WTF 2020 – An Influencers’ Guide to Navigating the Shit Show – with John Sumser

Welcome to TotalPicture Media with your host, Peter Clayton. Thank you for tuning in. So, what’s your opinion of 2020 so far? Here’s mine: You May want to watch the video version of this interview.

We’re living in a country so politicized it feels like we’re all riding in carnival bumper cars fueled by crack cocaine and operated by Pennywise the Clown. Even the COVID 19 pandemic that has turned the world upside-down is politicized.

Then, there’s climate change. The West Coast is burning, the Gulf Coast keeps getting pounded by hurricanes, the Midwest was flooded most of the spring, destroying millions of acres of crops. The permafrost is melting in Siberia. Ice shelves are collapsing and breaking apart.

Then there’s Black Lives Matter and the fact that black people keep getting murdered. For no apparent reason. Other than the fact that they happen to be black.

This dumpster fire of a year gave me an idea for a series of vodcasts I’m calling WTF 2020 – AN INFLUENCER’S GUIDE TO NAVIGATING THE SHITSHOW.

 Today, I’m delighted to welcome back to TotalPicture Media John Sumser, principal analyst for HRExaminer, an independent analyst firm covering HR Technology and the intersection of people, tech, and work. If you’re watching or listening to this, chances are you know John.

 TALKING POINTS:

  1. John, thanks for agreeing to participate in my latest attempt to grasp some sort of reality in this surreal nightmare we all find ourselves in. I know you’re waking up every morning in beautiful Northern California with air quality worse than Beijing. So, how are you and Heather doing?
  2. Before we get started in the WTF segment, I recently watched again, your closing keynote at the College Recruiter Bootcamp held in Mountain View at the Googleplex. Our friend Steven Rothberg gave me permission to post the video (which I produced, directed and edited), on my YouTube Channel and newly resurrected TotalPicture website. Your session was titled AI, Algorithms, and Who Owns the Outcome? Noting that “the rules have changed.”
  • Models are Simplifications
  • Questions are Better than Answers
  • Machines have Opinions
  • Work the Fundamentals
  • New Kinds of Management
  1. So, this was from December 2018. Would you mind going through this list and giving us a 2020 refresh on some of these concepts?
  2. Onward and Downward to WTF 2020: What do you envision for 2021 regarding HR tech?
  3. What are your clients telling you?
  4. Speaking about AI, does AI still matter?
  5. This, from a question you helpfully submitted: In your opinion, why do HR vendors and departments need ethics boards?
  6. Is this the same old HR from last year or has something really changed?
  7. Is AI and machine learning helping to lessen bias in recruiting?
  8. Do you envision more tech consolidation next year?
  9. More vendors cutting staff and/or going out of business?
  10. More companies laying off recruiters? More recruiters becoming independent contractors?
  11. Do you think there will be any Live Conferences in 2021? (and If so, will anyone come, exhibit, sponsor, etc)
  12. Do you think the trend this year to host virtual conferences will continue in 2021?
  13. What’s your opinion of virtual conferences? Do they work?
  14. Will people ever return to their offices? When?
  15. I keep hearing news reports that WFH has people fleeing San Francisco and the Bay Area. True?
  16. I want to play a clip from your HR Tech Weekly Episode #285 podcast:

“Where we are right now with video is where we were with PCs in 1980. That if you want to have a vibrant career, whatever, your discipline, you need to deliver the best video of anybody around you. And people who pay attention to that and start delivering high-quality video and start working on maintaining the quality of the video production are going to have better careers than people who don’t. So that’s the first thing. We’re just at the beginning of the video era and it is going to be the dominant reason that people get ahead in the next five years. It’s going to be astonishing to see what people do and it’s going to happen very quickly. So, this time next year, we’ll be talking about production techniques that we don’t even understand yet and everybody will be talking about.” John Sumser

Obviously, John, that got my attention. Would you please unpack this for us?

  1. I also loved your rant on Microsoft Teams in the same episode of HR Tech Weekly. Remember when Skype was easy and fun to use? I do!
  2. Changing the topic for a minute, tell us about your new 2020 Index of Intelligent Tools in HR Technology, a major research report, The Birth of HR as a Systems Science.
  3. Thanks again for agreeing to do this interview, John. Is there anything you would like to share regarding your predictions or projections for 2021 we’ve not covered?
  4. What’s the best way for folks to get in touch with you?
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