never really loved Twitter, but I enjoyed it and I used it daily. And about a month ago, I deleted the app from my phone. Why? Well, if you've been hiding in a closet or building a meta bunker over the last year or so, you know that Twitter was bought by Elon Musk at $44 billion price tag. And now it's about less than half that. It's worth less than half that. So how did this happen? Simple answer is Elon Musk. Long answer is it starts with Elon chasing advertisers away by allowing and trying to normalize disinformation, trolls, antisemitic tweets, and incels who now rule the fucking platform. Big companies want none of that. And they have pulled billions of dollars in advertising from Twitter for the fear of their ads being in such a toxic environment.

Chad: And then Elon goes on the stage and publicly say, fuck you to those enterprise advertisers calling out specifically Bob Iger. You might know him, CEO of Disney, giving those companies a public stamp of approval to stay the fuck away from Twitter. So how does Elon Musk make up the 25 billion plus in losses without all this enterprise cash? He makes the blue check mark worthless and yet charges for it, which only drives more people away. He's planning to charge all users at least a dollar. And he plans to charge companies for a 1990s job jab board he's calling a hiring platform, something "cooler than LinkedIn". Oh, I also forgot that Linda, paper tiger Yaccarino is targeting small and medium sized businesses to fuel Twitter's future growth. And all of this while Elon rebrands as X. And then you just type in It still resolves to wait for it. Yeah. Let's write That's right, kids.

Chad: It's not X. It's called fucking...

SFX: Just the tip.

Chad: And this, this is the genius we were all waiting for.

SFX: This.

Chad: Nope, not this guy. In 2023, Elon gets put on the Naughty list for effectively killing Twitter, a platform we all enjoyed and some guys like Joel even still loves.

Joel: Elon would have made my list for his morality argument as to why people should get back in the office. And his quote that the laptop class is in la la land was one of my favorites.

Chad: If he was Australian, he would have made it.

Joel: Yeah. He might have. He... Born in South Africa, a few continents over, at least the same hemisphere. You know how I am with geography. Anyway, that's it. Another year in the books. Can't wait to see what happens in 2024. Destined to be a lot of Naughty with politics heating up with the election, geopolitics, and hopefully more money with interest rates going down, coming into the world of work, which Chad and I will be happy to talk about heading into next year. Any final thoughts?

Chad: And there's gonna be some naughty AI coming. You know that's gonna be happening. We're already seeing it. There's gonna be even more naughty AI.

Joel: I have no doubt. And it'll be a lot of fun to talk about. So what are you doing for Christmas?

Chad: I am going to find a beach or some sun and some beer. And when I was 19, no, I was actually 18, born and bred in the Midwest. So I believed what I was told. The four seasons are the best. You've got to live through all four seasons. And number two, snow on Christmas was the best. I was in the jungle for Christmas. I was on a beach for Christmas. Guess what? I don't do anymore. Snow for fucking Christmas.

SFX: That's winning.

Joel: Well, good on you. I will be in the snow-less Midwest where we don't even get to enjoy that at Christmas time. It should be wet, and probably 50 degrees. But I will be with family. And that'll be that'll warm my heart as your dome is getting warm under the sunlight. It's been a fun year. We'll see you in 2024 with some predictions. But until then, Chad, Naughty and Nice, checking it twice. 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 chuckle heads 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.


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