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Exit Interview by Patrick Donegan – Newsletter #1

By: Patrick Donegan

For some time, I’ve been looking for one “source” that curates modern takes on HR Tech, perspectives from the people who build it, and its impact on enterprise — something that’s tailor-made by professionals for decision-makers. 

I never found it — so I decided to build it. 

Every week, I’ll be sharing fresh insights on tech platforms, design, data, and the future of work — straight to your inbox.

My Thoughts

I published a piece on the unfortunate trend of “one-size-fits-all” HR technologies in January of this year. 😎💪 It seems even more relevant now that companies are reassessing their technology budgets as part of their long-term financial health in the COVID economy. ✅🐖🏅

Tech Innovation at Work

Zoom is introducing Zoom Apps: “Zoom Apps give access to best-of-breed applications throughout your Zoom meeting workflow.” Another case for using best of breed, and worth checking out.  👏🐖🏅📹

Here’s a helpful takeaway from a virtual panel with Mike Cannon-Brookes, co-CEO of Atlassian and Stewart Butterfield, CEO of Slack: Agile isn’t just for tech giants. it can improve corporate environments in any industry. Working in sprints extends to workplace tools. ⚒️👨‍💻By giving individuals best-of-breed technologies and integrations, you can give your team more autonomy. But adopting new tools requires a strategic approach. 💪🤔🌟Mike Cannon-Brookes, Co-CEO and Co-founder of Atlassian puts it this way: “It’s about making sure that there’s a natural partnership and symbiosis between different digital tools to ensure they work well together.”

I really enjoyed this interview with Tiffany Zhong, a 23-year-old CEO of Zebra IQ and a16z general partner Connie Chan on Gen Z preferences. 👏👩‍💼🎙️Generational differences are already shaping product design with platforms like TikTok and Youtube, and we will see more of this as Gen Z moves into the workforce.

The Changing Workplace

Dropbox is making a permanent shift to remote work. They are also replacing “offices” with “Studios.”🤔🎨🏡 The company said: “We’ll have Studios in all locations we currently have offices—whether they’re dedicated spaces in places we currently have long-term leases and a high concentration of employees (San Francisco, Seattle, Austin, and Dublin to start) or on-demand spaces in other geographies.” 🌏✈️

Photo: Dropbox

Gregg Lemkau, co-head of investment banking at Goldman Sachs, took a welcome stand on diversity in the boardroom in his interview with CNBC. Here’s the statement from Goldman Sachs: “Effective July 1, we will only underwrite IPOs in the US and Europe of private companies that have at least one diverse board member.” Lemkau lays it out for the rest of Wall Street: “The one thing I am surprised at is that none of our competitors followed suit. Happy to be a pioneer on this and a leader in diversity but I think it is better for the world if everyone else did the same thing.” ✊💪

After the election, American communities will need dramatic support for entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs need stronger support from the government at all levels to remove barriers in their way. Andrew Yang has a point: “So cash relief to citizens would be number one, and then number two would be a targeted relief program for small-business owners that would include, in many cases, forgiveness and grants in addition to credit lines and loans.”💯💸✅

All About Data

We’re always talking about data-driven insights, but we don’t talk as much about what technologies are really driving these insights. This is a good bit of research from a16z on modern data architecture. They asked practitioners from leading data organizations what their internal tech stacks looked like, as well if their stacks would differ if built from scratch.

Photo: a16z

There’s a lot of discussion about whether the V-shaped recovery in retail is here to stay.  It seems like the jury’s finally in, and I’m not surprised.👩‍⚖️📈 This is all about the shift to omnichannel for retailers. It would be interesting to check out how much this robust recovery owes to Shopify and the massive impact of their killer platform.  💳🔥

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Patrick Donegan

Managing Director

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