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UpWork is Blowin' Up, Unleash's 'Magic' Trick

Live from Unleash in Vegas, the boys are covering the conference and all the wild 'n' wonderful things they've done with sponsors, Jobpixel and Plum (while looking good in some Montreal Canadiens jerseys from HiringBranch), while also covering some of the hottest news from the week. What's that, you ask? How about Upwork crushing their quarterly earnings, a "Big Nude Boat" cruise and a roundup of all things Unleash, which included a keynote from Magic Johnson. Plus, new CEOs at VONQ and a new CTO at iCIMS. Enjoy.


Intro: 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.

Joel: Oh, yeah. Just two guys who love a rainy night. It's such a beautiful sight. Hey, kids, you're listening to the Chad and Cheese podcast.

Chad: Eddie Rabbit.

Joel: I'm your co-host, Joel Gollum Cheeseman.


Chad: And I'm Chad, I was over served, Sowash.

Joel: And on this week's episode, Chad and Cheese are unleashed Upwork crash, crushes. And who's ready for naked cruises?

Chad: No.

Joel: Let's do this. Eddie Rabbit, that's right.

Chad: I love a rainy night. I love a rainy night. Ooh.

Joel: One hit wonders from the early '80s are always fun.

Chad: Yeah, dude, didn't he... I don't know. I can't remember, anyway.

Joel: So much success for Eddie Rabbit. It's been a long week, hasn't it?


Chad: It has been a very, very long week. Especially for you, I mean, you were at the Kentucky Derby, that weekend was a full weekend. You were suited up, you were dudded up.

Joel: I went over the top, didn't I? Yeah.

Chad: Yeah. We both looked awesome.

Joel: It was the 150th running of the derby.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: It's the oldest still running sports event in the United States. So we thought we should do it and do it right.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: The first day is the Oaks, it's all the female horses. It's for females, I think breast cancer awareness. So everyone wears...

Chad: Oh, sweet.

Joel: Pink suits.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: So I was in a pink suit.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: With little horses on it. And then I rocked the powder blue...

Chad: You looked good.

Joel: Suit on the next day. Lots of cigars.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: Lots of mint juleps.

Chad: Oh, yeah.

Joel: And then a small reprieve, and then come to Vegas. So no rest for the wicked. You on the other hand had a very restful stint in Santa Fe. Tell me about that.

Chad: Lucky enough, Julie and I have never been to Santa Fe before, but we've heard amazing things. We have a friend that, our friends that actually live there, so we thought, well, the week before UNLEASH, we're on our way that way anyway. And Santa Fe, people, is fucking amazing.

Joel: Yeah.

Chad: The food there is amazing. I went to have some Big Nose Kate cocktails in downtown Santa Fe by the rail yard.

Joel: Yep.

Chad: We went to Bandelier. We did some hiking. And the indigenous people, I think...

Joel: The natives?

Chad: Yes. They had the pueblo, like the canyon there in Bandelier. And they had the old style ladders that you would climb up...

Joel: Okay.

Chad: To go up the mountain. And Julie was scared shitless.

Joel: Yeah?

Chad: And she went up all the way.

Joel: So is this where the natives lived in, like caves within the mountain?

Chad: Yep.

Joel: Yeah. When I lived in Arizona, there was a tribe that did something similar. I don't know which one it was, but yeah.

Chad: It was a blast.

Joel: It was very cool how the way that it has remained after all these years...

Chad: Oh, yeah.

Joel: Is really incredible for sure.

Chad: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Joel: So yeah, two opposing weekends, but we're brought together here in Vegas. We got a lot to cover and a lot of people to visit here at the show. Let's get to shout outs.

Chad: Okay.

Joel: You got one that's pretty juicy.

Chad: Yeah. I mean, right outta the gate, we found out this morning that our friend Al Smith, the iCIMS CTO is retiring, right. And this is, this to me, first and foremost, I mean, Al deserves some cocktails and a beach.

Joel: Sure.

Chad: The guy's been in the industry...

Joel: A foot rub and a Perrier.

Chad: Yeah, forever man. What an amazing dude. And if you've ever listened to episodes with Al Smith, you know he's incredibly smart and just damn personal. He automatically dumbs down the complexity, unlike most CTOs. So he's just kinda like that common dude who just has a big brain and we're gonna miss him.

Joel: Yep.

Chad: Although I reached out because we've shared some drinks before, I said, "Hey, look, now you're out from under the umbrella of iCIMS, let's do that again. And let's talk about tech and let's talk about inside and outside of the industry." Because he's such a smart dude. So hopefully we'll have some bourbon and a cigar and have a fun tech chat with Al Smith.

Joel: Yeah. Al is a super fan.

Chad: Love Al.

Joel: If you'll, I think he may have worn a Chad and Cheese t-shirt on stage at an iCIMS event at some point. He will remain in an advisory role...

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: During the transition. But by all accounts, he will be retiring as we all hope to do at some point.

Chad: Yes. But the new CTO is Joseph Benjamin.

Joel: Yeah.

Chad: He was a senior software engineer for IBM, listen, back in the mid 1990s.

Joel: Yep.

Chad: To the late 1990s, right. His first gig as a CTO was in 2001. Yeah kids, do the math, over 20 years ago with Net Identity and was group VP and CTO at Oracle from 2017-2021. And he just left Behavox, which is an enterprise platform that unifies all types of data into single data lakes, allowing users to query the data applying, listen, I bet you've never heard this before, machine learning and AI. Yeah, does that tell you anything?

Joel: That's a new one. That's a new one on me. Yeah.

Chad: Does that tell you anything?

Joel: Yeah.

Chad: So, I mean, this to me, I think it was pretty awesome, Al incredibly smart, amazing dude.

Joel: Yep.

Chad: And it sounds like Joseph, hopefully he likes bourbon as well. So maybe all four of us can have a chat.

Joel: There will be another iCIMS event.

Chad: Oh, there will be.

Joel: In the future.

Chad: Oh, yes.

Joel: Also have to mention Eric Connors is the new Chief Product Officer there...

Chad: Good call. Good call.

Joel: At iCIMS. He had previously worked at ICE Mortgage.

Chad: Excuse me?

Joel: ICE Mortgage.

Chad: Excuse me?

Joel: I know, right. But they're not the only company, Chad, this week that announced a new CEO.

Chad: Yes, yes.

Joel: Can I interest you in a shot of VONQ in your Vegas morning.

Chad: I need a shot to make sure I don't get the VONQ.

Joel: That's right. So Ritu Mohanka.

Chad: Yes.

Joel: Hopefully I said that correctly, she is the new CEO of Holland-based VONQ. The company says she's a seasoned HR tech veteran, with executive roles at IBM and LinkedIn. So, VONQ we had wondered who would replace or who would come in after Arno.

Chad: Yep.

Joel: We have our answer.

Chad: We have our answer. The thing that I thought was interesting is that Ritu has amazing industry experience, right. She was at Brass Ring, it was acquired by IBM, then she was in leadership at IBM, LinkedIn. She actually spent a little time with our friends over at Syndio.

Joel: Yep.

Chad: So, I mean, really great experience and impressive career. There's one tell here, though.

Joel: Tell me.

Chad: Every single part of that journey was focused in EMEA.

Joel: Yep.

Chad: Not the United States.

Joel: Yep.

Chad: EMEA. So the big question is, and we've kept hearing from VONQ that they're still alive and kicking in the US, but this to me isn't proof of that. You can see that she's incredibly impressive and competent. But that is... Her expertise is EMEA, right? It's not the United States. So it's gonna be interesting to see what they do to move, if they do anything in the US or just continues to atrophy like it has.

Joel: Yep.

Chad: Over the past six months to a year.

Joel: Yep. And I'll add that, having another female CEO...

Chad: I love that.

Joel: In the industry is a great thing. We spoke to Rebecca Carr at SmartRecruiters. So impressive women in our space is always a good thing.

Chad: Yes. But real quick, I wanna shout out to SmartRecruiters. Take that interim off her and let her swing that bat. Right? She's the interim CEO right now. She has a great history with SmartRecruiters. She left, came back.

Joel: Yep.

Chad: I really, I want to see another female CEO. But we talked to her yesterday and I was blown away at just not how smart she was...

Joel: Yep.

Chad: But how much history that she came out with. She was talking about what...

Joel: Branch out.

Chad: Be known, branch out. You know, I'm like, holy shit. So anyway.

Joel: She knows the space and loves it too.

Chad: Oh, yeah.

Joel: Which is, which is great.

Chad: Which is exactly what we need. And we've been talking about. Right? So make her the CEO goddamnit.

Joel: So, you're saying that not as a SmartRecruiter's shareholder...

Chad: No, no.

Joel: Just as a spectator. Okay, let's just throw that out there.

Chad: Just as a guy sitting back and watching this thing, look like it's on a crash course. Right? It needs leadership. And I mean, hell, I mean, somebody who loves the industry that much has been in product, I mean, pretty much in biz dev in some cases. I mean she, to me, she sounds like the perfect person. Plus she has ties to Jerome too.

Joel: We don't know if she loves free booze and t-shirts, but she probably does, Chad. Tell us about that.

Chad: T-shirts from ERIN app. We've got the new Guns N' Roses design, Chad and Cheese Guns N' Roses design, ERIN app on the back. They actually did this design just for the t-shirt.

Joel: It's an original.

Chad: Just for the t-shirt.

Joel: It's an original. Your kids may wanna wear it. It's so original.

Chad: Well, they will. Yeah. And it's so silky smooth. It's soft.

Joel: Oh yes, it is.

Chad: Beer by Aspen Tech Labs. That's right, kids. One winner a month will actually win craft beer delivered to their front door from Aspen Tech Labs and Chad and Cheese. Whiskey by Textkernel, Chad and Cheese, send Whiskey to one lucky listener a month. And if it's your birthday, you will get a chance to win, possibly rum, some high dollar rum from Plum. But you gotta go to and register.

Joel: And in case I didn't mention, Chad, we are recording Live from the Daxtra booth.

Chad: We are.

Joel: Here in Las Vegas.

Chad: And if you're watching on YouTube, you can see.

Joel: And speaking of Plum, we will pass on birthdays this week.

Chad: Okay.

Joel: Because we are recording live. We will catch up.

Chad: Well, because they over served me last night and we can't do it anyway.

Joel: Last week. So speaking of live episodes...

Chad: Yes.

Joel: We're gonna be live in a couple of weeks outta Scotland.

Chad: Scotland.

Joel: Tell us about that.

Chad: So yeah, Scotland for truGlasgow and truEdinburgh. Do you know who is joining us in Scotland? Matt Alder.

Joel: Yep.

Chad: Daxtra.

Joel: Love it.

Chad: Yeah. We've got so many great companies. PayPal, Lloyds of London. Diageo, E&Y, AMS, Brooks Automation. The Scottish government. Yes, the government's gonna be there. They heard we were coming.

Joel: Run, Steven. Run, Steven.

Chad: They heard that we were coming, so they had to be there. But sponsors Daxtra, you see them here, Ashby Solutions, Driven,, Willow and Poetry. Just go to Tru. That's Register for both of them, either in Glasgow, Edinburgh, or do 'em both.

Joel: Yeah. If you're in Scotland, please come on. See us.

Chad: Oh come on, man.

Joel: Come say hi.

Chad: Come have a whiskey.

Joel: Come a nice peaty dram of Scotch with Chad 'cause he loves it so much. But if you're not gonna be in Scotland, don't worry. We'll be publishing all the episodes from our thoughtful conversations with Scots.

Chad: Yeah. Except for all of those that we're gonna have behind closed doors during the Tru events. Because what happens at Tru stays at Tru kids, also in Vegas. That's what I've heard. Anyway.

Joel: But what doesn't stay...

Chad: Yes.

Joel: On the Chad and Cheese podcast does data goes out everywhere. Okay.

Chad: Yes, it is.

Joel: Actually not, it's only on YouTube, guys. We just recorded the monthly jobs report highlights, lowlights, predictions for next month with our friend Toby Dayton, CEO at LinkUp.

Chad: Oh, man.

Joel: If you haven't checked that out, go to It's about 20 minutes. You'll be smarter, I promise.


Chad: Topics. It's topics, baby.

Joel: All right. Layoffs.

Chad: Layoffs.

Joel: Good god, big G, Google has laid off 200 folks from key teams like Flutter, Dart, and Python before its IO developer conference, citing reorganization for efficiency. There it is again, Chad, the year of efficiency and aligning resources with priorities. The layoffs were part of "normal business with affected employees able to apply for other roles." Any concern here about Big G in the layoffs, Chad?

Chad: Yeah, I mean, it's only 200. Google is a very, very large fucking company. So 200, not that big of a deal, but here's what I gotta say. A Google spokesperson confirmed the cuts and said, "The impacted workers will be able to apply for other open roles at the company." Right? So, thanks for working here. There's the door.

Joel: Appreciate it.

Chad: And feel free to apply for jobs just like every other schmuck out there.

Joel: Yeah.

Chad: That does not feel like a red carpet experience by any means. Right? But again, just 200.

Joel: Yep.

Chad: Then think about, they were talking about the efficiency side. So if Google is looking to drive efficiency and cut costs, you place an already employed Google worker inside the company, it's faster, it's cheaper than trying to find somebody from the outside. Unless this is a signal that we're getting ready to see more offshoring from Google. I'm not sure we will see. But they have leadership positions.

Joel: Yep.

Chad: Being off shored.

Joel: Yep.

Chad: Let's see what happens.

Joel: It's interesting. You know, Google is really good at killing, euthanizing projects that aren't working.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: We've seen it in our own space a few times.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: They're really good about just killing stuff that doesn't work. So to me, that, what really stood out to me was teams from Flutter, Dart and Python were laid off. So for whatever reason, I don't know those companies very well, if at all, but I gotta think that Google said these projects aren't working. We need to reshuffle employees, lay off ones that don't work anymore.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: And this was probably more of just business as usual at Google, focusing on the things that they need to do. Look, AI is an all hands on deck situation at Google.

Chad: Oh, hell yeah.

Joel: They've been a monopoly in six plus businesses for the last 10, 20 years. They are actually seeing some competition. Good for them for focusing.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: Creating efficiencies as everyone is doing now, and giving them the best chance to compete against OpenAI and all the other AI platforms out there.

Chad: It is kinda weird though, because remember when 20% time was very big. I mean, you got Gmail out of 20% time.

Joel: Yeah.

Chad: You got some pretty good products outta 20% time, and then they took that away, right?

Joel: Yeah, they did.

Chad: And that to me was literally the antithesis of what Google was.

Joel: Yeah.

Chad: Google was about creating new things. And the way to do that was to inspire your people to go do it. Right? And you know the kinds of tools and resources that you have in your 20% time to be able to do that. And they've literally taken away. So Google has gone from a company of innovation to a company that feels like just an old stodgy...

Joel: Yeah.

Chad: Shell of itself. Unfortunately. I mean, it's a money making machine. Don't get me fucking wrong, but if you want to be, I mean, one of the reasons why they got outleaped or out jumped or outpaced by OpenAI.

Joel: Leapfrogged.

Chad: Is because they did not innovate. They were afraid to actually put the shit out there and OpenAI could not, I mean, there was nothing for them to lose. So anyway.

Joel: Yeah.

Chad: I see kinda like the worm turning on them. Not that they're gonna die anytime soon because Google is gonna be around forever.

Joel: Not at all. Not at all.

Chad: But they used to be the innovation leader.

Joel: Yeah. And you gotta think why, you know, the environment or the culture of taking risks will support these sort of creative ideas are now passé.

Chad: It's part of the culture at the point.

Joel: And it's just when companies get so big, they can't do that. It's also easier to start a company now.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: 20 years ago, starting a company was pretty hard.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: You had to have servers and build a website that cost you a hundred grand.


Chad: Server farm.

Joel: Google can't just say now, we have resources for you that you can't get anywhere else.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: It's a lot easier for people to start companies, which is overall good for the ecosystem, but harder for Google to remain competitive on an innovation basis. And speaking of innovation, Chad, let's get to UNLEASH. We are here at the UNLEASH Conference live from the Daxtra booth.

Chad: Good time.

Joel: What are some takeaways? What are some highlights from you so far? What are you seeing?

Chad: I have to say that the, first and foremost, we've gotta talk about the elephant in the room, and that was the 830 foot fucking fall/jump that we took. I gotta say they, we had, I think 11 people jump. Everybody did it.

Joel: Yep.

Chad: Some, there were different levels of anxiety and fear from one to the next. Right? Right? And you expect that. But I gotta say, man, guys like Serge, that dude was scared and he got up there and he fucking nailed it. Right?

Joel: Yeah.

Chad: I mean, so to me it was great to see guys like that. I mean, even Matt, it's funny, the CEO of Outhire. The three of us go up, right, and the guy in the elevator asked, he's like, "Who wants to go first?" I'm like, "Nah, I'll go first." Matt's like, "No, I'm going first." Right? He's like, "I'm gonna get this shit over with."

Joel: Over with. Yeah.

Chad: And then at the end, dude, there was so much adrenaline you could see in him. I mean, it was a blast. It was just, it was a bonding event, you know? It was really cool.

Joel: Yeah. We all went through something that no one else has gone through. We'll have that bond forever.

Chad: Together.

Joel: Forever. Yeah.

Chad: Had some Fosters after it.

Joel: I quote Tom Petty, the waiting is the hardest part.

Chad: Yes.

Joel: The anticipation, going up the elevator, the people that are there looking at you going to jumps.

Chad: Oh yeah.

Joel: Looking at you like you're a nut ball. If you haven't seen the video, the highlights.

Chad: Oh, check it out.

Joel: Go out to all of our socials...

Chad: YouTube.

Joel: YouTube channel, like all the highlights are there. I have a new pair of Meta glasses. So I actually recorded...

Chad: Those were awesome.

Joel: The jump from my point of view.

Chad: Those were awesome.

Joel: Which is very cool. So it's a great highlight video. I would do it again, dare say, if another Outhire or sponsor.

Chad: Would Christine allow you to?


Joel: I think so.

Chad: Okay, okay.

Joel: I think getting through it once put her mind at ease.

Chad: Good. Yeah.

Joel: And I could probably do again, so we'll see.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: We'll see. But I'm less fearful now of doing it, now that I've done it.

Chad: Yeah. Well, and we both wore our brown pants.

Joel: Yes, we did.

Chad: Just like Deadpool tells you to. So that was smart.

Joel: Double up on the depends for me.

Chad: Yes. Yes.

Joel: All good.

Chad: So we also went to the Ice party. Omar's Ice Castle was cold as fuck.

Joel: It was cold.

Chad: We stayed two hours. He owes me a pinky toe.

Joel: Were you wearing the Birkenstocks? Were your feet a little chilly? Yeah.

Chad: I was not, but that was, that was, the entire thing was made of ice. And then last night, you know, Neon Nights, too many drinks and gummies last night. But thanks to Plum, I mean, that was a blast. And if you haven't seen the videos, go to YouTube or TikTok or LinkedIn or what have you.

Joel: Yep.

Chad: That was gorgeous, man. When it got dark out.

Joel: Yep. It's a great event. If you're looking for a unique event in Vegas to do, that's one of them. Personally for me, the record playing tostadas as the appetizer was my favorite.

Chad: That was awesome.

Joel: If you don't know what a tostada is, it's like a hardened tortilla shell.

Chad: Yep, yep.

Joel: It doesn't fold like a taco. They put these things on a record player, had them spin around and they put the toppings on as it's spinning around.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: So it looks really nice and pretty.

Chad: Oh, it was cool.

Joel: But that was really clever.

Chad: It was very cool.

Joel: As well as the...

Chad: There was a DJ down there too.

Joel: I don't know, was it an escalator or kind of... Like you have the sushi that goes around that you pick, they had chicken waffles and sort of unique food that was going around. Yeah. Big ups to the Plum team. JobPixel was great. The the ice cups...

Chad: That, yeah. Because I didn't, I didn't have to ask for a big rock.

Joel: Yeah.

Chad: 'Cause it was in a big rock.

Joel: It was in a big rock, for sure.

Chad: It was fricking awesome.

Joel: That was great. And great people as well helped support that party.

Chad: Oh dude. Yeah.

Joel: Which was great.

Chad: Then we did the collab work, In-N-Out Burger after, which is, it seems to be almost like a staple now. Summer Delaney has made In-N-Out Burger like a staple of almost like Chad and Cheese parties.


Joel: And Chad, I'm here for it. I'm here for In-N-Out Burgers. Trust me. I will never miss an opportunity for free In-N-Out Burgers.

Chad: So, let's talk about the show. Let's say the parties have been amazing. Let's talk about what's been your favorite part about the show?

Joel: Favorite part is always the people.

Chad: Yeah?

Joel: Whether it's reconnecting with old friends, haven't seen in a while. And there's been a few people that I haven't seen in a while...

Chad: Yeah. Yeah.

Joel: At this conference, obviously meeting new friends. I always love the Startup Alley.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: Kiosk area.

Chad: I love they put it all back in one place.

Joel: Yep.

Chad: Because they broke it up before.

Joel: Yep.

Chad: When I wanna get in startup mode, I wanna be in one place and I want to hit them all up. Right? And it makes it so much easier.

Joel: Yep. So there's been some interesting startups, some that we know pretty well that have all commented favorably for that. But overall, it's the people and...

Chad: Oh yeah.

Joel: You know I don't get to go to many sessions anymore.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: We get stopped and talked to and which is the whole reason why we do this.

Chad: It's awesome.

Joel: But it's the people has been a standout for me, as well as a couple of takeaways for me. One is...

Chad: Okay.

Joel: It feels, it feels optimistic, but conservatively so.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: Cautiously optimistic.

Chad: Which means a lot for HR. Right?

Joel: Yeah.

Chad: Right?

Joel: But even the vendors, even the parties have been a little bit, I wouldn't say downgraded, but...

Chad: Yeah, yeah.

Joel: Barenaked Ladies aren't playing at the Palms, if you remember parties past. So overall, cautiously optimistic. Opinion? I do feel like, however, the startups a lot of energy over there.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: A lot of excitement, a lot of interesting products that I'm sure we'll be talking about in the months and years to come. And my final takeaway, Employ...

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: AKA jobvite vi AKA Jazz HR, AKA Lever, whoever else. Krispy Kreme donuts at the booth is genius. It is genius.

Chad: It is genius. It is genius.

Joel: Now if they can just figure out a way to have the hot...

Chad: The hot sign.

Joel: Krispy Kreme with the sign.

Chad: If they had the hot sign. Yeah.

Joel: That's a winning marketing strategy, my friend. That is a winning marketing strategy.

Chad: I don't even think you had lunch yesterday 'cause you're eating Krispy Kremes.


Joel: So good. So good.

Chad: For listeners, Kennedy, my stepdaughter actually runs the investor and startup programs here for UNLEASH. And so I'm a little biased, but I love the startup competition was great yesterday. I think we, you and I both picked the winner fairly easily.

Joel: Imagine that.

Chad: Manifest won the startup competition, that's What they did, they're a cloud-based platform, which digitizes retirement transfers to maximize retirement outcomes, which is great.

Joel: Yep.

Chad: The thing is, if you've ever left a company and you want to move your shit, it takes for... It sucks.

Joel: Yep.

Chad: It's not fun. Right. And this digitizes it all, makes it easy. I thought that was really cool. Then, like I said, over in Startup Alley, here was one thing that it almost felt like I was doing office hours for about two hours the other day.

Joel: Yep.

Chad: Because I was going in and going through the pitches with them, and I'm like, no, that's wrong. No, that's wrong. And this, and the founders who were there listened intently.

Joel: Sure.

Chad: And took notes. Right? I'm like, this is just advice. Right? But I mean, it's still somewhat problematic that we have a lot of new startups coming in who don't understand what the real problems are and don't understand the real pain points for organizations. They're focused on what they think is the problem. And in most cases, it might be a problem, but it's not a big enough problem for a company to spend money.

Joel: Yep. I think your quote to me in watching the winning presentation was, this is boring as fuck, but it's a really cool business idea, it'd be a really cool company. And I agreed with you. 401Ks aren't gonna get anyone out of bed.

Chad: No.

Joel: But it is a big issue for people...

Chad: A lot of cash.

Joel: To manage those, for sure. Chad, are you a little warm in what you're wearing? I know that the people...

Chad: Oh yes.

Joel: Watching on YouTube probably noticed something interesting.

Chad: Okay.

Joel: Chad and I are donning Montreal Canadiens jerseys.

Chad: Yes.

Joel: We mentioned last week in shout outs that our friends at Hiring Branch, based in Montreal, got us some jerseys. You're rocking the white.

Chad: Yep.

Joel: Chad on the back. I'm rocking the red with Cheese on the back.

Chad: Very nice.

Joel: We may have to go hold hands, walk down. Thanks to Hiring Branch.


Joel: These are some legit jerseys. These aren't the iron on, you know.

Chad: No. If you're watching on YouTube, you can see these are like $400 jerseys. Yeah. No shit. And I'm not talking about $400 Canadian either. I'm talking about $400 US currency.

Joel: Yeah, yeah.

Chad: These are not, these are not bullshit, kids. Yeah.

Joel: Yeah. Hiring Branch is in a kiosk. They were gonna do a 20x20, but they said the Chad and Cheese jerseys cost so much, we gotta keep it at the kiosk level. If you're interested in their services, fuck interviews, I think is their motto.

Chad: Yes. Fuck interviews.

Joel: Go check out

Chad: I love it.

Joel: I dunno if they have a dot ca or not. I haven't checked that out.

Chad: I hope not.

Joel: Anything else from UNLEASH that were takeaways?

Chad: Yeah. No, I mean, one of the things again, that I love about UNLEASH is that the stages in the expo hall, there's a lot of content that's happening.

Joel: Yep.

Chad: So that draws the HR practitioner or the TA practitioners, HR practitioners back here, and that's what vendors want.

Joel: Yep.

Chad: They want interaction. They want at least some type of face time. So again, UNLEASH, if you're listening, continue to do this, do more of it. I think from an ecosystem standpoint, it feels more complete.

Joel: Yep.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: Yeah. Vendors love it. Vendors love the engagement, the energy. I had said at Transform that I felt Transform was becoming a little bit more competitive to UNLEASH than an HR tech. And I, I think I agree with that now that I've been at UNLEASH.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: There seems to be Transform, UNLEASH a lot of similarities. How do they break out from that? And HR Tech continues to be kind of its own dinosaur or whale or whatever you want to call them.

Chad: It's, they're both big. So...

Joel: Both big.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: Both big. Both big. Alright.

Chad: Thanks a lot, UNLEASH. Thanks a lot for having us.

Joel: Let's take a quick break, get a coffee and we'll come back and talk about UpWork.

Chad: Yes.

S4: Doesn't anyone notice this? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.

Joel: All right, Chad, a little news from our friends at UpWork...

Chad: Yes.

Joel: Who are actually here at the conference.

Chad: Yeah, they're right there.

Joel: It's pretty rare that...

Chad: They're right there.

Joel: Yep, they are right there. It's a nice neon sign. Did you get that from the same company as I did yours?

Chad: No, I don't know. I have no clue.

Joel: This is how we work.

Chad: Looks good, though. I like it.

Joel: LinkedIn's not here. A lot of the big companies, they don't take the time...

Chad: Indeed's here. Indeed's here.

Joel: And Indeed is here, yes. Yes. I think they have a 10x10 or something.

Chad: Yeah, it's not big, but it's...

Joel: Modest booth, but they are here.

Chad: Atlas has a big, the EOR groups.

Joel: Anyway, well, the quarterly reports are coming in from companies.

Chad: Okay.

Joel: I actually believe ZipRecruiter's is today after we record. So expect that to be a topic next week.

Chad: Is that what the loud sucking sound was that I heard earlier this morning?


Joel: That was, yeah. In California outta Santa Monica. But UpWork had a very nice quarterly earnings report. The San Francisco based freelance platform surged by 18.7% to $190.9 million this quarter, driven by flat fee pricing adoption, gross margin improved with net income up by 7.4%. Active clients rose by 5% to 872,000. The company introduced UMA AI, boosting client spending by 7%.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: Revenue guidance for Q2 is set between $190 and $195 million. Stock rose nearly 5% on the news. Killing it. Your thoughts on UpWork?

Chad: This is product. This is all product driven. UpWork. Somebody came into UpWork, and we need to dig into this, somebody came into UpWork and they started to assess the products that they had available and they said, we can do better from a product standpoint. These aren't gaining the traction in the market that they should. So they started to move and to change things. And that's what we're seeing here. UpWork says it's AI and machine learning category, gross sales volume has grown 50% year over year, making it once again the company's fastest growing category. And revenue ads and monetization products jump by 93% year over year, right? So, and that makes it UpWork's biggest stream, right?

Joel: Yeah.

Chad: So to me, if you're a company and you're afraid to evolve and adapt, you're gonna die. I mean, we've seen it. These guys are adapting. This is proof that they're adapting, they're evolving. They see that this AI machine learning piece, even putting UMA in there to make it easier for recruiters, for job seekers. Everybody is just, they are trying to meet the market where it is, right? And I believe they're trying to skate to where the puck's going to be. We shall see. But these are great numbers and I'm glad to see that UpWork is really embracing change.

Joel: Yeah. You know, you and I have talked about UpWork as a mega trend, right?

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: People contracting. Why hire these folks? It's a lot cheaper. I have a global universe to choose from in candidates. I became a little bearish on UpWork when ChatGPT came out and when these AI tools came out. You don't need a copywriter if you can just plug something into ChatGPT. So I thought that would really affect the knowledge worker, which is what UpWork is.

Chad: Yes.

Joel: It's knowledge workers. Instead, AI is taking the business to a whole 'nother level. Increasing like 7% profits on spending by clients, is huge. I don't know how they're doing that, but that's pretty awesome. They're getting more companies use the service as opposed to less.

Chad: Yeah. Sticky too.

Joel: So I'm a little bit gobsmacked as the British might say, as to what is going on at UpWork. They turned this AI threat on its head and they're benefiting from it.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: My guess is the best workers on the platform are becoming super developers and super marketers because those people have learned AI and how to get the most productivity.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: They're probably flipping more jobs. Those people are more expensive than say a low-level Ukrainian 20-year-old just getting into the business. So it feels like the best workers at UpWork are getting more jobs, they're completing tasks quicker and thus charging more and getting more money into the system. So I'm super impressed. We always thought this was a mega trend. AI's taking it to a whole different place, and it's exciting to watch, for sure.

Chad: It's interesting 'cause we were just at Paradox and Scottsdale a couple of weeks ago, and their focus was obviously the conversational ATS, the conversational AI, just all the way around. UpWork, they're leaning heavily into that with this new large language model, this UMA model, with conversational AI and matching, right? So I really believe, like you'd said, this could have really struck a death blow to UpWork, but they're like, no, we're gonna innovate with this, we're gonna move faster. And if we move faster and smarter, we can get more people into jobs faster. If we get more people into jobs faster, then companies are gonna fucking love us even more and more people are gonna come and more people are gonna continue to use. So product though, man, again, they're innovating and they're changing product. And I think that to me is the key to understand how you get to again, hypergrowth again, hopefully.

Joel: Yeah. Yeah. Turns out that... Oh, never mind. I lost my train of thought.

Chad: Okay.

Joel: Let's take a quick break. I need another cup of coffee obviously, and we'll talk about, good lord, naked cruises.

S5: Emotional damage.

Joel: What's up everybody? We are live from the Daxtra booth at the UNLEASH Conference in Las Vegas.

Chad: Well, we're not talking about naked Ted Cruz, are we?

Joel: Not Ted Cruz.

Chad: Okay.

Joel: No, actual boats. Yeah, the boats, the boats.

Chad: Okay. You said, you'd said Naked cruise and I was like, holy shit, I don't want, I don't need that.

Joel: All right. It's now dubbed the Big Nude Boat cruise departing from Florida, imagine that, starting next year. They offer passengers a clothing optional experience, including at the buffet. That's right, naked buffets as well. The 11-day trip on the Norwegian Pearl includes stops at private islands and Caribbean destinations. Prices range from 2000 for an inside cabin to over 33 grand for a top room. Guests are advised to use towels in common areas and pack a swimsuit for non-clothing optional excursions. Chad, this has Euro Chad written all over it, if you ask me. What are your thoughts?

Chad: You would be wrong. I have already opted out of the fully clothed versions of cruises, especially since COVID turned ships into floating coffins. So imagining a bunch of nude sweaty fat dudes at a buffet...

Joel: Why do you look at me and say fat dudes on that one? That's... I'm triggered.

Chad: Was I looking at you? My bad. That was bad. Anyway, that even adds to the floating petri dish kind of idea. Fat and sweaty, not to mention, can you imagine, we talk about talent. Can you imagine...

Joel: Recruiting for this?


Chad: Trying to get somebody to... Yes. To try to get some young kids to come clean up after your sweaty ass was just...

Joel: Recruiting for this has gotta be a trip. This is a reality show in the making. Recruiting for naked cruises.

Chad: They don't show up. They just show up one day and you're like, I'm on what cruise? Which one? You're on the nude boat.

Joel: Yeah. The buffet is interesting. They should sell it as a diet cruise because watching naked people at the buffet is gonna turn you off food for the entire week, for sure.

Chad: Unless that's your kink.

Joel: By the way Chad, I don't know if you know this, July 14th. July 14th is National Nude Day. So if you and Julie in the privacy of your own home wanna get nuts on July 14th, it's coming soon.

Chad: Ready. Ready to do that. In our own home. But we will be, in July we'll be in Europe and they've got nude and topless beaches all over the place. So we might just actually, I will go topless, I promise.

Joel: Chad, did you hear about the flasher who's thinking about retiring?

Chad: Oh no.

Joel: He decided to stick it out for one more year. Live from the Daxtra booth at UNLEASH Chad and Cheese. We out.

Chad: We out.

S6: 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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