Summer Plans Revealed: More Innovation, Less Fish

“Our Age of Anxiety is, in great part, the result of trying to do today’s jobs with yesterday’s tools.” Marshall McLuhan

I was at a barbeque in San Francisco this weekend and while everyone agreed that it’s nice that summer has finally arrived, our conversation inevitably meandered into talk of work and our summer work intentions. Alex, a partner in a small marketing consultancy, remarked how he planned to lay low and enjoy the summer, taking some time off to relax. “After all,” remarked Alex, “No one is doing anything this summer except waiting out this economy.” Liz, an executive at an enterprise software company, agreed, mentioning that she’s observing “summer hours” and hoping that the fall will yield better results for her firm (I’d like to add that I hope it will yield better results for everyone). When the conversation turned to me, I stuttered on about a fly-fishing trip and some weddings. I really didn’t want to tell the group that my summer is going to be as busy as they come and that “summer hours” are definitely not in the mix for me. I may dub this summer, “The Summer of Work”.

I see it like this. Throughout history, recessions have produced new leaders like HP, FedEx, and Microsoft. While someone was cost-cutting and retrenching, someone else was innovating. When spending is tight, companies look for new, less expensive ways to do routine things. It just so happens that hiring (my business builds recruiting software) is something that most, if not all, companies need to do at some point or another—and I can assure you that there is plenty of room for innovation in the world of recruiting software. Marshall McLuhan, a scholar of media theory, puts it best saying, “Our Age of Anxiety is, in great part, the result of trying to do today’s jobs with yesterday’s tools.” This quote is very timely. When the anxiety subsides and the economy loosens up, the way business is conducted will have changed.

So at Newton Software we are pushing development harder than ever, making things smarter, simpler, easier and faster—making tools for tomorrow, because the economy WILL get better.

First off, in just a few weeks we will be releasing the recruiting software industry’s most innovative analytics application. Our product management, design, and development teams have been working tirelessly to design and develop a product that will allow companies to examine and reposition corporate recruiting programs to be more efficient and effective. Creating the behind-the-scenes algorithms and measurements is a time consuming process, and making the module easy to use, yet powerful, is 10x as laborious. Our entire team has spent countless hours interviewing HR pros, recruiters, and contributing our own domain expertise to this product. Look for more news about Newton’s analytic functionality in early July.

Second, we are integrating a billing system into Newton®. This will make it easier for customers to sign up and manage costs. It also means that we can offer an unrivaled transparency to our clients. The addition of the billing system reinforces a key tenet of our business plan: take the friction and hassle out of buying our software (and, even cancelling it if you want to!). Our investment in online billing software marks another innovation in the recruiting software industry and will make a dramatic improvement in the way that HR, recruiting, and finance professionals will interact with a software provider (us). We anticipate providing hassle free, completely transparent billing and invoicing by mid-August.

Our third major project this summer is already underway. We are designing a feature that will make it easier for recruiting agencies to do business with companies that are hiring, and vice versa. Since the beginning of recruiting a certain animosity has existed between recruiting firms and the companies they assist. We want to help smooth these relationships by making it easier for companies to get great resumes while at the same time freeing agency recruiters from having to make 100 cold calls a day. The end of the cold call is near, my friends. Solving an issue that has plagued both sides of the recruiting industry for decades is, as you can image, not easy. You can bet that the phrase “summer hours” has not come up at Newton (except when remarking that it is still light out when we leave the office at 9PM).

This so called “summer of work”, what does it mean? Well, at Newton, we see it as an opportunity to turn a slow buying cycle (read financial turmoil) into a business advantage and to launch innovate products that solve real problems for our customers. While we would love to be out fly-fishing, backpacking, spending time with families or just cruising around getting tans on our bikes, we are planning to hunker into the Newton fish bowl (that is what our friend’s call our office) to get some work done.

Please pass the sun lamp.

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Comment by Joel Passen on June 30, 2009 at 7:46pm
By the way, yes, that is us- the founders of Newton Software with Steve's brother in the middle.
I am on the right and Steve Hazelton, Newton's CEO, is on the left. This picture was taken in an undisclosed location near Ketchum, Idaho.


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