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Exit Interview by Patrick Donegan – Newsletter #15

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.

Before we start this week — Inc. Magazine has released its annual list of the 5000 fastest growing companies. I’m proud to announce that SEI DC made #25 on the list of fastest growing private companies in the DC metro area! 🔥 📈 🙌 You can find the full list here.

My Thoughts

A group of Goldman Sachs analysts recently made news for publishing some unsettling stats about work habits inside the investment bank. 🏦 🙈 The analysts report 100-hour workweeks, incommensurate pay, and abusive behavior from senior employees. 😠 👎 Many bankers accept the first few brutal years as the tradeoff for high starting salaries and growth potential, but increasing competition from consultancies and Silicon Valley means that investment banks may have to start reconsidering their model. As more top talent opts for flexible hours and work-life balance over “the grind,” we may start to see a shift in even the most ingrained work cultures.

Tech Innovation at Work

If you’re interested, here’s a timeline of StockX — the “stock market of things” where people can invest in sneakers, handbags, and a variety of other luxury goods. StockX has compiled the timeline to celebrate the platform’s five-year anniversary. Since its launch in February 2016, the company has had a number of high-profile collaborations and product partnerships, and opened offices across the globe. 🌏 💳 At the moment, it’s instrumental in driving the current “alternative assets” boom.

2020 has definitely accelerated developments in healthcare, and some of these trends are more encouraging than others. 💪 💊 🌡️ As we approach the light at the end of the COVID tunnel, here are a few hopeful trends to watch for this year: 

  • Greater attention to health equity among different groups. ✊ ⚖️
  • Increased attention to mental and behavioral health. 👏
  • Increased bipartisanship. 
  • Expanded adoption of telemedicine and virtual care. 📱 👨‍💻

Kayak is opening a futuristic hotel in Miami Beach. The hotel makes use of some innovative technologies — including touchless check in, digital door locks, and a mobile app that lets guests connect directly with hotel staff. 📱🛎️ 🏖️ Kayak has partnered with Life House — a boutique hotel brand — to pull this off. According to Life House CEO Rami Zeidan, the partnership aims to make hotel technology  seamless for guests and staff. If you’re curious, rates start at $299 a night. 🤔 🔥  Zeidan says “Our goal isn’t to maximize revenue with this hotel. It’s to fundamentally rethink the guest experience.”

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Photo: Kayak Miami Beach

A16z has published its Marketplace 100 for 2021 — a ranking of the largest consumer-facing marketplace startups and private companies. 2020 has been a trying year, but there are companies that have successfully navigated the crisis and even thrived. The top ranked companies include InstacartValveVacasaStockXRover, and more. Here is the complete list, based on data from Bloomberg Second Measure. The startups and private companies on the Marketplace 100 are then ranked using a common industry metric, Gross Merchandise Value. Here are the biggest movers on the list year on-year: 

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Chart: A16Z

The Changing Workplace

We’ve been talking a lot about switching to a “hybrid” working model – spending a few days in the office and a few from a remote location –  but how does it actually work? 📝 🤔 What can leadership and mangers do to ensure that hybrid work models are productive and fair? On that front, here are some helpful best practices for designing a hybrid work-from-home model that puts employees first: 

  • Create certain clear guidelines about office required and office optional circumstances.
  • If you’re rotating employees in and out of the office, focus on teams not employees. 
  • Invest in normalizing online communication and collaboration. The more you keep everything accessible from anywhere, the more you can make work location-agnostic. 🌍 👨‍💻
  • Learn about your employees’ individual circumstances — the better you understand everyone’s individual needs, the better you can design a plan that works for the whole team. 
  • Make it fair, and ensure that everyone is accommodated. It isn’t up to you to decide what’s a reasonable motivation to seek flexibility. 💪 ⚖️

All About Data

Here’s a useful primer on Reverse ETL — the process of moving data from a data warehouse to third party systems to make it operational. 🤓 📊 Companies are realizing that warehoused data can be used for operational analytics to drive action in real time. Pushing data to SaaS systems like Salesforce can give you better visibility, improve metrics, and help ensure continuity across your business. There are now a handful of startups building reverse ETL products including Hightouch, Census, Grouparoo (open source), Headsup, Polytomic, and Seekwell. These tools help push data into more systems, and they offer a visual interface for synching different systems. Here’s a look at at the Reverse ETL Flow:

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Chart: Astasia Myers

Who’s really winning the streaming wars? Depends on how you look at it. In terms of users, Netflix is still at pole position with 200+ million subscribers and Amazon is not far behind with 150 million (taking into consideration of course that video streaming is included with prime membership). In terms of growth, Disney is leading the pack. With almost 95 million subscribers, it has amassed more subscribers in just over one year than it expected to reach by 2024. Here are where the others, including NBC‘s Peacock, Tencent Video, HBO Max stand: 

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Chart: Visual Capitalist

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Patrick Donegan

Managing Director

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