Like Harvard MBAs and Ivy League pedigrees? How about best-selling books written by industry entrepreneurs?
Well, you're in luck, as Jeff Wald, author of The End of Jobs, comes on the podcast and chats the history of his company WorkMarket (sold to ADP), whether or not the iPhone could've been built by a remote team and whether or not college is bologna for high school grads. And that's just the first 10 mins. Buckle up for this no-holds interview powered by our friends at NEXXT!
PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION sponsored by:
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.
What's up everybody. It's your favorite podcast? You're listening to the Chad and Cheese podcast. I'm your host. Joel Cheeseman joined as always by my partner in arms, Chad.
So today we are super excited to welcome Jeff Wald to the show. Jeff is an entrepreneur best-selling author, a keynote speaker and author of a new book, the The End of Jobs: The Rise of On-Demand Workers and Agile Corporations. That's a mouthful, but he's a Harvard MBA so what else would you expect? He's also notably the co-founder of Work Market, which was acquired by ADP and we'll get into that into the show. Jeff welcome. What did I miss that you want our listeners to know?
Jeff (1m 7s):
Well, first off, unbelievably excited to be here and very excited for this conversation. The only other thing I would say is, you know, look, Work Market was a great outcome and it was a very successful outcome, but this is my fourth startup and the first one failed miserably and bankrupted me. And that's a part of the startup process that a lot of people don't talk about a lot.
Joel (1m 30s):
You sound like a couple of my friends who have been married like two or three times.
Jeff (1m 34s):
I've been married zero times. I haven't failed on that one yet, but
Chad (1m 41s):
Usually obviously we see a history of founders, serial founders. Let's say that's pretty much how it goes.
Joel (1m 50s):
Why get married when you can start companies?
Chad (1m 54s):
Well that when there's a question too, I mean, overall, when you're, you're talking to 25 year olds today who were like, man, I want to be an entrepreneur so bad. I mean, you've got to put your life, your soul. I mean, everything into that startup, what do you tell them? Hey, if you want a life outside of whatever this concept is, don't do it. I mean, what, what's your recommendation? What's your advice to a 25-30 year old?
Jeff (2m 19s):
Well, I will generally tell people you need to be mentally, physically and financially ready, right? Financially is in as much as you may not have an income for a couple of years. And you know, when you run out of cash kind of game over. Cash is, is oxygen in startup land. Physically this is 18 hours a day, seven days a week. Yeah. And if you're not ready for this, if you're not ready to not be able to work out, not be able to see your family, not be able to see your friends and not be able to have a relationship. Like, look, I'm not saying you, can't just, you're going to decrease the probability of success. And the same thing is true about mentally.
Jeff (2m 59s):
If you're mentally prepared for this up and down, then, you know, again, you're just decreasing your probability of success.
Chad (3m 8s):
Well, and also be ready to go back to mom's basement, right? I mean, you've gotta be mentally prepared for that. And that's something you had to do.
Jeff (3m 17s):
Yeah, it is very true. And when I first, when the first startup I had failed, I got the call from mom, do you need to move back home? And I was like, wow, this is fucking, this is, this is bad. And I had luckily already paid my rent that month. And I said, all right, I've got 30 days, mom and 30 days, I have no choice.
Chad (3m 37s):
Joel (3m 38s):
You're a highly educated guy. When did you think about, I'm just gonna go work for Goldman Sachs or I'm just going to go work for Microsoft. Like, are you just sickened with the entrepreneurial bug or did that thought ever cross your mind? Cause I think for a lot of young people, the best route is like go work at a big brand for a few years and get your feet wet.
Jeff (3m 59s):
Look, my first job was working for JP Morgan. I spent seven years as an M&A banker at JP Morgan, and it's a great place to start. And it's something I talk about with a lot of people as they talk about what is my next step or what should I start with? Look, whether it's the brand to your point and the brand will carry you for the rest of your career, but the network you build and learning the process and the work ethic and all these other things, it is a gift to be able to work in one of those companies, but it's not an entrepreneurial gift. It's a foundational gift to take the next step up.
Joel (4m 39s):
Well, let's get into Work Market cause I think it's the most relevant for our audience. Talk about the genesis, the journey, and then I guess the eventual sale to ADP.
Jeff (4m 48s):
So started the company in June of 2010, over the course of about six or seven years, we raised about 60 million from Union Square Ventures, SoftBank and a few others. And you know, our friends at ADP kind of reached out. I actually reached out, I should say to ADP Ventures and those people started coming in and getting a view of a Work Market and asking about the future of work. And I would always give them an overview and they would always say, oh, can we come back with more people and more people? And this went on for about a year and you know, one of the guys called up and said, Hey, can I come down? They're going to be 30 of us from ADP to come down and you know, look, they had been there maybe 15 times over the course of a year with me constantly giving them an update on Work Market and what we were doing and giving my talk on the future of work.
Jeff (5m 41s):
And when they said, Hey, can we come with 30 people? There was something about that, guys. I just was like, "What?" And I said to the guys like, you know what, no, no, you can't come. It's like, what, what do you mean? We can't come? I was like, you know what? I'm not your monkey. I don't dance. I can't, I'm not here to dance anytime you want to hear about the future of work. So you guys can go fuck yourself. I'm out like Work Market. What does Work Market get from this? And so then there was dead silence. This dude was just completely Flomaxed. I just told him to fuck himself. And he, you know, it was a big pause. He's like, well, you know, we want to talk about maybe buying Work Market. I was like, oh, well, come on down. I'll dance any way you want.
Chad (6m 22s):
Why didn't you lead with that asshole?
Jeff (6m 24s):
Buy the company, whatever you need. And so that led to a process and we hired a banker and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And ADP was just such a great, great purchaser. I mean, they don't buy a lot of companies and we were so fortunate. I was so fortunate. Every day I still get on my knees and you know, thank the big man upstairs for everything we get.
Joel (6m 48s):
How long were you an employee there? How long were you under contract? Or how long did you stick around? It's still on your LinkedIn profile I think that you're still involved, but yeah.
Jeff (6m 56s):
It is. I remain involved, but you know, a few days before the acquisition closed, I got somebody in by Carlos Rodriguez who is the CEO of ADP and a nicer, smarter guy you will just never find. I mean, what an amazing human and he's like, Jeff, I want you to help transform ADP and you know, get people more entrepreneurial. I don't want ADP to turn Work Market into, you know, a standard ADP thing. You know, I don't want to change you. I looked at him. I'm like, Carlos, there is no danger that ADP is going to change me. He's like good, man I want you to come in and break stuff. I was like, Carlos, I broke five things on the way in here. And he like, literally looks in the hallway.
Jeff (7m 36s):
I was like, not literally. He's like, oh, okay, good, good, good. He said, look, I need you to stay for three years. I said, Carlos, I can't, I can't stay for three years, that's too much. I'll give you two years. And he said, look, give me two and a half. I said, all right. So we shook hands. He said, all right, I'll get the lawyers. I'm like, you don't need lawyers. I just gave you my word and I shook your hand. So come hell or high water. I will be here for two and a half years. And over that two and a half year period, there was many, many time where I would storm out of meetings, get very frustrated and people would say, oh my God, are you going to quit? I would say, look, I have said, I can't quit. You can fire me anytime you want, but I will not quit.
Jeff (8m 18s):
And so my two and a half years was up and then two and a half years, and one day I said hugs and kisses to everybody, but I'm out. And so now I am just an advisor to ADP on the future of work.
Chad (8m 30s):
So overall funding wise, you guys, we took around 60 million. Was that, is that correct?
Jeff (8m 36s):