Finland joins NATO, virtual cheese is now and thing and WOW, that whole Axel Springer taking Stepstone public isn't going well... Is it? After being acquired by Stepstone, Cammio, a video recruitment platform, is won back through a management buyout. Lieven professes his obsession with ChatGPT. Okay his healthy obsession, while we debate ownership, banning, GDPR, and some techniques. Plus, Buy or Sell with Patch, Cruit, and Epinote. If you're allergic to great content you have been warned, grab your EpiPen, a cold beer and enjoy!
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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 International Pooper Scooper Week. Pet Dogs generate over 4.4 billion pounds of poop every year. Almost as much shit as we talk on this show. Hey kids, this is the Chad and Cheese podcast as Europe. I'm your co-host, Joel Macron Garbage Cheesman, and I'm joined by Chad Portugal's, chief Pooper Scooper, Sowash, and Lieven Belgium three, Germany two, Vaughn D Hansen. On this episode, grand Cammio, Lieven's unhealthy relationship with ChatGPT, and a little buy or sell. Let's do this.
Lieven: Europe has a bunch of countries in it.
Chad: Okay, so is it me or does virtual Joel have a weird poop fetish? Anyway, it's a Cheesman thing, I think.
Lieven: Cheesman thing. [chuckle]
Chad: Again, we have virtual cheese, which is, I guess just as good as the regular cheese, if you're using your headset. If you're using the goggles and you're in the metaverse, Joel is with his family. Let me say this again, Joel is with his family in Las Vegas. Now, Lieven is Las Vegas a place that you take the kids? He has a six year-old.
Lieven: It's the last place where I would take a six year old to. I mean, it's a place where you can make kids and you can afterwards deny you made them, but it's not a place where you actually take your kids to. Why would you?
Chad: I'm sure we will have some detailed conversations around the pick. It might have been more of his wife picking things, I don't know. I have no clue. We will figure out. But this week kids, we have virtual cheese. He should be back for the next show. So let's move on to shout-outs.
Lieven: First one is, I'm feeling the LinkedIn love for the first time.
Chad: Oh God, are you drinking the Kool-Aid?
Lieven: I'm still on coffee. No, no. [chuckle] Seriously, seriously. Last week I was invited by LinkedIn to their talent awards and LinkedIn offered me a decent dinner and they put me at a table with seven interesting young women. And they gave me an awards, the talent awards, which was well deserved of course. [chuckle] But still they gave it to me.
Chad: Wait a minute, seven hot models and an award? [chuckle]
Lieven: Yeah that's basically the whole idea. No, I said interesting women, I didn't say they were hot models.
Chad: Oh, okay.
Lieven: Interesting. Yeah, but they're real nice. Okay, so they put me on a table, give me an award, I was happy, happy, everything was nice. And I must say I always loved LinkedIn as a concept. I mean, we're recruiters and LinkedIn is a resume database, which keeps itself updated, so that's great. LinkedIn is cool. But in the past I didn't really like their commercial attitude. They were really commercial and their client services to a certain extent sucked sometimes.
Lieven: But I must say, in the past couple of years, they really tried to improve up to the point where I feel that our client services now are best in class. And I'm just going to give one example.
Lieven: We have done so many acquisitions within house of HR and all the companies we bought, I'm talking about over 30 the last two, three years, all those companies had existing LinkedIn contracts. So, it was really a hassle to check who's paying what and all different contracts with different starting dates, etcetera. So LinkedIn really succeeded in putting all those contracts together in one house of HR contract in a way everyone got more out of it. We asked Indeed to do the same thing and after six weeks, Indeed came back to us and they said, "Nah, we can't... No, it's too complicated." [chuckle] And then I realized LinkedIn has been improving so much and Indeed still sucks and I don't think it'll improve. Now they fired over 2000 employees. I can't imagine their customer service will improve by firing people.
Lieven: So tons of love to Jenny Hestermann and Mike Ams from LinkedIn. And Boo to my contacts at Indeed.
Chad: Models and awards over at LinkedIn, I love it. Joel actually from Las Vegas also has a shoutout. Let's hear it.
Joel: Okay. My first shoutout is what I'm gonna call a disturbing shoutout to Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Hungary's leader has gone too far. As far as I'm concerned, Hungary needs to be kicked out of the EU.
Joel: Why you ask is it their blatant disregard for the rule of law.
Joel: Mistreatment of the LGBTQ community.
Chad: Of course.
Joel: Or even Viktor Orbán is concerning ties to Vladimir Putin?
Joel: No. It's because of the atrocity that is oranges on pizza.
Joel: During a visit to Kiskőrös.
Joel: Orbán visited a pizzeria that created a dish in his honor featuring toppings such as chicken, jalapenos and get this, slices of orange. Pineapple on pizza is one thing, but oranges, oh, no. No, no, no, no. [chuckle] Hungary you gots to go. How do you say bye bye and Hungarian, Viszlát.
Chad: So oranges, is that a thing in Europe, Oranges on a pizza?
Lieven: Nope. Never seen it. No.
Chad: How about pineapple? Pineapple is a thing here. We call it a Hawaiian pizza. What about over there?
Lieven: So do we, we call it a Hawaiian pizza. And actually I'm going to order one for my kids [chuckle] after this episode. They're highly popular, Hawaiian pizzas, but Italian try to keep a distance from it. I was told. Yeah.
Chad: More importantly though, my first shout out is to Finland, who is part of NATO now Kids.
Chad: That's right. That's a cause for celebration, right?
Lieven: Right. Welcome Finland.
Chad: Exactly, this from Reuters, Finland formally joined the NATO Military Alliance on Tuesday in a historic policy shift brought on by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Go figure, drawing a threat from Moscow of countermeasures. Take that Putin, suck it. Emotional Damage.
Lieven: Suck it like an orange on pizza.
Chad: Okay, let's go ahead. Usually we don't have an event until early July, although we've got something new that popped up. Usually we wait till the Friday show, but RecFest is happening in early July, and if you've never been, you're missing out on a chance to check out the best recruiting and technology carnival there is. It's an extravaganza, but if you've missed it before and you are in the UK or you're in Europe, here's how you get a free ticket kids. This is directly from Bobby Leonard's LinkedIn post quote, "Talent Acquisition and Recruiting Professionals. Yesterday, we announced a new initiative to get our industry back to work by providing complimentary RecFest tickets to all, open to work industry professionals. If you're seeking new opportunities and eager to learn, network and grow, don't miss this chance. To claim your ticket, follow these simple steps." First and foremost, you gotta go to LinkedIn, you gotta find Bobby Leonard from the recruitment events company on LinkedIn. Then comment on the post where he's talking about free tickets and they will DM you a unique code for a free ticket. That's it, kids, very simple. Kids over at RecFest wanna make sure that everybody gets a chance to network and enjoy the wonderful libations that happen at RecFest. Music.
Joel: Cammio, a video recruitment platform has undergone a management buyout from StepStone Group, which acquired the company back in 2020. The buyout means that Cammio will operate independently under the leadership of co-CEOs, Sandhna Chintoe and Dimitri Knysch. Customers of both companies can continue to use their platform as before. So my take this rarely happens, especially when it's not with the original founders who wanna buyout the company. Although the two who want to buy it and did buy it are longtime employees of the company.
Joel: During the pandemic, a lot of companies launched video or acquired video recruiting companies. Even if it wasn't an ideal fit for the business, it was a bet on the pandemic and the remote work phenomenon. I think that's what StepStone did here. They rolled the dice three years ago and with employment looking to slow down in 2023, they had to look in the mirror and realize video maybe isn't a real great fit for their business. Pawning it off to two employees was pretty convenient as opposed to selling it to another company. And here we are, StepStone gets to cut some fat and two loyal employees get to take the wheel. Good luck to them. I say they're going to need it. It's a crowded field of video solutions that they now get to take on.
Chad: Wow. Okay, Lieven. So you have some insights. I don't know if you call this a very smart business proposal or if this was just a... Was a debacle that went wrong.
Lieven: The timing is actually kind of weird of course. I mean, management buyouts happen all the time, but normally when there is an IPO coming, those people should be able to make some money out of it. If they were shareholders when they go make an IPO, then they get some money. So normally you would stay. These people maybe are not shareholders at all, but then it's weird that they would buy the company before it's going to get listed. So we could of course ask them why they did it and it would make sense, but it's much more fun to just speculate a bit on the possibilities. So I think it could be the management feels the company wasn't evaluated as it should be, so they got a feeling we could buy it for a bargain and we can make more out of it afterwards.
Lieven: That's a possibility. Or as Joe was suggesting, there was some... They're probably losing money and they had to dump it before they are going to get listed. So just to pump the EBITDA. But then I think it's too late for that. If they're getting listed in 2023, those numbers will be still in. So it can't be that. Maybe it's like people working at Cammio just didn't want to be part of listed company and they refused and, they said Okay we're going to buy them as ourself and we'll do it ourself. Plenty of possibilities, but maybe it's just like, they feel they're leaving the sinking ship and they're better of alone could be as well. Because we've talked about StepStone, IPO already and none of us agreed at it or none of us thought it was because they were doing so well.
Chad: And not great timing. Not great timing at all. I think you're 100% correct. I think that this is an IPO play and they probably got a great deal for a management buyout so that they can get rid of Cammio because as you're looking to go to IPO, you wanna try to slim everything down, you wanna try to make it look good. So I see this as an IPO play in StepStone's ability to integrate video is probably on pars with Monster's ability to integrate VideoMyJob years ago. It took forever and it shouldn't have. Why? Because a huge technical debt that Monster was fighting. And it never really became the video powerhouse everyone at Monster hoped it would be. So after buying Cammio and understanding the true obstacles to integration for an old platform like Axel Springer's StepStone, I think they took a look at it and said, "Hey, look, we need to shed this skin [laughter] and we need to set StepStone up better for an IPO and we can't do that with all of this internally."
Chad: So as for the excited new startup platform that was reborn from this debacle, they've lost major grounds since the acquisition Cammio found itself competing against internal projects and new StepStone features just to gain oxygen and resources internally. That ground will be incredibly hard to make up. I say good luck to the new owners. That's awesome for them. But again, the market is much, much different than it was when they were acquired.
Lieven: They were acquired only two years ago, 2020, three years ago.
Lieven: So I am... Just to have some fun [chuckle] I rewrote the press release, which was released back then and it's so fun.
Chad: [laughter] Did you have ChatGPT rewrite the press release?
Lieven: I did not but I could have. No, no, but I read it and I thought, okay, they were so happy about it and they were so enthusiastic and they must feel so disappointed now if they just let it go. In only two or three years, everything changes. And I know times are changing and situations change, but it was remarkable. And once again, the timing is weird. So good luck to them.
Chad: It speaks volumes when we take a look at an older platform like Monster and how they tried to integrate a newer platform like VideoMyJob and this is pre pandemic and they thought they could turn it around pretty quickly, but it took nine months. They actually announced it, way before they were ready to launch product. It took an additional six months after the announcement, before they put product out. Because there's so much technical debt that Monster was dealing with personally. This is something that every platform that's been around for more than 10 years is dealing with. Monster's been around for 20 plus, so I mean, it was dealing with a lot. StepStone's been around for a very long time.
Lieven: Since 1996. And I wonder, do you know if was StepStone before Monster afterwards? I can't remember.
Chad: Well, I think it was before Monster, the online career center and the Monster board, those two that actually came together, those two preceded StepStone. So, '99 was when Monster.com was actually created, but that was emerging. But either way, I mean, StepStone... I don't wanna say they have old technology, but they're going to have more technical debt than most. And to be able to... And this is also a tale that I think has been told over and over and over, just through code breakers and press releases. When you look at something, you're like, "Oh, this looks like a great idea, oh shit, how are they gonna pull that off?" I just think they had a problem pulling it off and they just couldn't get it done in time to look good and start to make cash for an IPO.
Lieven: Yeah. Something like, choose your battles and this one just took too much energy probably.
Chad: Yes. Agreed. Agreed. Okay. So after the break, we're gonna test Lieven's ChatGPT, obsession. We're gonna talk a little bit about what everybody's talking about, but from some different angles. ChatGPT. All right. Lieven, who really owns the results of ChatGPT?
Lieven: That is a very good question indeed. And it's going to bring some problems sooner or later, probably sooner, because when I enter a prompt... A very intelligent prompt, which sure makes me feel better...
Lieven: A great prompt, I'm a prompt writer.
Chad: You're a prompt engineer?
Lieven: I'm a prompt engineer, of course.
Lieven: And the prompt triggers the result. So basically I'm at the start, but then you could argue, "No, you're not at the start because the algorithm has been studying existing content." So your content which was prompted by your prompt, has been created on content created by someone else or maybe they at least should get some attention for it or some value for it. It's hard and maybe in the disclaimer of ChatGPT, it says we stay the owner of whatever is created by ChatGPT. I never checked, I should?
Lieven: There are many parties involved and they all could argue they have at least a part of the rights to the IP and they all probably are right. But translations, if you translate something and you rewrite it a bit, and chatGPT does rewrite content a bit is a different content or is it rewritten contents? It's hard to tell.
Chad: Well, Alexander Tchaikovsky posed a question on LinkedIn. A pretty fucking, creepy question by the way, but relevant to this. Alexander writes quote, "I have asked ChatGPT to pretend to be Chad Sowash." I don't know why he'd want to do that...
Chad: "And suggest ideas for a highly engaging LinkedIn post, we can discuss the quality of the topics, but can we ignore the fact that mathematically speaking, some part of Chad's work has been used to calculate weights in a neural network. The exact weights in other people's work are used to generate the output in a screenshot that he shared, so do I owe Chad something?" God damn sure you do.
Chad: If I use these outputs and ask ChatGPT to write a post pretending to be him.
SFX: Shall we play the game?
Chad: This is interesting because I also had another friend that... He created an AI assistant with ChatGPT, he modeled it after me. Grumpy, innovative... I'm like first and foremost, I'm not grumpy, asshole. Innovative...
Chad: [laughter] Passionate, right? So it's like all of these things are coming to an edge. When do I stop owning me, Lieven? That's the question.
Lieven: Did you ever own you?
Chad: I hope so?
Lieven: I'm not sure. We could have a small philosophical discussion, I guess.
Chad: Good point.
Lieven: This is indeed a very relevant question. I don't think they figured it out before launching OpenAI.
Chad: Well, should we start banning? Italy has already started to ban.
Lieven: No, of course not. And I think maybe the question isn't that relevant and I'm just going to quote one of the best prime ministers Belgium ever had. He said, it's a translation, so it's not really quotes, but you only have to solve a problem the moment it's there. So let's talk about this when there actually is a problem. So now there are potentially thousands of problems, but let's solve them once they arise and they haven't risen, rise yet. We'll see.
Chad: Well, I think that kind of philosophy worked at a different age when we didn't move so quickly. This is scary because we're moving much faster. AI is starting to show promise that we've been talking about since back in the Terminator days for God's sakes, so back in the '80s. So we've been thinking about this, but this is the day when we start to see promise of AI and start to think of, and let me throw this out to you real quick, Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, nobody really saw that happening, but then it happened and it was an avalanche of shit, right? That we now have to take care of. So, do we just wait for the avalanche of shit before we start to work on it?
Lieven: Maybe not. But then again there are so many possible avalanches of shits and some will never happen. So, you can't solve every problem before it happens. You can try to evade them as good as possible, but you just can't take everything into account. But, and I must say I was impressed, WEC, the World Employment Confederation last week they had their big conference. And for those who don't know the World Employment Confederation, it's like the federation of the Staffing Industry on a global level. You have National Federations, in Belgium, you have Federgon, in the Netherlands it's ABU, and France, it's Prism'Emploi etcetera.
Lieven: But the global one is called WEC. They had a conference and they presented code of conduct for using AI, and the staffing industry. I'll share it with you. And it's actually... I was impressed by the way they think ahead of problems which will some day, and we have to think about them in those cases before they arise. That's right.
Chad: So, also on LinkedIn, a friend of mine, his name's John Rice, he's an American. This is something that he wrote that I thought was interesting, "I'm surprised at the number of people who have not noticed the brilliance of GDPR. Having less to do with data privacy and everything to do with leveling the playing field with US Tech Titans. So, I thought I would write a concise statement of why." He further writes, "US Tech Titans were ruling the internet, ruling data collection and seemed unstoppable. The lead they had over European tech companies was nearly insurmountable until GDPR." What do you think about that? I thought it was interesting that he took it from the standpoint of, wait a minute, we need to put an obstacle in the way of these big companies like we see with Google and Facebook and some of the social, big tech social companies. What do you think about that? Do you think GDPR is really that much of an obstacle?
Lieven: He's American, right?
Lieven: Yeah. So, he wasn't involved with all the problems GDPR created for decent companies. Because so many consultants became very rich just by trying to help companies adapt to GDPR. And I agree with the necessity of blocking the big tech companies and gathering the data and definitely misusing it. And like you mentioned Cambridge Analytics, was a big problem. But by trying to realize that they also fucked all those little companies totally. And I don't get less spam than I used to, I got as much spam as 10 years ago, probably much more. But the people who spam, they just don't care about GDPR, it's mostly illegal. It's like those shady lists they got from the darknet and they just tried to sell me something, whatever.
Lieven: The decent companies, they don't spam me, but they didn't before because spamming people isn't a good way to sell something. So, I think so many companies had to spend literally millions of Euros on becoming okay with GDPR. And nothing changed, only maybe for a few big tech companies. Well, they should have picked them and they should leave us alone.
Chad: So, your thoughts were that GDPR was more of a pain in the ass for Europe than it has been for the US thus far?
Lieven: Yeah. They should have been sniping instead of using a nuclear bomb.
Chad: Carpet bombing. Yes.
Lieven: Yeah. But I agree it was necessary, and maybe now the Americans should be a bit jealous of what we have. But it was terrible for many companies to just get aligned with all those new legislations. It's not easy.
Chad: So, let's go ahead and go back to your ChatGPT obsession. So, as we talk about all of this, how has it impacted you most in your life? 'Cause you use it on a daily basis.
Lieven: Yeah, constant. I started with just some testing. Let's write a vacancy, okay. The moment you write a vacancy, you get a pretty decent vacancy. And with a few minutes of work, it's possible to publish it. So, that's a time saver. But living in Belgium, a very small country, we constantly need translations. Normally, I had to send a vacancy to an agency, which would translate it within 24 hours, and they charge for one page, 300 Euros.
Lieven: So now, ChatGPT can do the translation almost as good as they could. So, now I just use a proofreader, someone a native speaker who just checks, "Okay, some little words must be changed." It will cost me like 10 Euros. So, it's a big difference.
Lieven: But then I started using it more creatively. I'll give you an example. For one of the board meetings, I was preparing the numbers from Federgon, at National Federation. "How is the staffing industry moving in January? It's going up, is it slowing down?" We constantly check all those numbers and compare them to us to see how much better we are doing, and we always are than the markets. I had to check with ABU, I had to check with Federgon, with Prism'Emploi, all the others I mentioned. And they all use a different way of showing numbers. And it's all more or less the same, but it's presented differently. And some of them just use plain text. So, now I was able to copy paste the plain text and engineer a nice prompt, "Could you put all the relevant data in columns and rows, I could copy paste into Excel?" And the system did it perfectly, it saved me like one hour.
Lieven: And then I started using it for really everything. And this is possible for contracts and the recruitment business, just writing a contract. But also someone asked me, "We need a letter to let someone know he is not being fired." And ChatGPT did a great job. This is something I didn't come up with myself and I checked, "Could ChatGPT do it?" And they could. And this isn't a normal kind of letter writing, it's not like just, "You are fired. No, we told you were fired, but we made a mistake you are not fired." This kind of letters, and it did a great job. So, it's really GPT-4 is better than the average employee in writing these kind of things. And this will be a wave of disruption in our industry. You've been around for longer than I am, I've been in the industry for over 20 years you've been maybe longer. I've seen a few moments, which I would call a wave of disruption. Now, the first one was at the early 2000s when suddenly steps on a Monster came, and the print advertisements dropped.
Lieven: And one year from millions and millions to zero. Okay. So, this was a moment and arrival of LinkedIn definitely was a wave of disruption. And you always have winners and losers, and that's typical. And it's coming all of a sudden and it's washing everything away. That's why it's called a wave of disruption. And I think ChatGPT is, will be the same. I mean, hundreds... 100 million users after only three months. That's massive. Tons of winners surfing the wave, but also lots of losers who are going to be washed away and disappear in the surf and they'll never appear again. And this moment, it's, really exciting. I love it, but it's pretty dangerous. And when I was last week at the World Employment Confederation, all those different speakers, all experts within the industry all mentioned ChatGPT.
Lieven: And at the end, Denis Pennel, the CEO of World Employment Confederation said, "Yes, that's all very nice." But, and then he showed a whole reason of books all predicting the end of work, the end of jobs since the 1800s. There was like Keynes who said people only will need to work like 15 hours because everything will be automated. And there are tens and tens, hundreds of books all saying the same thing. And they have been saying it for hundreds of years. And then I thought, "Okay, ChatGPT is great, and I love it. And it'll change definitely many jobs, but it'll also create many jobs." And if you compare it to the invention of electricity, it's nothing. I mean, electricity suddenly at the end of the Victorian period, electricity arrived in the houses.
Lieven: And that was a game changer. And I don't think many people lost their job because of electricity. Some people had to be re-skilled and the next 10 years, everyone will need to be re-skilled but people will. And I think in the end we'll have more jobs. But once again, different jobs, like every 10 years, something happens, which will create some kind of a wave. And this is the one, and I like it and I'm happy about it.
Chad: So once again, nobody's going to question Lieven's obsession with ChatGPT.
Lieven: My healthy obsession.
Chad: Your healthy obsession.
Joel: All right, guys, it's time to play a little buy or sell. For those that don't know, we read a summary of three companies in Europe that recently got funding, and the three podcasters. Buy or sell the following companies. Let's get started. UK Startup Patch has raised 3.4 million Euros to support the launch of new hubs. The funds will be used to expand the team and further develop their vision. Patch takes empty or neglected local buildings and transforms them into community spaces where people can work, meet and discover local initiatives. It provides a flexible model of working and living that's accessible to all unleashing the potential of millions of people in hundreds of towns, that according to the company. Okay, is Patch a buy or sell? Two words for you. We and work, WeWork has been trying to crack this nut for over a decade. You know where empty and neglected buildings are? Shitty neighborhoods. And you think workers are going to flock to these neighborhoods? Yeah, no. WeWork's stock is down almost 90% this year, and it's for good reason. It's a bad business. And as far as I'm concerned, Patch is doomed. It is a sell from me.
Chad: All right, Lieven. That's a big sell from Joel. What do you Think?
Lieven: It sounds very nice. Refurnishing old houses and inviting people to join the neighborhood and to all work together and, shiny, happy people. But it's breaks. And it's like, restoring and renovating old houses, this isn't our business. This is just creating co-working spaces but putting a marketing sauce on it. It's a big sell.
Chad: I believe the conversation of where we need to go with work, to perform work is evolving. As we start stepping away from the 1930s and 1950s models, after the pandemic help us all understand work is what we do, instead of just living to make an hour commute in and back from work every day. The world of work and where we work, it's got to evolve. But the question is, is Patch the answer? The rise of hybrid has become a landing point, in a negotiation of getting the best talent. But I believe many of these spaces already exists in bars, restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, WeWorks, right? They're all over the place. So I believe the evolution of work will happen, but unfortunately, it will look a lot less like WeWork or Patch, more like an app showing open spaces and already established businesses in your neighborhood with coffee, breakfast, lunch specials, those types of things. So for me, unfortunately as well, it's going to be a sell. Next we have Cruit.
Joel: Recruitment referral platform, Cruit, has raised funding from Venture Capital, Slingshot Ventures and Angel Investors in the HR industry. The company says funding will be used to make the platform even easier for companies to find candidates through employee and community referrals. Cruit says it has already seen significant success with many companies reporting improved hiring outcomes, and increased employee engagement as a result of using the platform. So buy or sell, Cruit. Here's from the Cruit homepage, "Make referring a lovable experience with gamification. Upgrade your employee branding by letting your people share their enthusiasm with the world." Yeah, this is the proverbial knife to a gunfight. With so many established players like Bonusly, Aaron, Firstbird, Bluebird, Compt, and others, Cruit is in way over its head. I see nothing here other than shiny marketing, as well as empty sales rhetoric. Cruit gets the boot.
Chad: There it is, Cruit gets the boot. What about for you, Lieven?
Lieven: Well, after trying it myself and failing miserably, I totally lost my faith in referral. So sorry, it's a sell. And actually we had all the right cards to make it a big success. We had an existing app with over 30,000 vacancies on it, and it's really popular app, and it's used constantly by companies and by job seekers. And we put an amount of money between 150 Euros and 1,500 next to each job. So we had over 1 million Euros of bonus to pay. And we had users and everything was there and I was sure it was going to succeed. It was going to be a huge success, and it wasn't. And the only reason why, is people just don't trust it. Why would you give me 1,500 Euros if I bring a candidate? They just don't trust it. And the people who do trust it, because they're the only employees and they don't care, they don't take the time. And after once or twice trying, they just stop. So, I gave up, and I used to be a big believer in referral, but if this didn't work, I don't think anyone else will. So no.
Chad: It's a sell from Lieven. Sell from Lieven. Okay. So, referrals work, right? I mean, most of the data that I've seen over the years always show referrals as the number one or number two source of hire, which is why most HR and TA departments don't use referral platforms because they're tripping over candidates and hiring them already without the expense. Or they spent money on a referral program before, and the platform isn't sticky enough, meaning nobody uses that platform after it's lost its initial luster. The biggest problem with referral platforms is that they don't deal with user stickiness. These problems are these types of platforms have to evolve into more marketing based engagement platforms. So, unfortunately we're batting a thousand on killing them. Let's go ahead. The last one. Epinote.
Joel: All right. Polish startup Epinote has raised 1.4 million Euros in a pre-seed round offer solutions for a flexible workforce to tackle mundane tasks. Epinote deploys a mix of human hands and technology to handle arduous repetitive tasks such as data annotation, lead generation, and validation, and customer and candidate acquisition. The company plans to use the funds to expand its offering, and help more firms to become data-driven organizations. Epinote has over 50 clients on three continents. So buy or sell Epinote. I like the automation piece. Theoretically could fit into the recruiting stack and it's priced pretty favorably. My big problem is this is not a product, it's a feature. And it's a feature that tools found at OpenAI and others will likely solve for free. And just be a plugin for other companies to put it into their solution. So, this is not a product. If they ever become a product, I'll certainly listen and reevaluate and take another look. Until then, Epinote, that's a sell, and that's three sell ratings from your boy.
Chad: That escalated quickly. All right, Lieven, that's three strikes and you're out from Joel. What are you gonna give Epinote?
Lieven: Well, it does sound very interesting, and if someone can take over my mundane tasks, I'd happily pay them for it. But, I agree with Joel. I'm not sure if they're very future proof. I mean, if you combine generative AI and cheap workers at Fiverr, your mundane problems are solved, basically. So I'm afraid there won't be anything left for Epinote to solve. It's one to watch, and maybe they will come up with something ingenious, but for now it's a sell.
Chad: Oh, so everybody's touting automation. They're touting GPT, they're... AI, RPA, it doesn't matter. Everybody's focusing on this. So what I wanted to do is I wanted to really try to figure out what the hell Epinote is doing. 'Cause I looked at the website and just broadly saying that you can solve an automation problem, that doesn't say much to me. So I went to their business cases and here's what their business cases sound like. Number one, quality data collection over five countries. Number two, using Epinote to power an outreach campaign. Number three, improving retail experience with Epinote mystery shoppers. Number four, managing over 3 million products with data enrichment. And last but not least, number five, data annotation for more sustainable aquaculture. None of those sounded the same. What the actual fuck do these guys do? It doesn't feel like there is enough focus for a startup in the EU where you really have to be focused. They desperately need the focus discipline, and a hell of a lot more than 1.4 million Euros. Unfortunately, wow, no buys at all. We hopefully will get another bite at the apple on the next show, but until then kids...
SFX: Shall we play a game?
Chad: Okay, Lieven Get back to playing with ChatGPT before Belgium bans it.
Lieven: It won't.
Chad: That's our show, my friend. We out.
Lieven: We out.
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