Recruiting Brainfood - Issue 331
Bing, Bard and Jailbreaking ChatGPT; DEIB under threat; E-girl gamers as recruiters and some great essays explaining the Big Tech Winter
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I have unlocked the paid subscription function on this SubStack, and some of you have indeed paid me!
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What do Brainfooders Think?
The verdict is in! I was surprised at the low numbers interested in newsletter subscriber growth and did think ‘revenue as a solopreneur’ would win this, but it seems that we want to know about how to consistently bang out banging content. Well folks - I got you.
We’re going to do these workshops on Discord - invite link to the Brainfood discord server here (yes, there is a brainfood discord server, long dormant, now active!). Once you’re there, say hello in General and we’ll figure out a time / date to do it.
Founders Focus - Ep36 - Up close & personal with Mark Chaffey, CEO of hackajob
We’re back with one of my favourite things to do - interview recruitment tech founders on what was so annoying about recruitment that they thought the best thing to do would be do a startup in order to fix it. Mark Chaffey is one of youngest firebrands on the scene and you might find his story as funny as it is profound. Tune in folks, Tuesday 14th Feb, 12.00pm GMT - register here
Brainfood Live On Air - Ep193 - Hiring in Saudi Arabia & the Gulf States
Brainfood World Tour is a series within a series where we speak to local recruiters about how the universal challenges of recruitment are interpreted and handled according to local constraints. It an era where media hyperbole and hyperventilation is rewarded with clicks and views, it is critically important to centre the voices of local people against the speculators from the outside. We’re teleporting to Saudi and the Gulf States folks on Thursday 16th 12pm GMT / 3pm local time - register here
1. 4 Horsemen of the Tech Recession
The bad news on tech keeps happening and its hard to escape the conclusion that this is at least a sector wide correction, and maybe even the beginning of a fundamental reset as how big tech companies should be. Stratechery adds another theory to the mix - Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT), which forces user to double opt-in on ad tracking - has destroyed the ad supported (and free) Internet, upon which an entire ecosystem of services rely. It’s a fascinating hypothesis - we may come to regret overzealousness in guarding privacy when it comes at the price of end of the free Internet and a permanent contraction of the tech market.
2. Were All These Layoffs Inevitable? Perhaps but Here’s How it Happened
Josh Bersin has a conventional hypothesis - it was all about risk free capital and culture of ‘hiring before revenue’. Always a great synthesiser, this is one of Josh’s best essays - diving deep into past economic history, recent big tech over hiring and the inside knowledge that rings true - companies being pressured to hire by investors seeking a x20 return on the bet. Bersin also includes a recommendation - a shift for TA toward internal mobility and L&D. Must read folks. H/T to brainfooder Heidi Wassini for the share in the online community.
3. Oh the Things You Can Do with Bing’s ChatGPT
It’s amazing to think that a product that no one had ever used 8 weeks ago, has forced not one but two of the big tech giants to pivot or accelerate their product strategies in response. Sundar Pichai announces Google’s Bard competitor last week, whose underwhelming performance in live demo reputedly cost $100 Billion share price collapse, whilst Satya Nadella launches ‘new Bing’, which this post does a great job of previewing. You’ll have to join the waitlist …and find your moribund Microsoft profile but the promise seems to be worth it.
4. Jailbreaking ChatGPT
With Google, Microsoft and a veritable tidal wave of OpenAI powered tech tools, is it crazy to start thinking of ChatGPT as the venerable incumbent? Its hit its first big problem, by refusing to give straight answers to politically and socially sensitive questions. The tension between ‘making a product safe’ vs ‘making a product just a product’ is a war which is being fought on Reddit (where else), where the jailbreakers have figured out a way to get ChatGPT to ‘Do Anything Now’. We live in interesting times.
5. Gov. Greg Abbott tells State Agencies to Stop Considering Diversity in Hiring
The politicisation of DEIB is most acute in the US, where it is pretty explicitly a front for culture war. US members please give us greater nuance on my reading, but it appears that the state of Texas may be moving to ban the use of diversity measures in hiring, presumably putting TA / HR to continue to commit to DEIB into murky grey water of illegal discrimination. Will this lead to labour migration on political and cultural lines at some point? Think this needs a Brainfood Live at some point.
6. PwC Annual CEO Survey 2023
One of the annual classics, PwC conducts a survey of 1300 CEO’s from over 90 countries on their sentiments and strategy for 2023. CEO’s are (rightly) pessimistic about the economy, but energised by what they need to do about - increase organisational effectiveness, transform into a skills based organisation, increase internal flexibility and external collaboration. CEO’s need our skills folks, and HR / TA needs to be clear in our ability to service this need. Accessible report, must read - download it here
7. How E-girl Influencers are Trying to Get Gen Z into the Military
One of the predictions I was most confident in for 2023 was that influencer marketing would come to talent acquisition in a big way. What I didn’t speculate on is where we would find the first examples. It should’ve been obvious it would start in gaming - the right demographic (mainly young, single men) who invest a lot of time into very specific channels. Throw in ‘the social recession’, rise in male mental illness and disparity in education and early career achievement, then we have a captive, motivated audience for the e-girl recruiter.
8. Improving Employee Engagement during Times of Change
Start of an interesting looking series from our buddies Culture Amp on how layoffs impact employee engagement scores, and what employers really need to be doing about it. There are no easy solutions here, but it is good thing to see some sort of quantification behind what we know already. Can employers under stress (‘going through change’ as it is rather euphemistically put) maintain a commitment to employee engagement? It’s a big test of your company culture.
9. State of Tech Hiring 2023
Superb piece of research from CodinGame and CoderPad - 14,000 developer survey responses on what they think of the market in 2023. Key takeaway for me: developers are not concerned at great layoffs because they feel they will be able to secure alternative work quickly, a position for which there is strong evidence. Another angle of interest is the demographics - 47% of the respondents were from France, so this report gives a particularly relevant view for recruiters in the French market. And great to see more country specific content like this!
10. My Youtube Earnings
Will the creator economy be a legitimate way out of the AI disintermediated future? It will be for a few, such as Bricks Experiment, whose passion for Lego is aligned with a global movement of fans of the timeless toy. Incredibly detailed breakdown of the earnings made from a channel of 2.9 million subscribers (it’s $664,000 total earnings). It’s fascinating post. Btw: I’ll be running a workshop on revenue as a solopreneur for anyone who is interested, going to do these on Discord (yes there is a brainfood discord channel, now activated!) - invite link here
11. 2023 Talent Acquisition Predictions with Hung Lee
Real pleasure to be speaking with brainfooder Chris Abbass on his podcast series, Hiring on all Cylinders. It’s a review and predictions post folks, so we get into it with ChatGPT, community based sourcing, tech recession and the rest. Fun conversation - have a listen!
12. How Layoffs Are Affecting Gender Diversity in the Workforce
Are tech layoffs really layoffs of tech workers? Increasing evidence to suggest that its not the engineers are feeling the brunt of the cuts, but other departments around the business (including HR/TA). Diversity implications of this, is explore in this conversation in Geekwire.
13. Are We Ready for Brain Transparency?
Rather turgid talk delivered at Davos, but the premise is fascinating - would we be better managers if we knew what employees were thinking / feeling? The answer is of course ‘yes’ - that is the definition of EQ - but the question as to whether we should use tooling to help us get better at it is discomforting for reasons we can’t explain. Is this madness or just the reticence that comes with innovation?
The hype for ChatGPT is real and it’s fascinating to see how technology companies and recruiter practitioners are responding. Brainfood is always going to iterate - the Brainfood Larder has been a venerable institution for us but wouldn’t it be great if we could integrate OpenAI with it, so that we could interrogate it with natural language rather than guessing at keywords? Watch this space folks…more happening here soon.
In the time, lets talk about the AI race - whose going to win it? Give your votes on the poll below folks, what is your money going to be on, and why?
Have a great week everybody
The 'race'- when will it end and how will we ever have a 'winner''? Same question but 20+ years ago: ''Who will win the internet browser race - Netscape or Altavista?" :)
While the world is pissing all over it's shoes by the buzz of ChatGPT, at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter whether ChatGPT or Google Bard will prevail as the most popular, most commonly used content AI. It's the equivalent of asking a guitar player whether Fender or Gibson makes the best guitars. For experienced guitar players, it's simply a matter of personal preference, feel, and most important the sound they're trying to create and how they shape their own musical voice. Which is what really matters. I mean, when you hear Jimi Hendrix play, you know who it is, same as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Wes Montgomery, Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian, Pat Metheny, Joe Pass - when you hear them play, you know who they are. You don't need Spotify or Pandora tell you on their display who's playing. These artists are defined by their individual creativity through their sound and their musical voice. While there are plenty of other guitar players who attempt to duplicate their sound, most come close but don't quite cut the mustard. Which, at the end of the day, is the inherent flaw in both ChatGPT, Google Bard or any other technology AI-imposter text generator that might come along in the future.