Fortune is having a Utah moment. Or maybe, Utah is having a Utah moment.
Last week, my colleague Andrew Nusca wrote about Josh James, a Beehive State-based serial entrepreneur, and his data analytics startup, Domo. And earlier this week, we published my profile about Ryan Smith, the co-founder and CEO of another Utah-headquartered company, Qualtrics.
These two are not the only sizable startups in the region (a place where, as I found out the hard way, it is much easier to find a soda than a beer). And lately, the local tech companies have been able to lure more employees from outside of Utah than before. At Qualtrics, nearly 70% of recent hires came from out of state.
According to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, whom I interviewed for my story, his state is the third fastest growing in the country, and also has the youngest population nationwide. It is also—he’s very proud to say—America’s top state for business, at least according to a recent CNBC ranking. That is mostly due to tax incentives, affordable real estate (imagine that!), and an educated workforce, thanks to universities like Provo’s Brigham Young University.
“The biggest misconception is that we are country bumpkins and not as sophisticated as we are,” Gov. Herbert told me. He would rather emphasize that the median age in the state is 30. Or that Utah has the highest percentage of two-parent families. And, of course, that it is becoming a still modest but growing hub for tech innovation—partly thanks to Qualtrics’ ability to lure talent.
“People are realizing that work is global,” says Smith, Qualtrics’ CEO. “You can get an incredible job while living in an amazing place and having a great quality of life. No one has the exclusive on smart people.”
Not even Silicon Valley.
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BITS AND BYTES
Meet Salesforce, which wants to be the next e-commerce powerhouse. The cloud software company has rebranded the technology it bought through its $2.8 billion acquisition of Demandware as the Salesforce Commerce Cloud. The biggest new feature in the service? A shot of Einstein, the company’s artificial intelligence technology, that helps retailers understand the difference between tire kickers and shoppers who are really ready to buy. (Fortune)
SAP plans $2.2 billion investment in Internet of things. The software giant hopes to help connect everything from washing machines to cars to the Internet. SAP sees the technology as particularly crucial for its customers in manufacturing and supply chain logistics. (Reuters)
BlackBerry is getting out of the hardware business. The Canadian company said Wednesday that it will focus entirely on software development, relying on other companies to make smartphones that use its technology. CEO John Chen pledged to do so if he could find a way to make BlackBerry’s hardware sales profitable. (Recode)
Facebook social network technology for companies is almost (officially) here. The Information reports that the commercial launch of Facebook at Work, which the company has been testing with the likes of Royal Bank of Scotland and Club Med, will happen within weeks. And you’ll have to pay for it, which may come as a surprise to some. (TechCrunch, Fortune)
Smithfield Foods is going whole hog with its cloud computing investments. The huge meat processing company plans to move all of its applications to cloud services by 2018. Doing so will help it slash almost 20% of its annual IT budget, which could be invested elsewhere. (Wall Street Journal)
Verizon mum on Yahoo security debacle. The telcommunications giant is dodging questions about whether the disclosure of a massive, 500 million account breach will affect its takeover plans. Meanwhile, reports suggest Yahoo was slow to invest meaningfully in strong cyber defenses. (Fortune, New York Times)
Giant insurer Aetna will subsidize Apple Watch purchases. The company, which provides health care coverage for 23 million people, sees the devices as a means to manage wellness, medication, and chronic diseases. (Fortune)
E-commerce sales approach big milestone. Online merchandise sales could reach almost $95 billion during the upcoming holiday season. In other words, they could top 10% of anticipated retail sales for the first time. (Fortune)
HP and Meg Whitman five years later: Mission accomplished? When the former eBay chief executive was named CEO of Hewlett-Packard on Sept 22, 2011, it’s safe to say that she, along with everyone else on the planet, knew it would be no walk in the park.
Sure, she took charge of a 72-year-old company famous for making oscillators and other test equipment, printers, PCs, and computer servers—depending on the era. But it was also a business that over the last decade had suffered from competition with low-cost providers, a massive change in how hardware and software was sold, and a series of management miscues.
But in an interview with Fortune last week just before her fifth anniversary as chief executive, Whitman said she has no regrets. And her work with Hewlett Packard Enterprise—one of the two companies created after she engineering HP’s breakup—is far from done. Here’s what’s in store.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Why the Hybrid Cloud Is a Do-or-Die Scenario for Microsoft,
by Barb Darrow
Twitter’s Final Buyout Price Might Be Lower Than You Think,
by Aaron Pressman
Microsoft and Workday Are Working Closer Together on Apps,
by Heather Clancy
What Companies Get Wrong About Machine Learning, by Jeff John Roberts
Sheryl Sandberg: Facebook “Definitely” Doesn’t Control the Media,
by Valentina Zarya
Salesforce Teams Up With Slack, by Kia Kokalitcheva
Sales App Startup ProsperWorks Is Going All In With Google,
by Heather Clancy
ONE MORE THING
See the iPhone slay the digital camera in one graph. The best camera is the one you have with you. (Fortune)
This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Heather Clancy.