Welcome to Between the Bytes where we’re not as smart as your average nerd. Welcome to the Thanksgiving Point Golf Course. Exciting times. I’m Gary Arnold and I’m Arash Bakhshandehpour. Back again. Sorry about last week.
This week we’ll be talking about a few updates from Amazon, a new CEO for Uber and we have a couple of local news items about the tech industry.
To get us started, Whole Foods was recently purchased by Amazon, we covered that here on Between the Bytes. Amazon has now enacted some price changes already in Whole Foods. Starting this week, many of the prices at Whole Foods will be going down. That’s right, people often refer to Whole Foods as whole paycheck now won’t have that problem anymore. They’ll be cutting prices by up to forty percent which is great savings. They’ve also already started selling the Amazon Echo. We don’t have an echo with us today so we can’t ask her opinion about that but yeah. You can now go down to your local grocery store and buy an Amazon Echo. Whole Foods just got another customer in me.
There’s also a newcomer to Silicon Valley. Uber has now hired on a new CEO, the former CEO of Expedia, Dara Khosrowshahi. He has a great reputation. Uber is hoping this really helps kind of soften the image that they’ve unfortunately built for themselves over the last handful of years. Yeah, he’s got his work cut out for him.
On Monday Fitbit announced it had three new products. This will be the first new product launch in over a year from Fitbit. Three new products are pretty exciting. The first one is a full-featured SmartWatch. It does everything any other SmartWatch would do. It will track your pulse, it has geo tracking and all kinds of different features and apps. It is called the Fitbit Ionic and that’ll be available soon. The next product they have is the Fitbit Flyer which is the company’s first foray into headphones. It is Wireless and waterproof headphone. We don’t know the quality on it, maybe that’s something we’ll test later on Between the Bytes. The last product they have is the Aria – which is a scale. This is an upgraded version of their scale. It has Wi-Fi connection and pairs with your fitness app, can measure BMI and different indexes like that to help you stay healthy. What’s your take on smartwatches? I’m not a SmartWatch kind of guy.
Facebook is gonna be adding a new feature to be able to flag fake news, especially accounts that only post fake news to get rid of that incentive. If there are repeat abusers of the fake news postings on Facebook, they’re actually going to get blocked in their accounts will get locked. They’re trying to shy away especially after the political season last year and all the stuff that’s going on. They’re doing their very best to get rid of spam accounts when it comes to the news. There was a quite a bit of controversy and blame placed on Facebook for a lot of what went down during November’s election.
On to some of our local news. There was an interesting article published on Silicon Slopes about the three tech industries in Utah that are thriving. One of them is financial tech industry. The banks in Utah hold over $580 billion in assets. So that’s a big industry that’s growing. We’re seeing several companies that are in the banking world that help with financing. Another industry that is growing right now in Utah is the healthcare world. There are dozens of companies across the state that are doing everything from alternative insurance plans to fitness apps to different trackers things like that. So it’s definitely a growing sector in our in our Silicon Slopes. The last category is just information technology in general. So IT has grown a ton especially here in Utah. We see a lot of tech companies. Utah was ranked in the top 10 for information technology. Technology industries are huge and we see that growing in Silicon Slopes.
Lastly, Governor Herbert has announced a relationship that he wants to build between the tech companies and our schools here in Utah. Specifically, STEM students. He says he wants to build a way from a junior high to high school, high school to college and then the professional world. He met with leaders from Silicon Slopes to get any insight and recommendations and help them forge a plan. It looks like this this is a great moment Utah education programs. It’s definitely something we need to focus on.
We’re headed off to our Product Insider and our Featured Guest. This week we will be taking a special visit to some friends of ours at Diversified Insurance so stay tuned for that.
Welcome to this week’s Product Insider where we’re going to be highlighting the four in one photo lens from OlloClip. It comes with three different color clip protectors that you can keep it on and attach to a lanyard for easy use. The Olloclip easily attaches to your cell phone for both your front and forward camera. As mentioned there are four different lenses that you can play with. There’s a fisheye, a wide-angle, a macro 10 and 15 times zoom.
BtB: We’re here with our special guests at Diversified Insurance in downtown Salt Lake City and we’ve got our special guest Jeana Hutchings. Jeana tell us a little bit about what you do here at Diversified Insurance?
Hutchings: The original Insurance Group handles corporate insurance and advises on companies dealing with risk and investment. So everything from health to property, casualty to cyber security, to all sorts of business risks that the company could have. Which could be hugely different depending on the industry.
BtB: Do you guys specialize in an industry?
Hutchings: We specialize in technology, and not just technology but fast-growing companies that tend to be our specialty. In fact, the majority of the IPOs that have happened in the state of Utah we’ve been consulting on the risk of all of that. So insurance is a specialty as well as employee benefits, so health insurance and and that’s what I manage as a department which is the benefits market.
BtB: We also noticed you are a Best Companies to Work For here in Utah. Tell us a little bit more about the culture you’ve built here and why you got that award and how you structure your company.
Hutchings: We’re really proud of the fact that we’ve now won for several years one of the best companies to work for award and I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that we try to hire amazing people. Our philosophy is that we’re all adults so we don’t manage PTO. We don’t manage hours. When people come and go we just try and create a culture where they feel like they can make a difference because in the end people want to make a difference.
They want to feel like they are needed and that they can do what they need to. Being an independent firm, it’s been a lot easier to make adjustments if we think we need to change a direction or some process isn’t working. We want to make sure that everybody feels responsible for their own job but then also that they can make changes too. If things aren’t working, come to us and we can change it and make it better. Sometimes in big companies, it’s harder to do that, to be as flexible. It’s been great to being able to change as things have gone forward and and I think the employees love that autonomy and love that they can make a difference here.
BtB: That’s great advice for any business. The last thing we want to ask you, it’s something we ask all our guests, are there any books or podcasts or shows that you would recommend that you’re you’re watching or into right now?
Hutchings: You know, I spend a lot of time on the road so I listen to a lot of stuff. I always you know trade it with a novel and then business. Every year will give a Book of the Year to all of our clients. It was funny because when we sent the book out I hadn’t read it yet. I mean we have kind of a committee here that decides on the book. So I just recently listened to the book Grit which is an amazing book. It’s really funny because I have two teenagers and I’m sitting there going, how do we instill that in our kids? In our employees? With that just that internal desire to just stick with it. To say, I can do hard things and I can get through this and I can make a difference. To create that environment and hopefully continue to foster that idea. It was an awesome book and I think a lot of takeaways for all of us.
BtB: That’s awesome because it was also our company book at Executech so double recommendation, the book Grit by Angela Duckworth.
Well, Jeana, it’s been great to have you I really appreciate you letting us come to your amazing office, amazing views. I really appreciate you letting us come and talk with you.
Hutchings: Thank you very much very and a pleasure.
We’re back at the golf course. It’s great out here. Come join us. Our tech tip for this week is a quick little mobile trick that we learned. You can save a website or other document as a PDF on your phone. All you have to do is navigate to your browser or wherever you’re viewing and you usually see those three dots of the menu. You can bring that down and you can either go to print or save as or share and then from there you’ll be able to navigate and then choose “save as a PDF” and will save directly to your phone as one of the files. This can come in handy for variety of reasons, whenever you want you to generate a PDF and then email it off. So check out that trick we will have it posted here on the video.
Then holding true to Between the Bytes tradition, Alexa who is your favorite Between the Bytes cast member?
Don’t forget to Like and subscribe and we’ll catch you next week.