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#HRTechChat Preview: Mm, Mm, Mm—Workday's IPO

“Hey, they’re supposed to melt in your mouth, not in your hands!” For over a week, temperatures in New England have flirted with 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and those words are what Brent Skinner, lead co-host of #HRTechChat, said last Thursday to his students, a bunch of young whippersnappers flirting with their late teens and early twenties. Late afternoon every Tuesday and Thursday, he and they congregate for a three-and-a-half-hour-long class in a naturally aspirated classroom—a charitable term that means the room, where Brent teaches his students how to write press releases and other communications collateral, lacks an air conditioner. The M&M'S® he brought with him were melting in his hands. Never mind that his students had no knowledge of Mars, Incorporated's original advertising tagline for M&M'S. It didn’t matter: The M&M'S he brought were still melting, and they weren’t even in his mouth yet.
 
Workday Readies a Flame
 
Those M&M'S were hot—so hot that they began to melt inside the bag, actually. They’re also long-ago eaten and irrelevant to the #HRTechChat Episode Twenty-Five Preview, except that M&M'S always remind Brent of M&A, in a corny way. But #HRTechChat this week isn’t about M&A, either; no, this week’s #HRTechChat is instead about IPOs, which are neither M&As nor M&M'S. News leaked this week that Workday has quietly filed for an IPO. IPOs can be hot, too; in fact, you could say the last big IPO, Facebook's, melted a little bit in Mark Zuckerberg's hands.
 
That's a glib comment for a dynamic issue, and it's a tangent, too. Let's get back to Workday, whose IPO should be anything but a meltdown. But what will it be? What are the implications? What's the bigger picture?
 
Imagine a campfire just getting started. Maybe it’s windy outside, or the wood is damp from recent rainfall. When a tiny flame flickers in the kindling, hope follows. Any flame, anywhere, suggests that the campfire may still rage, and any flicker of IPO activity is a shot of emotional adrenaline in this listing economy. That the flame hails from the high technology sector is logical: From the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ June 2012 Jobs Report, we can easily infer that the economy is fledgling. But one of the bright spots is high-tech. Add human resource technology and its cousins to that flickering flame determined to grow.
 
Workday IPO = Big Deal
 
Workday’s IPO is a big deal. We have some thoughts. What are yours? As you consider the questions that display at the bottom of this blog entry, consider reading the following articles, which provide additional thinking into the ramifications of Workday’s nascent IPO:

 
#HRTechChat Episode Twenty-Five: Join Us Friday 7/20 @ 2pm ET / 11am PT
 
Please join Brent (@brentskinner) and his co-host at-large Sean Charles (@SocialMediaSean) at 2pm ET / 11am PT on Friday, July 20, which also happens to be the last day of vacation for #HRTechChat's other co-host at-large, Meghan M. Biro (@MeghanMBiro), who won't be with us. Brent and Sean wish her safe travels. Following are Episode Twenty-Five's questions. When we start, look for them at TalentManagementTech's Twitter handle (@talentmgmttech). As always, your sage tweets will carry the day. We look forward to it.

  • Q1: The IPO market has been dry. Why are high tech companies apparently leading us out of the wilderness? #HRTechChat
  • Q2: Will #hrtech play a large role in a revived IPO market for high-tech, or is that crazy talk? Elaborate. #HRTechChat
  • Q3: What are the qualities particular to Workday that, you think, led it to file for an IPO in this economy? #HRTechChat
  • Q4: Did other market & policy conditions pave the way for this & other, future high-tech IPOs? Why or why not? #HRTechChat
  • Q5: Once the ink dries & IPO concludes, what will Workday’s business model and technological challenges be? #HRTechChat
  • BONUS CONVO #1: How will Workday’s IPO affect its competitors? #HRTechChat
  • BONUS CONVO #2: Any picks from the #HRTechChat intelligentsia? Which #hrtech companies are likely to file for IPOs next?