Podcast: Stay positive for pent-up demand

Stay positive. We think next year is going to be a blockbuster year for Work Tech. When you look back at 2020, sales of everything but communication, collaboration, and wellness solutions basically came to a halt between March and May. Activity began to rebound after that. Many Work Tech companies that we’ve spoken with reported all-time record sales months since June, including in the Talent Acquisition space that took such a hard hit at the end of Q1. We’re seeing lots of evidence of pent-up demand in conversations we’re having with customers and prospects, as well as the market research …

Podcast: Certified employers and reformed capitalists

Good news: The type of validation that the elusive blue checkmark provides for narcissists on Twitter may soon be coming to the workplace. But this is just one part of a broader reformation within capitalism. Performance management giant Workhuman is launching a new initiative in which companies will seek to become “Workhuman Certified” as workplaces in which “people have the right to be respected, seen, appreciated, and heard.” According to TechRepublic, the process for companies to gain this status will include making a pledge to uphold Workhuman’s “Charter of Workplace Rights” that outlines what employees should be able to expect …

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

Join Ocho’s Book Club: Buy a Book. Help a Kid.

In this month of Thanksgiving, I believe that we all have learned a lesson this year in the importance of gratitude. I know I have. Let’s all be grateful for the blessings we have. We’re grateful to say that The Starr Conspiracy is surviving and thriving. Now we feel it’s time to pay it forward to all of those in our lives. What can we do? Let’s remember that 2020 has been a tough year for many. Not every business has fared quite as well. My St. Louis friend, neighbor, fellow Texan, fellow business owner, and all-round awesome person, Kelly …

Studio Reviews: Lady and the Tramp with a BLT?

Adam Sandler is back on Netflix with a spooky season adventure. Hubie Halloween takes us on a rollercoaster of Happy Madison references including names that you’ve definitely heard before, a goofy main character that harkens Sandler antics of yore, and more cameos than you could throw a stick at. This week we discuss our favorite parts of Hubie Halloween and get into some serious childhood discussions. Don’t miss the uncanny resemblance of our co-workers dog, Hank and Steve Buscemi. “It’s kind of like a Swiss Army Thermos. Made it when I was in the scouts.” – Hubie

Podcast: SPACs come for Work Tech

You’ve probably heard of SPACs by now, right? If not, you will hear much more soon. These Special Purpose Acquisition Companies are the hottest thing on Wall Street, and they’re invading Work Tech. These entities are so-called blank-check companies that are an alternative to traditional IPOs for financing. Essentially, investors give money to a sponsor, like a hedge fund, so that they can invest in a lucrative opportunity, but more or less with blind faith. Hence the moniker “blank-check” company. The sponsor takes the company public, bypassing the traditional regulatory hurdles of an IPO. This year has seen an explosion …

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

Vlog: Branding trends we see in Work Tech

A few weeks ago we launched our latest Brandscape on talent and learning categories coming together. Bailey led the creative and visual design insights in the report, so she gave us a tour inside her brain. In sum, we’re seeing brands become much more human, which we also talked about with Nancy a few weeks ago. What can brands do to create an innovative brand in the next year? Find your authentic self. Hear more from Bailey in this week’s vlog.

branding

Podcast: Certifications and Google are on the rise

There’s no lack of professional certifications for HR and L&D professionals, with ATD and SHRM certifications, among others. But what about one that’s all about Taking Care of Business (or TCB, as Elvis might say)? That’s what Brandon Hall Group is working on. Brandon Hall Group announced an interesting alternative to traditional HR and L&D certifications, an approach that’s more agile and focused on driving actual business results. Brandon Hall Group CEO Mike Cooke had this to say about the announcement: “We felt there was a void in certification programs that prepare human capital management professionals to work effectively with …

Contributing to the community

Creating impact in our community is a big responsibility. It’s something that a lot of people strive towards and it’s not always easy. The Starr Conspiracy has been working with a local elementary school for quite a few years to provide mentoring, tutoring, financial aid, and other support.   “It takes so little to have such a big impact” This week, Lou Chapman sits down with Springdale Elementary counselor (and wife) Kelly Gillham to discuss what our relationship has looked like over the last few years, how we’ve helped make an impact, and what has happened since the pandemic hit. How …

Human workings in work tech

Embrace the human side of work. That’s a loaded statement, but it’s an important one. Most people in work tech are working from home now, and it’s not easy to be productive while also caring for a screaming 5-year-old, doing the dishes, or spending time with a spouse. So, Bret sat down with Ashley Bernard, the agency’s VP of client services, to better understand what it’s like to be a working mother during this wild time. Ashley has literally taking meetings from a dark closet to get some peace and quiet.

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

Never, ever give up

Here’s a good news story: Our friends at Blueboard announced their $9.3 million Series A funding last week. You think your business has had a rough year? Think again. Blueboard founders Taylor Smith and Kevin Yip can beat most of the 2020 hard-knocks stories out there. Their entire business model has been built around experiential employee recognition. Usually that means rewarding employees by going places and doing things. You know, something we generally don’t do anymore. So, when everyone went on lockdown earlier this year, things began to look kinda dire. Did they give up? Hell no. They got to …

All green or all bubble? Work Tech stocks look up

Despite the S&P 500 falling around 0.3% as we close out the end of this week, Work Tech pulled ever higher into the green, with The Starr Conspiracy’s Work Tech Index closing the week up 2.5%. That brings our overall return to over 20% on the year, compared to the S&P 500’s 6.34%. The big stories from this week included the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, coronavirus cases increasing, all that TikTok drama, and whether capitalism is still good for society. One question that’s been making the rounds is this: Are we in a bubble? On one side, you could …

Now’s the time to nut up and get creative

With everything that’s happened this year, we’re finally seeing brands embrace their human side. Work tech — the platform for the people — is becoming more and more people-oriented in their branding. “My advice to work tech is that if you were ever going to nut up and just be unapologetically unique, now is the time to do it.” Bret sat down with Nancy Crabb, the agency’s director of creative services, to hear about trends she’s seeing among work tech brands and creativity itself. “Stop trying to look like a tech company. … It’s really time to be brave and …

The way things are

We’ve been talking a lot about “Return of the Workplace” and “The Future (or Present) of Work.” That view is an inaccurate read on the situation. Instead, let’s focus on “The Way Things Were” and “The Way Things Are.”  The Way Things Are is not just about the “where” of work, but also the “what, when, how, and why.” As a recent survey from Slack points out, most employees want to be able to work from home and at the office. These results certainly dovetail with the findings of our own employee survey that Bret Starr shared in his LinkedIn …