A beam from a spotlight illuminated the master of ceremonies and presenters last Wednesday morning in Washington, D.C. Beyond the glow surrounding each of them and the phalanx of judges facing the stage flanked by two large screens lay the darkness of the Gaylord National Hotel’s Cherry Blossom Ballroom, whose ornate chandeliers were unlit and dormant. The rapt audience of 2012 HRO Today Forum attendees were there to see each of five talent management technology start-ups’ founders make the case for his or her technology and business. At stake, as each entrepreneur fielded the judging panel’s feedback and questions, was the honor of being crowned winner of this year’s iTalent Competition.
HR Tech Start-ups Blossom in the Cherry Blossom Ballroom
This is #HRTechChat Episode Fifteen’s recap, and it’s been a long time coming. Those of you with good memories will recall the olden days, back in late April, when we chatted about HR technology start-ups, pondering when they start and how and when they exit their start-up phases to become full-fledged businesses with a future. That was a conversation bursting at the seams with tweet wisdom (“twisdom”?). And our discussion of HR technology start-ups nearly two weeks ago happened to provide a segue tailor-made for a headlining event the following week, at the HRO Today Forum, which took place at the Gaylord National Hotel, just outside Washington, D.C. There, five finalists, all start-up technology companies culled from a slew of entrants, faced a panel of judges including #HRTechChat’s co-host, Brent Skinner, and many others for the iTalent Competition, sponsored by Oracle in cooperation with StartUp America.
Startup Success Is in the “i” of the Beholder
To survive and thrive, technology start-ups must offer products that their target customers easily fathom as necessary. A successful entrepreneur has what might seem like a sixth sense for business—bolstered by hard data and hard work, of course. A smart small businessperson understands her target customers because she’s painstakingly and accurately researched them. The successful leader of a technology startup has a clear vision of his target customer’s composite and understands (and anticipates) his customers’ idiosyncrasies. Start-ups that last employ revenue models that reflect all of this and embrace reality, and whether or not they’re technology start-ups, their products speak to the market in ways that the market hears and agrees with.
iTalentManagementTech: The First Person
Kapta Systems, JobEscrow, MyNextGig.com, The Good Jobs™, Degreed—all five contestants in the iTalent Competition shared interesting, and at times compelling, solutions for the market. But there can be only one winner, and yours truly congratulates The Good Jobs for a hard-fought win (and Kapta Systems for a well-deserved second-place showing).
The Good Jobs aspires to transform two searches, job seekers' search for jobs and recruiters' search for candidates, into an interactive, two-way proposition that informs related decision-making on both sides of the ledger dynamically and deeply. The approach is an embodiment of the groundswell in the increasingly apparent personalization of the recruiter’s and job searcher’s shared experience. Theirs is indeed a shared experience, something The Good Jobs’ technology facilitates and, to a degree, legitimates.
In fact, let’s call the approach iTalentManagementTech: The “i” in the iTalent Competition’s name connotes the inexorable march toward a closer, more personal relationship between employers, their employees, those who wish to be their employees, and those job seekers employers wish to employ. Their relationships are two-way, immediate, and filled with the first-person. Winners in the War for Talent will run with these truths, not from them.
#HRTechChat Episode Sixteen Is on Wednesday, May 9 @ 4pm ET / 1pm PT
The Good Jobs and others represent a continuing evolution of the job board. Some of the legacy players out there appear to be rearranging the deck chairs and playing music even as they hurtle to their doom. Other entrenched boards and start-ups alike have spotted the future and now pursue it. Trailblazers are transforming job boards into something new, and we’re going to take a look at that this week. Log into Twitter on Wednesday, May 9, at 4pm ET / 1pm PT, and join us. Just follow the #HRTechChat hash tag!