Inspiring. Educational. Hopeful. Inclusive. Empowering.
There are plenty of adjectives to describe the 2019 Silicon Slopes Tech Summit. With more than 20,000 technology professionals coming together to share what they’re building, the challenges they’re navigating and how they’re making the world a better place with technology, there was something for everyone. But one thing stands out to us: Big things are going on in Utah—and Pluralsight is smack dab in the middle of it.
From announcements to round table discussions and bold commitments, here were some of our favorite Pluralsight moments from day one of #SSTS19:
The “big one”
Pluralsight’s own co-founder and CEO Aaron Skonnard took the stage with Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox to make a groundbreaking promise: Computer science education in every Utah school by 2022. Governor Herbert announced his intention to secure $4 million in CS budget for local school districts during the next Utah senate session — and to work with a bipartisan group of governors to expand CS opportunities in K-12 schools across the country.
“This represents a unified partnership between the state legislature, governor, lieutenant governor, school board, teachers and many other groups. This is going to be a reality for the state in 4 years, and there’s nothing more important for our tech-driven future.” – Aaron Skonnard
High-tech . . . dairy farms?
Lieutenant Governor Cox humorously underscored the reality that every company is a tech company, pointing out that even farms are becoming so technology-driven, “cows can milk themselves now.” While CS education for every Utah bovine may not be in the cards, we agree with Cox’ reminder that the future of the economy lies in our ability to provide opportunities in technology for our children: “If our children aren’t prepared for change, we’re going to be in a world of hurt.”
Keep the ball rolling
In addition to supporting the Utah government’s initiative to get CS in every school, Skonnard also took to the main stage to help announce the launch of the Computer Science for Utah Fund. Together with Qualtrics CEO Ryan Smith, Domo CEO Josh James, Vivint CEO Todd Pedersen and InsideSales.com CEO David Elkington, a total of $5 million was pledged to support and complement the state’s ongoing efforts. As Smith pointed out, if the initiative succeeds, Utah would be the first state in the country to accomplish CS education in every school.
Investing in inclusivity
Less than 10% of all venture capital deals go to women, people of color and LGBT founders, and Backstage Capital founder Arlan Hamilton is trying to change that. Skonnard took the stage with Hamilton in an open and honest conversation about what needs to change for the VC community to overcome bias. We couldn’t help but be inspired by her vision, compassion and drive to elevate the kind of bonafide innovators that are often overlooked.
“The biggest thing that I have learned is that anytime I stray from being myself when I’m experiencing hardship, something goes wrong. No matter what your skin color or your background is—just be yourself.” – Arlan Hamilton
Did you know the NASDAQ market closed in Utah for the first time ever? Like we said before: Big things are happening.
Create with possibility
“We’re a 15-year overnight success.” That’s how Skonnard described Pluralsight’s journey to Insight Partners’ Ryan Hinkle, a Pluralsight board member. Their conversation capped off Pluralsight’s day at Silicon Slopes with a fireside chat for entrepreneurs about bootstrapping, making strategic pivots, going public and everything in between.
Our CEO’s top piece of advice for running a successful company? It’s all about leadership.
“Secure the kind of leaders that will help you produce the things you’re intending to produce, the kind that will create an experience for employees that matches the vision you have in your head for what that experience looks like. Your leadership is the most critical part of running a successful company.” – Aaron Skonnard
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