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It is better
to not be on
the web than
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not know why

John Sumser

is more
it seems.
John Gall


The Electronic Recruiting News is a Free Daily Newsletter For Recruiters, HR Managers, Advertising Agencies and Clasified Advertising Operations

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Hero 13: Rob McGovern, Rugged Individualist

(May 19, 2000) Playing the stock market is like playing the ponies. Winners get picked because the pickers are smart. Losers get picked because the ponies are lame. At least that's what it feels like these days.

Then, there are those of us who think about calling companies and saying "Look, when we buy stock, the price always falls. Wouldn't you like to pay us to not invest. We have inverse market knowledge." We're certain that this is the reason most stock market analysts don't own the stocks they cover.

If you look to the stock market to validate common sense business practice, we think you're looking in the wrong place, particularly in our world. Common sense runs something like "Open a company, find customers, deliver a service, spend less money than you take in, make the customers very happy, and make a profit." For a while, the stock market was rewarding "Borrow lots of money, open a company, find a few customers, work on your product, and get yourself in the position to borrow more." Anyhow, we can't imagine why a sensible business person would want to operate a public company. When counter productive behavior is rewarded and sound business practice is punished, we wonder how competent entrepreneurs get conned into taking a new boss. The problem is severe enough to drive the brightest out of the market and into private concerns.

We've been thinking heavily about the problem Rob McGovern, CEO of CareerBuilder, is facing. The pressures must be enormous. Rob took CareerBuilder public and the stock price has fallen like a rock. The idea, we think, was to acquire the money required to build the company into an effective national advertising distribution network. Rob's moves on behalf of customers of the business and the company have been, for the most part, right on target. He has built an astonishing targetable network of micro-niche Recruiting sites with discrete demographics. The idea is the web at its best.

For reasons that have less to do with operating the business and more to do with engaging the investment community, CareerBuilder's stock price has hovered near $2 forever. In this case, the NASDAQ bubble never appeared. Like many, we've made the mistake, from time to time, of reading the stock price as a market evaluation of the quality of the business.

It isn't.

Assuming that Rob can navigate a few upcoming hurdles, he's built an enduring institution by focusing on doing the right things (market feedback be damned).

Here's to hoping that the market realizes its mistake.

- John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

Hero 12: The Entrepreneurs

(May 18, 2000) We often marvel at the extraordinary people who work in our industry. It is our great fortune to get to know many of them over the years. There are thousands of energetic and enthusiastic folks who toil in the fields of Electronic Recruiting. The level of exploration and heroism that are a part of everyday life is nothing short of amazing.

In spite of all of the hype (and the lottery fever driven by the NASDAQ), being an entrepreneur is a lot of hard work. The elements we've focused on in this short series: persistence, determination, empathy, endurance, tolerance for ambiguity and risk taking are concentrated in abundance in the entrepreneurs we haven't mentioned. With thousands of blossoming bootstrapped businesses successfully navigating the growth curves, we're proud to be associated with this amazing group.

From Bernie Hodes (who founded his ad agency as a two person office and built a Billion dollar business) to Dave Duffield (who built Peoplesoft into the Mega company it is today) the early foundations of the business were built by pioneering entrepreneurs. Richard Johnson at HotJobs has redefined the relationship between a public company and the market. Doug Merrit at Icarian is reconceiving the very nature of personnel utilization. John Mulcahy at TheWorksUSA is redefining candidate acquisition methods. Doug Carlston (the founder of Broderbund) is bravely risking his fortune on a vision of a free agent marketplace. Tony D'Agostino at kforce is reshaping the traditional search business. The entire team at FlipDog is focused on optimizing the data methods pioneered by some of our named heroes. Ralph Turkowitz (at the Washington Post) is nurturing the things that will become backbone technologies. Jeff Taylor (at Monster) is redefining the way that advertising works in Recruitment. The team at AIRS is making training a normal component of the Recruiting environment. Mike Milliken (at knowledge universe) is demonstrating the potential of controlling a cradle to grave supply pipeline.

They are just the tip of the iceberg.

In spite of all of the claims to the contrary, our universe is still chaotic and defining itself. The folks we've named (and the thousands we haven't) are engaged in an evolutionary quest. It produces the huge volumes of deals, alliances and new products we cover each day in our sister newsletter, (The interbiznet Bugler). It's astonishing to witness.

- John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

Hero 11: Hank Stringer, The Reverend

(May 17, 2000) He's a mild mannered Texan, on first pass. A Recruiter by trade, Hank Stringer is a soft spoken and kind man. There's a gentleness about his manner that makes dealing with him an engaging, comfortable experience. This lanky fellow seems to be the kind of guy you'd want watching your children or managing your ranch. It's hard to imagine Hank getting "all riled up".

That is, until you get him talking about Online Recruiting.

It turns out that just beneath the surface of the soft exterior lies the heart of a passionate innovator. Get Hank going and he weaves a sermon on the future of Recruiting that would evoke loud "Hallelujahs" in a revival tent. As he moves through the details of his vision, the story becomes ever more compelling. After 90 minutes, you get religion and the desire to contribute.

After years of peddling a vision, most advocates tire from the effort. Alone in the wilderness, they take a softer route, abandon the dream and wander off to simpler things.

Not Hank.

As the tireless energy source behind, He has five years of persistently helping to shape a service that tightly binds relationships between Recruiters and Candidates. Above all, Hank is a proponent of relationship based recruiting. The process of funding and technologizing that mindset, a bewildering and demanding cycle, leaves him energized and ready for larger battles.

In, he has architected a system that leads the pack in building communications accountability into the online Recruiting process. Like all technology plays, the result is an approximation of the ideal Hank carries in his head. That he's been able to come so close is proof that one person can come close to doing it all.

Simply being able to remember your name, when you are working at net speed, is a superhuman achievement. Being able to build out a working product while continuing to deliver a clear picture of the road ahead is the skillset that most leaders in our industry envy. Hank manages to deliver the goods consistently while engendering the kind of confidence that a good Reverend is expected to.

- John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

Hero 10: Joan Sills, High-Speed Organizer

(May 16, 2000) We hate writing about two people from the same company. But, with the powerful investment behind the company and a shrewd series of personnel decisions, BrassRing has a vast pool of talent who deserve extraordinary attention. If the newspaper industry is going to seriously break into online Recruiting, this company, with its gift for acquisitions and personnel decisions is likely to be the place where it starts.

We met Joan Sills early on in her career as the manager of Westech, the Silicon Valley job fair company. Installed as the CEO after Central Newspapers acquisition of Westech, we seriously doubted the decision making behind her appointment. With hotel experience in her background, we understood why she'd be given a slot in the job fair business. With seemingly little in the way of insight about the Online Universe, we assumed that it was another appointment from a Newspaper Industry that liked snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

We couldn't have been more wrong.

We think that there are two central components for fast track success in the industry. First, you have to make a lot of mistakes, the bigger, the better. And, you have to make them at high velocity, the more the better. The trick is, you can only make them once. Then you learn and move on.

Second, you have to be able to unlock potential. It's a tougher thing to describe. Over the years, we've learned that some team members limit the ability to grow and that some team combinations have the same effect. Rearrangements, from nuances to radical alterations can, in some cases, profoundly accelerate the development of the business. Knowing how to make the strategic judgment about the ways that people work together is central to explosive growth and momentum.

Over the past year, Joan has tirelessly demonstrated the ability to enter a new environment, size it up, rearrange the group slightly and make its growth go exponential. Based on this really unique ability to combine things, Joan won the job as CEO of BrassRing. She joined her Westech properties with the Pavement and the old HireSystems group.

We still weren't believers.

But, in the past 90 days, Joan has managed to charge the newly organized company with market aggressiveness, technical development and a growing awareness of the brand in our market. We're becoming believers.

She's a whirlwind of tireless energy. Each time we've encountered her, you could almost hear the tires screeching on her 9 year old Black Porsche. She knows where she's going and gets there fast. We're becoming believers and imagine an extremely powerful future for BrassRing as the result of her involvement.

- John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

Hero 9: George LaRocque, The Sales Machine

(May 15, 2000) We wish we had his endurance, frequent flyer miles, sense of humor and sales effectiveness. From a base near Boston, George LaRocque's tireless development of the BrassRing Systems' customer base is the stuff from which legends are made. It's amazing that BrassRing Systems has a clear trajectory to being the third largest player by years end and the largest player by the end of 2001.

If you ask George what makes him so successful, he'll probably quote back something we said about his company

"What distinguishes BrassRing Systems from the rest of the pack is a solid commitment to deliver simplicity without compromising results. Add a sprinkling of cost-effectiveness and you'll understand how wowed we were. BrassRing Systems is the first company to effectively combine high quality resume processing and powerful resume management software into a single solution. BrassRing Systems uses ingenious resume processing techniques enabling them to process resumes faster and better than any company could ever hope. Further, Hiresystems is the first web-based software that actually exceeds the capabilities of the client/server alternatives. BrassRing Systems is setting the benchmark by which other solutions will be measured."
He's a true believer in his company and its ability to deliver the kinds of solutions customers are looking for as the war for talent begins its inevitable escalation. George says
Companies that have traction are marketing services and products that help customers solve problems... regardless of the platform of delivery or what data integration standard they embrace.

Do me a favor though, and let my competition keep believing that they're that far ahead of the customer. I'll stay back here with them and try to help them find a way to their solution.

With 15 years in the Recruiting and HR industries, George should know. While we agree that he is fronting an incredible company, the deployment and motivation of BrassRing Systems sales force is entirely George's doing.

We think the roots are deeper still.

Early on, George was a crew chief in the Air Force. Running the crew that maintains the flight readiness of an F-15 is a round-the-clock, heavy travel, commitment to perfection sort of gig that permanently alters anyone who has the experience. For any problem, at any time and with any reason, the buck stops at the crew chief's desk. That means that a crew chief is used to motivating perfection, taking full responsibility for problems and taking the beatings even when the fault lies elsewhere. These are ideal components of a National Sales Manager's temperament.

That's not to say that George's success is a purely individual accomplishment. Surrounded by a team of stellar performers (including ex Presidential speech writers, the founder of the Urban Iditerot and led by the Field Marshall of Lotus' market expansion), George has the resources, commitment and technology to make his customers successful.

Watch the BrassRing Systems team. They're building a model of accomplishment and customer retention that is the envy of the rest of the industry. George (our hero) is at the heart of that process.

- John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

© 2013 interbiznet.
All Rights Reserved.

Materials written
by John Sumser
© TwoColorHat.
All Rights Reserved.

Mill Valley, CA 94941
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