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HRTechTank in NYC. Selfie and turning the camera around.

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HRTechTank NYC selfie and then turning the camera around
I am symposium averse. I don’t have business cards and I do suffer occasional bouts of Attention Deficit Disorder which cruelly sets upon me at conferences and large exhibits.
None of this took hold and disturbed my enjoyment and learning at the NYC HRTechTank.
It was managed in small bites, no segment was longer than one hour and the panels and presentations were engaging of the participants on stage and off.
I wrote these notes as the event unfolded and I listened from the backest (not an acceptable Scrabble word but I think it fits to describe my placement in the smallish room)
HRTechTank cliff’ed notes:
The day was initiated by Taras Polischuk and Aki Kakko. Both attuned to global trends and the micro, what they want and what they are buying, where the industry is moving and who will lead the changes.
George Larouqe discussed the competitive landscape and how to compete against the market leading incumbents. This is always a topic of interest to me. Many of the firms I have invested in are now the incumbents. Competition is always a good thing, so rather than foreboding, I look forward to seeing more feet on the street, evangelizing and driving new user adoption.
Ward Christman is a marketing force devoted to HR tech companies, he discussed ‘HOW’ to sell to HR companies, their customer profile and “WHY’ they buy. It’s always good to know the pitch but it’s even better to know why they buy.
The next panel conversation extended the buyers perspective. Kara Yarnot, the one and only Lance Richards, Anthony Onesto and Steve Levy. All well qualified to give a historical perspective and the changes (or non changes) in the industry.
Jonathan Kestenbaum has given me tours of the Talent Tech Labs space. As coincidences and small world theory goes, the Talent Tech labs houses many companies I know well. Jonathan is the ideal person to discuss what’s happening on the ground in talent acquisition, he is the ED for the Talent Tech Labs, an incubator fostering the new entrants.
Lunch break. As many people know, I have a particular and protein heavy diet and my lunch was apart from the group and huddled over chicken and tomatoes.
Taras took back the stage to discuss his investor’s perspective on the HR market and why it’s finally captured the interest of funds and finding exits thru premium acquisitions and public exits. I have seen the slides that Taras used in advance of his presentation and they are spot on.
Michael Bygeleman has become a friend over our meetings. It was during our first coffee that I learned his experienced ties to HR, he was the Executive Director of the definitive source of news, and trends and conferences years back with the HR Outsourcing Association.
Lastly, as the conference wouln down was the investor panel led by Taras as moderator and paneled by Grupa Pracuj, Jason Corsello and several others. Good stuff and informative.
The after party was at a local watering hole, it was a brief unwind for me as I then had to make a flight.
Turning tha camera around:
I am interested in the possibilities of the HRTechTank.
I like its principals, founders and its guiding thesis. I like its intimacy. I would love to see it a bit more inclusive. It definitely includes the next generation that is now finding the earliest adopters of the next thing. I would love to see the HRTechTank be inclusive of where the industry is now, the sales and marketing assembly and how it was built, how did they move from a product to a company, what would they like to include in their product offering and what’s the sequence to get into the market.
I expect that this will deepen the conversation and blend the future and present. The leaders that come to mind are the good friends, frequent lunch, dinner and phone checkins at Namely, Slack, Icims, RedeApp, HireVue. I’ll invite them all to the next HRTechTank; I would like to hear more about what they are doing in its direction and precision.
I would also like to see more of the most active investors and their firms represented. There has been a big shift in the past two or so years. When they first started buying into the market they were coming in on faith and unsure expectations. They could smell a deal but could’nt quite distinguish between what might work, and what might not. They also had a belief that if they built it the market would come. And it didn’t. So they have played lots of catch-up, learning about the business, how to assist in scaling, how to acquire size and how to extract value, how to manage the projected lifetime value of a client without the benefit of a historical norm. I will invite them to the next HRTank.
And lastly, I would like to see more of the newer companies, the fresh eyes coming into an industry and not hampered by a legacy of ‘this is the way we always did it, with a twist’. I will invite them also.
Lastly, and most importantly, thanks to all the attendess and in particular those companies who presented – and thanks agin to Perri Gorman of Archively
Looking forward to the next one, well done!

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