Back in business

The Wall Street Journal’s newsletter Real Time Economics reported that business activity is slowly stabilizing, with many leading indicators showing that the worst is over. Here’s what they wrote this morning: The worst may be over. Truck loads are growing again. Air travel and hotel bookings are up slightly. Mortgage applications are rising. And more people are applying to open new businesses. These are among some early signs the U.S. economy is, ever so slowly, creeping back to life. Plenty of data show the country was still mired in a severe downturn in April and May, with overall business activity …

The straw that broke the camel’s tuition

Many schools have canceled classes for the rest of the year, right? Students are going online, they’re requesting returns for their room and board money, tuition is at astronomical prices—you get the point. Okay, so what happens when the entire economy of college towns collapses because there aren’t college students there, which can contribute to a majority of these towns’ economies? The Wall Street Journal investigates. This is an important point because just last year McKinsey branded these so-called ”niche cities” as economic powerhouses, estimating great growth over the coming decade. What happens to those cities—and the people who live …

Remote work: Temporary or forever?

Debate: Is the massive switch to remote work going to stick around after COVID-19 passes, or is it just a (required) fad? SHRM says nah, Twitter says yeah, and Barclay’s CEO says, “I guess we don’t need that giant office building anymore.” Of course, the conversation is more nuanced than that: It’s not about full remote or full on-site, but probably a mixture between the two. Twitter, for example, is allowing its employees to work from home permanently if they want. We all know the benefits of remote work, but we also know the world is changing dramatically. Randall Krozner, …

New CEO (and a bright future) at Cornerstone OnDemand

Cornerstone OnDemand announced Q1 earnings yesterday, a bit of a miss. The miss can largely be explained by March Covid-19 sales headwinds, but that wasn’t really the headline. The big news was CSOD founder and CEO Adam Miller moving to a co-chair role on the board and announcing that former Saba CEO Phil Saunders would take over as CEO on June 15. That’s both the real headline and the real silver lining for CSOD. When Miller started courting Saba for an acquisition, its chances of success weren’t good, to put it mildly. But Miller’s persistence won the day, not only …

I can't prove it, but I can say it. — Stephen Colbert

Opportunities in Education, Just Not for Schools

Education institutions are in a bad way, and the pandemic has made it worse. A new story in The New York Times describes how state funding for colleges has changed in recent years, with the above graphic summarizing the news. In short, colleges are in a pinch. So, what happens when the pandemic slows state funding, which very well may be the case? Moody’s Analytics projects a 20% decline in state receipts next fiscal year. Add on top of that viable alternatives to formal education. Ed tech companies like Degreed, Coursera, and Khan Academy—not to mention subject-specific bootcamps like General …

CFOs’ Uneasy Street

Both Gartner and PwC ran CFO surveys recently, and both had similar things to say: CFOs are feeling uneasy (to put it mildly). Many financial leaders plan to cancel or pause planned investments, 74% (Gartner) or 49% (PwC) will permanently shift some workers to remote work arrangements, and many will reduce their corporate real estate footprints. PwC’s results show that a third of CFOs expect layoffs next month. This data gives work tech leaders some insight into what finance chiefs see coming down the road. However, those of us on this pirate ship think there’s plenty more to be positive …

Buy the ticket, take the ride. ― Hunter S. Thompson

“Quiet Time” and Four-day Work Weeks

This message is for our past, current and future clients (and anyone else who may find inspiration in our approach to employee experience during COVID-19). I sent this message as an email earlier today to all of our client contacts. We love our clients. I mean it. They put food on our table. But they also help us derive a deep sense of purpose and satisfaction because by helping them, we feel like we’re helping improve the world of work. And we are so very grateful to be navigating COVID-19 with our family of clients.  I mean it. We love you. …

Returning to work: Employers are “making it up as they go.”

Businesses must get going again, but people must be safe. It’s a delicate balance. Government officials and employers are trying to figure out what that looks like, hoping to set proper expectations about the inevitable return to the job. However, as a new article in The Wall Street Journal explains, no one really knows what to do. Employers are, for the most part, “making it up as they go.” It seems temperature checks, rubber gloves, and masks are common place, as American businesses follow the examples of China and Germany. But employees lack confidence, with some walking off the job. …

I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to, too. — Mitch Hedberg

During COVID-19, customer experience (CX) is eating marketing’s lunch.

(and Stealing Its Milk Money While Smashing Its Glasses) COVID-19 has brought many things that were previously fuzzy into sharp focus. For example, the employee experience matters more than anything else in business. Leadership is different (and more important) than management. And (one of my personal favorites) talking to people is more important than processes, policies, and plans. But when it comes to B2B tech marketing, one revelation trumps all others. Customer Experience (CX) is on the way in and traditional, metrics-dominated marketing is on the way out. Let me explain by starting with CX and then circling back to …

5 million more unemployed

The department of labor data from this morning confirmed that 5.2 million more workers filed for unemployment last week, bringing the four-week grand total to 22 million. If you couldn’t tell by the chart above, that’s a lot. Here’s how The New York Times reported the figures: Even as political leaders wrangle over how and when to restart the American economy, the coronavirus pandemic’s devastation became more evident Thursday with more than 5.2 million workers added to the tally of the unemployed. In the last four weeks, the economy has lost about 22 million jobs, roughly the net number created …

IMF: Worst economic slump since Great Depression

Everyone is wondering what the economy will look like on the other side of this whole thing. As time goes on, the picture is becoming a little clearer, and many economists are offering their forecasts. Starkest of all perhaps is the IMF’s latest projection. Here’s what the New York Times reported this morning: In its World Economic Outlook, the I.M.F. projected that global growth will contract by 3 percent in 2020, an extraordinary reversal from earlier this year, when the fund forecast that the world economy would outpace 2019 and grow by 3.3 percent. This year’s fall in output would …

Another 6.6M down, totaling ~17M job losses this month.

Job losses continue to mount. This morning’s Department of Labor figures via The New York Times showed 6.6 million more filed for unemployment last week, bringing this month’s total to nearly 17 million. This is by far the sharpest decline on record. Stay tuned for the official unemployment rate to rise significantly over the next few weeks. In related news, it appears the market has already priced in these figures, even though the jobless claims were higher than forecasts. The S&P 500 is trading up 1.67%, with work tech companies scoring big this week (below).