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If you attended UNLEASH in Paris earlier this month, you know what a must-attend event it is. If you didn’t attend, well, we’d better see you there next year.

Marc Coleman, the man behind the conference, sat down with Chad & Cheese for a rundown of the highlights, as well as preview the show in Vegas next spring.



INTRO (1s):

Hi, your kids. Lock the Doors. You're listening to HR's most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheeseman are here to punch the recruiting industry right where it hurts. Complete with breaking news, brash opinion, and loads of snark. Buckle up boys and girls. It's time for the Chad and Cheese podcast.

Joel (24s):

Oh, yeah. What's up buddy? You know where we are. It's Unleash World, Paris, France. This is the Chad and Cheese podcast.

Chad (31s):

He's like a kid with candy.

Joel (32s):

I'm your co-host Joel Cheeseman, with my sidekick Chad Sowash. And we have Marc Coleman, CEO of this very conference that we are in attendance. Unleash. Marc, welcome to the show.

Marc (45s):

Thanks guys. Great to be back.

Chad (47s):

He loves it.Loves it.

Marc (48s):

It's great to be back.

Joel (49s):

It's great to be back.

Marc (50s):

It is. That's the way to enter.

Joel (52s):

You're smiling so big. Not just because of how this show is gone, but I'm sure after a year or two of virtual events, it's so much better to have people face to face rubbing elbows and shaking hands.

Marc (1m 6s):

Hundred percent. I've just been going around telling everyone I've been holding the bull by the tail for the last three years.

Chad (1m 11s):

Oh yeah.

Marc (1m 12s):

It's been three years since the last Unleash World. So Yeah. It's amazing. Everyone, you can see it in everyone's face. Yeah.

Joel (1m 19s):


Marc (1m 20s):

For most people, this is their first event back and yeah. Just the faces, everything. The smiles. I've seen a lot of crying at this one. I didn't see that in Vegas.

Joel (1m 29s):

Tears of joy. I hope.

Marc (1m 30s):

Tears of joy. Yeah.

Chad (1m 32s):

Tears of joy.

Marc (1m 33s):

Yeah. I mean, well exception to the maybe some of the exhibitor services.

Joel (1m 37s):

And it's not just because of the dessert tray, which brought me to tears of joy. The French pastries.

Chad (1m 44s):

Oh yes.

Joel (1m 44s):

Which make me want to cry.

Chad (1m 45s):

Yeah. If you're an American, you know, a long John. This is like the basic. Oh, it's amazing.

Joel (1m 50s):

I've had more sugar in the last two hours than I've had in the last two years, I think. Thanks Paris.

Chad (1m 56s):


Joel (1m 57s):

Thanks Paris. I got to watch all of and more cheese and more wine as well. Yeah.

Marc (2m 2s):

Yeah. World capital for gastronomy and lots of other things. So yeah. We're spoiled rotten here this week.

Joel (2m 7s):

Amazing city. Do you ever think about other cities for Unleashed? Do you ever think about expanding? I know we'll talk about the US expansion in a second, but are are you pretty set with the one show in Paris every year?

Marc (2m 18s):

I think so. We've options go to other places. Like we were in London for seven years, but yeah. You know, that's squirt shirt now at the moment. The government have kind of screwed up a little over the last decade. So they're in for a horrible winter. Not to be Game of Thrones or anything, but it's going to be tough. And I think there's, Yeah. So there's no point in being in the UK next year. And I'd feel for anyone in the events industry that that will be. There are obvious places like Middle East and Asia Pacific, but, you know, just planting a flag out there for the sake of planting. Like we do get asked a lot.

Chad (2m 56s):


Marc (2m 56s):

We get inquiries every week asking us to bring Unleash to another country or region. But for me it's, Yeah, I think we're kinda really celebrating Western values, Europe and America.

Joel (3m 7s):

And I love, I love the focus as well. I love the focus. We were talking to Kate earlier.

Chad (3m 11s):

Oh yeah.

Joel (3m 11s):

And she talks about how as soon as this show's over, we're gonna be talking about next year in Paris. And it's that kind of laser focus that I think makes the show so successful.

Marc (3m 20s):


Joel (3m 21s):

You don't get spread too thin.

Marc (3m 22s):

Yeah. I mean, you just met the girls from Coca-Cola.

Joel (3m 26s):


Marc (3m 26s):

They're coming from West Coast America.

Joel (3m 28s):


Marc (3m 28s):

Like, you wouldn't expect that over here.

Chad (3m 31s):

Atlanta. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. It was funny because we actually had comments. I can't believe there are so many Americans here. Yeah, yeah. I mean they're people from all over Europe, but there were

Joel (3m 41s):

Do you have any numbers around that? Like what percentage are Americans or

Marc (3m 46s):

Yeah, our US percentage is around 18%.

Joel (3m 50s):


Chad (3m 50s):


Marc (3m 51s):

So, yeah. It's good.

Chad (3m 52s):

Not too shabby.

Marc (3m 52s):

No, it's good.

Joel (3m 53s):

I bet it knocks on the door of 25% next year. Yeah. With so many listeners of our show alone, we'll probably drive that much increase.

Chad (4m 4s):

Thank God. Yes. So three years ago, what's different today, other than the obvious, you know, pandemic stuff. What is different today doing a show in Paris versus 2019?

Marc (4m 16s):

Well, I think finally the face-to-face, the difference of that and, you know, the big trends that have happened. Cause you know, I have to talk about, we've time traveled, everything we talked about in 2019. Even things like flexible work, all the big trends.

Chad (4m 31s):

Oh yeah.

Marc (4m 32s):

Felt impossible to a lot of employers.

Chad (4m 34s):


Marc (4m 34s):

And then it happens.

Chad (4m 35s):

It took about five minutes for them to figure that shit out.

Joel (4m 38s):

Look at some of the biggest, you know, booths here. It's DEEL, it's Eightfold, it's Remote. Some companies that weren't even here in 2019 are now really prevalent in our industry now, just three years later.

Marc (4m 50s):

Yeah. All the scale ups are here and they've been given bags of money and they have to go and prove themselves now.

Joel (4m 57s):


Marc (4m 57s):

Yeah. Or their investors are gonna stick to them. So it's good. It, like, shakes up the market quite a bit. Yeah. And I see the behavior of the big elephants, you know, the old guys in the industry and that's changing too.

Joel (5m 10s):

Say more about that.

Marc (5m 11s):

I see that, you know, if you look at Oracle, Workday, UKG, Cornerstone, you know, if you look at all of these guys, SAP SuccessFactors, they're all new crew.

Joel (5m 22s):


Marc (5m 22s):

The Cornerstone team here, it's all new.

Joel (5m 24s):


Marc (5m 24s):

It's a new crew. Success Factors the same. They have a different shape now. I only found that out today. They've got president of product, a CMO, and I'm trying to remember what the other position, I think customer success in the third one.

Joel (5m 35s):

New vibe.

Marc (5m 38s):


Joel (5m 38s):

New energy.

Marc (5m 39s):

Really new vibe, leadership. Really great team.

Chad (5m 41s):


Marc (5m 42s):

Yeah. Loving it. Yeah. And the same over at Oracle. Like Chris Havre and the gang have gone like, you know, there's a lot of change going on in the marketplace and these guys are looking to rewrite work.

Chad (5m 54s):


Marc (5m 55s):

And be a part of the future of work. So, and the energy, they're all turbocharge and the pain that's in the market, they're looking to fix that. The conversations are like, this is the first time we get to talk about it out loud scatter. So there's no bullshitting. There's no bullshitting amongst these people. They're in the industry a very long time. So, yeah. I'm really excited by what we can now do. Cuz it feels like for us as well, those, those partnerships are cemented only by the face to face. Cause everything we've done so far has been looking at Zoom. Yeah. And phone calls and stuff like that. So it's our first time getting face to face with this as well.

Chad (6m 32s):

So what about startups? What's different? We're there more startups this time? We're there less startups this time?

Marc (6m 37s):

Yeah, there was, well we were last being very honest in all of this cuz we just did Vegas.

Chad (6m 42s):


Marc (6m 42s):

My guys were completely burned from it.

Chad (6m 43s):


Marc (6m 43s):

My guys are coming.

Chad (6m 45s):

That's a hell of a turnaround.

Marc (6m 47s):

My team are totally new.

Chad (6m 48s):


Marc (6m 48s):

The old team unfortunately had to go because of, I had to leave them go the pandemic. There was no work for them. So there was no events and that was two years long. So the whole team are virtual working, they've never done this before.

Chad (7m 2s):

That's gotta be weird for not just you, but I mean, but for the team, just getting used to creating like a new culture because

Marc (7m 10s):

Absolutely. A hundred percent.

Chad (7m 11s):


Marc (7m 11s):

I was talking to Aaron Meyer about it this morning actually trying to get some ideas from her. And Amazon and our marketing team, our marketing team is shocked by the scale of the show. They didn't expect any of this.

Chad (7m 27s):


Marc (7m 27s):

Yeah. I think they were expecting something similar to what we did in Vegas. So they've been shocked. And that's my marketing team. So they're learning, they're actually only learning by doing an experiencing. Yeah.

Joel (7m 38s):

So yeah. You know Chad, you mentioned the startups here and I think you guys do a really great job of, you know, they don't have the money for a full-fledged booth.

Marc (7m 46s):


Joel (7m 46s):

So you set up sort of kiosk or islands for them that they can they can be here. Yeah. Talk to the buyers, talk to decision makers. Talk to people like us who have aa voice. Is that gonna be, are you, I guess from an economic standpoint, are you seeing more startups come because I think you have a really good feel of the European market and the economy. Like what's sort of your sense based on startup interest and even maybe the big guys, what's the economy gonna be looking like in Europe in 2023, 2024 by your estimation?

Marc (8m 18s):

I think economy-wise, UK's going to take the brunt of it.

Joel (8m 21s):

Of the pain?

Marc (8m 23s):

Of the pain. Yeah. Just because of what's happened in recent weeks as well. Brexit's catching up on them. You've got that instability of government.

Chad (8m 32s):

Yeah. Have the instability of their commerce too. I mean, when you, when you have 40 ish countries on one, I mean there's stability there and they broke away from the stability.

Marc (8m 42s):

Yeah, exactly. So, and I think we'll be better at weathering that we'll still feel the pain. Yeah. Putin will turn off the gas this winter. Yeah. And I think over to you guys in America, I think you'll have a mild recession. I think all of this has been tackled along the way the economy has taken its hits. So I don't think it's the Armageddon that you hear from certain economists.

Joel (9m 2s):

So Yeah, I know we keep talking about companies getting money. We think every week like, oh, it's gonna end eventually they're gonna stop getting money and the money is still flowing. And I talked to someone even in the venture space, he thinks that the powder is so dry going in the next year that we're gonna keep hiring, there's still gonna be low unemployment and there's gonna be a massive money coming to our space as if there hasn't been in the last two years. So I think it's real exciting for people like us to talk about and for you to showcase you.

Marc (9m 30s):

You've nailed it there. Like there's, I know the number and it's a stupid number so I'm not gonna say it on this call. There's a lot of money sitting on the background.

Joel (9m 39s):


Marc (9m 39s):

Because they see this space as the kind of, it's been the last, it's a HR thing. We're kind of always last to the table slow. Yeah. And the investors, there's a lot of money sitting in the background.

Joel (9m 53s):


Marc (9m 53s):

Ready to come back into the industry. So I think it's about consolidation. I think it's about the scale ups, the unicorns having to prove themselves now.

Chad (10m 1s):


Marc (10m 1s):

Yeah. Because they're, you can see how aggressive they're being. Yeah. It's healthy. Like if I look at it 10 years ago it was only Kenexa, Taleo, and SuccessFactors.

Joel (10m 10s):

Right. We remember.

Marc (10m 12s):

The Unicorns. Right?

Joel (10m 13s):

It was a simpler time.

Chad (10m 13s):

Yeah. Well that being said, this is not 10 years because the pandemic but the 10th show. So let's talk about evolution. What did Unleash, Unleash look like 10 years ago versus what you've evolved into today?

Marc (10m 29s):

Yeah. Well 10 years ago, it's a funny one. I was telling this story to the guys on the HireVue stand, the CEO on the higher review stand earlier. And we started at the Okura in Amsterdam. And yeah, when I thought back on it, there was lots of things. Like I originally signed up at the Hilton Hotel and that fell through, they canceled with me like about three months before the event. I kind of felt like, this is gonna Marc, you've really like, this is the one. This is the one that's gonna put you behind bars. And I was like, okay. I said to Vicky, we were the end of August, I remember going down an escalator in Budapest, down to the underground and I said, What are we going to do we have no delegates on board?

Marc (11m 15s):

And it was just, the event was in November back then. And we sat down, we figured it out, we worked with our partners. Workday was the belle of the ball. They didn't have an office back then. It was the start of the cloud. So we jumped on that wave. That was our surf. They were very good to us. And we got 420 people into the Okura. Okay. And it was weird things that happened. Like Oracle spent nine grand for a roll up or something like that. I'm not kidding. A roll up. Like they don't look like roll ups.

Chad (11m 47s):

No, you can't see these booths. But these are legit and just looking at them, there's so much color, so much space, so much diversity.

Joel (11m 56s):

And there's a good amount of space. Like if I go to some shows, everyone's crammed together like a bunch of Brownstones. Yeah. Here I can go to four corners of the conference and see pretty much everybody from those corners. I don't have to go design aisle.

Chad (12m 10s):

That's a design thing right?

Joel (12m 11s):

Yeah. Design wise, very European, very good design on this show floor.

Marc (12m 14s):

So there's exactly that. And, we're working more on that cuz again, we're learning by doing and I like SAP are looking at next time they want to do more activations, more around customer experience and not just have this big massive stand in the middle of everything. Yeah. They, so and that's great. I like that. I really enjoy that. But if I look at Oracle back then, it was like they gotta deal with control risks that was worth 90 million off the back of that nine grand investment. Right. So, and that's why we scaled after that. Yeah. Like that was the amazing thing that happened. So it was, and we screwed everything up like, and okay, we messed a few things up here this year in Paris as well as did our suppliers.

Marc (12m 55s):

But back then it was things like, I remember Thomas Otter trying to get, you know, the projector to work and he had to shout to the sound guys at the back of the room over the audience to go to the next slide. Or the lanyards. The lanyards. We tangled them all up. So when, and just in time for everyone arriving. So.

Chad (13m 14s):

You had untangling duty.

Marc (13m 14s):

With untangling and that was one hour of untangling. We were doing drops at 4:00 AM in the morning with the lads at Cornerstone. That was hilarious. And so we had about one hour of sleep. We were wrecked the next day. So, it's knowing that and then, you know, I talked to Ryan Visier yesterday and their biggest customer, Deutsche Bank comes from this show in 2019.

Chad (13m 37s):

Holy shit. And tying all that back is amazing.

Marc (13m 41s):

I know. We gotta have fun with this now.

Chad (13m 43s):


Marc (13m 44s):

And which it was Pfizer signed with them after the Vegas show in May as well. So it's like that. And that's what it's all about. We're looking at product and buyers. That's what I'm really after with the show now. So we didn't know that was going to be the outcome in 20, you know, 10 years ago. Yeah. Now that's what we're chasing after. So.

Joel (14m 4s):

So you mentioned America, let's talk about the next event.

Chad (14m 6s):

Ought oh, here it comes.

Joel (14m 7s):

You have some announcements that you may or may not want make public, but tell us what to expect in in Vegas.

Chad (14m 15s):

Too bad.

Marc (14m 15s):

Vegas. So yeah, the big move is we're moving to Caesars Palace. Yeah, sorry.

Joel (14m 20s):

Is that in May again?

Marc (14m 21s):

Caesar's forum, the new convention center.

Joel (14m 23s):

What are the dates on that?

Marc (14m 26s):

26th and 27th of April.

Joel (14m 28s):

April. Oh, April. Okay. April. Right.

Chad (14m 30s):

Caesar's forum. Talk to us about that.

Marc (14m 32s):

It's this amazing new venue. Oracle world is there next week, so they're test driving the place for us. And I was at the NFL draft there a few months ago and that happened there and it was just amazing. I loved it so much.

Joel (14m 45s):

Really tiny screens from what I saw.

Chad (14m 47s):


Marc (14m 48s):

We're looking to bring the festival vibes. So we're building the main stage on the car park outside and then the plaza is where we're going to do all the hot daytime hospitality and night summit.

Chad (14m 56s):


Marc (14m 56s):

Shannon from HireEazy's kind of getting in there and helping us get that off the ground. Yeah,

Chad (15m 4s):

Of course she is.

Joel (15m 5s):

She's the best. She's brilliant. She's awesome.

Marc (15m 6s):

Awesome. And yeah, she is, she's really good. And then we've got the high roller so we can do whatever we want with that.

Chad (15m 15s):

Big ass Ferris wheel.

Marc (15m 16s):

Yes. But it's like you get to experience, you can do cocktails and kind of just have, you know, analyst meetups or you could even do a standing podcast or whatever you want.

Joel (15m 27s):

Sign checks over some bourbon. Always nice.

Chad (15m 29s):

There are bars in some of the pods.

Marc (15m 31s):

Yeah. Yes. So you get that outside area and then it's a bit like a mullet. I hate saying this cuz I'm probably putting my, you know, it's not a good marketing ploy but it's business to the front and party to the back. Although I love about the party is you never see daylight in Vegas. You never get fresh air. So's gonna be able to deliver fresh air, really good ambience, keep people awake and energized. And then inside you've got the exhibition a little bit like this, but we've learned so much from this. We'll probably change up the floor plan for that one as well. We'll have podcast areas as you guys know.

Joel (16m 3s):


Chad (16m 3s):

I love the podcast area by the way here today.

Joel (16m 6s):

I love this, you guys crushed this little corner here for us.

Marc (16m 11s):

And to your point on startups, then we invest in the startups because that's our youth program. That's our youth academy.

Joel (16m 16s):

The farm system over there.

Marc (16m 16s):

And I love it. Yesterday, you know the guy that won the competition yesterday, he wasn't expecting the $150 grand. I have to give a shout out to Jason and Thomas Oder, Jason Carello and Thomas Oder at Acadian. Cuz they put a hundred grand in. We always put 50 grand in. Yeah. And so it's 150 grand. The guy who was absolutely shocked.

Chad (16m 36s):

Hell yeah.

Marc (16m 36s):

Didn't expect anything.

Joel (16m 36s):


Marc (16m 36s):

He just wanted the trophy or the recognition.

Chad (16m 38s):


Marc (16m 38s):

So, and I'd like to talk to them. I don't wanna do it the way we used to do it in the old days and just have them in a corner. They bring great energy to all the big vendors and the big vendors all have their venture funds. So they're looking to see where they're gonna pick up these startups.

Joel (16m 53s):

Yeah. Oh yeah. The next acquisitions and investments are over in the corner.

Marc (16m 58s):

About startups is they're filling a hole in the market. They know the pain in the marketplace and they're going right after it. And even if I tell them their product is crap, they're going to change the world. Is it, you know, they're going like we hurt a lot of feelings. Any of the 40 startups that didn't progress to the five finalists, they're pretty pissed off. So that was a valuable there we need to get our arms around them a little bit more.

Joel (17m 22s):


Marc (17m 22s):

We just sent them a kind of sorry note you didn't get to the 905.

Joel (17m 26s):


Marc (17m 26s):

So the stuff that we need to work on to help them and give them the feedback. Cuz there was this serious rigor in the judging. Oh yeah. There was far more people in like

Chad (17m 38s):

10 judges. Right?

Marc (17m 39s):

Well here on the day but before I think it was like something like 19 or 20.

Chad (17m 43s):

Oh wow.

Marc (17m 43s):

Right. And all the kind of thought leaders or influencers and analysts in the industry. So it was good. There was a lot of rigor went into it. But yeah, we've learned even after all our years of doing it, we've learned a lot to kind of how to kick it up. But yeah, we've gotta invest in our startups. We've gotta give them a leg off.

Joel (17m 59s):

Yeah. They're getting kicked where it hurts every day. I think they'll get over the not winning the startup competition.

Chad (18m 4s):

They'll be Okay.

Marc (18m 5s):

Back in 2011 they weren't allowed into any of the HR events so we were the first event to take them on.

Joel (18m 11s):


Marc (18m 11s):

And the first to do a competition in the industry. So I'm very proud of the legacy we there.

Joel (18m 18s):

You should be.

Marc (18m 19s):

And I think we can dial it up actually, especially now that we're working with Thomas and Jason. They've been really great. And it's last So this partnership has only been like six weeks ago. Yeah. That's all.

Joel (18m 31s):

You guys work fast.

Marc (18m 32s):

We pulled it together that quickly. Yeah, it's been really good.

Chad (18m 37s):

That is amazing. Well it was funny, we were just talking to Lieven from House of HR and they own about 50 companies under the umbrella. And Lieven was looking around, we're like, what are you doing? He was like maybe a little shopping.

Joel (18m 52s):

A little shopping.

Marc (18m 54s):

I love that.

Chad (18m 55s):

Yeah. Yeah.

Marc (18m 56s):

You know, and they need schooling. They come here very green, they go onto the competition, they get tough questions cuz there's the pedigree or the DNA is like analyst. Practitioner.

Chad (19m 5s):


Marc (19m 6s):

Thought leader. You know, everyone is there that has the know-how and experience. So they get asked tough questions and then they can go home. Whether they've been beaten to that, we're not setting them up to fail.

Chad (19m 15s):


Marc (19m 16s):

That's the most important thing. Right. So you can actually go home and tweak and rebuild. Yeah. Or you know, and it's just that one thing that could change instead of going two years that way.

Joel (19m 29s):


Marc (19m 29s):

There's always shortcuts. So I think, and look everyone here is trying to prop up the startups and give them a good chance.

Joel (19m 35s):

No doubt, no doubt. Well Marc, we know you're a busy guy. You got this whole conference thing, but we thank you for stopping by. For any of our listeners that wanna know more about Unleash, where should they go?

Marc (19m 54s):

Joel (19m 54s):

And we'll see you in Vegas.

Chad (19m 58s):

In Vegas baby.

Chad and Cheese (19m 59s):

We out.

OUTRO (19m 60s):

Thank you for listening to, what's it called? The podcast with Chad, the Cheese. Brilliant. They talk about recruiting. They talk about technology, but most of all, they talk about nothing. Just a lot of Shout Outs of people, you don't even know and yet you're listening. It's incredible. And not one word about cheese, not one cheddar, blue, nacho, pepper jack, Swiss. So many cheeses and not one word. So weird. Any hoo be sure to subscribe today on iTunes, Spotify, Google play, or wherever you listen to your podcasts, that way you won't miss an episode.

OUTRO (20m 42s):

And while you're at it, visit just don't expect to find any recipes for grilled cheese. Is so weird. We out


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