Kenexa and Taleo

Some notes from conference calls with Kenexa and Taleo:
Rudy Karsan, chairman and CEO: “In less than three months of having BrassRing integrated into Kenexa’s operations, we have closed three enterprise deals in which Kenexa was initially not considered in the bidding process because we did not have the required languages. In addition, there are two other deal opportunities of similar scale that come to mind. With the addition of our Kenexa Recruiter BrassRing solution has both gotten us back into the competitive valuation and the customer has given us verbal indication that they wish to move forward with Kenexa as their global vendor of choice.”
James Friedman, analyst: “It seems like one of your competitors, who will go nameless, may have violated some of your source code. Without naming them, I was just wondering if you could describe the company’s philosophy with regard to patent protection …”
Karsan: “It’s something that we have talked about internally. It is one of those things that we’re going to be looking at. It’s right now, we’re discussing it with counsel. It may take a few months and then we’ll make a decision. It’ll become — for us, Jim, it’ll become a math problem. What’s going to be the cost of prosecution? What’s going to be the affect on our sales? If it comes up positive, we’ll go; if it doesn’t, we won’t.”
CEO Mike Gregoire: “During Q4 we entered into a partnership with IBM to provide global HRO services together and closed our first two joint customers, one of which is a Fortune 100 financial services company with more than 300,000 employees and over $35 billion in revenues.”
Gregoire, on acquisitions: “… The first thing we look at is the technology platform. We’ve got a great customer base and the reason why we have that great customer base is we’ve got a very strong technology platform. So if there was something out there that we thought we were missing, and it would fit into our technology platform, and we could do that at a price point that makes sense to us, we’d go ahead and do that transaction. But if we had to buy something and then retool it, we lose all the value of time to market, plus, it’s a pretty frothy market out there right now for buying things, that we’d have to really find a–it would be hard to find the right set of metrics to make that happen

I do think things are going to change in 2007. I think as some of the other players have been taken out, some of the smaller players are left. And we feel very, very competitive in the market. And as we continue to take market share, we reduce their opportunity for upside…” 

Thanks to Thomson Financial and Voxant for help with the transcript.

Astronaut Jobs

–T. Rowe Price Chief Economist Alan Levenson, on the economy: “I expect monthly job gains to slow to around 100,000, which would cause only a gradual increase in the unemployment rate … the soft landing of 2007 like its 1986 and 1995 predecessors, will … set the stage for a multiyear, late-cycle growth phase.”
–NASA’s new assessment for astronaut candidates (PG-13).

Labor Ready

Notes from a conference call with Labor Ready, which sends about 600,000 temps to about 300,000 businesses:
On the retail industry:
CEO Steve Cooper: “Retail is doing very well, and I believe that’s what’s driving GDP right also. Our retail numbers are up like we’ve never seen, and it’s hard for us to even comprehend it, actually.”
On construction and other industries:
CEO Steve Cooper:
“Construction across the board is down everywhere …”
“Florida has experienced a downturn in services and other and transportation. When contruction projects go down, then garbage pickups go down.”
“We’ve seen the port business, the shipping business, in California hold strong.”
On so many states increasing their minimum wages:
CFO Derrek Gafford: “With the volume of states that we’ve got this year and the demand for our services is somewhat softer than we’ve seen in the past, there may be some temporary setbacks …”
CEO Steve Cooper: “We haven’t seen our gross margins so far fall off. In January, we’ve seen a slight decline in the minimum wage states, but it hasn’t been huge. We expected it.”
On the UK vs. the U.S.
CEO Steve Cooper: “The economic environment in the United Kingdom looks a little better than it does in the U.S. right now.”
Thanks to Thomson Financial and Voxant for assistance with the transcript.