Practicing Soft Skills by Firing Barry in VR, with Talespin’s Kyle Jackson

January 27, 2020 00:31:53
Practicing Soft Skills by Firing Barry in VR, with Talespin’s Kyle Jackson
XR for Business
Practicing Soft Skills by Firing Barry in VR, with Talespin’s Kyle Jackson

Jan 27 2020 | 00:31:53


Show Notes

The VR experience Firing Barry by Talespin is getting a lot of press lately, and on the surface, it may look like a slightly uncanny valley way to train someone how to give an old fella the can. But Talespin CEO Kyle Jackson tells Alan it’s more than that; it’s a tool to help humans flex their core competencies in everything from leadership skills to confidence-building. 

Alan: Hey, everybody, Alan Smithson here, the XR for Business Podcast. Coming up next, Kyle Jackson, founder of Talespin. You may have seen Barry the virtual human that you can fire in real life. We’ll be talking to them about their enterprise software solutions that leverage immersive technology to transform the way global workforces, learn, work,, and collaborate. We’ll also be discussing how you can use immersive technologies as an assessment tool to better prepare your workforce for exponential growth. All that and more on the XR for Business Podcast. Kyle, welcome to the show, my friend.

Kyle: Hey. Thanks, Alan. Thanks for having me.

Alan: Oh, it’s so exciting. Ever since I saw the video that popped up of Barry, the lovable older gentleman avatar that you can fire. How did that come about? Tell us about Talespin, and how did you get here, where you are now?

Kyle: Yeah, Barry became famous very quickly, because it’s such an ironic idea. And that’s really what I think caught people’s attention; the idea that you could use virtual humans for soft skills training was something that just seemed sci-fi and ironic. But then once you started to peel back the layers of it, it just starts to make a lot of sense.So how we got there, was we started looking at all of the future skills gaps, surveys, research, everything that was surfacing from the Shift Commission, to the World Economic Forum, to McKinsey Global Institute. And we just kept seeing — obviously opposite AI and automation and robotics, all the things that are going on one side of technology — that there was this increasing index toward soft skills for some of the most underserved areas for businesses going forward. We’re building this platform which is supposed to help transfer skills and really align us to the future of work. And every single survey says soft skills is one of the things we should be looking at. And we went, “Wow, is there anything we can do there?” The thing that was most important for us in thinking about that was we have to hit emotional realism to do this. This isn’t like a point-and-click replacement. It needs to be something that when I’m sitting in there and I’m opposite Barry or any other virtual human now, that I believe the emotions and the frustration and all the things that are thrown at me. And to do that kind of at scale. From both an assessment standpoint, content, and deployment to large companies.

Alan: So how did you guys overcome the Uncanny Valley of Barry? I’ve seen so many human avatars that are almost there, but they got that creepy feeling. And if you’re going for emotional realism, creepy is not what you want on the delivery side.

Kyle: No. Well, we kind of pulled up short in our opinion. So we were pushing further than where we landed. And you can get to even more photo-real than Barry is. But soon as you do, you start to push over that ledge and it starts to really be creepy. We’re kind of right in the sweet spot of north of Pixar, but not hitting realism. And that seems to work. We focused a lot on micro-expressions and figuring out like a programmatic way to add a lot of micro-expression to the silent moments too, because I think one of the things that technologists immediately do is we had to figure out how to do animation systems, lip sync systems and things like that for when people are talking, but especially in soft skills, a good majority of the hairy stuff is the unspoken. And so we were thinking a lot about like, well, how do we build scalable systems for the unspoken and for the nuances of those micro expressions. And so that took us on a whole other track. And it seemed to really work, because people– we’ve had dozens and dozens of people who would take that headset off and be upset, or really have that kind of walk-the-plank moment that we all had in VR, but around this this idea of like, “Wow, I just I really had a weird feeling about this fictional character.”

Alan: You know, it’s crazy. I actually dug– I bought Richie’s Plank again, and I’ve been putting people through it. And I forgot how amazingly simple that is. Wow. It’s so effective.

Kyle: And that’s what the Barry demo was. So we aren’t building software to teach people how to fire people. That’s not really what’s being sold. But we went, “Hey, what’s the Plank Experience of emotional realism?” And this obviously focused on soft skills, focused on business. And we went, “Well, here’s a universal situation that kind of everybody knows is uncomfortable, either having been on one side or the other. Let’s use that as the thing that basically people sit in and go, this is uncomfortable or I knew how to push through that objection or whatever.” And it seemed to be pretty effective. So the actual stuff that’s being sold is actually more on the empowerment side. So looking at how do I get more proficient in giving good feedback, or how do I get more proficient in sales? Things like leadership bias and other topics that are much more about empowerment than they are about termination.

Alan: The last podcast I had was with somebody working on trade skills. So, driving construction equipment and electrical and HVAC and these types of things, and you guys are looking the soft skills, and it makes me kind of question is there anything that VR and AR is not better than the traditional training? I don’t know the answer to that, we really don’t have enough data. But what are your thoughts?

Kyle: I think one thing that they both have in common is focusing on places where you really don’t have a safe place to fail in real life. Soft skills, it seems ironic that it’s still on the other end of hard skills, but at the same time it’s the exact same thing. It’s like when you go into one of these situations and you fail. It’s just as potentially filled with liability and other issues as it would be if you drove a forklift into a warehouse shelf. It’s actually a kind of a– to me, it looks like a very similar theme. But yeah, you’re right. Without pulling back those layers of why the value is so much higher, it kind of– from the outside, it’s like, “Wow. There’s nothing this can’t touch.” But there is really clear consistent lanes that seem to be huge ROI.

Alan: Yeah. It’s interesting, because I have seen some things — especially in the education side of things — where it doesn’t really make sense to put in VR, and maybe they just didn’t make it right. But there’s some some things that I’ve seen that are just like, well, you basically just put a 2D screen content into VR and that doesn’t really cut it. It wasn’t interactive– it was, but very basic interaction. And I thought even then I’m sure they’re seeing better results because of VR, because you can hijack people’s attention. But it really wasn’t that. So yeah, I’m looking at your Talespin. So first of all — if anybody wants to visit its — where you’ve got this co-pilot training, which is the Barry virtual humans, but you’ve listed here “With co-pilot training modules, you can teach interpersonal skills with emotional realism” Amazing. “Simulate nuanced professional situations, practice soft skills in the safety of a virtual environment, create scalable and repeatable soft skills training programs, and measure the development of interpersonal skills.” How does that compare to what companies are doing currently around these types of things?

Kyle: They don’t have measurement. That was the crazy thing is.

Alan: I didn’t think so.

Kyle: Yeah, there’s no measurement. And– I mean, there’s anecdotal measurement at best. So if you’re lucky enough to get put in a group of employees that get leadership development, or other types of more privileged trainings, those are usually role-plays or summits or things like that. They’re very expensive to administer, or to facilitate. And they usually are– if you’ve got a really big company, even the consistency between facilitators is pretty variable. And so they roleplay through things, it’s a check the box on “Did you get access to that program? Did you go through it? Did you hit all the milestones over a 12 or 16 week program?” But with this, obviously, it’s kind of a different animal. So what are the things that we’ve had a lot of discussions with people, is giving the things that would historically have been reserved for middle management not giving those, giving access to people much earlier in terms of their own personal development for these types of topics. And then doing that in a way where obviously, as you’re going through the scenarios, we can measure everything. We can measure your own posture. We can measure your sentiment. We can measure all the decision points that are made in any sort of given conversation. And so servicing that data backup in kind of an aggregate way really starts to have a value that businesses haven’t even really had before. So it’s interesting to see how that’s going to get used. But I think to answer the questions, they just don’t– it’s not really measured today.

Alan: The last podcast, we were talking about KPIs, how do you then measure against baseline when there’s no measurement to begin with? Or do you just say “From now on, henceforth we will have measurement?”

Kyle: That’s a good question. Do we– I mean, basically the obvious things are when you get into leadership bias, and some of the diversity inclusion topics, conflict resolution topics. There is some core strategy retention that you can measure, just like you could in any sort of skill or knowledge transfer application. So right now we’re using the idea that there’s kind of a 2x increase and information recall for twice as long. We’ve been able to measure that. We’ve been able to see huge increases in satisfaction over the training, 93 percent over e-learning has been what we’d better across all the different things that we deployed. Just generally, one of the things that was most eye-opening was people’s ability to elaborate on something that was in the learning. What we saw– we did an A/B study. And we gave people e-learning, where they were sitting in a classroom environment, strict traditional learning modalities, some video, and other PowerPoints and stuff. And when you started asking questions outside the learning, people tap out pretty quickly. “That wasn’t really in what we went over, so I’m not really sure.” But with the VR, we did a B group, where they had one fourth the amount of exposure, and they were able to elaborate 400 percent more. Mind-blowing. It translated into confidence that wasn’t even necessarily part of the core thing, because they were connecting the dots.

Alan: Wow.

Kyle: Because of the way it is administered. So that kind of stuff, it’s not soft skills ROI yet, but it’s hard to debate it. And so we’re now getting to the place, where we’re going to have really– by 2020, we will have really meaningful measurement across these big deployments. And we’ll probably come up with ways to actually show that improvement curve. We’re also getting some more off-the-shelf models so we’ll have a catalog, plus the stuff that’s being built specifically for businesses. It’s obviously off-the-shelf stuff. We’re gonna have thousands and thousands and thousands of users. It’s exciting to start to be able to build, put measurement behind some of that stuff.

Alan: What does the typical rollout looks like?

Kyle: So I would say, generally speaking, around 1,200-1,500 people has been like kind of the minimum group size where it all kind of pencils out this early on. And that obviously gets kind of more expensive today than it will be next year. And then as far as the way it’s been administered, we’ve seen a pretty wide variety there. We’re often classroom based, to like, “Hey, let’s put 10 headsets in twelve cities, and just let people book time.” We haven’t really seen that solidify yet into one kind of deployment methodology.

Alan: What works best from your standpoint?

Kyle: The regional stuff works pretty good. Obviously with the improvements that are coming from the enterprise platforms now, we actually can get to the place where we can facilitate regular monitoring and updates of content, if you have regional training centers. Up until this summer, we were trying to get people to stay in one center as much as possible, just to kind of keep the deployment craziness down. But I think that’s going away. Honestly, we’re now seeing more and more people go the other direction. And then there’s not really a whole lot of room between, “OK, I’m going to twelve cities.” versus “I’m going to end users.” And hopefully we start to see that there’s enough value in the amount of content that people can access, that they start buying headsets per user.

Alan: What are the headsets? Obviously HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, but are you seeing more deployment now or more excitement around the standalone units?

Kyle: Yeah, yeah, for sure. Yeah. I mean, the standalone units are, from an ease of use, just a huge step forward. And we just finished a really large– actually I think it’s going to be the largest enterprise study. We just did a 3,000 person study with about one 150 Oculus Quests, and that deployment and that methodology, and the uptick and everything is really, really exciting to watch.

Alan: So, how many Quests?

Kyle: About 150 Quests for 3000 users.

Alan: Amazing. That’s incredible.

Kyle: Yeah. And deployed in– it was under 60 days. So pretty quick turnaround time for that many users.

Alan: So, did people just book time with it, or did they like, “OK, when you’re done, it goes to this person. When you’re done, it goes to this person.” How do you manage that?

Kyle: Yeah, it was booked time. There was still some hand-holding at the head end, because a lot of — as you’d imagine — most of the users were first time VR users still. So there was still some hand-holding, but honestly it was a fraction of what it was for any of us two years ago.

Alan: Oh yeah, I get– last night, my friends came over to my house and my mom was putting on VR and she’s done it before. But yeah, it was still a challenge.



Kyle: Yeah, yeah. The nightmares of– we had a traveling circus, where we had like 10 shipping containers that were– that had been converted into VR base for one of the enterprise clients two years ago.

Alan: Oh my God.

Kyle: Oh my gosh. How many times the censors broke out, the controllers broke, and the signals broke. I mean, we ended up having two full time people, just to keep them up.

Alan: Yeah, I believe it.

Kyle: So we’re a long ways from that.

Alan: Well, I mean, we still– some of the stuff we’re still doing on the Vives and it’s a full time job just keeping the computers up to date. It’s crazy.

Kyle: Yeah.

Alan: That’s a disaster. Every time you turn it on, it’s like “Windows needs to update all these filters.” [laughs]

Kyle: Yeah.

Alan: Oh man. So let’s talk about some of the — I guess — customer engagement. So you have a product here for– I don’t know which one it was, I was just looking in the– “Talespin for Insurance.” What is that all about?

Kyle: Yeah. So, essentially even the soft skills stuff kind of came out of the insurance industry. So when we started the company, we spent the first several years just looking at what are the trends in the future of work? What are the things that we can count on as staples for how work is going to be delivered and what’s going to matter most? And so we had decided that we should look for companies and industries, that have really large distributed workforces already. Because of the gig economy is expanding, and work is being distributed even more remote. So if there’s industries that have that characteristic, we should focus there. And then the other was businesses or industries, where they operate in environments they don’t own or control. And that was because the value is so much higher for them — for early VR adoption — that it is safe for a retail company, even though we’ve seen some adoption there. But they have thousands of training centers, if you think about it. Every store is a training center. So the idea that access to the environment is limited is another reason why you see such a big uptake in oil and gas and some of these other industries. So insurance happened to really embody that. Obviously, they have tens of thousands of employees that are out in people’s homes, doing really difficult work and it’s highly variable. So the idea of simulation and the idea of being able to really leverage all of VR’s benefits was a 100 percent fit. And so once we got down that lane, one of the other things that became really obvious and apparent, was that they have a really high number of situations in which soft skills are really important. Because they almost always meet their customers on their worst day. Your house is either flooded or burned down, or you’ve had an accident, or whatever, their interactions with their customers are all soft skills interactions. And so we ended up in this industry. We’ve started working with Farmers Insurance in 2016, and we just saw incredible results. And as we just dug in deeper and deeper and deeper, we just found that there was a huge appetite for this kind of product in that industry. And so we started building off-the-shelf products for the industry, because not everybody has a substantial animation budget to really break new ground. But they all definitely want the benefit. And so we built a platform specifically for the insurance industry. I mean, it’s really an expression of all the pieces of our platform we built. And then we just started building a content layer on top of that for the insurance industry.

Alan: Amazing. So what are they doing? Other than the soft skills? Because it shows a guy holding a piece of wood. Are they training them to just deal with people in a better way? Or are you even looking at augmented reality, of being able to capture spaces for that sort of thing? What is it exactly?

Kyle: Yeah. So the platform we’ve been building is really… we look at the problem we’re trying to address is this whole idea of like how do we accelerate knowledge transfer and the alignment of skills for how important it’s going to change. And so if you think about that, that’s something that touches every single stage of the employee lifecycle. So just addressing it as a training platform that only people get access to it at onboarding is going to probably miss the mark. And so we start looking at like, well, what can we do for assessment, or during recruitment? And what could we do for empowerment, when people are out in the field? And how can we look at the broad lens of spatial computing in each of these lanes? We mapped that out over a couple of years. And so, yeah, we’ve got basically a framework for processing object-based learning, which is the guy that you mentioned earlier, holding the 2×4. So we’re teaching people how things are made. What are things even called? There’s a lot of day-one, on-the-job stuff that’s just getting up to speed on nomenclature and how things are connected to each other. And so we built a framework for being able to rapidly build those types of experiences, then process is pretty obvious. So in the insurance use case, the first thing that we did with Farmers was, you stepped into a simulated home in which that home had been flooded or had caught fire, and then you basically had to go and play investigator, and you had to sort out all the issues. And that meant also understanding how the house was built. And so it really embodied all of the benefits of VR. And because people got a chance to go out and do 10 or 20 or 30 cases before they ever set foot on the job, obviously, you got really good results. And then out in the mixed reality lane, we’re exploring kind of like, how can we either be able to recall — really quickly, recall — via voice like, “hey, I don’t know what that is.” And through mixed reality, it brings up some job aides that you may have had in your onboarding, starting to connect all these things. So it’s kind of one cohesive, continuous learning string.

Alan: Incredible.

Kyle: And so that’s what we’ve been working on, and just focusing on one industry to start because, you know, we kind of have to figure out all these things that are systems and standards and frameworks. And then as we get that figured out, we can look at other areas. Soft skills is kind of a whole other area by itself, because it just branches across industries so fast.

Alan: It touches everything. I think a big one for you guys is going to be banking.

Kyle: Yeah.

Alan: I would think that’s a natural progression. Insurance and banking would be kind of in similar fields. The only difference being insurance people are in an environment like you said, that’s not in their control, whereas banking you can control their environment a little bit more.

Kyle: Yeah, we’ve got a lot of interest from telecom, from construction — that’s kind of an obvious one, because insurance and construction kind of touch a lot of the same things, from a process and object-based learning standpoint. But for soft skills, yeah, it’s across the board. Health and life insurance, health care, banking, you name it. We’ve got it inbound in conversations going on in just about every sector. And it’s interesting, the problems that people are trying to solve aren’t that different. It’s a lot of the same stuff. It’s a lot of like, “how do I have a critical conversation where I don’t blow up the situation? How do I give good feedback?” There are skills that somehow the younger generation coming into the workforce have lost, because of becoming so digitally native. And so they want to give them an opportunity–

Alan: It’s funny, the more “social” we’re becoming on social media, the less social we are in real life.

Kyle: Yeah, that’s what the business world is saying.

Alan: It’s crazy. Yeah. Now we’re using technology to fix the problem.

Kyle: Yeah, that’s the irony, right?

Alan: Oh my God. What’s happening?

Kyle: It’s just this recursive loop now.

Alan: Yeah man, it’s wild. What else are you excited about? And what else have you got coming up in 2020? People are going to want to–

Kyle: I think for us, everything is finally at a maturity point where we’re seeing a lot of the big, traditional SAS and software players step into this space. They kind of can’t deny the results. There’s enough ROI calculations and things that have surfaced that they know their customers are really bugging them about having a solution. So we’ve got some really good conversations going on there, to work along with channel partners and other kind of big ecosystem players that I think will become exponential for the industry. I’m really excited about spending a lot more time down the lane of the assessment side, because I think we always… like, the thing internally we talk about is if you could remember back to your 12- to 15-year-old self — and I grew up in Colorado, and we had good schools and generally had access to a lot of things — but the idea of what you wanted to do was still very much dictated by your parents’ suggestions, or just kind of whatever you had nearest access to. And that’s just not really a good system. And so the idea that with these mediums, we could potentially have a better understanding and assessment of our own real skills early on, and start to look at what kind of opportunity lanes are out there for me, and and start to build explore those? That to me is a really exciting idea. I think it would really be a huge difference in how people ended up living their lives. I get really excited about the idea that we’re heading into a period where maybe we can better align our individual purpose with opportunities, because we’re actually going to have better insight into ourselves and to those opportunities through these types of mediums. That, to me, is like a systemic rewrite of how people assess and start to build their lives. And we’re like, I think that’s a 2020 area of focus.

Alan: Isn’t that crazy? Like, it’s hard to fathom that. But that’s where we are right now. We’ve been struggling with the future, but the future is now.

Kyle: Yeah, it’s wild to think that that’s where we’re at. It’s not really a science experiment. It’s just about committing to the work.

Alan: Yeah, I mentioned this on a previous podcast; it is not a technology problem anymore. It’s a people problem.

Kyle: Yeah.

Alan: It’s just convincing people to adopt this technology. Speaking of that, I want to dig in; what are some of the biggest challenges you guys have faced with this in general?

Kyle: I think the scale question. Everybody’s like, “this is amazing. The results I can’t deny. How do we scale it?” And there’s this idea of having to bring more hardware into your business, and that creates a lot of friction for businesses. So I often — being contrarian in that moment — sometimes you have to really push. I’ve said, “well, listen, is your goal to scale access? Or success? Because if your goal is to go access, then you use the wrong medium for you today. But if your goal is to scale success, then you need to look past some of these other things because you’re just getting in your own way.” The effectiveness is through the roof. And that obviously, that’s a challenge that people… that puts them back in their seat a little bit and they go, “it’s actually a good question because we are really focused on access. And access doesn’t necessarily equal success.” But yeah, the scale question is by far the biggest one, which is amazing that we’re having that conversation. Right?

Alan: It’s a great point.

Kyle: Yeah. And that’s just the fact that we’re even there is, again, night and day over two years ago. That question never came up. Now, it’s “we can’t get out of the first meeting without having to figure out how to answer that question,” specific to that organization.

Alan: Wow. That’s amazing. Is there anything else you want to share before we wrap it up?

Kyle: No, I think it’s just exciting for all of us. I think in the next year, hopefully there’s a lot of kind of infrastructures in place to help rise all boats, and 2020 is the year to do it.

Alan: Indeed, that’s one of the reasons we started XR Ignite as a community hub; for startup studios or developers to come together and — like you said — rise all boats, because I think there’s a lot of great work being done and there’s a lot of camaraderie, but nobody’s really brought everybody together as a community. Aside from the VR/AR Association, which is doing a phenomenal job as well.

Kyle: Yeah, you guys have done a phenomenal job of that.

Alan: Thank you, thank you. Our mission is to hyper-accelerate the XR industry. So when you look at it from that standpoint… we have two companies, MetaVRse and XR Ignite — XR for Business Podcast will also be a news aggregator and stuff so people can get access to the information they need about their industry. But these are all tools that are trying to help the whole industry move forward. Right? If we can create a tool that helps people find the right supplier at the right time for what they’re looking for, and helps them cut through the crap — because let’s be honest, if you’re an H.R. manager and you want to do VR, where do you start?

Kyle: 360?

Alan: Well, they don’t even know what that is! They just [think], “I saw a VR headset at a trade show. It was amazing. What do I do? Who do I call?” So there’s a lot of that going on.

Kyle: I don’t think we’re even close to the end of it. I mean, the education piece is starting, I think, to get a little bit more mature because of the help of the work you guys have been doing. And we’re now at the doorstep of, like, really needing to think about the critical infrastructure; like the AWS-layer, is what I always say.

Alan: And that’s funny that you say that, because we actually pivoted about a year ago to focus on that. What does the back-end tech stack look like to not only deliver this content, but standardize it? Because if I go… and we’ll just use insurance company as an example because you brought it up; I go in there. You’re talking about the VR being used for the soft skills training, but if you take a Matterport camera into a flooded building, you can now capture volumetrically the problem firsthand for legal purposes. There’s all sorts of ways this technology can be used across an enterprise, and there’s no standardization at all.

Kyle: No.

Alan: It’s the Wild West. So if we can figure out what those standards look like, and also the quality standards… I know everybody out there, if you’re developing stuff, here’s Rule #1: Don’t make people sick. If we can just adhere to Rule #1? I think we’ll be just fine. But I tried something the other day. I tried to an experience, and I had to take off after two seconds. I was like, oh, God. And this is this is a publicly-available thing on Oculus Quest. I was like, okay…

Kyle: Yeah, I’d hope would be that we were done overcoming that objection. Right? But it’s still there.

Alan: It’s a problem for the industry. It’s not a problem from our company, or your company. But if you have a CEO that had a bad experience — and I did a 5G experience, it was one of the large telcos, like a massive telco. They did this 5G experience and it showed as they turned from 5G, it was an AR experience wearing glasses, and you had to do a task in the physical world. But the pass through camera, they they went from 5G down to 4G, down to 3G, to demonstrate the difference. And I’m like, why are you making people sick? It’s so nauseating. There’s such a delay. And it was like, oh, my God. And my wife and I were both sick for hours after that. And that was at a major conference.

Kyle: Yeah, that’s not the kind of way that we should be convincing people of 5G.

Alan: Yeah, “5G is awesome. Look, it makes you sick.”

Kyle: Yeah.

Alan: What is one problem in the world that you want to see solved using XR technologies?

Kyle: I guess it’s that 15-year-old self. I want us to be able to, as an industry, give access to kids to be able to explore the world in such a way that they actually step out of their formative years on a path that they already have conviction for. And that’s a ubiquitous… that’s like the new standard, not like the exception for exceptional kids. That is something that’s right there in front of us. And it’s just a matter of walking out for a few more years.

Alan: You know, it’s amazing; 25 percent of our company is owned by a trust. And the trust’s goal is to deliver on that promise to deliver education at scale. Our goal, our mission, is to democratize education globally by 2040. And there’s another group in Toronto that I’m a mentor at called the Knowledge Society. And they take 14- to 18-year-old kids and they really just help them find their passions. Because if you can find your passion young in your [life] — and your passions are going to change — but if you can just find how to find your passion and really just live that passionate learning mindset forever? It doesn’t matter what your passion is, as long as you have the passion and you realize that you can learn anything about anything instantly. So I think this technology will will hyper-accelerate that as well.

Kyle: And I think it also changes people’s definition of success, which I think is something that is also going to be critical to our world going forward. And so it’s such a good time to be able to focus on those kinds of issues. And the fact that there’s huge institutions like the ones you’re working with and they’re all out there putting their everything into it is really, really inspiring thing to be a part of.

Alan: PWC just announced that they’re earmarking $3-billion to reskill and retrain their staff.

Kyle: Yeah. And we’re seeing those pop up. You know, I mean, AT&T did a billion dollars last year. Amazon did $750-million. I mean, this is a topic that is obviously, I think, near-and-dear to any large employer. It’s just a question of whether they’ve decided to step up, take the responsibility.

Alan: I don’t know if this is true or not, but I heard a stat that Accenture has to hire 50,000 new employees a year.

Kyle: Yeah, but that’s that’s about the right range. Yeah. You know, you see us 25,000 new associates every year. On the associate level.

Alan: Wow. Kyle, I want to thank you again for joining the podcast.

Kyle: Yeah. Thanks again for having me, Alan. It was fun.

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