This Is The Place Podcast Episode 26

A Silicon Slopes Production



This Is The Place (A Silicon Slopes Production) delivers wide-ranging, rarely serious commentary on tech, Utah, and everything in between. Hosted by Silicon Slopes editors Meg Morley Walter and Chris Rawle, This Is The Place examines Utah-centric stories that range from inspiring and relevant to completely bonkers.

In episode 26, Meg and Chris reminisce about the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit, talk the latest in tech news, and disparage anyone who uses the latest Tech Talk No No. They reveal their tag lines for BASE Search Marketing, which are both mediocre and absurd. Then they discuss what might be the best weird Utah story in the history of the podcast, which is 26 whole episodes.


https://upscri.be/daaacf/


Mountain West Capital Network Honors Ryan Smith as Entrepreneur of the Year

“This is going to be my last job.”



Last Friday the Mountain West Capital Network hosted a lunch to honor Qualtrics CEO and Silicon Slopes Board Member Ryan Smith as Entrepreneur of the Year. The hour-long program featured a number of speakers who paid tribute to Ryan Smith and the company he’s built.

Lt. Governor Spencer Cox sent his regards from Governor Herbert, who was recovering from surgery, and quoted the governor as saying he wants to be like Ryan when he grows up. Not because of Ryan’s success in business, but because of Ryan’s golf game.

Ryan’s brother and Qualtrics cofounder Jared Smith made a number of jokes about Ryan’s hair and love for Diet Mountain Dew before lovingly explaining the reasons for his brother’s success. “He doesn’t take cues from others,” Smith said, and described the motor that is Ryan’s unstoppable drive.

That drive is something Bryan Schreier of Sequoia Capital and Ryan Sweeney of Accel Partners both mentioned in their praise of Ryan. Schreier said it’s rare to find a generational company, one that influences an entire generation, and that’s what Sequoia found in Qualtrics. Sweeney spoke of Ryan’s notable desire to win for the right reasons.

Then Ryan’s wife Ashley spoke of Ryan’s scrappiness, the quality she believes led Ryan to where he is today.

In turn, Ryan praised Ashley for her grit and honesty when he spoke with Startup Grind CEO Derek Andersen. He then praised another important woman in his life, his mom Nancy, who he says showed him how to be an entrepreneur. When Ryan was young Nancy went to school, earned her PHD, started a scrapbooking company, and then sold the company. At the time she received flack for not being home with her kids, even though according to Ryan, it’s her influence that led to so many of her children’s successes. “We have too many women who get crap for wanting to be like Nancy,” Ryan said. It was a statement that was met with boisterous applause.

Ryan called the Entrepreneur of the Year award a reflection of his entire company and thanked his team. “I love going to work after 16 years,” he said, and then added that he plans to continue working hard for years to come. “This is going to be my last job,” he said.

Andersen asked Ryan about his passion for Utah, and Ryan explained that a love for the Beehive State is in his DNA, and it’s that love that makes him want to see improvements. “It’s awkward for a lot of people here,” Ryan said, citing the lack of diversity and the Utah lifestyle quirks. “We need to make it easier for people to be here, because we have all the makings to make this a major tech hub.”

MWCN President Drew Yergensen, MWCN EOY Chairman Tyler Harvey, and MWCN EOY Vice-Chairman Jason Roberts then presented Ryan with the Entrepreneur of the Year award.


https://upscri.be/daaacf/


Education And A Tech Workforce Need Collaboration To Thrive

“As a tech company I can think of no better way to help ensure a strong workforce for the future than being a mentor in Utah classrooms.”



This article appears in the Fall 2017 issue of Silicon Slopes Magazine. For the print version, subscribe to Utah Business Magazine and you will automatically be sent a quarterly copy of Silicon Slopes Magazine.

“Within Utah we have this booming tech industry,” says Kellie Yates, STEM Liaison between the STEM Action Center and the USOE (Utah State Office of Education). “But we don’t have a workforce that’s comfortable with STEM to fill all of these jobs. Companies are now having to go to other states and countries to find talent to fill these jobs.”

Yates’ statement reflects the feelings of most of Utah’s tech industry leaders, many of whom sit on the STEM Action Center board and help Yates and her colleagues identify the needs of the tech industry workforce. The board also helps identify what current education curriculum lacks in filling those needs.

After identification, the STEM Action Center and industry partners work to implement educational practices that will help Utah’s rising generation to not only receive a robust education, but eventually obtain satisfying and well-paying jobs in Utah’s thriving tech industry.

Yates explains that when people talk of jobs in the tech industry, they aren’t just talking jobs for coders. Nearly any position within a Utah-based company requires at the very least a basic understanding of STEM skills. And implementing the needed educational practices does not mean teaching kids to code all day every day. Teaching tech does not mean teaching a niche trade, but instead means teaching a way of thinking. As Domo Vice President of Human Resources Cathy Donahoe says, “Tech is all about executing ideas and what it takes to drive an idea through to a business.”

Yates explains that teaching STEM concepts goes beyond just teaching kids a trade or skill. True STEM mastery means an understanding of why a skill works. “If we’re just giving students an idea without a context to study it within, then it’s just a nice idea. But if we just teach the skills, all we’ve taught them is how to solve a problem with a very limited range. We haven’t taught them how to apply those skills in the real world. If we teach students only a specific set of skills we’re really limiting their capabilities. If we give them ideas, they can transfer those skills to other arenas.”


Many of these ideas and skills focus on problem solving and allowing students to come up with solutions to problems that haven’t been tried before. “We want kids to be able to work cooperatively and work in groups well. We want them to learn how to persevere, take a risk, have something not work, learn from that experience, and not get discouraged,” Yates says. “We want them to develop and capitalize on skills like creative thinking, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication.” These are the skills that will help students excel in any workplace.

In terms of more defined content skills, Yates says every student needs a solid math background and a familiarity with how quantities work. Yates explains that recent changes in math and science curriculum are getting students to do more instead of just know more. “They need to know how to reason through the information they’re receiving and then take it from there,” she says.

Change, however, is slow and resources in education are far from abundant. “There’s a disconnect between what we want our students to be able to do and what we are able to offer our teachers,” Yates explains. “Teachers don’t necessarily have the time or skills to take whatever ideas and implement them right away. We’ve definitely made good strides, but we’re not even close to done yet.”

We can get closer by helping teachers. Yates encourages tech community members to volunteer to mentor teachers. She explains that when she was a teacher, she didn’t want to expose any ignorance, but that technology changes so quickly she wasn’t immersed enough to fully understand what students needed to learn to master the ever-evolving tech. “It’s terrifying to go to someone in an industry and acknowledge that you don’t have enough information,” she says. “Be willing to take on a teacher as someone you mentor. Get into a classroom and get a better understanding of what teachers are doing so you can better support your education community.”

Sandra Hemmert, Granite Technical Institute District CTE Coordinator, says her organization offers summer internships to teachers so they can actually spend time in fields whose subjects they will be teaching. The institute also invites industry professionals to guest teach in classrooms. “The biggest conflict is when you don’t take time to let a teacher feel successful,” Hemmert says.

Hemmert advises industry leaders to go to their local school districts, find the career and technical director in those districts, and ask to get involved. “A lot of what we’re doing is trying to get industry to come to us. We need industry setting the stage and target for what they need. If you’re not coming in, you might be in trouble,” Hemmert says. “In the past, educators have defined what the needed skills are, but now it’s important for industry leaders to come to the table and help identify the skills they need in their workforce.”

In addition to helping teachers with time and mentorship, and helping districts identify curriculum needs, we can help students understand what working in the tech industry actually means and why that ambition is something to get excited about, then develop streamlined methods to help them succeed. “Unless students already have direct work experience, it can be hard for them to envision what a career in any given industry might look like,” says Kimberlee Carlile, Director of Industry and Talent Initiatives at the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED). “Our goal is to increase awareness among students so they know what options they can pursue. Work-based learning and hands-on education programs are by far the best way to expose students to exciting career opportunities.”

Carlile knows hands-on education programs are the best way to expose students to exciting career opportunities because she’s seen it work in our state before. “Utah businesses in aerospace manufacturing, diesel tech, and life science have led the way in creating innovative work-based learning programs that connect high school students and adult learners with education pathways to quality, high-paying jobs. These career pathways programs are celebrated as best practices. Now software and technology companies are stepping up to solve their unique workforce challenges while inspiring the next generation of IT professionals.”

Volunteering time, resources, and know-how benefits not only teachers and students, but the entire tech community as well. “Not only is helping young kids in school with their STEM education the right thing to do, today’s prospective employees want to work for companies who give back to the community in meaningful ways,” explains Dell EMC Executive and STEM education advocate Vance Checketts. “We all have friends, neighbors or family members who benefit when we give back and many of them are connected to our current and prospective employees. As a tech company I can think of no better way to help ensure a strong workforce for the future than being a mentor in Utah classrooms.”

Checketts adds that getting involved helps not only the future workforce but the current workforce as well. “Our Dell EMC Utah team loves to help students in elementary, middle and high school. Sharing information about the plentiful, exciting and diverse jobs in our company and our industry is motivating to the kids as well as team members. They come back to work more engaged and satisfied,” he says. “Our team members feel valued when we ask them to represent the company. Doing this while also giving back through educational partnerships in our local school districts is icing on the cake!”

The more the tech industry gets involved in education, the more the future of Silicon Slopes is secure. “We’re really help kids develop skills that will help them be successful when they leave school. I’ve never seen a time like right now. I think it’s really exciting,” says Sandra Hemmert.

The launch of the STEM Mentor Exchange, and Governor Herbert’s recent IT Pathways announcement add to that excitement, but we need the industry’s support. Share in the excitement and call your district. Or download the STEM Mentor Exchange app. Or ask your kids’ teachers what they wish they had in their classrooms and how you can help — it’s time to prepare Utah’s future workforce for tomorrow.


https://upscri.be/daaacf/


Meat And Potatoes Podcast Episode 3 — Adam Stoker & Jordan Barker, Relic Agency

A Silicon Slopes Production



Meat and Potatoes shines a light on the people in Silicon Slopes who get things done. Hosted by Silicon Slopes Director of Operations Garrett Clark and random interns we explore how, why, and when they get those things done, and why their work is the meat and potatoes of Utah’s tech community.

In episode Adam Stoker and Jordan Barker are the guests. Together they run Relic Agency. We talk all things marketing, a little Star Wars, and cool cars. Someone swears. Finally, we compare notes on what AI is good at and where it misses the mark.



https://upscri.be/daaacf/


This Is The Place Podcast Episode 25

A Silicon Slopes Production



This Is The Place (A Silicon Slopes Production) delivers wide-ranging, rarely serious commentary on tech, Utah, and everything in between. Hosted by Silicon Slopes editors Meg Morley Walter and Chris Rawle, This Is The Place examines Utah-centric stories that range from inspiring and relevant to completely bonkers.

In this episode, Chris, Clint and Meg wax nonsensical about the upcoming Silicon Slopes Tech Summit, cover a special cryptocurrency Tech Talk No-No, then delve into weird Utah news, which is, yet again, PG-13.


https://upscri.be/daaacf/


Meat and Potatoes Episode 2

A Silicon Slopes Production



Meat and Potatoes shines a light on the people in Silicon Slopes who get things done. Hosted by Silicon Slopes Director of Operations Garrett Clark and random interns, Meat and Potatoes explores how, why, and when they get those things done, and why their work is the meat and potatoes of Utah’s tech community.

In Episode 2 Garrett chats with Cameron Hale who is the Director of Sales at Podium. Cameron talks all things sales and how he works with his team on a daily basis. Questions about Blockchain are tossed around with no conclusions made. A short book review about Nike shoes rounds out the Podcast.


https://upscri.be/daaacf/


This Is The Place Podcast Episode 24

Special Holiday Edition



This Is The Place (A Silicon Slopes Production) delivers wide-ranging, rarely serious commentary on tech, Utah, and everything in between. Hosted by Silicon Slopes editors Meg Morley Walter and Chris Rawle, This Is The Place examines Utah-centric stories that range from inspiring and relevant to completely bonkers.

In this special holiday episode, Chris and Meg present The 12 Days of Silicon Slopes, the latest in tech news, and weird Utah stories that include an improvement in our bad drivers status, and holiday dinner invading a small Utah town.

Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud. While doing so, please leave a positive review and rating.


https://upscri.be/daaacf/


This Is The Place Podcast Episode 23

A Silicon Slopes Production



This Is The Place (A Silicon Slopes Production) delivers wide-ranging, rarely serious commentary on tech, Utah, and everything in between. Hosted by Silicon Slopes editors Meg Morley Walter and Chris Rawle, This Is The Place examines Utah-centric stories that range from inspiring and relevant to completely bonkers.

In Episode 23 Chris and Meg discuss Startup Santa and Summit speaker announcements. They share their disdain for the term “crowdsource” and then talk about the latest weird Utah news which includes drug dealing safe spaces and 911 abuses.

Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud. While doing so, please leave a positive review and rating.


https://upscri.be/daaacf/


This Is The Place Podcast Episode 22

A Silicon Slopes Production



This Is The Place (A Silicon Slopes Production) delivers wide-ranging, rarely serious commentary on tech, Utah, and everything in between. Hosted by Silicon Slopes editors Meg Morley Walter and Chris Rawle, This Is The Place examines Utah-centric stories that range from inspiring and relevant to completely bonkers.

In Episode 21 Chris and Meg discuss Startup Santa and its surrounding activities, and funding news from Simplus. They share their disdain for the term “unicorn” and then talk about the latest weird Utah news which includes snortable snails and a bride and groom with a death wish.

Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud. While doing so, please leave a positive review and rating.


https://upscri.be/529a87/


People Helping Puerto Rico Auction Begins On December 2

Because Puerto Rico still needs help.



Weeks ago the media stopped really covering Puerto Rico and the devastation Hurricane Maria left on the island. In what feels like a never-ending stream of shocking headlines, news of Puerto Rico has been overshadowed by more recent events. But while our attention may have shifted to other issues, Puerto Rico is still suffering and still needs our help.

Most of the island remains without power or clean water. “Running water that may be available to some of the island is contaminated and needs to be boiled but they have no working stoves or resources to do so. Going to the bathroom without running water is the reality the island has been dealing with since September,” explains Nichelle Jensen, co-founder of People Helping Puerto Rico. “Only a small percentage of the hospitals on the island are operating and those hospitals are operating only at a fraction of their normal capacity. This means most people aren’t receiving basic healthcare like something as simple as an asthma inhaler. Makeshift medical clinics in school gymnasiums and churches are currently serving the majority of the medical needs for the island. Most people are living without roofs which makes most homes breeding grounds for mold, if they are not already covered in mold. Puerto Rico is hot, humid, and covered in mosquitos, many children and elderly folks aren’t healthy enough to handle the combination of the heat, lack of water, and lack of shelter for such a long period of time. Even for some citizens who may have power restored, their refrigerators are now covered in mold and their stoves were destroyed by the storm. An average cost for a new roof is about $3,000 and with a large percentage of businesses not in operation, people are without work and without funds to put another roof on their home or buy a new stove.”

Co-founder Ryan Smart adds, “In other areas[affected by disaster], people are connected by land, so you can drive in resources, neighbors can come help rebuild — not on an island, especially on an island that has not had basic needs met for a long time. These people are suffering. Puerto Rico is in an even worse state than it was the days of the storm .”

Jensen and Smart wanted to help alleviate some of Puerto Rico’s pain so they reached out to the Vivint Gives Back initiative, whose leaders have served as invaluable mentors, and partnered with the nonprofit Wings of Hope. They created the Instagram account People Helping PR, and started asking businesses and individuals to donate goods and services to be auctioned. “These items range from something as simple as a baked good all the way up to a week’s stay at a VRBO in Hawaii — if you’re lucky you can bid on both and be eating a chocolate cream pie on the beaches of Oahu,” Smart says. “We post the good and service and ask the donor along with all our friends and businesses to share the cause on their feeds.” All donated items will be available for bidding Saturday, December 2 at 8 pm (PST), and the auction will close Sunday, December 3 at 8 pm (PST). The highest bidder on each post will win the item, and their donation will go directly to the people of Puerto Rico.

The list of items is both long and impressive, and all donated by people who just want to help. “People are good — that’s what we’ve found,” Smart says. “The majority of people are so willing to help however they can, most just don’t know how. People may not be able to donate a lot of money or go and physically help, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t willing. All people have talents and this lets up tap into that, allow them to do good, and use that talent to help so many others. It’s also contagious, when people see others jumping in to help, they don’t want to miss out either. It’s a great way to join people together, create a mini community and also show off people’s talents — so many side benefits on being a part of one of these auctions.” Jensen adds, “Making people see that there is a lot of value to be had from any size effort has created a domino effect and more donations keep rolling in.”

Jensen and Smart hope to raise enough from the auction to see roofs go on houses and see food, water, and medical supplies reach the Puerto Ricans that need them. “We’d like to help as many people as we possibly can,” Jensen says.

Remember, the auction begins SATURDAY at 8 PM (PST), and can be found at @peoplehelpingpr on Instagram. Your winning bids will help People Helping Puerto Rico live up to its name.


https://upscri.be/daaacf/