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The Revolution of Work: FUCK the Patriarchy

Anessa Fike, author of The Revolution of Work, F!ck the Patriarchy, discusses her book and the need to dismantle the current systems in the workplace. She shares her journey into fractional HR and explains that fractional work allows organizations to have experts on a part-time basis at a fraction of the cost. Anessa talks about her decision to write the book and her choice of title, emphasizing the need for an uprising and the dismantling of patriarchal elements in society. She hopes that the book will empower those who already think this way and encourage conversations about change. The conversation explores the need for a revolution in the workplace, addressing issues such as obliviousness of leaders, the need for self-reflection, the rise of fractional work, the role of AI, the challenges with founder CEOs, the lack of diversity in funding, and the importance of pay equity. The conversation emphasizes the need for change and the role of allies in creating a more inclusive and equitable work environment.


PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION


Joel Cheesman (00:28.445)

OHHH YEEEEEAHH!


Joel Cheesman (00:33.117)

Yeah, it's King Arthur's, I mean, Charles' favorite podcast, AKA the Chad and Cheese podcast. I'm your cohost, Joel Cheeseman. Joined as always, the Harry to my William. Chad Sowash is in the house as we welcome Anessa Feich, author of The Revolution of Work, Fuck the Patriarchy. Geez, you kiss your mom with that mouth, fuck the patriarchy and the workplace it built. And she is also CEO and founder of Feich and Cheese.


Anessa, welcome to HR's Most Dangerous Podcast.


Anessa Fike (01:06.438)

Thank you, I am here for it. And yes, if you read the book, you'll understand a little bit more about my mom. And she's part of the reason I am this way. So yes, she is very proud of the book type.


Joel Cheesman (01:18.045)

Tell me about your mother. Let's go to Blade Runner on this one.


Chad (01:19.922)

Nothing wrong about now. We don't have to we don't have time for that. We got a book to talk about Okay, we can get into therapy sessions later for God's sakes perfect Perfect podcast to be on to actually already start dropping the fuck bomb. That's awesome But but yeah, let's get a little Twitter bio of you Joel gave a little bit Give give us a little bit more about you other than foul mouth, which is fine with us


Anessa Fike (01:24.434)

That's right.


Joel Cheesman (01:26.481)

Well, let's get into an ESSA first.


Anessa Fike (01:35.28)

Yes.


Anessa Fike (01:44.642)

Right, right, right. Love that so much. Thank you for the inclusivity of the cuss words. I love it. I have done fractional HR. I've been a fractional chief people officer for almost 11 years. So one of the very first to do fractional in our space. And I've worked with over 120 organizations in 30 plus countries and have pretty much seen every stage of a business and in almost every industry except for oil and gas.


Chad (01:51.404)

We're here.


Anessa Fike (02:14.082)

So if there are M&As, if there are scaling, descaling, and everything in between, I've kind of seen it across the space. Right, so fractional is when you need an expert in a space, doesn't have to be in HR, it could be in other things, that you want to have them in your organization, but you may not be able to afford them at a full-time salary. So you need an expert for a fraction of the time at a fraction of the cost.


Joel Cheesman (02:21.498)

Define fractional for the listeners.


Chad (02:43.214)

It's a sexy way to say part-time cheeseman. So what actually moved you into Fractional? What made you think that Fractional was needed? Were you working with startups? Were you working with smaller companies? What actually pushed you into Fractional?


Joel Cheesman (02:45.605)

Yeah, I'm here for the listeners that might not know.


Anessa Fike (02:45.874)

Sort of, yeah.


Anessa Fike (02:49.553)

Hahaha


Anessa Fike (03:00.686)

You know what, it's funny, because we didn't call it fractional 11 almost 11 years ago. We called it interim or, you know, consulting. That was really where it started. But I didn't know anyone else in our industry doing it.


And actually when I left the Motley Fool, I wanted to create something that I hadn't seen. I actually wanted to have like a good life balance. And so I said, what do I want my life to look like? And then I backed into the business model using actually the subscription membership sort of service of the Motley Fool and going, how can I make that work? But for me,


Chad (03:32.174)

Mm-hmm.


Anessa Fike (03:35.186)

not in an agency way not in the typical business model way of what had been there before. And I kind of came up with this rational thing. So it was really just me going well I want to do cool I'm gonna make that happen.


Chad (03:47.896)

Yeah, back in the day I was 15, I was a fractional fry cook. That's what I was back then.


Anessa Fike (03:51.826)

There you go. Fractional fry cook. Yeah.


Joel Cheesman (03:53.477)

Now he's a fractional podcaster, just like me. Hehehe.


Chad (03:55.606)

That's, what the fuck you, this is full time. Okay, so let's jump into the book. So the book is a future work in the way that dismantles the current systems, right? It creates space for employees, et cetera, et cetera. I mean, this is, you're actually looking at imploding the current system and moving in an entirely different direction. Before we get into that.


Anessa Fike (04:08.85)

Mm-hmm.


Anessa Fike (04:16.519)

Mm-hmm.


Chad (04:20.97)

because this is an interesting concept right out of the gate. We've been doing this shit for way too long in this current framework, right? What was the journey to actually get here to write the book? Because I mean, writing the book's one thing you've, you've had to have a lot more, not just experience, but engagements. I mean, how did you get here from a book writing standpoint?


Anessa Fike (04:27.88)

Mm-hmm.


Anessa Fike (04:33.391)

Yeah.


Anessa Fike (04:43.522)

Yeah, so it's funny, I actually was a journalist before I fell into HR. We all kind of fall into this. But I was a newspaper reporter, I won a press award. It was back when journalism was going, it was just a shit show. Everyone was like, what are we doing and what do we put online? I'm dating myself a little bit, but yeah. I still do a shit show.


Chad (04:48.382)

Aha! Now it comes out.


Joel Cheesman (05:03.819)

Is it not a shit show anymore?


Chad (05:04.086)

We were there for it. We were there for it, and it's still a shit show. Ha ha ha. Ha.


Joel Cheesman (05:08.728)

Yeah.


Anessa Fike (05:11.074)

right. And I was like, okay, so I knew I wanted to write a book. I knew I always wanted to write a book. I actually have a master's in English as well. And so I was like, I want to write a book. I always said I would write a fiction book. Well, we're one then fast forward, I guess to October 2022. And Forbes actually reached out to me. And they said, we actually would love if you wrote a book about HR.


And I said, funny you should ask me Forbes, but thank you for the kick in the pants. And I asked a lot of questions, decided that Forbes was not the publisher for me. And then I found a publishing organization that was like, I'm here for you. Yeah.


Chad (05:49.83)

Why wasn't Forbes, you're going way too fast, Inessa, why wasn't Forbes the place to go?


Anessa Fike (05:51.694)

Yeah.


Anessa Fike (05:57.522)

So I had a lot of questions for Forbes. I, you know, there's a lot of years where we've all seen the HR councils, the write-ups, everything that Forbes has been doing. And I knew of a couple very particular instances where they were not practicing what they preached, right? They were not kind of this inclusive space. And I had a lot of questions around the authors that they were working with. Tell me about the authors, tell me about who you're working with, tell me about what...


Chad (06:00.343)

Yes.


Chad (06:06.77)

Oh yeah.


Anessa Fike (06:27.322)

what topics you're excited to have people talk about and publish this year. And they actually had really awful answers. So when I would ask them about diversity numbers, when I would ask them about how do you support your authors, it all was like really fluffy and they didn't have good answers to the point where one of the representatives from their publishing arm.


said to me would just go look at our website and you'll see all of our authors. And I'm like, do you realize that if I did that as an HR professional, and I just like self decided what everyone's background ethnicity was that this that's illegal. And they're like, Oh, it is. And I'm like, Yes. Um, so clearly, I don't think this is gonna work out because I'm gonna push you. And I don't think you're gonna like when and where I push you. And they were like, well,


You know, it's not, they were like, we really wanna have you. And I'm like, yeah, I don't think this is gonna work out. So realistically, it was just, they were not aligned in the same way of what I wanted to do with this book, which was to start a movement, to start the conversation, to have us actually do things differently.


Chad (07:34.462)

Okay, we'll talk about where you did land.


Anessa Fike (07:36.686)

Yeah, so I landed with a female publishing organization in Colorado outside of Colorado. And it's called Grace Point Matrix Publishing. And from the start of this journey with them, I said, I want to do things differently. I do not want to do publishing in the same way.


We're in 2024 and publishing is actually still a very archaic industry. It's so it's so interesting when you're looking at it, you're like, wait, are we in the 1950s? Are we in the 2020s? And they early on said to me, we are going to be here with you for you. And we're going to push boundaries together. And we're going to tell you what the traditional way of doing it is. But if you want to do it a different way, we are here to do that too. And so they were a good guide throughout to say, this is how people typically do it.


Joel Cheesman (08:03.943)

Hehehe


Anessa Fike (08:25.57)

we're okay with you doing it this way. Just know that this is going to be, you're gonna basically be pushing boundaries within the publishing system while you're also pushing a book that's pushing boundaries outside of that system as well. And so I was like, okay, let's do it.


Joel Cheesman (08:37.073)

Hmm.


Joel Cheesman (08:40.753)

So, Nessa, I'm very apt to ask a startup how they came up with the name of their company. And with authors, I typically ask, what's up with the title? This title is a little bit more risque and interesting than others. Talk about how you came up with the revolution of work, fuck the patriarchy and the workplace that it built. Take us on that journey.


Anessa Fike (09:03.266)

Yeah, so the revolution of work, I knew that I wanted it to be that. So the base title was there from the start. I don't know about you all, but I get so freaking tired and I roll my eyes so hard at the future of work.


Because most of what happens in the future of work is like I did that shit 10 years ago. I don't know what you guys are talking about. But like the future of work like what are we talking about? And so for me, every time I hear that I just roll my eyes and I expect to hear something that somebody somewhere decided was new. But we've been doing it. And so I, I was like really excited to do something different. I was like, we need something other than the future of work.


For me, the revolution was we need an uprising. We need to dismantle really a lot of what the system has been. And we needed something that was going to be more active. The future of work is like this fluffy thing that I think a lot of us think about out in space somewhere of like 10 years from now, we're gonna do this.


But I think with that, we're doing ourselves a disservice and that we don't actually get shit done quick enough and it doesn't move the needle fast enough to where it needs to be. And so for me, I'm like, okay, Revolution of Work, I want that. The second part, the subtitle came after I had written a good portion of the body of the book. And I went through, I had rearranged chapters a few times and I was like, what is the thing that is key? What's the thread?


Right? What is the thread? What is this keep coming back to you? And every time that I looked at it and said, okay, let me look at it from this angle. It was the systems, the capitalism, the patriarchal elements that are in our society. That's what it kept butting up against. And so for me, I was like, you know what? And I said to a friend of mine, I just want to call it, fuck the patriarchy in the workplace it built. And she said, why don't you? And I'm like, okay, that's the name of it.


Chad (10:31.511)

Mm.


Joel Cheesman (11:00.541)

So part of it, part of my initial thought was, okay, well, it's good click bait in terms of, you know, selling books and Chad and I know what was best as anybody that you can't bore people into watching or consuming your stuff. So we had a conversation a year or so ago about the use of, of Karen and that Karen had basically replaced a bitch. So if someone's a Karen, they're now a bitch. It's just a more, I guess, strategically.


Anessa Fike (11:13.979)

Right?


Joel Cheesman (11:28.729)

a more camouflaged way of saying it. Did you think that there was any risk of a woman writing a book that's like, fuck the patriarchy, that you would be viewed as a quote unquote Karen and that would dilute your message or damn the torpedoes, this is what I think and this is what I'm putting out there.


Anessa Fike (11:46.09)

I think that for me it's a little bit more than the Karen's for that perspective around I think anyone who knows me will say this about it. I try to use my privilege for good. I have always been that person who will you who is understanding of my white privilege and I will always use it for good because guess what because of my packaging I can push harder.


and I should push harder for others that don't look like me who are not able to push as hard. And so for me, this book was like, hey, I'm going to push as hard as I can push because I don't care if it's actually at my detriment, I'm trying to make it better for other people who don't look like me. And so for me, it's that, it's I think the ownership and the onus that we as white people need to take.


because racism, all these patriarchal elements, they're not gonna solve themselves. We need to be more active parts in that. And so I think it's almost the opposite of a Karen, right? A Karen is someone who's like, oh, and they cry white privilege. I am kind of flipping that on its head to say, I know I have white privilege. I have a hell of a lot of it. And I'm actually gonna use that to the full extent that I can so that other people have an easier way. I will say that like, I am,


actually one of those people who I kind of get this like rush when someone calls me a bitch back to my mom. She is the person you'll read this in the book who said who I learned like very early in my life. Someone called her a bitch when I was younger and she said I'm not a bitch. I'm the bitch. Get it right. And so for me I was like okay here we go. This is like a thing where it's like a kind of a


a pride thing, right? Where it's like, you're doing something that matters. You're doing something that's pushing the boundaries. And that's why people are uncomfortable.


Chad (13:32.394)

Hmm?


Joel Cheesman (13:39.362)

That said, who do you hope reads this book?


Anessa Fike (13:43.542)

I hope that, you know, it's funny. I actually, this is something that I went back and forth on when I was writing the book, a lot. And I thought, am I gonna get the people right, where it's like, we all know what political side that is never gonna read this book. My goal is to help the people who already think this way be more active and verbal, and secondarily to help the people who are like,


I don't know where I land, but I'm kind of in the middle to maybe skew this side. And I also want people to realistically read the book and just start the conversations to know that they're not alone, to know that they're not the only one seeing this thing, to know that they're not isolated, that their feelings are validated and what they've experienced is valid.


and that there are way more people out here than they ever thought there were feeling the exact same way.


So I've had hundreds of people reach out to me that I don't know on LinkedIn and other socials that have said, oh my gosh, thank you for just writing this because I don't feel alone. You've said the same thing I've said in my head for years. I thought it was the only one experiencing this and I'm not. And so I think it's those people that maybe were quiet about it that now feel like they don't have to be. And then also people in the middle that are like, I don't know what to do, but I know this, this work isn't working. And so what can I do to make a change?


Chad (15:14.082)

Yes. Let's, let's pivot real quick to the actual construct of work. Right. So the book is, is very critical of the current work environments, which often suppress employee engagement and perpetuate, you know, gender and racial inequalities. It cites statistics, you know, like from Gallup to highlight widespread disengagement, productivity losses and contemporary workplaces. Although, Vanessa, old white dudes are trying to get people back.


Anessa Fike (15:19.548)

Mm-hmm.


Anessa Fike (15:32.759)

Okay.


Chad (15:43.034)

in the office, right? So everyone back in the office, it's very anti-female in many cases. And also, you know, we've also talked about productivity losses, which are blamed on remote work, aka, in creativity, aka, what's this fuck, the CEO of Nike, right? So your thoughts on that construct, it really feels like it's being forced back on all of workers.


Anessa Fike (15:44.282)

Yeah.


Anessa Fike (15:58.884)

Mm-hmm.


Anessa Fike (16:04.562)

Mm-hmm.


Chad (16:13.242)

Give us some feedback, the research that you've actually performed, not to mention your thoughts on where we should be moving.


Anessa Fike (16:21.898)

Yeah, so I think that and I go back to this a lot I think there is a certain type of leader who wants to have someone with a button seat, right? There's a couple of reasons for that. None of us are oblivious to those reasons Number one is they paid a hell of a lot of money for that space and they don't want it to go unused Duh, we understand that right?


Two, it's someone who doesn't actually deep down believe in their own managerial sense and the way that they manage and they don't wanna work on that. And so it's easier for them. It's the lazy way to manage by seeing someone in person. The third piece is that there's this like normalization that we've tried to all get back to post COVID. And the normalization is that


We're just acting like it didn't happen. There's lots of trauma we're not dealing with in the workplace. We're just trying to just, we're just all in denial, right? Like a lot of us are, some of us are not, but a lot of us are in denial around like, hey, let's just get back to what it was pre-COVID, right? Like, let's just act like it didn't happen. And I think that those three things are why we're seeing so many people being pushed back to offices. And none of those are good. None of those are good reasons.


It's not about, hey, we actually feel like people are more engaged or they are able to do better work because they're in an office. That's not the conversation. Productivity rates increased during COVID when everyone was remote. People who were disabled were able to work and find better and more work when they were remote, right? Right, highest rates ever. And by the way,


Chad (18:03.908)

highest rates ever.


Anessa Fike (18:08.246)

engagement rates are abysmal, right? They're abysmal right now. They're at the lowest that we've probably seen in a really long time, if ever. And we keep trying to fit this very square peg into this very round hole of like, if we can just get people into the office it'll solve everything. Cause we solved everything pre COVID, right? Everything was solved and all engagement scores were through the roof and everyone loved going to work, right? It was completely solved pre COVID. It wasn't.


Chad (18:16.238)

Mm.


Anessa Fike (18:37.55)

but we just act like it was. It's this whole thing where it's just really, if you're paying attention, you understand what's going on. And I think that business leaders don't understand that every person, nearly every person that works for them is seeing through this. They're so.


translucent at this point, we can see right through what they are saying they want to do. I just saw Samsung is saying there's a crisis and they want people to work six days a week. Oh, and I was just like, Oh my gosh, Sam, so I'm doing their employees way dirty. Like, what are you trying to do? So it just it's like these people are just showcasing to the world that they don't get it. And that's really the point, right? They don't get it.


Chad (19:03.564)

Mm-hmm.


Chad (19:07.938)

Six days, baby, six days.


Chad (19:13.057)

Uh huh.


Anessa Fike (19:28.25)

So for me, it's really just around, like when I see these things pop up, I'm just like, you're not getting it. So, you know, we'll see what that ends up with over the next couple of years. I think they're just gonna see max exodus of employees leaving. And then they're gonna have to make a real call as to like, do we even have enough employees to keep the business running if we act this way?


Chad (19:51.234)

Well, I mean, you've got a bunch of females who can't, right? Or they're choosing not to because they have kids. They, I mean, again, we were treated like, or forced to be treated like adults during COVID. And now it's like, you're all kids come back into the office. Now, again, we see where the issue is. The question is, how do we get back there? Obviously, manager training.


Anessa Fike (19:55.218)

Mm-hmm.


Anessa Fike (19:58.522)

Right?


Anessa Fike (20:08.336)

Right.


Chad (20:18.71)

helping CEOs better understand that they have to retool. I mean, what do we have to do to get on a different track? That's the big question. There is this ball of just jacked up shit that's happening right now. Totally get it. How do we get away from that?


Anessa Fike (20:24.304)

Mm-hmm.


Anessa Fike (20:34.135)

Mm-hmm.


I think the first thing is realizing there's a problem, right? That is the first thing. If we don't name the problem, we don't see the problem. We don't start from what is the problem we're trying to solve. Um, I think that there are a ton of CEOs and leaders out there that are still super oblivious to this. They're super oblivious to.


Chad (20:48.351)

Mm.


Anessa Fike (20:58.282)

what actually makes their company run. They're super oblivious to you know, as we've all seen over the last several years understanding how HR and TA leaders are strategic movements within their organization.


I think that it's first naming that there's a problem. The second piece is understanding where you actually are as a business so that you can work from it. If you don't know where your starting block is, how do you know when the race ends or if it ends? And so you have to have a starting point. And that starting point is to get really clear on where you actually are. And then I would say from there, it's interesting, there's, I've done a few revolution of work retreats.


And what we talk about is, what are all the things broken and work and everyone gets their own post-its and there are basically like 40 or 50 post-its per person that we put up on a wall. And then I ask, what do we have to keep? What do we need in work? And literally those same people put three to five things up.


Chad (21:54.582)

Mm-hmm.


Anessa Fike (21:57.73)

So that shows you just the difference, right? There are 40 to 50 things that people can put on a Post-It that are broken with work. And if you actually think about what we need to make work successful and what we need to keep, it's very few things. So I almost think that we need a complete like overhaul. We need a complete revolution. We need to really start over and ask why we're doing these things. Because we're all just a lot of this time, we're all just on this like, you know,


this circle, this wheel, where we're just doing it because this is what we've always done. And that doesn't really serve people well. We need to stop and ask why we're doing those things.


Joel Cheesman (22:35.297)

In revolutions, heads typically get chopped off. I'm curious from your take, are you calling for, I guess, the current status quo, typical white male-owned businesses managed by men? Are you looking for them to change the model? Cindy Gallup was on the show a couple years ago and she said, expecting white men to replace themselves with women of color.


is just not very realistic. What you have to have is more and more businesses founded by people like you who have founded your own company. Um, what exactly are you calling for in this revolution? Our head's actually going to roll or are you asking or doing something totally different?


Anessa Fike (23:04.635)

Yeah.


Anessa Fike (23:07.868)

Hmm?


Anessa Fike (23:14.949)

Right.


Anessa Fike (23:19.298)

Well, I think heads are going to roll naturally. And here's why. If you look at the census and the generational shift of Gen Z and also then Gen Alpha behind it, it is Gen Z and Gen Alpha are the most demographic mixed generations that we've seen. And there is going to be a point where a lot of these leaders just quite frankly age out.


Chad (23:40.577)

us.


Anessa Fike (23:47.81)

That's going to happen sooner than we think. By the way, Gen Z is just saying peace out to corporate America, almost entirely altogether. Right, they're like, oh, you want me to do this thing? This is stupid, I'm not even in for this, right? And they will go the other way because they have other options. We right now, and I write about this in the book, actually about a year ago, when I was looking at the numbers, we had about five million less people in the workforce than we had jobs to fill.


that means that there were five million more jobs, right? Then there were people to fill them. Now they don't always line up, skill-based to what's needed, right? They don't always align correctly, but there were still five million open jobs and enough people to fill them. If you think about baby boomers, retiring, leaving the workforce, then you think about millennials having to caretake for those baby boomers, and then you think about Gen Z, piecing out of corporate America altogether.


Chad (24:22.071)

Mm-hmm.


Anessa Fike (24:47.894)

You're not going to have enough humans to sustain this model. It's just not going to work. The numbers don't add up.


Chad (24:54.122)

And she just totally passed over Gen X. She's like, fuck those guys.


Joel Cheesman (24:57.553)

That's okay. We're used to it. We're used to it.


Anessa Fike (24:58.326)

Well, it's a small group compared to the bigger generations. There are five generations in the workforce. Right, there are five generations in the workforce, right? And so like there are bigger generations than others. Baby boomer generation is so large that there's not another generation outside of millennials that's going to be close. And so if you look at the workforce today, nearly half is really, it's ticking up is millennials, right, nearly half.


Chad (25:01.762)

probably the most feral group you will ever have to deal with. Yes.


Chad (25:21.311)

Mm.


Anessa Fike (25:27.33)

In the next several years, millennials are going to overtake and be the majority of the workforce. And then the second largest majority in the workforce is going to be Gen Z, which by the way, doesn't want to be in corporate America anyway. So there's this going to be this economic head that comes to fruition in the next five to 10 years where we're going to have to make a change. And some of it is going to be that leaders age out and different leaders come in.


Chad (25:48.575)

Mm.


Anessa Fike (25:56.202)

we're seeing, I don't know, dozens of people go fractional every single day. Everyone comes to me and says, when is this fractional trend going to be over? And I'm like, well, it's not a trend. It's a labor shift. We are witnessing a historical labor shift because guess what? None of us that are fractional are ever going back. And so that's, that's also a piece, right? You're seeing fractional in finance and tech and HR. You're saying everyone go fractional to the point that I actually think.


Chad (26:19.575)

Mm.


Anessa Fike (26:23.15)

that if you have less than 3,000 employees over the next five years, the only full-time execs will be a CEO and a COO. Every other person is gonna be fractional on the executive team, because it's a win-win for both sides.


Chad (26:36.706)

So how does AI actually play in the new molding of the new workforce? And I mean, literally just the new environment that we're gonna be working.


Anessa Fike (26:44.642)

Yeah. Well, number one, I always think that people give AI more credit than it actually is able to do because a lot of even the generative AI still have a human in the loop right now. And I think a lot of people think AI is really like intuitive and it can do all these things. Yeah, that's so because there's a human in the loop. And what people don't understand is when we take the human out of the loop, it actually gets really, really archaic.


And so there's not that much difference in AI today than there was 10 years ago, not really when you're looking at it. And so it's gonna shift slowly, but it's not gonna be this drastic shift. It's gonna take away some of the mundane things that we all, none of us like to do. And that happens, it's happened throughout history all along in how we've worked. Think about like mechanical pencils to pens, typewriters to computers, right? Like we've seen these things happen, it's gradually over time.


I actually think that it's just going to shift how it has shifted previously. So roles are going to shift. It's going to really take away a lot of the mundane, almost like mindless tasks that a lot of us hate to do anyway. And I think it's going to be a gradual shift, but what's going to be a much larger shift is that change in the generations, the change in the demographics, the change in the dynamics. And I think all of those are actually going to be a huge shift.


way more than AI ever is going to shift the landscape. It's gonna be actually those other things that shift it further.


Joel Cheesman (28:17.741)

You have a problem with first time founders and CEOs as indicated by one of the chapters of the book. Talk to me about your problem with founders and startup CEOs.


Anessa Fike (28:21.961)

Hahaha!


Yes!


Yes, well, I think anyone who has experienced this knows exactly what I'm talking about I worked with over 50 of them And I can tell you that if you go to Wikipedia and I cite it in my book and you go to founderitis Anyone who has worked for a founder CEO is going to tell you. Yep. They check off all these boxes and it is really a It's it's when someone thinks that a business is their baby, right?


and it's really hard to call somebody's baby ugly and then be okay with it. And as a person that comes in and tries to understand culture and people and help move the business forward, there's a lot of ego wrapped around that baby. There just is, like more so than anything else in business. There's a lot of ego wrapped around that.


And there are some first time founder CEOs that are really great at this, but they're few and far between. Most founder CEOs have never worked other places. If they have, they haven't worked in leadership. I'll be honest, 90% of them have never managed a person in their life. And now they're in charge of here's millions of dollars and an entire company. And now you want to run this, right? They've never even managed before.


Anessa Fike (29:49.23)

And so you're teaching them how to manage people. You're teaching them how to be an executive. You're basically teaching them how to be an adult in corporate America, while also helping them run a business. And so it very much is like this, you as a fractional person coming in and working with a founder CEO, you know that like you're going to have to give so much more of yourself, because it's such an undertaking. The best way to describe this.


Joel Cheesman (30:16.369)

And what's the demographic breakdown of this 50 or so startup CEOs that you've worked for?


Anessa Fike (30:20.55)

Ugh. I would say 20s to 50s.


Chad (30:26.891)

White dudes.


Anessa Fike (30:27.014)

When is the 50s? White dudes.


Joel Cheesman (30:27.949)

White, yeah, 20 to 50, mostly white guys. Okay, I just wanted to make that clear. Make that clear.


Anessa Fike (30:31.663)

Yeah.


Anessa Fike (30:34.99)

Yep, 20 to 50 mostly white guys, because guess what? Guess where the funding goes to? 98% of funding goes to what? White guys. 98% of VC and PE funding goes to white guys. And so, right, from mostly other white guys. And so there's another, there's a chapter in the book about that, right? Like we're wondering why this cycle keeps continuing. And it's because the funders fund the founders and they're all the same demographic.


Joel Cheesman (30:42.385)

from white guys, by the way.


Chad (30:47.146)

Yeah, from white guys.


Anessa Fike (31:03.842)

And so it's really interesting.


Joel Cheesman (31:04.321)

So where's, I don't wanna ruin the book, but what's the solution? You can't just kill all the VCs and say we're giving the money to underprivileged folks. That's against the law, last time I checked. So is it a government thing? Is it just vote with our wallet? We're only gonna support as a consumer businesses that are like this. Don't ruin the book, but what's the solution?


Anessa Fike (31:07.569)

Yeah, yeah.


The solution is mostly burn it out.


Anessa Fike (31:32.43)

Right, so I wouldn't say it's against the law because if it were, I mean, like people would be doing that. Like, you know, they'd be against the law now because they're giving most of it to 98% towards one demographic. I think that it's baffling to me, I will say this. It's baffling to me that VCs and PEs aren't understanding the business value of having, and we've seen this, we've all seen the data. It's been out for a decade, right?


The more diverse your organization is, the better your bottom line is. And it's like VCs and PEs don't wanna see that. Now I understand PEs and VCs need to have a good amount of loss on their P&L statements. They need to, it's part of how they work. They don't actually expect all these things to work, right? They expect maybe 50% to do well and that's good.


Chad (32:02.158)

Mm.


Anessa Fike (32:30.47)

I think that the way we think about venture capital and private equity is going to shift. I think we have already seen that with the fall of Silicon Valley Bank. I think people are already having those discussions. I think that is going to shift as well with these demographics. And I think that it's going to, by the way, I'm seeing more and more VCs and PE firms being stood up by non-white men.


And I think that is going to help. So I think that as we continue to, again, see people age out, we continue to see generational changes, we continue to see people that have different avenues to wealth, different avenues to work, we're going to see that change drastically. And a lot of these, in a lot of these areas, we're seeing these kind of toplings of systems. And again, I think it's gonna all come down at around the same time.


and then we need to build it back up.


Chad (33:33.302)

Feels like a civil war is what it feels like. Okay, so let's talk a little bit about who's getting the money, like we're talking about, the funders, right? But let's also talk about pay equity, right? So because I think they're somewhat aligned, and let me tell you why. Dumb white dudes, they will ask for more money all damn day. Females will not. And that's just been, research has demonstrated that many women will be


Anessa Fike (33:42.83)

Mm-hmm.


Anessa Fike (33:46.767)

Mm-hmm.


Chad (34:02.422)

they will be happy with what they have and they will wait for that next raise to happen as opposed to going and asking for it, right? Or demanding it because they're not getting paid as much as the guy who's sitting next to them doing the exact same damn job. So the big question is the framework and how we've done this for hundreds of years, right? Where women couldn't even vote for God's sakes, right? Talk about oppression. This has been in our DNA since jump. How the hell do we, that's...


Anessa Fike (34:21.229)

Mm-hmm.


Anessa Fike (34:28.899)

Right.


Chad (34:32.182)

That's one of the biggest problems. How do we change that? Because today we talk about females aren't starting up as many. They've got great ideas, but they're not taking the jump. They're not taking the leap. That's not that, I mean, whose fault is that? How do we change that? How do we push that?


Anessa Fike (34:33.848)

Right.


Anessa Fike (34:41.394)

I think.


Anessa Fike (34:49.454)

Right. I would say let me push back on you a little bit in that actually in the next in the last five to ten years women have been asking for more money for a while. It's just that we never get it.


Chad (35:00.394)

Yeah, because we finally showed that they're getting paid less they never knew before. Pay transparency is a thing.


Joel Cheesman (35:02.269)

Transparency, yeah.


Anessa Fike (35:03.47)

Right. Even if we ask, right, even if we ask and men don't ask, even if we ask and the ask isn't even done by men, the men get the pay and the women don't. Right. And yes, that's a huge piece, right. The other thing I will say is during COVID, you know, the demographic that opened the most businesses, black women. Overwhelmingly so. You know why? That got so pissed off.


Chad (35:12.494)

Sure.


Anessa Fike (35:30.55)

at corporate America that they were like, fuck this shit. I'm out. I mean, why not? Right? Why not? You are seeing so many people being so fed the fuck up that they're just like, there's got to be a better way. And I would much rather rely on myself than some idiot who's going to maybe give me a 3% raise every year, right. And the other piece to think about is that


Chad (35:37.814)

Yeah? Yeah.


Anessa Fike (35:57.686)

We all know, you know, we're in talent. We've been in talent a long time. We all know it's like, even if you want, and I tell this to people all the time, if you need a 10K raise this year, and you really are doing a good job, your manager has to like you. You have to have done good performance review. You have to have good performance reviews. The company has to be doing well enough. All these things, right? If you want a 10K increase as a fractional executive or as a person who works for themselves, you figure out how to do that.


So the illusion of stability and this like whole just workforce thing has been toppled with COVID because there is no stability. It's an illusion. It always has been. And so when I say to people you have way more way more like just ability to provide for yourself and to figure it out when you work for yourself than ever relying on one person in your organization, which is technically probably your manager to get that for you in a year's time.


And I always say, you spend 12 months trying to get 10K of an increase from one person. Imagine what you could get by spending 12 months on another thing. And people are starting to see that that, like it doesn't add up. Why would I do that? Why would I stick around? And we also know this with talent and HR, that if we got hit by a bus tomorrow, people would replace us in corporate America. They would have the JD ready the next day.


Chad (37:22.446)

Mm-hmm.


Anessa Fike (37:26.49)

People are starting to just see that this illusion, this wall that's been built up by corporate America is just continuing to topple down. And to be honest, a lot of people are like, what is left to fight for? Not much. And so while I joke and say like, now is the time, give me the gasoline and let me light the match in the book, it's not actually that high of a wall to burn down anymore because it's been toppling.


through COVID, through everyone seeing, through a lot of these initiatives that are bullshit, right? People are not stupid. And they see you for what you are. And so if you're not authentic or you wanna be like Samsung and say, there's a crisis, we need six days a week, they're gonna be like, that's stupid, bye.


So I think that people are just getting fed up, they're smart, people, organizations can't hide shit as easily anymore, and so I think all of that is coming to light.


Chad (38:22.391)

Mm-hmm.


Joel Cheesman (38:25.329)

So, Nessa, I don't want to be burned at the stake. I'm attached to my head. I don't want it severed off. What can us white guys do to be an ally?


Anessa Fike (38:27.89)

Ha ha!


Anessa Fike (38:35.17)

I love that question. Thank you for asking me that Joel. Honestly, speak up. I mean, like, how many times have you all probably been in a meeting where you've heard someone talk over someone where you've hear someone speak in a way that was unbecoming about somebody when you've heard, oh, they're just here because of this and that, or they were the diversity higher all the bullshit that we all hear, right? Say something like tell people it's not okay.


Joel Cheesman (38:39.046)

You're welcome.


Anessa Fike (39:06.226)

That continued routine is going to be helpful because we also, the thing is, we need your help in making this change. We need allies to make this change. There's a good friend of mine that said those with power are not going to give it up willingly. And I actually think that some of us will. Right? Like I would like to give some of my power up willingly. I have.


And I just, I'm actually still an optimist, even though I wrote this book. I'm actually still an optimist. I actually think there are a lot of really good people out there. So if more of you, if more people that look like me, if we can like say, speak up and say like, this isn't right, this is the way we should actually be thinking about these things, I think we can actually make some, you know, make some movement.


Chad (39:56.89)

Don't be a bystander kids actually get involved. That's an S a fight the name of the book is the revolution of work Fuck the PA Patriarchy and the workplace it built that sounds like a series that should be on Netflix by the way so an S if somebody if somebody wants to buy the book, where would you send them?


Anessa Fike (39:58.769)

Yeah.


Anessa Fike (40:11.546)

Look, we're working on it. Ha ha ha.


Anessa Fike (40:17.814)

Amazon, you know, it's still leading in the publishing world Amazon actually rules the publishing world for better or worse, right?


Chad (40:20.066)

Too easy.


Joel Cheesman (40:26.173)

Chad loves it when people give Jeff Bezos some more money to fight the patriarchy. Keep the guillotine away from me, Anessa. That is another one in the can. We out.


Chad (40:26.39)

Keyword, keyword, fuck the patriarchy.


Anessa Fike (40:29.09)

Right, revolution work, talk to you, Draggy.


Oh my gosh.


Anessa Fike (40:37.179)

Hahahaha

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