Life has been a little bit like that lately. Every time I try to sit down and blog, or do anything really, there’s some other thought that runs through my head and suddenly, like Doug the dog from Up, I’m all… SQUIRREL!

The good news is, this is due in part to the fact that I’ve been able to see some really cool stuff, and meet some really cool people. So, I wanted to bring you the first of what is hopefully many installments of

Stuff I Think You Should Know About

These are in no particular order, just people and things that have crossed my squirrel-addled mind or inbox in the past few weeks. And in case you’re wondering, nobody has paid to be here. These companies or activities just made enough of an impression to be worthy of mention. Hope you enjoy!

Whil – I had the great pleasure of having a conversation with Joe Burton, founder and CEO of Whil, one of a growing number of companies turning mindfulness and well-being into a business imperative. I admit to being a bit of a neurology and mindfulness geek, but Joe and his team have done an impressive job creating an elegant platform with high production values that makes the somewhat fluffy and at times uncomfortable topic of mental and physical well-being a true business tool.

Degreed – I’ve mentioned Degreed before, but in recent conversations with them I was reminded of the old Monty Python sketch, Not Dead Yet. Degreed has noble ambitions for the power of learning to change the world. But they also have realized that companies still operate in the ever-powerful present paradigm. They acknowledge that the LMS is not dead, but is a necessary but not sufficient solution to organizational and individual learning needs. They are embracing meeting companies where they are today and showing them a path to their envisioned future.

ADP acquires The Marcus Buckingham Company – This one is interesting. ADP has made very clear its intention to be known as more than your payroll provider. The Marcus Buckingham Company has long been known for its focus on the human side of HR, a high touch, individually focused, strengths-based technology and services solution to engage individuals and drive high-performance. This is a long way from the traditional view of payroll. It will be interesting to see how this acquisition of a personality, a brand and its technology solution may change both the perception and reality of ADP in the market.

Mercer Acquires Thompsons Online Benefits – The benefits space is evolving rapidly. Mercer, long known for its work in global compensation, among other things, has acquired Thompsons Online Benefits, one of the few truly global benefits providers. Much as the payroll space has evolved to embrace localized service delivered through a global platform, Thompson and Mercer are now pushing forward in the benefits space. As typically the second-leading cost behind payroll, benefits is a huge opportunity globally, which Mercer is preparing itself to fully embrace.

Namely Raises $50M – Who said payroll, core HR, and benefits weren’t exciting? While the terms of the previous two deals were not disclosed, Namely is more than happy to let us know about their recent raise of $50 million. This brings their total capital raised to over $157 million. Namely is making huge plays to go after the midsize, mostly hourly marketplace, adding timekeeping and benefits offerings to its core solution, continuing to round out its offering. This is a hotly contested space, but Namely is seemingly well provisioned for battle.

Overtime Rule Delayed – this was back in November, but it bears repeating. Given the focus of the last administration on improving worker salaries and adding significant legislation that impacted the workplace and employers, the indefinite delay of the proposed overtime rule that would make millions of Americans eligible for overtime pay may have been the canary in the coal mine. I don’t think anyone knows exactly what will happen to rules like this one, or legislation like the Affordable Care Act, but the new administration does seem clearly pro-business. Whether that turns out to be pro-employee as well remains to be seen.

Tune in for more dispatches from the desk here at Aptitude, and feel free to let us know what’s happening in your world!