Tech Connects


Episode 12: Michael Schutzler, CEO of Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA),

Season 1, Ep. 12

Michael Schutzler is the CEO of Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA), a consortium of 1,000 tech companies working together to build a robust, equity-centered tech sector that empowers thriving communities. A 30-year industry veteran, Schutzler has keen insight into how Washington State, one of the nation’s original and largest tech hubs, has evolved over the decades—and where it might go in the future.


In addition to talking about the factors influencing the growth of tech hubs at the moment, we’re also going to delve into remote work, the ways in which factors like the cost of living can seriously impact a tech community, and much more.

If you work in tech, you know that Seattle, Bellevue and other cities are synonymous with tech innovation and some of the biggest names in the industry, including Microsoft and Amazon. Washington State’s tech scene also has some valuable takeaways for other tech hubs across the country.


First, tech hubs, especially those on the rise, need to provide a reasonable cost of living for technology professionals and others. There also needs to be an attractive culture—people want to live and work in places that are fun.


Second, tech hubs and centers of innovation can spring up in all sorts of circumstances. We might be heading into a recessionary environment at the moment, but that’s when many technology professionals decide to strike out on their own and finally get their startup off the ground. If you have enough startups in the area, founders can connect with each other and with talent, and create a meaningful community.


Third, while tech hubs remain vibrant places, companies have discovered that an openness to remote and hybrid work can unlock a sizable talent reservoir. If you’re trying to put together a team of tech professionals, especially specialized ones, don’t discount how offering a remote job can help you land the talent you need.

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Episode 16: Kaitlyn Albertoli, CEO and Co-Founder of Buzz Solutions

Season 1, Ep. 16
Our guest today is Kaitlyn Albertoli, who’s CEO and co-founder of Buzz Solutions, which uses predictive analytics, A.I., and other cutting-edge technologies to inspect and evaluate the power grid. This is critical work, as power companies need this kind of data for everything from anticipating power outages to ensuring we can modernize the power grid and make it “smarter.” It’s always fascinating to see how technologies like predictive analytics can not only be used to tackle intense, real-world problems, but to also update the aging, often antiquated systems that we depend upon for so many things. As Kaitlyn says during our chat, it’s going to be fascinating to see what happens over the next five to ten years as these technologies mature and end up applied to different industries.Here are some other quick takeaways from our talk:First, if you’re interested in launching a startup, take the time to identify the pain points in the market, and whether your idea is a real solution that can solve that pain.Second, it’s still very early days for artificial intelligence and machine learning. If you’re in a business where you’re dealing with people who are unfamiliar with A.I. and its potential, take the time to educate them on how it works. By walking them through the strengths and weaknesses of the technology, you’ll get them onboard with your plans for using it.Third, whatever your industry, a real key to success is effectively analyzing data. Without analytics, you’ll have a harder time achieving tactical and strategic goals, especially over the long term.

Episode 14: Improving Corporate DEI

Season 1, Ep. 14
Our guests are Jacob Little, Glassdoor Senior Head of People Experience and DEI, and Stuart McCalla, Evolution Managing Partner. I was interested in speaking with them because of their deep backgrounds in DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion), particularly in how DEI programs can potentially improve a company’s internal diversity and culture. Back in 2020, Glassdoor noticed that users were joining companies that had high ratings on its platform, but once they arrived at their new employer, they found an unwelcoming environment. Glassdoor then partnered with Evolution, a coaching, culture, and leadership development firm, on a two-pronged mission: to boost DEI within Glassdoor, and to better infuse DEI principles into the platform itself. It was a complicated mission that produced some interesting results.Here are some key takeaways from our discussion with Jacob and Stewart: First, DEI impacts everyone. Team leaders, project managers, and even C-suite executives might think they only need to be good at engineering products or making sure teams hit deadlines, but leadership is ultimately about having the skill and fluency to recognize diversity. You need to absorb and respond to peoples’ individual experiences and culture—if you can’t do that, you’re going to have issues with retention, and your best and brightest will walk right out the door.Second, a formulaic approach to DEI just won’t cut it. You need to make sure that team members respond to DEI initiatives on an emotional level. That way, they’ll truly internalize what the organization is trying to teach. It’s more than just KPIs.Third, DEI succeeds when it’s working on three levels: the individual, the collective, and the systemic. You have to make sure that issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion are being addressed on every possible level, from the c-suite on down.