Let’s do two surprising things today:
Start this letter with unqualified positive news and
Have that positive news come from Chase Bank
Yeah dudes, unexpected! And yet, Chase launched a pilot program in Chicago to recruit employees with criminal records for banking jobs. This expands on an initiative rolled out countrywide 18 months ago to stop asking job applicants about their criminal records and stop running background checks until conditional offers are made — giving applicants a more equal shot at getting an initial offer. A job as a banker offers the kind of stability and salary that can turn things around for a family, and we’re honestly thrilled to see the opportunity opened up to more people.
More good news: Health care consultancy Avia raised $22 million to bring better digital experiences to more big hospital groups. It’s even better news for health care startups in Chicago — Avia is run by Eric Langshur, whose Abundant Venture Partners invests in many local health care and wellness businesses. Wonder whose services his consultancy might recommend …
Rentgrata raised $1 million for its platform, which hopes to match apartment hunters with current tenants. The idea is that tenants will earn referral rewards and Rentgrata will make money off of landlords paying to hear what renters are saying. So I guess our question is: When was the last time you had a property manager so desperate to fix your apartment that they’d pay to hear what was wrong? Because this business model seems like maybe somebody said “Wouldn’t it be cool if … ” and then went way too deep before anyone asked “How will it make money?”
Full disclosure that we did this extremely cool newsletter for, what, five years before asking for any money? Anyway …
Amazon just cannot leave us alone. It bought up Health Navigator this week for an undisclosed amount, and plans to use the service to offer virtual doctor’s visits to Amazon employees. We don’t love Amazon sliding into the health care space, but we do love thinking about the cities who did win HQ2 wondering if maybe they didn’t overpay a bit.
Digital consultancy Rightpoint also got acquired, a real bummer in our opinion, since we consistently recommended it as a workplace. That’s not to say that Genpact, the NYC-based consultancy that bought Rightpoint, will ruin it. But that is to say Rightpoint is going from being a 400-person company to a 90,400-person company.
Rich man Michael Sacks is endowing a program for three colleges — Northwestern’s Medill, U.C. Annenberg and NYU — to send students on paid podcasting internships. It’s called the Luminary Fellowship, after Sacks’ son’s new podcasting company, though it is seemingly not affiliated with that company in any way besides a shared association with Sacks. Glad to see young journalists supported, pretty sure that money would be better spent endowing an actual journalism job those kids could go on to earn.
Here’s some money any of you can win: The Bulls are inexplicably partnering with investment firm LOUD Capital to give $50,000 to one deserving Chicago business. Who do you know that could use the money to make Chicago a better place?
Job with badass potential
Job: Digital Product Manager at Walgreens
Work: Make online channels work harder for Walgreens. Get assigned to a product area and own its roadmap, prioritizing features based on everyone’s needs, including users’. Identify the areas for growth and go hard after those audiences. Find and remove roadblocks and mentor a team of analysts or associate product managers. Work with tech and design to get everything done. Run the numbers to report the results.
Downsides: You don’t get to pick your product area, meaning it could be beauty or it could be adult diapers (more likely the latter to start). You’re also inherently a manager — meaning your success is dependent on how well you can get everyone to do their work.
Perks: We would recommend this job just for the opportunity to work in the new Old Main Post Office, which for us is such a hotly awaited opening it’s reaching Stefon-levels of anticipation. But there are some not-completely-superficial reasons to take the job as well. Walgreens is — by all accounts we have heard — a good employer, and this job mentions a desire for management experience, aka potential to grow. In addition to the sweet new office, the move downtown means you’ll finally have access to all the decision-makers in the Loop. And the company will be in a bit of upheaval, what with all the shifting around. That gives you an opportunity to escape the “new girl” period of awkwardness — everyone will be new. It also gives you an opportunity to show your value and potentially move up as the new office politics shake out.
A few other jobs we’re curious about …
Senior Role in Digital Communications at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
The salary is listed, so you don’t have to worry quite as much about being out-negotiated. And CMAP does interesting work trying to make this city function. Hit us up if you’re thinking of applying and we can connect you.
Program Manager of Digital Content Strategy at CDW
It’s definitely a big corporate behemoth, don’t get us wrong. But it is women-led, and they do have just an enormous amount of free food. Just make sure this job is actually in the Chicago office, not out in Vernon Hills.
Badass news you might have missed
Foxconn is still not making good on its promises of jobs to Wisconsin (for which it was granted $4 billion in subsidies). But it is putting $50 million toward a U of I program that will help automate more manufacturing jobs.
If you want to experience our amazement in real time …
Inspiration of the week
Was there ever any doubt about our Halloween costume? There’s nothing scarier than a speculative side economy where billions of dollars are thrown behind the loudest personalities. Truly dIsRuPtIvE … to our global financial wellbeing and the actual lives of real people.
So yeah, we’re being Elizabeth Holmes from Theranos for Halloween. If you’re looking for a last-minute costume, Adam Neumann from WeWork is always an option — just throw on a mic for public speaking and a billion-dollar golden parachute. Or keep it local and wear a doctor’s coat while carrying an iPad playing ads for pills. You will be exactly as effective as Outcome Health. Have a big box you’ve been meaning to break down for recycling? Spray it black and boom, you’re a Tovala toaster oven.
Forward this email to anyone who likes a conceptual Halloween costume. They’re our people, and we want them to sign up here.