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Stepstone Steps In It

Things have been pretty quiet on the unicorn front lately, but thanks to ChatGPT and Nvidia, that’s about to change, and it will undoubtedly impact the recruitment space. The boys discuss. The US Supreme Court struck down Affirmative Action, and it too will undoubtedly impact recruiting. The boys discuss. Stepstone’s CEO stepped in "it" this week, and they’re more than a little defensive about their own DEI efforts. Again, discuss. Plus, insight, flying cars and spider humans. Oh, and full English breakfasts. What’s up with the baked beans anyway?


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: Yeah, alcohol, because no good story ever started with having a salad. You are listening to the Chad and Cheese Podcast. This is your co-host, Joel Madchester Cheesman.

Chad: This is Chad. Meet George Jetson Sowash.

Joel: And on this week's show, the Unicorn parade is just starting, Stepstone gets sensitive, and flying cars are finally here or not. Let's do this.


Chad: Welcome to England.

Joel: The Cheesmans have landed. Can you explain to me how showers work in Europe? Two knobs, different like the overhead.

Chad: It's different everywhere though. It's different everywhere.

Joel: Yeah, exactly.

Chad: It's like in the US, you go in, you turn on the thing, you pull the thing, and you're done. And everybody has the same setup, but that's not the case throughout Europe. So you go to Ireland, or you go to England, or you go to... It's all different. So yeah, you take probably about at least the first 10 minutes of your first shower figuring it out, and then the next time remembering how to fucking use the thing.

Joel: The other thing is no free refills on sodas. That's a killer.

Chad: Yeah, but that's good. That's how you keep obesity down.

Joel: Cole Cheesman likes his Coca-Colas.

Chad: I'm sure he does, I'm sure he does.

Joel: That the concept of no free refills is very hard for him to understand 'cause it's an American pastime, like free refills.

Chad: It is, yeah.

Joel: Like just load it up. But anyway, other than that, having a great time in Europe. Flew into Manchester. If you've never been, beautiful city, really kinda gritty. Great music scene, great art scene.

Chad: Oasis time, yeah.

Joel: Oasis time, Joy Division. We went out in the... If you don't know the story of Joy Division or the band, the...

Chad: Check it out.

Joel: '70s band into the early '80s, lead singer committed suicide. Depressing story, depressing band, but great music. We went out to see his grave, which was kind of a nice little trip. It was raining and dreary, which was appropriate.

Chad: They'll figure.

Joel: Came back. We're in Liverpool now. It's beautiful weather. Had some scouse last night, which is the Liverpudlians are called scousers, in case anybody didn't know. And that's their like meal.

Chad: Okay.

Joel: It's a lamb stew with some cabbage, which is very British. But, yeah, enjoying our time and headed to London today, and we'll see you tomorrow, Thursday breakfast.

Chad: Yes, yes. So it's time for some shout-outs. We're gonna keep it here in England, and I've got a theme. We're gonna go with the English breakfast shout-out. First English breakfast shout-out goes to Gemma Jones, Darren, and Fred, her son, for being amazing hosts in Stanford this week. Stanford is a gorgeous and seemingly rich little village about an hour north of Knebworth. It's an old town, beauty, amazing pubs, boutique, hotels, restaurants, and really, really worth a visit. It was a blast. And an honorable mention goes to Stephen and Sarah Anderson from Crouton for spending time with Julie and me as well, doing a little dinner time. But shout-out to old world adorable English towns. Alright, alright, alright.

Joel: Why does it always seem when you meet up with Crouton, you're having meals? I don't know if it's the company name. Do you always have a salad when you have dinner with Crouton?

Chad: Always have alcohol. That's for fucking...

[overlapping conversation]

Joel: Were there croutons in the salad is the question.

Chad: No, there was no salad having, and let me tell you, uh.

Joel: Yeah, yeah. You know, I love me some good full English breakfasts.

Chad: Oh, God.

Joel: Cole got his first one, official one...

Chad: God.

Joel: This week. He was a little shy on the blood sausage, a little shy on the blood sausage. But other than that, we've had a really good meal quest, if you will, while we've been here.

Chad: I think blood sausage, there's just the marketing behind it. They need to change the name, and then you'll get better. But I did have English breakfast once while I was here. And Darren was like, "Did you get your English breakfast?" I said, "I did". He's like, "Did you like it?" I said, "I did not". I cannot stand an English breakfast. It is too greasy. Baked beans go with my hot dogs on 4th of July, right? It's just none of that makes fucking sense to me.

Chad: The baked beans are interesting. I don't know where that came in. Like, who thought, let's throw some beans in here. That sounds really good, that sounds really good.

Chad: Some baked beans.

Joel: Yes, yes. Love us some breakfast, for sure. All right. I'm gonna up you one on that. I have another LinkedIn poll, Chad.

Chad: Oh, good God, not another poll. You're always on the poll, man.

Joel: A good LinkedIn poll like I do. So if you missed it, SHRM had ex-president Bill Clinton keynote their conference a few weeks ago. Now if you don't know the history of Bill Clinton, certain intern named Monica Lewinsky that he had relations with and kind of an HR nightmare, if you will, in the making. So to me, it's kinda odd that SHRM would choose him to be a keynote, although he is a president. I asked my LinkedIn community what they thought about SHRM having Bill Clinton speak. Almost 300 votes came in. 54 said yes, SHRM fucked up and made a bad decision. The rest of them saying, it's all good. Nothing to see here. A lot of women were on the yes, that was a bad decision side more so than men. But, yeah, I thought that was interesting that they would choose that. And most people thought it was a mistake, although it was pretty close.

Chad: Yeah. And that's HR, right? We're so incredibly risk averse. How do we learn from our past? We have to dig into it, and we're so afraid to dig into all of the risks and all the fuck ups that we've had before. That's the only way we get better, guys. That's the only... And who fucked up more than anybody? We don't need to get past that from an HR intern standpoint. It was Bill Clinton. If we sit around on our hands being afraid, we're not gonna go anywhere. And I'm just sick and tired of everybody who's saying, "Well, he represents X, Y, and Z." Well, let's hear the fucking story and learn from that shit. That was one of the reasons why I didn't think it was a bad idea.

Joel: You love you some Johnny, you love you some Johnny.

Chad: Yeah, Johnnie Taylor.

Joel: Johnny Taylor and Chad, best buddies, best buddies.

Chad: No, he can fuck off. Anyway, continuing my English breakfast shout-out, we're gonna shout-out to Jim, Thomas and Rob over at Talent Nexus. God, I love those guys. Thanks for having us out on the town in London last night. We had some drinks, played some shuffle board. The best part of the night was watching the Aussies get under the English skin. Lauren and Craig from Todd Pod, they came out with us. And it was hilarious because I thought Americans could get under the Brits' skin. Not even close. Aussies have it, and I think it might have to do with the Australians are beating the British in cricket, The Ashes right now. It's a little back and forth, but yeah, it is fucking hilarious. So we had a great time. Thanks Talent Nexus, and also thanks to to Craig and Lauren for coming out with us last night.

Joel: Yeah, I was on... I was in an internet wormhole recently, and apparently, there's some kind of new spider in Australia that's red.

Chad: Oh, Jesus.

Joel: And can kill people. Australia is crazy.

Chad: Imagine that.

Joel: And the other thing is, there's a jellyfish that is from Australia that has ended up in the Gulf of Mexico or something. It's killing all of them. Like Australia is coming to kill everybody. Australia is killing everybody and I'm scared to death that they're here in London.

Chad: Don't worry about the robots. It's the Aussies.

Joel: No, no. It scares the hell out of me. Let's get sexier with the shout-outs.

Chad: Okay.

Joel: Marcy Mall and Joe Perry. No, not Aerosmith, Joe Perry.

Chad: Oh damn.

Joel: We've seen in Chad and Cheese T-shirts this week, and I think they look fine. Apparently, the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team fared well when a Chad and Cheese t-shirt showed up in the stadium. So a coincidence, I don't know, but I'm down...

Chad: I don't think so.

Joel: For all the Chad and Cheese love, Chad. Cole Cheeseman has a bag of t-shirts. We're gonna be going out at RecFest. I expect to see a lot of sexy from the British Isles next week when everyone is sporting Chad and Cheese t-shirts.

Chad: And if you're not at RecFest, how do you get that free t-shirt?

Joel: You gotta go to our website, Chad. You gotta go to Click the free link. Give us your information. My 13-year-old is managing the distribution, so don't freak out if you don't get it like the week of... But eventually, your shirt, hopefully...

Chad: Stop.

Joel: God willing, post office willing, will get to you at some point. But you can't win if you don't play, click the free link. And not just t-shirts, Chad. From our friends at JobGet...

Chad: What? What?

Joel: We're giving away beer from our friends at Aspen Tech Labs, a bottle of bourbon from each of us. We each pick a selection, we send it to the winner. That's from our buddies at Textkernel. And if it's your birthday, Chad, you could win a bottle of rum from our friends at Plum. What are you waiting for? Head out to and get some shit.

Chad: You keep forgetting the getaway. We have a $250 gift card Airbnb giveaway. That's right, kids. What do you do? You get out of the weeds, you go off to some far, maybe mountains, maybe the ocean abode. HR is giving away once a month $250 Airbnb card. So you can get the hell out, you can enjoy yourself, you can let your hair down if you have any. And yeah, again, Click on the free link, put your information in.

Joel: Oh, wait till you see Cole Cheeseman's hair, Chad.

Chad: Oh, I've seen those luxurious locks.

Joel: It's magnificent. Yeah. The girls are gonna be jealous, the girls are gonna be jealous, I'm telling you, I'm telling you. Well, that sounds good. All right. Well, you said birthdays?

Chad: Really can you feel the tension in the air right now? I know I can.

Joel: I can.

Chad: I can feel it all the way down in my plum.

Joel: All right, guys. Another year around the sun for some of our fans. Celebrating a birthday this week, Lee Cuevas, Claire Hoveland. That might be Holland. I don't know. Maybe it was misspelled. Chad Matson, Megan Maker, Deb Lindsay, Joshua Tarant Senzy, Tommy Menzer, Brock Magnus, Laura Turner, Andrew Clark, Josh Ramsey, and Matt, that British guy, Alder are all celebrating another trip around the sun. You might have a bottle of rum from our friends at Plum coming to you, but either way...

Speaker 4: Happy birthday.

Joel: Happy birthday.

Chad: Brock Magnus, the guy's name is Brock Magnus. How more of fucking testosterone? You just give the guy the name, and he's automatically like 6'4 and 250 pounds of muscle.

Joel: He was born in an octagon, apparently. That's the word. He was born in an octagon with a bottle of whiskey from what I understand.

Chad: Oh, kids, we've got events, events, events, events. Tomorrow is RecFest. You're gonna be hearing this after RecFest. We're on the disrupt stage in one of the big top tents, but that's not the story because guess what, if you didn't go, that sucks for you, FoMO. But you couldn't get in anyway. You know why? Because it was sold out. In Nashville in the United States, you've got a chance. You got a chance to come see us. I was talking to Jamie actually this morning, and he said there are American companies buying 20 tickets at a clip. Why 20 tickets you might be asking? Well, it's all about the all hands meeting. That's right. Bringing the whole team in, learning, enjoying, bonding, doing all those things that teams should be doing. You can do that at RecFest. It's gonna be in September in America, the very first one in Nashville. Go to, click on advance in the upper right hand corner, and we get... Listen to this kids. We have a discount code, we have a discount code, 50% off. Get the whole team there. We'd love to see you.

Joel: And there's no team building like team building on Broadway over bourbon and some hot chicken, Chad. That's what I'm talking about.

Chad: It's Amazing, amazing.

Joel: That's what I'm talking about. Oh, it's a Unicorn stampede, Chad and I didn't download the sound bites. You might have to plug it in there 'cause we haven't heard it for so long for God's sake.

Chad: I know, I know.

Joel: Sorry. Here's some new San Francisco based AI startup, Inflection AI raised 1.3 billion. That's B from investors, including Microsoft, Nvidia, Eric Schmidt, Bill Gates to develop its personal assistant called Pi. The funding brings their total raise to 1.5 billion, but wait, there's more, Chad. New York based Runway raised a 141 million extension to its series C funding round with support from Google, Nvidia, Salesforce ventures and others. Meanwhile, San Fran based startup Typeface secured a $100 million series B round led by Salesforce ventures. Runway focuses on AI image generation while Typeface aids in enterprise content creation. Chad, what's your take on the revival of the Unicorn?

Chad: First off, I've gotta make sure that the housekeeping doesn't come in, so give me one second. Housekeeping, you want me to jerk you off?

Joel: What kind of hotel is this?

Chad: All right, so here's a quote. "Whoever wins the personal agent, that's the big thing because you will never go to a search site again, you will never go to a productivity site, you will never go to Amazon again." Bill Gates.

Joel: Wow.

Chad: Second one, Marc Andreessen says, "Every person will have an AI assistant coach, mentor, trainer, advisor, therapist." The big question is, what is next? Now I'm gonna say who whomever Nvidia is backing is the winner in my book. Nvidia's GPUs are the reason why AI has made such a huge leap, and I see them obviously having more than one horse in this race. But the big key here that I think through these three, Inflection, Runway and Typeface, is multimodal. And when you're talking about multimodal models, it's not just consuming text, but you're also consuming audio and video. So if you wanna contextualize the data, which is really what this is all about, you need all aspects of that data. So think about it. If you're reading something, you gain some context. If you're listening to it, then you gain more context than reading, listening than watching. I mean, you're just continually starting to understand how AI can learn. So we're getting past just the text aspect, and that to me is pretty exciting and scary at the same time. But the only way that you're going to get more information out of us as humans is to put a chip in our head.

Joel: And if Elon has his way, we all will be chipped, if you will.

Chad: God.

Joel: I look at this from a sort of money perspective. Look, there's been a lot of money on the sidelines for a long time. We've been waiting for something to trigger the flow of investment, and thank God Nvidia hit a trillion. That has released the hounds, if you will. ChatGPT in coordination with Nvidia, a trillion dollar market gap. Money is gonna flow like wine in ancient Rome, Chad. I mean, this is probably gonna dwarf what we saw with remote work and the money that came into our space. Look, remember ChatGPT is less than a year old. People are just now developing, how do we figure this out? What companies do we start creating? And these companies are pitching investors, and these investors are seeing the money that these high profile companies and firms are giving to these macro AI companies.

Joel: This thing is gonna flow down to us. HR tech where remote and deal and Oyster and Velocity Global, those guys were the big swinging dicks. The AI companies of the future are gonna be huge and we're gonna have a lot of fun talking about it. There are gonna be new businesses that we've never thought of created around this. I think the IPO market is gonna start opening up. I interviewed Fountain CEO recently. He disagrees. He thinks it's closed, the IPO market. Now he should know he's the CEO of a big value company. But I think we're gonna start seeing IPOs. There was a food IPO recently. A restaurant came and was huge, right? So if people are ready to spend money and invest in new food companies and restaurants, wait till the next awesome tech company comes public like a Pi, which I'm hearing more and more about.

Joel: So this is gonna be great for us to talk about. Our industry is gonna change again. This is, to me, very exciting and it's gonna impact us in a big way. I mean, one of these companies we talked about talks about content creation for enterprises that's gonna spill over to employment in my opinion.

Chad: Oh easily.

Joel: It's gonna be very exciting. Yeah. This is gonna be really, really huge. There's gonna be a lot of money coming in at the end of this year and going into '24.

Chad: And then tech is gonna be incredibly fluid much more than it ever has been, right? So we're gonna be able to use it from sector to sector, segment to segment, industry to industry. The big difference are these awesome domain players like the paradoxes or talk pushes or what have you been using conversational AI that are specific to a domain. That's information that these big... These large language models can't get to, but when they do, it's gonna be incredibly fluid. I mean, it's just going to be from one to the next, whether you're asking a question about the size of a TV and the actual pixels, or the HD versus 4UK or what have you, and then start talking about an application process. It's gonna be able to be incredibly fluid. And to me, that is very exciting. It's scary and exciting at the same time.

Joel: The only thing more fun will be talking about the crashing and burning of a lot of these companies in 2025, 2026.

Speaker 4: 60% of the time, it works every time.

Chad: Every time.

Joel: All right, Chad. Well, in case you missed it, the Supreme Court ruled against affirmative action last week citing a violation of the 14th Amendment. Opponents say the decision will have significant implications for higher education and the workplace. Want more insight? Just go ahead and google it. There are greater sources than us to talk about this or inform you of it, but me thinks the old White guys have won again. Chad, what are your thoughts?

Chad: You don't say. The US Supreme Court has once again thrust us back in the 1960s with this. It's a classist and a racist ruling and I'll go through with that. Do legacy students receive a leg up and the ability to pass through the admissions process? Are most legacy students throughout America, Black or White or of color? "A study on Harvard finds 43% of White students are legacy." 43% legacy athletes, or they're related to donors are part of staff." That number drops dramatically from Black, Latino, and Asian. They clumped them all together at 16%. We're not going one by one, but we're saying all together, 16%, which is fucking crazy. Here's the kicker, 75% of those White students would not have been admitted. They would've been rejected because they wouldn't have met the standards. That is racism at its best, kids.

Chad: So this has major implications for American businesses who need to build a diverse workforce. If less kids of color are admitted into institutions, it'll be even harder. So now the burden shifts from academia to corporate America. And don't get me wrong, I'm not shedding a tear for corporate America here, kids, because they are the major benefactor of an employee's work. But let me break this ruling down for you in areas that makes sense and that actually is breaking or has broken the system. System breaker number one, once upon a time, companies were focused on their people as much as their profits because the system provided benefit to embrace that mindset, tax breaks. Once we took that incentive away, companies started losing focus and keeping employees trained and happy rather than it shifted to keeping shareholders happy.

Chad: That broke the system. System breaker number two, US colleges and universities' revenue in 2022, whew, $576.2 billion, over half a trillion dollars. So this isn't about the struggling White kid that can't get into a school because their slot was taken by a kid of color. This is about the moneymaking machine we call academia. And why does Harvard have a class size, a median class size of 12 in an endowment of $53 billion? So academia has lost sight of purpose, educating and bettering the community they support. Corporate America's lost sight. That's broken. Now we're breaking the academia. We've broken academia as well and that's where we sit today. So employers, you're now going to have to take this burden on all by yourself because guess what? It's not up to academics anymore.

Joel: Yeah. So when the story broke, you were in Europe, I was in the States, and every university in Indiana released a statement that basically said, "This isn't gonna impact our admissions. This isn't gonna change anything. We're still gonna be committed to diversity and, blah blah, blah." Right?

Chad: We'll see.

Joel: Purdue University, their statement was, "We will follow the law." That was it. [laughter] At least they're being honest and at least they're saying what everyone else is thinking, I'm frankly still digesting some of this and I've been traveling and whatnot. It's a huge story. I know a lot of people feel very strongly about it. It's interestingly... It was interestingly brought up by the Asian community for not being admitted in numbers that they feel that they should have been because of affirmative action.

Joel: So it's not White people sort of striking this down or coming. And there's been like anti-affirmative action or reverse discrimination cases in the past. We know that California has done away with this since the mid '90s, and it has impacted admissions negatively. So there is some historical perspective on this, and you can go ahead out there and there's a lot of information on that. Now we've been talking about DEI falling off the radar of corporate America for weeks now. It was a huge moment about from '20 to '22, and it's falling off the radar. This is only going to throw it off the radar even more, right?

Chad: Yes.

Joel: This is more excuse to not focus on it, not spend money on it. So from that perspective, it's just a horrible thing that's probably gonna transpire to less diversity in companies, less diversity particularly in our industry, which we should be the shining example of which I think we'll talk about after the next break.

Chad: Yes.

Joel: To me, this underlines the importance of doing the work before college happens. We spend such an inordinate low number of dollars on childcare, on K through 12, on teacher salary.

Chad: Things that matter.

Joel: That's where a lot of the focus is. If we fix that shit, admissions will take care of itself because everyone will be on a more equal footing because of that. Until we start paying entry level like teachers a hundred grand and go up from there, nothing's gonna change. The other thing that I worry about is the perception as we know perception in many times is more strong... Is stronger than reality. And if low income diverse populations hear about this ruling, all they're gonna hear is no more affirmative action. If I hear that as a diverse person, lower income, whatever, I'm thinking, there's no chance I'm getting into Columbia. There's zero chance I'm getting into Northwestern, right? So I'm not even gonna apply. So to me, the perception of this by saying there's no more affirmative action, it tells the kid that thought he could get in because of it now won't even try, and to me that is a sad, sad development in this whole thing.

Chad: We need to be able to fund universities, don't get me wrong, but they've turned into much like corporations focusing more on the shareholders or their donors than the actual communities that they serve. Same thing with employers. When we took the tax incentives away, they stopped really training and ensuring that their employees were moving up the ladder and staying with them because they understood that that just made sense. All that's gone out the windows because we're focused on one thing, the shareholder, right? The rich White dude, that's what we started to focus on. So the system's broken. I think we need to do that. There's no question. The front end with kids and childcare and all those things, that is a necessity, but we have to change the money quotient on this too. And on the Asian side of the house, this is exactly what the top level organizations want. They want a small group like the Asians. They're not even looking at the big machine. That makes no fucking sense whatsoever. Crazy, crazy, crazy.

Joel: Yeah. This issue obviously is just beginning, but our show is middle through people.

Chad: Midway.

Joel: Let's take a quick break and we'll talk some industry stuff. If you don't think we talk about Stepstone enough, well, today is your lucky day, everybody. Chad, you had an interesting back and forth with the Dusseldorf, Germany-based company this week. What's going on?

Chad: Yeah, I mean, literally... Okay. So we'll just break this down. It's on LinkedIn and Sebastian Dettmers, who's the CEO of Stepstone, initiated the 10 in under 30 program at the Stepstone Group to bring together 10 of the brightest young talents from within their organization ready to shake things up, question methodologies, and bring transformative ideas to the table. And so there was this great post and this picture of the group in itself, and it sounds amazing, and I love that. Well, only until an ex-employee who had worked there for over 10 years, Ryan Grogan, challenged Sebastian by commenting, "I'm disappointed to see that the future of Stepstone appears to be predominantly White. If I remember correctly, the first year's cohort was also."

Chad: Now Ryan's comment was deleted and Sebastian blocked Ryan at that point right out of the gate instead of digging into the conversation. The problem to me wasn't about a seemingly all-White cohort as much as how Sebastian, a leader of one of the most well-known companies in Europe in our space, handled the situation. Sebastian posted about people questioning methods, which is exactly what Ryan did. But yet another more junior Stepstone employee commented on one of Ryan's posts and said, "All of these people pictured represented different cultures, different countries, speak different languages and practice different religions/opinions. Some represent our LGBTQ community, some are family network, others are women support network. I think you have to be more careful in the way we think about DE&I, not just go to snap judgments."

Chad: And I agree 100%. She was defensive and I wouldn't have recommended that to take that angle, although deleting a comment and blocking somebody after saying that you want to receive and be challenged on transformation, that was very short-sighted by Sebastian. And hopefully, he opens that back up and most other CEOs can start to take a look at this as pretty much a learning moment, right? You're going to get questioned, right? You're gonna get people who don't believe in what you believe in. That doesn't make them wrong. It doesn't make you wrong either. That's where the discussion starts. That's not where it ends. That's where it starts. And unfortunately, Sebastian ended that interaction completely. That's not the way we should be doing things. And as we just talked about affirmative action, right, the Supreme Court cut that shit off right at the top. We can't be doing that as CEOs and leaders of the organizations in our industry.

Joel: So Bud Light has been a topic on this show for more than one week, and they're getting hit from both directions. They're getting hit from the far right saying, "You've gone woke and we're done with you." And because they didn't have the right response, the left came out and said, "We're not serving you beer either. You didn't stand up, you didn't fight back."

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: So they're getting it from both directions. And I think that more or less every CEO on the planet right now does not want that smoke. They do not want anything political to spill into their organization. Unfortunately, Stepstone CEO said, "I'm not getting in and in fact, I'm blocking people and I'm deleting shit." So I get it. It's a symptom of the Bud Light thing and more corporations are gonna be like so far away from political statements and whatnot that this is not gonna be the first time this happened.

Chad: It was his post, so he started the conversation, right? It's not like somebody pulled him in.

Joel: Sure. Well, how many times have you said something and said, "Oh, shit, I offended somebody. I didn't mean to do that. I'm out of here. I'm out of the room." So the real problem to me is that, okay, perception is reality. Okay. The woman who responded about, "Hey, you don't know anything about us. We are diverse." The perception of an all-White executive team. And look, I went into LinkedIn, I looked at Stepstone, I looked at their employees. It's really vanilla people. Like it's really... They might have things going on that are diverse, but perception is it's a very White organization. Perception is reality. We talked about Nike, we talked about Facebook years ago about, look, if anyone should represent the world, it's Facebook and it's Nike because the world is your customer. We need to be a shining example as employer vendors of what we would like the world to be. And if our biggest companies... And Stepstone a lot of people in America don't know Stepstone, Stepstone is a huge organization. They bought Appcast, they've got...

Chad: Oh, by Axel Springer.

Joel: This is a huge organization. Yes, they should be a shining example of what the world should be in terms of an employer and when companies in our industry don't do that, it sends a terrible message to employers that aren't focused on the global market. So we need to be an example. And yeah, I mean, okay, we all have different shoe sizes that makes us diverse. Okay, but if you look at it from the outside, there's not a lot of diversity going on at Stepstone and I hope it changes and maybe this will help spark that.

Chad: Yeah. But I think if Sebastian would have said what she said, at least he would have engaged in the conversation as opposed to retreating. And as a leader in this industry and you said it very well, we need to not just look like. We need to think like, we need to engage in these conversations. And when you're challenged, it's not a bad thing, man. That's an opportunity for you. So hopefully Sebastian re-engages and stops the blocking bullshit, 'cause that's just not how a leader acts and/or reacts.

Joel: Yeah, yeah, and hopefully he's regretting not engaging with the community.

Chad: Yeah, well, let's hope, let's hope.

Joel: Well, speaking of brand and rebranding, Chad, is rebranding as Bed Bath & Beyond, one of your favorite retailers I know. Following its purchase of the bankrupt brand's name and assets, Overstock share surged over 15% after the announcement. The company plans to relaunch its Canadian website first.

Chad: Take off. Will you? We're doing a movie. Don't wreck our show, you hoser.

Joel: And then roll out the new branding into the United States. The acquisition excludes Bed Bath & Beyond's physical stores, which are closing. Why should you care? Well, you may not know there's an industry back story here. Chad's got a source. What you got?

Chad: So this goes back to, if everybody remembers, one of our sponsors, Nexxt, Nexxt with two X's, not the triple X.

Joel: Not three.

Chad: Nexxt was And this is a story that I don't believe has been told and I think is incredibly important. And now we're at where we are right now, I think we can tell it. So Rich Milgram, who's the CEO of at the time is incredibly stubborn, it's smart dude. He's on the engineer's side of the house. But in this case, his stubbornness definitely worked to his advantage because Bed Bath & Beyond started offers for, which they bought. They started at $1 million. Rich kept saying no, as they just kept ratcheting it up. Eventually, when they went over $15 million, he realized that he could make some quick cash, pay off some VC debt and have some cash in reserves, which is fucking awesome. So Rich said yes. Guess what the number was, kid? $24 million. He sold to Bed Bath & Beyond for $24 million again...

Joel: Alright, alright, alright.

Chad: To get rid of some VC debt. Obviously, quick cash on hand, have some money in reserve. It just made sense. So he sold the domain, then leased it back from Bed Bath & Beyond for over a year. Why did he do that? Well, everybody was under and sworn to secrecy because Bed Bath & Beyond would pull the deal if anybody found out. So it was one of the largest sales of a domain at that time. Rich came up with the new name, Nexxt, called the managers into the office, told them what was happening, and that they would have three months to completely rebrand the company, contracts, do all this in secret and come up with a story behind it. Clients, employers and industry pundits like us we said, "What the fuck is going on here?" to Nexxt, how does this make it Nexxt with two X's? How does this make any sense? But obviously, Rich is much smarter than all of us. The name was not as good as, but the $24 million in the bank must have felt amazing thus the story of Nexxt. So now we know when all those years, it was like, we had rumblings of knowing that Bed Bath & Beyond obviously paid a high number. We weren't sure, but this is what it was and that's the story, kids. So if you're looking at history, and one of the things that's going on now, I believe owns

Joel: Yeah, that escalated quickly. So they wanted to make it into sort of a Amazon Prime, pay us a monthly fee and you can get discounts and special shit and whatever is going on at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Chad: Couponing, that kind of shit.

Joel: Not really a place I frequent often, but whatever is going on there. So in theory, like a good idea, like a new ad campaign, go to We go beyond Bed Bath & Beyond and duh, duh, duh. It never happened. Like it never... 'Cause I would go back occasionally like, "Oh, is that thing up?" And they had it, but they never advertised it, they never uploaded it. So to spend that much money and not follow through, man...

Chad: On a domain.

Joel: That's some shitty, shitty management and strategy. So it's no shocking, like no shocking news that this company is bankrupt because if their efforts around this domain and what they wanted to do and what they spent on it came to what it did, they deserve to be out of business. The question to me is, if they do own, it doesn't go anywhere now. I checked it for the story. So if you talked about does Rich go back to Beyond, is there like a re-rebrand where they go back to what they were?


Joel: I think enough people have probably forgot about Beyond or are not nostalgic for it. They know Nexxt now. I don't know if it would make a lot of sense, but he could probably get it on the cheap if he wanted to. I think that's a possibility or lease it for a while and have it redirect to Nexxt so the people that still remember Beyond can go there. But yeah, this is just shitty business practices, shitty strategy.

Chad: And good for Rich.

Joel: Good for Rich. I didn't know how much the dollar amount was and I don't think you did until this week when someone came forth and let us know what this is all like insider stuff. It's alleged. We don't know the exact number. But that's a big number for a domain and good for Rich clearing the books on debts and whatever they had to do. This was a really savvy move on his part. Congratulations.

Chad: And so ballsy from a negotiation standpoint. They started at a $1 million for and to take it all the way to $24, I mean, that to me is just... That's baller, that is fucking baller. Whether he was known as being stubborn or not, it obviously worked out in this case.

Joel: Yeah, champagne and cocaine at the Nexxt headquarters. Alright, Carl. Alright, Chad.

Chad: Carl?

Joel: What else do we have? Okay, so we'll take a break.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: Clearly, we're traveling, hangover, everything else. We'll be right back. Chad, can I interest you in a new story or two news stories about flying cars and spider humans?

Chad: Oh my God.

Joel: Oh, yeah.

Chad: Here it comes.

Joel: Oh, yeah. You want some of that, don't you?

Chad: Yes, yes.

Joel: We're gonna go deep here, baby.

Chad: Just the tea.

Joel: All right. First, let's talk about flying cars. Alef Aeronautics, a California based company, has received approval from the FAA for its flying electric car, and is now accepting pre-orders. It has a flying range of up to 110 miles and a driven range of up to 200 miles. Pre-orders are available for around $300,000. Yeah. And the FAA has issued a special airworthiness certificate for the vehicle. Chad, are you ready to strap in and take your next car to the heavens?

Chad: Meet George Jetson. Yeah, I mean, that, to me is amazing. And remember, I mean, like back in the 50s, I think, 40s and 50s, they were testing jet packs and all that other fun stuff, and people were blowing up because it was fuel on your back. Now everything has gone to the hover fans, which is fucking awesome. 300K for this car, I think. I'm sorry, I thought it would be more. I really did. It's a car that fucking flies. Okay. It's electric and it flies. I thought it would be more. So no, I'm not gonna buy one, but I just think it is totally awesome that we're finally getting to this point. Now, the Jetsons was set in 2062. So the question is, in the delta time that we have between there, do you think this is going to be something that actually "takes off?"

Joel: No, no, I don't. Look, we've been talking about jet packs, flying cars, I don't know, swimming airplanes for decades. There's a branding problem, but now a real branding problem, and it's called submarines to the Titanic that implode and killed people.

Chad: Yeah, yeah. I can do it.

Joel: Look, this whole thing about go to space, go to the bottom of the ocean, do these crazy like rich people things is gonna get regulated to death, governments are gonna be forced to create laws around this, and it's just not gonna happen, people. It'll be a fringe thing. A few people will buy them, but this company's gonna go outta business in 10, 20 years, maybe less, probably less. Virgin Galactic is basically outta business.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: They haven't been to the space in a while. When was the last time Bezos space dick went up into the heavens? It's been a while 'cause the minute someone dies in space, which by the way, the odds of dying in space are much bigger than dying in a submarine, this whole thing is gonna shut down. So it's nice science fiction. It's nice to talk about the flying cars, the jet packs...

Chad: Damnit.

Joel: Are not coming anytime soon.

Chad: Dammit.

Joel: I'm sorry.

Chad: You killed my mood, man.

Joel: I'm sorry. Oh, I might be able to perk you back up, Chad.

Chad: Okay, okay. Good.

Joel: Let's talk about spider humans for a second. So researchers at the University of Tokyo have developed wearable robotic arms called Jizai arms. I'm guessing I got that right. That can be attached to humans as needed. The arms up to six arms, six can be controlled by the user or controlled remotely. The developers envision a future where artificial limbs can be personalized by users, personalized by users. I'm not sure what that means. Different sleeves on each charm. I don't know. Jeff Bezos must be behind this technology to improve warehouse productivity. Spider humans, Chad. Are you a buy or sell?

Chad: So leave it to the Japanese. The same people who came up with the creepy ass Hentie to cartoon porn [laughter] to come up with something like this. I mean, it just... To me, it is creepy as fuck. If you guys get out there, check it out. Just do obviously search on Google. Look for spider humans. It's a pack, not kinda like a jet pack, but it just has arms and it is creepy as fuck. I have no clue on why anybody is ever going to need these things. Again, Hentai, creepy, spider human, creepy. Japanese, they got the market almost on creepy.

Joel: So we've talked about VR a lot on this show, the Apple headset, everything and PornHub needs to sponsor this shit because that is what's gonna make this happen. You tell me six arms is useless. What could six arms mean in the porn industry for God's sakes? PornHub needs to be behind this. That's how it's gonna work. The number of marriages this thing could save, the amount of fun you could have, the adult kind of fun is insane, Chad. Not quite the kind of fun that we're gonna have at RecFest tomorrow.

Chad: Yes.

Joel: I need to pack my bags and get outta here. Spider humans, I've heard enough. We out.

Chad: We out.

Outro: Wow. Look at you. You made it through an entire episode of the Chad and Cheese Podcast or maybe you cheated and fast forwarded to the end. Either way, there's no doubt you wish you had that time back, valuable time you could have used to buy a nutritious meal at Taco Bell, enjoy a pour of your favorite whiskey, or just watch big booty Latinas and bug fights on TikTok. No, you hung out with these two chuckleheads instead. Now go take a shower and wash off all the guilt, but save some soap because you'll be back like an awful train wreck. You can't look away. And like Chad's favorite Western, you can't quit them either. We out.


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