Clint Betts

Thank you so much for joining us. It means so much to have you. You are the CEO of LogicMark. Tell us about the company, how you got to that position, your journey to becoming the CEO of such an impressive public company.

Chia-Lin Simmons

Well, thank you so much for the opportunity to chat with you today. I really came about this opportunity in a somewhat roundabout way. This does not seem like a natural company for somebody with a background of working in AI/ML and being at Audible or Google to end up at a medical alerts company. And medical alerts are what people know as the I fall and I can't get up business.

And so, not quite where one would expect to land, but I landed here because back in 2013, my mother-in-law had been wearing one of these devices, and she had stepped down too quickly, and her device immediately went off. And in the middle of a busy restaurant in Oakland for ramen, it screams, "Mrs. Becker, are you okay?" She was so embarrassed. And at the back of my mind, I felt it in the back there, I was thinking, "Gosh, somebody's gotta fix this thing."

And then, I just didn't think about it again. I worked on some AI/ML products, went to work for Google. And then, when this opportunity came up, it was such an opportunity to try to change this particular industry, which has not seen a lot of innovation in the past two decades. And certainly, as the world has moved on in IoT, the world has done more subscription work, all of those things, this is certainly an industry that hasn't evolved very much. And so, I was grateful for the opportunity to do this pivot for the company, and I'm excited to be here.

Clint Betts

How's it going, and what's next?

Chia-Lin Simmons

My goodness, it's been going great. It's been a hard road for two years. When I inherited the company in 2015 as a CEO, we really hadn't developed any new products since 2015. And so, I'm very excited that literally we are shipping our Freedom Alert Plus product. And in essence, it's actually not just shipping one product, but we're actually shipping three products concurrently at the same time.

So, in a world that we live in where most of these devices are picked up by manufacturers that's already pre-developed, we actually had for this launch not just developed a new hardware product with a screen, a product that acts closer to an iWatch or iPhone where it has automatic updates. So, you could get the most up-to-date fall detection technology, for example.

But we also developed the platform infrastructure to make that happen and an app that goes on iOS and Android to actually allow you to contact your caretakers and for your caretakers to help take care of you, and then a cloud backend that actually has AI and ML implemented so that we can actually do better fall detection. Because again, I go back to my experience with this particular type of product, where my mother-in-law sat down too quickly and tilted a little bit, and therefore it was screaming out at her.

And so, we are developing a product that actually is better at detecting false positives, and it consistently learns using AI and ML so that we can actually do better and so that not more people will be embarrassed, and they're actually able to use fall detection in a way that will continuously get better the more they use it. So, it's quite a lot that we're developing.

Clint Betts

Yes. And that's a challenge to build both a hardware product, a software product, and an AI product. What has that been like as you've been working with the team and figuring out... I mean, those are three pretty distinctly different things. Like you said, they're like three distinct products all in one here; hardware is no simple task, and neither are the other two. How has that worked for you? I’m sure there's people watching or wondering like, "Hey, how do you do all three of those?"

Chia-Lin Simmons

You sleep very little. That's one. So, we were a predominantly hardware-only company, and so we were really bringing experience around software development and SaaS technology development into a company that has never done that before. That was definitely a brand-new change.
Really, what we saw was a fairly radical change in terms of the type of leaders and team members that we brought into the company. So, we brought a lot of folks who had actually had very strong experience in connected IoT products.

And so, for example, the VP of engineering and I have worked together, and we actually have built connected car technology for Porsche, Honda, Subaru, tons of other car manufacturing sites I never could remember, and that was scaled in 50 plus countries and millions of cars. And so, this is a very similar infrastructure in terms of the type of thing that we were building in terms of AI analytics and so forth. So, it's not our first time at the rodeo.

And so, by bringing people with experience in doing IoT work, we're bringing adjacency technology into the industry that hasn't had that built into it in the past. And so, we're operating basically like a startup with the ticker symbol, and it's been an amazing experience.

Clint Betts

That's incredible. How are you thinking about artificial intelligence, both the opportunities that exist inside of this boon in this particular space? Although AI has been around for a while, as you know better than anyone, but now it's public and at the forefront of everybody's mind, and every company's trying to integrate AI with their products.

And so, I'm interested in how you think about it from an opportunity standpoint, and I'm also interested in how you think about it from a downside standpoint and the way that conversation has been going publicly around, "Hey, there could be some dangers here."

Chia-Lin Simmons

Yeah, it's always a little bit funny to me when we talk about the fear revolved around AI, and I am a huge fan of Terminator the movie, and so I don't think Skynet is going to take over yet for folks who work in this particular category space, that's cognizant AI work.

It's definitely things that people are looking at and certainly there are folks who are developing further along those lines, but the reality of what AI is today and where it can be is really I think an interesting one because what excites me the most about where AI has evolved to where we are today in 2023 is the application of AI in areas that just are very much needed.

We're seeing the application of AI/ML in health, the care economy is an area where we really can use a lot of that work. If you look at where we are today, the application of AI and drug discovery, we can run utilizing AI models and rapidly test so that we can actually get vaccines and all of these things out faster than we ever have been able to do. We can actually identify what could be a cancerous cell, utilizing AI applied into computer imaging.

And so, for us, and the most important piece for LogicMark itself, we love and are excited about the application of AI and ML into the category of care, in the care economy. So, how do we apply? Basically, when people look at AI and ML in other categories, it is, "How do we make AI and ML work for the people who are the most vulnerable and most in need of that technology?"

And so, if you look at what's happening today, by 2040, one in four Americans will be 65 and over. And if that category of people, one in four will fall, one in four persons over 65 will fall. And so, how do we apply AI and ML so that we can actually better identify risk factors for an elderly person so that we can actually forestall that fall in the first place?

That's really where we're interested in developing the company forward into.
Today, I would say that we are developing better technology using AI and ML to basically get you the help that you need faster, trigger less false positives, and that's all really great reactive technology, but what we're really trying to do is use the data that we're gathering and helping our users with and utilizing that to actually prevent the fall in the first place. Because typically, when you have a fall, it just escalates. It gets you into a situation where you're in worse health.

And so, if we can actually try to get a walker in front of you because some of the things that we're seeing in terms of your patterns make you look like you're more vulnerable, that being able to alert your caretakers, both professional and your family members that this pattern is emerging, then we're actually going to put you in a better place in terms of having better longevity and more graceful aging in your own home.

Clint Betts

Yeah. I'm never really sure what the doomsday AI people... Whenever it's like, "AI is going to destroy the world," I've never heard a good answer to how because this is just math and code. So, I don't know how it gets away. I don't know. It is fascinating.

Chia-Lin Simmons

Well, I mean, I think about it this way. So, as a woman of color, I certainly think that a lot of, when we look at AI and ML, the things that people are really concerned about is, "Is there enough full human participation and development of AI and ML by a diverse enough group of people so that it really does not become a product that is used against you?" And so, one of the things that I think is a classic example of what people are talking about is the application AI/ML looking for patterns of who you should hire.

And the realities of that, for example, is that oftentimes it is skewed very much towards one group of people are not. And so, I think that there's a lot of fear from people to say, "Look, do we feel like we have put in enough, that the right information, do we tag that information in a way that allows the AI to be diverse and view it with, which I would call human intelligence into artificial intelligence so that it operates closer to how people make decisions good or bad, versus one that is straight out pattern recognition work?"

And who puts in that data and how that data is tagged is often where folks who spend a lot of time in AI and ML think about a lot, which is the data is junk going in, then you're going to get junk results coming out. And so, that is what people fear, and I can empathize with that completely.

Clint Betts

Yeah, that's interesting. Switching topics a little bit just around leadership, and in particular we talk a lot about self-leadership at CEO.com. I wonder what... When you hear that phrase, when you think of self-leadership, what comes to mind? And also, what does a typical day look like for you? How do you choose what to focus on? Do you have any routines or habits that have improved your life, that type of thing? Because all of that is involved with self-leadership.

Chia-Lin Simmons

Sure, absolutely. I actually am a firm believer in leading, that if there's a battle, that I should be the first one in front. Your leaders are not guiding from the back. And so, when we talk about self-leadership, things that are also are important to me as a leader is that we, especially for those who work in tech, that we're really building technology with our customers and actual people in front of what we're doing as a center and focus of everything we do.

And so, part of that, and to remind myself every day of what it means to be part of the human experience and how to build technology that actually has empathy towards my customers and the people who use my technology is I do something that I call one kindness a day. And so, I call it the love child concept between Malcolm Gladwell and Buddha, and so Buddhism. And so, it's a weird thing. But when people talk about Malcolm Gladwell, this idea of, "You have to be practicing a violin 10,000 hours, you have to be a really, really good violinist."

And so, when I think about basically practicing empathy and kindness and how to basically make that the forefront of everything that you do from a leadership perspective at work and just being a human being, it means that you really have to practice the kindness muscle every day and do it with a consciousness of doing that every day in order to get better at it and build that muscle.

And so, I do that one kindness practice a day, which means that every day, I wake up and I think about, "I'm going to try to practice doing something kind for somebody," and that could be big or small and not expect anything in return because the world that we live in shouldn't be a quid pro quo at all, right?

And so, how do we basically build empathy and kindness into our lives and build that circle of opportunity so that when we build that, it also causes other people to want to have a similar experience. And in a workplace, I find that by building that, for example, it allows people to want to collaborate more together because they're not looking for, "Hey, if I do this for you, you owe me something in return," in a work environment.

Because really, as a company, what we do, which is to basically help the sandwich generation take better care of their loved ones, then really what we're trying to do is to build a compassionate technology for people. So, really, we shouldn't be thinking about, "What can I do for each other to get ahead and move ahead?" We should be thinking about, "How do we make things better for our customers?" And so, we try to put that in touch.

So, doing that practice every day allows me to do that in my personal life and also practice that in my work life. And in that way, we've, for example, looked at things like implementing via HR ways to gift each other and to say a thank you for somebody who went out of their way to do something great for you at work, even though it's not part of their job because they just were trying to do the right thing. And you can't gift each other in your own department.

You can only gift people who are outside your department and doing something that's really out of the norm that's out of their job spec, but they just did it out of the kindness of their hearts. And so, we actually help our employees actually give that to each other. And it's not a lot.

It's a $20 gift certificate for Amazon, or something of that nature, but what it does is it creates, and what we hope cultivates an environment where wanting to be good to each other builds an environment where it helps us think about being kind overall to each other and also to our customers as well. And it's a very, very small cost, but actually creates a tremendous work environment that actually I think helps us result in better ROI, just an added benefit is what I've seen.

But we didn't ask for that, we just wanted to build an environment that we think is the right thing for building products for our customers.

Clint Betts

How do you decide where to spend your time each day?

Chia-Lin Simmons

Yeah, that's a good question. Because if I really just wrote everything down, I feel like I have a list of 60 things, and I get super, super overwhelmed. And so, the way that I think about what to work on every day is I just really, I think most CEOs that listen to your podcast and folks who listen to this great podcast is what is literally the thing that's going to make the single most impact for the day in terms of helping the company, helping our customers, and helping our employees?

And so, what are the three most impactful things I can do today? If I look at the list of things I need to do in one day, I really go through this list and think, "What are the three single most impactful things?" Because if I'm honest with myself, I can 100% deliver on three top things, and then maybe deliver on maybe 75%, 80% of the other things. And some of these I had to whittle down, but I do try to focus on trying to accomplish three significant things a day that will make those impacts and always again, focused on what is going to be really impactful for my shareholders, my customers, and my employees.

Clint Betts

What are you reading these days, or what reading book recommendation would you give to our community?

Chia-Lin Simmons

Yeah, that's a really good question. So, I am one of those people; I'm not going to lie. I am reading multiple things at the same time. And so, I am reading a few things that I really enjoy, and some I'm rereading as well. Something that I've read before that I'm rereading is Nudge. It's by Richard Thaler.

And so, it talks about how you can put behavioral economics and things in place and help influence how you think about things being done for your customers, the environment that one needs to be in, and all of those things. And so, it's just a very interesting book about what he calls nudge units.

It's done by behavioral scientists in every part of the economy. I think my husband being architecturally trained, they talk about where exactly do you place recycling cans so that in our architectural environment or built in certain things to cause the behavior that you want to see. And so, certainly, Nudge is something we think about.

How do we build our hardware products and software products to basically push for behavior that we hope to see from the caretakers and the folks who are being taken care of for the products that we are building?

I think that's one thing. And then, one that I am just starting to read that I quite like so far is Leaders Eat Last. And so, it's really about how officers in the military eat less because they want their troops to be successful, and they let the troops eat first. And so, how do you be a better leader in terms of helping your team and helping your business succeed as a leader?

And so, that's been a very interesting read because it talks about why some teams pull together better versus not using that framework. And so, that's been really interesting as well.

Clint Betts

Is that Simon Sinek who wrote The Leaders Eat Last?

Chia-Lin Simmons

Yes.

Clint Betts

Yeah, yeah. I don't know that I've read that, but I've definitely heard of that book. That's super interesting. Is there a singular experience or moment that you can point to where your view has changed of what it means to be a leader?

Chia-Lin Simmons

Yeah, I think. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, throughout my career I've been through a heck of a lot of startups. And so, I think some of the hardest things that one has to do is that when you're a startup, you really hire people. In many ways, when you look at startups, people hire their friends to build startups. It's both the pluses because you have a secondhand relationship with each other and you understand how each other thinks and operates in many, many ways. And so, it makes you run faster and be better at what you do.

And so, that's why you see a lot of startups that actually are typically built by a team of people. But what I've also learned is that that is also one of the major points of failure, because if you look at basically why startups fail, a lot of times it's about basically what we call founder divorce. And so, you don't start a company with people you don't love and like and want to spend loads of time with because, hell, it's like, sometimes you spend more time with your coworkers than you do with your spouse.

But it's also exactly what rips those relationships apart. And so, I would say fundamentally, one of the hardest things I've had to do was to basically let somebody on a leadership team go that had been a friend of decades.
And so, not because I didn't think that that person was an amazing, amazing individual that I admire and love and think the world of, but because fundamentally, that fit for where the company is going, divisional where the company is going isn't a good match.

And you won't really know that until, typically, you bring that person on board and you start operating together and you start working together. And so, one of the fundamental things I learned is that you can build a company on that, but you can't actually, as a leader, make it difficult for yourself to say, "Look, because this person is a friend, you can't let them go." I mean, I think you have to do it with empathy, you have to do it the right way, you have to do it with compassion.

But fundamentally, one of the biggest challenges is that when you build a startup, you typically like everybody you work with, but not everybody works well together. And so, that's typically the hardest thing that any leader needs to do in a startup environment, and the thing that's the hardest thing to do.

And I think that it's one that we are all constantly learning and making a decision on how fast, how much faster you can do it, and how well you can do it in terms of having some level of compassion to ensure that that separation is one that hopefully is graceful for everybody involved. But that is fun.

Clint Betts

Yeah. In some ways, it seems like you're talking about the subject of culture. And I wonder how you define culture within LogicMark.

Chia-Lin Simmons

Yeah. I think I started at Wire Magazine in the early days. I may or may not have slept at work and done my laundry at work and ate three meals a day at work. That was the early days of the 20s. And let's be honest, I didn't have a washing machine, and the company had one. It was great. So, that was a company culture in itself.

And I left to go to Audible, and we went to Google, and they all have extremely strong cultures where the bonding occurs along the lines of, "Hey, every Thursday, we have cocktail hours with each other." And then, you're bonding over that shared experience. And as I've grown as a leader, what I find is that when we talk about culture, it's about what kind of grace do you give each other and the team members to each other.

And so, how do you treat each other in your company, and what are the most important things that matter to you? So, for example, I find it very difficult I think for some companies that talk about bonding and how important things are, and somebody in the family of a team member is in an ICU. And somehow, the leader thought it was okay that they must, must, must join that call.

And my question is fundamentally: who wants to be at a company and a culture that basically says, "Your family is not important to us. You're not important to us as a person because that's really an important part of your life. What we really need you to do is just to show up for that."

And so, you can spend all day long talking about how we have great culture, but it's how you treat people individually when they're in a very bad situation, either personally or professionally, and how do you help them grow and how do you help them surmount that. And sometimes the reality is that that person has so many fundamental issues that maybe they just aren't going to be right for the company at the time. And so, you need to be able to see that and say, "Maybe you can't be a good hire for us because your situation is not compatible."

But the reality is that, again, most of the time, we show each other grace all the time, and we respect each other. I always tell people at my work, I'm like, "Please don't check email. And honestly, if you cannot help it because it's like compulsion, note that whatever email I sent you, the only thing that I would ever, ever say is timely. And so, if I really need you, if it's some kind of the warehouse is burning down situation, I'm going to call you, and you won't be getting an email from me. But otherwise, I will mark something timely."

And when I say timely, "Please look at tomorrow morning," because I know some people, we live in a world where we're all trigger-happy with email and the internet, and so you compulsively check email, but I don't want them to have to deal with it if they don't have to. And I always tell people, I'm like, "There's not going to be an emergency. I'm not a doctor. You're not a doctor. There's no beeper here that we should be traveling to unless somebody is dying without us."

I think people just don't operate that way for most tech companies, and that's respecting other people who have family lives and a whole other world that you don't live in. Hopefully, that you've provided them the space that they can live in that world without you.

Clint Betts

What were those days that Wired like?

Chia-Lin Simmons

Amazing, wonderful, a charge for a 21-year-old. We were building new things, breaking ground, launching new products, and experimenting all the time. What an amazing experience to have as a young person; there were no boundaries. People didn't understand what you can and can't do.

So, you experimented with tons of stuff on the internet. I had an opportunity to work for a traditional publishing company or this cool company called Wired on their online thing, and I opted to go to do this really cool thing called the internet, but my parents couldn't understand what the hell it was. And so, they were like, "You're going to turn down Disney. That seems crazy."

And it was just the single best decision I could have made. And you walk into an industry where, basically, your bosses are maybe three years, two years older than you, and they don't know what they're doing either. And so, you're learning on a job together, and they're allowing you to experiment and do anything that you think makes sense without harming people, of course, but you're learning.

And that I think is a wonderful experience and one that I would wish for every person graduating, the opportunity to do tons of different things and learn.

Clint Betts

And then, you left there to go to Audible, and you were part of building the first Audible app. That must have been incredible. And did you ever think that it would be as big as it is now, or podcasts would be as big as they are now, or audiobooks would be as big as they are now?

Chia-Lin Simmons

Well, so I didn't go from going to Wired to Audible. I've had tons of little companies, grad school in between, but I always am a little bit like Warren Buffett that way, I invest in things I like. And when you talk about being an employee or anywhere, you're investing in what you love.

And I loved audiobooks, whether or not it's in a CD or a tape, people still call it, I think back then, books on tapes of all things. And so, it was amazing. And I always will go back to when I think about, "Hey, who's given me a chance to do something that I again would've never thought I would've done?" I go back to Don Katz, who's the CEO of Audible. What an amazing leader.

I think my interview with him went thus, he's like, "So, do you know anything about mobile?" Now this is back in 2000 — I want to say 2005. 35% at most Americans had a smartphone, and it was typically Windows-like mobile or Blackberry. So, he's like, "Do you know anything about mobile phones?" And I have one. And I was just like, "Well, I have one, but I don't know very much about anything like developing it or the economics of it or anything."

And he's like, "Do you think you could learn?" I'm like, "Yeah." He's like, "You seem pretty smart. So, tag, you're it. You're the director of mobile." And so, I walked away thinking like, "Wow, the sky is crazy, but I'm not going to tell them otherwise." I was probably a little bit scared but excited. And, yeah, I developed the first mobile app in 2005 for Audible. I think I see a lot of the features that I actually originally planned and specked out.

I was the first director or first person to touch mobile for the company as a product and marketing person. I worked with a team of amazing engineers and launched the first app for Audible. And now, I listen to it all the time as well. So, I'm a believer in eating the dog food that I make. And that's very much on par with, "You have to work on things that you really fundamentally have a belief in because as a CEO, you are the chief evangelist for your company."

Clint Betts

I want to go back to your answer on culture, just real quick, and double-click on something that you mentioned. And the word that kept coming to my mind as you were talking about that is empathy, having empathy for the people you lead and having empathy for the people you work with. What role do you think empathy plays in leadership, particularly at your level?

Chia-Lin Simmons

Yeah. I mean, I think that one of the things that's really difficult is that we as leaders lead by example. You have to lead by example because people are looking at you to make decisions to model after and so forth. And so, one of the things that's very difficult for a lot of type A personalities who are CEOs is that we have very little empathy for ourselves.

And so, it's very difficult to model empathy if you can't have empathy for yourself. And so, one of the things I talk about in a work environment, for example, is to say, "Be the first to say that I screwed up." I think I might use more strong terms. Like, "Oh boy, guys, I effed it up."

And so, saying things like, "I totally screwed this thing up. And so, because of us... because of me, we might've had a delay of two weeks here." And saying like, "This should have probably not been done, and this is how we do it differently the next time around, I would do this and do that." And so, by staying basically and showing myself, I'm going to say, "I screwed this up, and I'm delaying us by two weeks, that should not have happened. And here's what happened here in terms of a postmortem. And so, here's how not to do it the same way."

That means that I'm okay with that, and then that means that other people should be okay about doing that too. And so, you really have to, when you talk about building empathy as part of a company culture, it doesn't mean that you're slacking. The reality is that everybody is... I'm a firm believer that really everybody wants to do good and do right.

But we beat ourselves up tremendously. And so, we get into this spiral-like recrimination, and then actually what it does, what that does is screw yourself even more and delay things even more. What I really love to see from an empathy point of view is to give yourself that empathy and grace to say, "I screwed up. Here's how I screwed up, and here's how we'd need to do to fix it, and here's what we need to do to not do it again," and move on. Move on.

And I think that's the number one issue for a lot of companies from an empathy point of view. Because everybody's doing this, "Oh my gosh, it's not me, it's not..." And so, you spend a lot of time trying to figure out what happened here. And so, having empathy for myself and then having empathy for my coworkers builds a culture where we're not doing too much of this. I mean, I'm not going to say everybody's perfect.

We sometimes all do that, but to remind ourselves and as an empathetic leader and trying to set company culture to say, "This isn't how we should operate." It's okay to say, "Hey, this is me. I screwed up." And then, by doing that, we also have more empathy for our customers because we really can't expect our customers to be perfect and do things the way we want them to. Perfect case in point, my previous company, LookyLoo, developed technology that allows people to use in a social environment, and help people make clothing selection.

And one of the things that we talked about is how do people really want to make clothing decisions and find the right size? The reality is that they don't want to strip naked and scan their bodies with a little scan on their phone and then upload it to a server or a bunch of software people can see. And that was the expectation of one of our competitors or actually several of our competitors, which is like, "So, this is the only way we can see the shape of your body and then we can help you find clothing better."

I'm like, "Let's have empathy for our customers who are women, and they do not want to have half-naked pictures of themselves sitting on a server somewhere. So, what is the thing that they do the most and that they're comfortable doing? And then, how do we build a technology to solve the problem that they need to solve without actually forcing them to do things that they don't do and don't feel comfortable doing?"

And I think that's a different approach in terms of being empathetic to your customers to say, "Really, why are they being so stupid? Why can't they just scan their body? It's the most accurate way to do it." Well, okay, come on. Even if they have a perfect body, everybody's shy, but we don't typically think this way as technologists.

And so, we develop technology that basically helps look at sizing, so that we can make a good estimate on sizing using clothing selfies that Gen Xers and Gen Zers are sending to each other. "Hey, how do I look in this?"
They're already sending that. And how do we develop the technology so that people can't say mean things, they can only say nice things to each other because nobody wants to hear bad things. But how do you use natural language to parse out so that you could basically take the most important positive things to help people make better decisions versus basically saying, "It's a free-for-all, good or bad."

So, you build technology, that's again putting people in the forefront, having empathy for your customers and your users, and that hopefully always results in better technology and better customer adoption and better market fit.

Clint Betts

As a public company CEO, it must be interesting that you had to think about things even outside of your company. You have to think about the macroeconomic environment. You have to think about the state of the world. You have to think about... I mean, for you at hardware, I imagine you have to do a little bit of supply chain issue-type, things like that. What are your thoughts on the current macroeconomic environment in the general state of the world?

Chia-Lin Simmons

Wow. So, that's a really big question. The market is just very difficult, public market, private markets. I do some work investing LP money into venture capital funds on behalf of a big corporation, privately held corporation. I'm their LP representative into venture capital funds. I call them my night time 2:00 AM job. So, I look at the market a lot from a private equity venture capital perspective as well as a public market.

How good is the market right now as a public company? I think that we were due for a course correction in terms of the market. There was a lot of enthusiasm not to date myself, but this isn't the first boom and bust I've seen. I'm old enough to have seen 1.0 and 2.0 come and go. And so, it doesn't scare me. And perhaps it's just a little bit scarier for folks who are newer CEOs and younger to the market and seeing their first challenging economic environment.

I mean, certainly, I think for a lot of companies, COVID really taught us quite a lot about what it means to be reliant on certain countries, the dependency on the supply chain that you have today. And so, we learned, for example, to try to diversify our supply chain. So, for us, for example, we had a manufacturer in Hong Kong. We had a manufacturer in China. When the shutdowns occur for COVID, it really worried us tremendously. It made us think about, "Look, there's a 25% tariff on things that are shipped from China because I don't think that's going to change anytime soon."

That's still for Hong Kong because it's a country that's not a concern, but how do we diversify our supply chain so that our products can actually get to the customers that need them? Because we really take fully the responsibility of knowing that because there's one in four Americans that's an elderly person, and we have to make their independent living safe, then we really don't want to see a cessation of supplies to our customers.

And so, that has actually had us, for example, look at starting a relationship with a manufacturer in the US as well, which I think coincides quite well with, "This country is interested in trying to do and bring back more manufacturing and technology manufacturing back to the states." And so, we're really quite aligned to that as well. That's been a positive. From a macroeconomics level, I think that some of these things are positives, to see that movement of manufacturing back to the US is a really big positive.

I think that what we're seeing as a bit of a market correction, there was a lot of enthusiasm in the market, and I think there were a lot of people in the market that didn't really understand the fundamentals of some of the companies. And so, if this correction in a market takes out people who probably shouldn't be in a market in the first place, then that may be a positive. You really want people who are strong and smart and interested investors. Because really, you want them to invest in your long-term growth in the company. So, I don't know if I see it as a negative, but do I think my CFO would have a different answer for you? Absolutely.

Clint Betts

I can't thank you enough for joining us. Seriously, this has been an incredible conversation. I want to be respectful of your time. And so, we ask every guest the same question at the end of every interview, and that is like we believe at CEO.com that the chances we give are just as important as the chances we take. I wonder when you hear that, who comes to mind that gave you a chance to get you to where you are today?

Chia-Lin Simmons

That's really a great question, so thank you for asking that. I actually would say that it's two people that I actually see — three people I can name names on. One in the early part of my career is a gentleman named Bill Holtzman, I think I was an early young employee in a pre-IPO company. And he was the one who really pushed me because I was chasing money because my parents were like, "Hey, you need to be able to support yourself."

And I had an offer to go to a larger company but less stock. And he was the one who really taught me like, "Hey, invest in yourself, and going to a company that's a startup is an investment in yourself and learning."

So, I really credit Bill for that. I really credit Don Katz, who I spoke about for taking a chance on a young MBA student who knew nothing about mobile but was the kind of leader that was not scared about hiring people who didn't necessarily have domain knowledge expertise, but he hired smart people. And he believed that if you hire smart people, they're going to do great work. And so, what a wonderful selfless leader and amazing, courageous leader to do that.

And finally, somebody who sadly is no longer with us, I worked for an amazing gentleman named Robert Acker. And so, Robert was somebody I learned a lot about in terms of being an empathetic leader from.

He was a person who led by example, who knew when to push and when to encourage, and also when to be honest and tell you that you need to work a little harder to get to the next step, and never minced words, but have often been gracious about how he led his team.

And it was through him that I also learned about a little bit of — this is such a horrible word as a woman — we always get asked about work-life balance issues. And so, here was an example of a leader who quite honestly was a male leader that one would expect to be living and breathing at a tech industry that basically showed work-life balance.

And he led by example, and he told us it was okay to do that and exhibited that amazing skills as a leader to encourage us to do and not be afraid to do that. And I think he was very influential in helping me think about and how to build a more empathetic team.

Clint Betts

Thank you so much for joining us. Seriously, it's been a real honor, and best of luck with everything. And I'm sure we'll talk to you down the line. Really appreciate it.

Chia-Lin Simmons

Thank you so much. I really appreciate the opportunity.