Roy Lichtenstein Girl with Hair Ribbon, 1965

Roy Lichtenstein  Girl with Hair Ribbon, 1965

It’s weird how nobody cares about awesome HR tech.

The only time anybody outside of my industry gets excited about work-related software is when it’s rebranded as something else — CLOUD BASED PERFORMANCE SOFTWARE! — and is written about by an underpaid millennial “content manager” who does freelance work at Fast Company or Forbes.

(Yes, I’m cynical.)

Even though it isn’t trendy, I am excited to attend the 17th Annual HR Technology® Conference and learn more about awesome new HR tech startups.

Here are the awesome new startups at the event — with copy lifted from this press release and modified with my pithy observations.

Ajax Workforce Marketing

Ajax Workforce Marketing’s BrandAmp shows employees how advocacy benefits them as individuals, gives them the opportunity to opt-in to the company’s brand and uses their choices to get HR and marketing the feedback they need to know which parts of the brand resonate with employees. The results include a stronger, clearer employer brand, tighter integration of the employer brand into the master brand and more effective social recruiting.

Ajax is run by a guy named Jason Seiden. He wrote a book called How to Self-Destruct: Making the Least of What’s Left of Your Career, and we’ve done business together. By business, I mean that we both lost money and learned a lot of lessons.

Jason gets a kidney if he needs one, but I hope he never needs one.


BlackbookHR will be presenting its new Network Insights product called RNA. The solution provides an interactive visualization of the informational and relational networks in an organization. Insights from RNA are used to drive performance in talent optimization, change management and leadership effectiveness.

I’m on the strategic advisory board of BlackbookHR. I made it my personal mission to befriend Chris Ostoich, the founder, just because I need more cool people in my life. I don’t give a shit about anything else.

Data Morphosis

The Data Morphosis Group designs and builds interactive, next-generation talent software that transforms human capital information into fluid, visual insight. During the session, the company will showcase its latest module, “Talent Scan” — software that takes talent strategy into the boardroom, delivering commercial advantage using best-in-class data visualization.

I don’t know anything about this company. Looks fine. Has the right buzzwords. Godspeed!


Similar to “LinkedIn” for the workforce, Fuel50 enables employees to gain a line of sight into career opportunities across the business, helps managers initiate and engage in better career conversations and provides organizations with the tools to deliver compelling and uniquely customized career propositions to every employee, thereby impacting engagement, retention and even increased revenue per employee.

Fuel50 reached out to me on social media to set up a meeting. I forgot to respond. (Sorry.) I remember the name because Fuel50® sounds like a sports drink. I envision a whole line of products: Fuel50®, Diet Fuel50®, Fuel50® Lite, Fuel50® now with Stevia, etc.

They seem to be Roy Lichenstein fans, too, which is okay in my book.


QUEsocial will provide an overview of its next-generation social recruiting platform, which uniquely blends employer branding content distribution, gamification and analytics into an easy-to-use SaaS Platform.

QueSocial is also located in my hometown of Chicago, IL. They hired my almost-real-brother Josh Schwede from Hirevue to join their company as EVP of Business Development. Josh and I are the same age, we grew up 10 minutes from one another, and we never met until he called me LFR for the first time. (The name stuck.)


Zenefits is a free, cloud-based HRIS that automates and eliminates time-consuming HR-related paperwork and gives businesses a single place to manage their payroll, benefits and compliance. Employers can sync directly with their current payroll, health insurance and other third-party systems, or use Zenefits to set up and connect with new payroll and benefits providers.

When I have insomnia, which is very rare, I like to think of all the times I sat through software demonstrations by payroll and benefits providers. If you combine benefits with zen, you get a blissful night of slumber. On the other hand, Zenefits has a ton of legit money and a ginormous billboard outside of SFO. If you’re a big and bloated payroll provider that still asks your clients to complete “change forms” via fax, you are screwed. Sorry.

I’m looking forward to this new breed of HR technology startup companies. Maybe they’ll help to improve the overall image of HR!

Why does everyone hate HR? Join the movement to fix that. Download the new e-book, “I Am HR.” Click to tweet.

1 Comment

  1. Many mid to large size companies already automate HR functions through enterprise resource planning software. I wonder how these products differentiate themselves.

Comments are closed.