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Bellevue Chamber President & CEO Betty Capestany shares insights from her vantage point as head of Bellevue's premier business organization.


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Disruptive Transportation Technology

Posted By Betty Capestany, Saturday, October 21, 2017
Updated: Thursday, October 19, 2017

In our fast-moving world, disruption is an instantly unsettling word. It produces a state of uncertainty, making us unsure of where we fit. Tony Seba, cofounder of RethinkX, a center focused on disruptive technologies, captivated the audience at the Chamber's Eastside Annual Dinner. He showed us change is fast moving in the transportation space and highlighted the opportunities Bellevue and our region have to capitalize on new technologies that help reduce congestion.

Click here to view Tony Seba's slide presentation.

We are talking about the ACES economy that is fast approaching and just around the corner. ACES stands for autonomous, connected, electric and shared vehicles and is projected to be the next major revolution that will take hold between 2 and 10 years from now.

For those pondering the speed of change and if it can really happen that fast, Tony showcased how at the turn of the century (1900’s) in New York City, it was only 13 years between the time a car was introduced amidst horse and buggies to 99% car usage.

Other quick facts:

  • Today 20% of all vehicle miles travel in San Francisco’s trips are Uber and Lyft.
  • New York City has 500,000 ride-hailing rides/day

Tony highlighted how disruption happens: a disruption is when new products and services create a new market and significantly weaken, transform or destroy existing product categories, markets or industries. The new technology cuts costs and intersects with business model innovation and product innovation.  He also highlighted that business model innovation is as important and as disruptive as technology innovation and cited AirBnB - the world’s largest hotel that doesn’t own any inventory.

When the iPhone was launched in 2007  there was a convergence of the touchscreen, Li-ion batteries, computing and sensors that made the smartphone possible. This has totally transformed what was a traditional phone into a min-computer in your pocket - and even a transportation device with the mapping and able to hail rides upon demand.
The key to the transportation disruption that is quickly approaching is the convergence of the technologies listed below – couple that with Moore’s Law (the doubling growth every two years).

For transportation - the key technologies that are converging are:

  • Internet of things (IoT)/sensors
  • AI/Machine Learning
  • Robotics
  • Solar PV
  • Batteries
  • 3D Printing
  • 3D Visualization
  • Mobile Internet & Cloud
  • Big Data/Open Data
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles/Nano Satellites
  • Blockchain

Disruption also happens when the economies of scale align and the costs drop at least 10 percent.  For transportation technology, a critical component is the changeover to electric vehicles. There are huge impacts and ramifications from car ownership that overlays the sharing economy. 

Electric vehicles will be the vehicle of choice since they are 5X more energy efficient and 10 times cheaper to charge/fuel and maintain. Other states, cities and countries are leading the way on this movement. As of last spring there were over 40 corporations working on autonomous vehicles. The Bellevue Chamber is actively working in this space to help the employees and customers of our region’s businesses that don’t have easy access to our city due to transportation gridlock. Our goal is to help the 405 crescent neighborhoods have flexible options to get them into the established infrastructure.  If you are interested in knowing more and how you can plug into the ACESNW movement contact


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Betty's Bench: David Masin's Story

Posted By Betty Capestany, Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Betty's Bench, Bellevue Chamber President & CEO Betty Capestany's roving video series. In this episode, Betty visits with Bellevue Chamber immediate Past Chair David Masin. Hear his story about being part of a four generation family-owned business.

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The Future is Bright and Lightning Fast - Let’s Be a Part of It!

Posted By Betty Capestany, Tuesday, August 22, 2017

You’ve been hearing the buzz of “Smart Cities” and 5G and probably thinking what does it mean to my company or my family? 5G is the name given to the next generation of mobile data connectivity that comes after 4G. It is anticipated that pilot cities will potentially begin deployment of the technology in the next 2-5 years. After reviewing the info below – I think you will see there are tremendous benefits to adding your voice as the Chamber advocates for Bellevue to be the place of choice for early adoption.

While 5G has unbelievably fast mobile/broadband speeds, its selling point is the reduced latency (lag times) so everything is in real time. Like within 1 millisecond (which is wickedly fast - a thousandth of a second). The aim of 5G is to be software versus hardware focused. The goal is to be invisible similar to electricity. In urban areas, 5G technology will be in the form of small cells that are in traffic lights, lamp posts, rooftops and even inside bricks in new buildings. This allows for key uses to reach their full potential like IoT (Internet of Things) and Augmented, Virtual , and Mixed Reality (AR, VR, MR) and even more importantly driverless vehicles.

Let’s fast forward to 2020. Internet of Things (IoT) devices are expected to number 24 billion, and IoT is predicted to be a $3.2 billion industry cluster. This is where gadgets and objects employ smart, connected features. This can range from existing technology like smartphones, tablets and smart watches, to refrigerators, cars, augmented reality specs and even smart clothes. Analysts are predicting that every person will own and use 27 internet connected devices.

A/R, V/R, and M/R are predicted to be a $150 billion industry cluster in five years, crossing all industries and lead to future prototyping, new features, driving sales, and enhancing retail store experiences. Opportunities are endless in education, healthcare, training, simulation and entertainment.

The connection to smart city infrastructure includes smart roads, smart parking, and driverless vehicles, and smart metering just to name a few. 5G economic impact to Bellevue alone is anticipated to be over $400 million and is expected to create 1,200 new jobs.

The Bellevue Chamber has recently launched the Bellevue/Eastside Chapter of ACESNW (Autonomous, Connected, Electric and Shared) vehicles. In partnership with other key stakeholders, efforts are underway through public and private partnerships to secure ways to increase mobility and connections in lower density areas (where your employees live) and get them faster and more efficiently into the denser infrastructure network. If you are interested in learning send me a note.

5G has benefits to transform the future - let’s seize the opportunity!

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Posted By Betty Capestany, Monday, June 19, 2017

Some of these indicators we take great pride in achieving since they showcase the prosperity in our region. Others may be spin-offs from the opportunities a vibrant economy brings.

Let’s take a peek at a few of the stats:

#1 - Washington State is the fastest - yes, the fastest - growing economy in the United States! This was cited in a recent 24/7 Wall St. list

  • 2016 GDP growth: 3.7%
  • 2016 GDP: $414.2 billion (14th largest)
  • Largest industry contribution: Information
  • 1-yr. population change: 1.8% (5th largest growth)

Like the U.S. as a whole, Washington’s pace of economic growth has steadily increased over the past several years, from 2.4% in 2013 to 2.9% in 2015. Washington’s economy grew 3.7% from $399.4 billion in 2015 to $414.2 billion in 2016, the largest increase of any state and more than twice the 1.5% national pace. Between 2015 and 2016, the population increased by 1.8%.

Also like the rest of the country, Washington’s information sector contributed the most to economic growth. The information services sector GDP rose $5 billion in 2016, and today it accounts for 11.4% of the state’s economy as a whole - the largest share nationwide.

According to another 24/7 Wall St. list, Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue is the fastest growing "city" in our state:

  • Population (2016): 3,798,902
  •  Population chg. (2011-2016): +8.6% (WA: +6.8%)
  •  Jobs added (2011-2016): 261,300 (+15.3%)
  •  Unemployment: 3.8% (WA: 4.9%)
  •  Largest driver of growth: Natural change

Zillow’s Chief Economist, Dr. Svenja Gudell, noted at the June Business Lunch program that the Seattle/Bellevue region is the hottest real estate market in the nation. The top designation applies to both ownership and also the rental market.

Crane Index: I recently overheard that Seattle and Bellevue have more cranes (construction) than New York, San Francisco and LA combined. And not only have we built a lot of new projects they are filling up. The 710,000 square feet expansion of Lincoln Square – Two Lincoln Tower is nearly 100% leased. Amazon has leased Center 425, totaling 360,000 square feet and the list goes on.

The vision of the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce is to be the top choice for talent, investment and businesses. Our goal is to create a sustainable environment where our entrepreneurial businesses can thrive. Kudos and applause to all of our business leaders for continuing to pivot, create, and push the envelope the last six years. Your efforts have the Bellevue/Seattle marketplace top in the country. With this in mind – we want to continue our momentum. Please drop us an email on your good news stories so we can feature your efforts!

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The Synergy of Tech Talks, Tech Trends, & Non-Techies

Posted By Betty Capestany, Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Recently, Deloitte did an eight year look back on the top technology trends and the spin-off implications of how these trends are integrated into the workplace. Well guess what - our Eastside Leadership Conference over the last 16 years has showcased all of these top technology trends showing that we’ve hit the mark consistently at this event.


Over 450 business and civic leaders gathered for our most recent Conference last week and the kinetic energy in the room was off the charts. The synergy created when you have established corporate citizens, startups, techies and brick ‘n mortar companies all under one roof (view the photo gallery to see who was there) to hear emerging trends and opportunities was exhilarating.

The Conference is a unique opportunity that takes tech talks and innovations to business leaders in a manner that is readily understood. The techie event for traditional companies – it is the melding of science, technology and the extremely bright people transforming how business gets done. Companies get an inside look at some of the disruptive technologies that are global game changers, carving out niches that are multi-billion dollar industry clusters.


Over the next few weeks we will highlight the trends, companies, and topics we explored this year including 5G; drones and autonomous vehicles; Big Data for business results; Artificial Intelligence; Mixed Realty; attention is the new currency; medical advances; and national data comparing our region to other tech sectors in the country. We also highlighted startup businesses that are developing cool business concepts. Congrats to FanWide for winning the Best in Pitch & Show!


I’d also like to give a special shout out to our Sponsors that made this event so successful! They are transforming how business gets done. What is really unique is all of these companies – even though many of been in business for decades – understand what entrepreneurial energy contributes to the vibrancy of a community!

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The Ripple Effect

Posted By Betty Capestany, Monday, May 15, 2017


Picture a pond that is as smooth as glass. Then all of a sudden a rock is thrown into the middle of the water. Then you see ripples that reverberate out from the center touching all areas the water encompasses. The entire pond has been touched by that rock. In our world the pond is our region and the rock is technology that impacts all of our lives.

We have a lot of rocks that are on a trajectory to change how business is done. While this can appear to be overwhelming if you have a traditional company that isn’t in the tech space, there is an opportunity for you to get a little closer to the pond and see amazing advances that will change how we do business and live.

The Eastside Leadership Conference is the perfect opportunity for you to immerse yourself for a day to hear from people and companies that are changing our world. The cool thing about this opportunity is you get to hear or learn of technologies that are just being launched. You can then let these ripples of game changing advances add to your conversations at the next cocktail party or seize opportunities to use to pivot your company to new products or services, or connect with these amazing people for more in depth details.

June 2, 2017 marks the 16th year of this sell-out program. The goal of the program is to uncover the disruptive technologies and raise their visibility to advance these changes and to engage traditional industries. This year we’ll dive into 5G; Human Drone; Brain Translations; IOT; Artificial Intelligence; Human Capital, Autonomous Vehicles and Mixed Reality and how these emerging industries are transforming business structures and communities. We’ll also have a tech showcase where sponsors and start-ups will be featured over the course of the day.

Attendees can either take-advantage of these trends in their companies or help fund and accelerate the people and companies working in this space. The event is being held at the Microsoft Conference Center and runs from 7 am – 2 pm. Reservations are on a first come first serve basis with priority given to corporate tables. We invite you to join us and experience the ripple effect!

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Something Magical Around Every Corner

Posted By Betty Capestany, Monday, April 17, 2017

I recently returned from a trip to Paris to run the marathon. During our stay a comment my husband made has resonated in my mind – “There is something magical around every corner!” Which is so true, with centuries of history wrapped by residential and commerce, it was breathtaking.

Then I reflected on Bellevue. While we are a much newer City and do not have centuries of history as of yet, we do have magical things happening around every corner. In our world some of the corners are the new buildings that are emerging that are changing the cityscape. In corners across all of our business districts are cool and interesting companies that have grown and prospered in our community and others that are new. Walk off the elevator in the 15 million sq./ft. of class A office in Bellevue (of which 3 million sq./ft. has been newly delivered to our community in the last 16 years) and you’ll meet companies that are changing the world in their lines of work.

Sometimes in the busyness of everyday life we forget to look around the corners in our community and see the new additions, experience our many acres of parks and trails, or meet new people that are coming from all over the world to be part of our new future. Many of these companies and their teams were featured at the Eastside Business Awards and the 2017 Eastside Entrepreneur Magazine highlights them all.

Visitors always mention to me that they are amazed at the infrastructure and the business vibrancy Bellevue has compared to the number of its residents. The advantage of being a newer City - Bellevue has had the opportunity to learn from communities much older than ours how to plan for density in the core area of the City and to use the revenues this growth brings to provide for amenities for residents and employees throughout the Eastside.

Other advantages will be highlighted at the upcoming Eastside Leadership Conference June 2.The focus of the Eastside Leadership Conference is to highlight cutting edge ideas, trends, opportunities and industries of the future. Many of these areas that are emerging are forecasted to be multi-billion dollar industries in the next few years. As a business leader in any sector this is a great way for you to peek around the corner to the future. The information you glean can help you figure out how to provide products or services to these sectors or to use their new technologies to take your company to the next level.

I challenge you to seize the moment, and turn the corner to discover the next opportunity. You will be glad you did!


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2017 Eastside Business Awards - Entrepreneurial Rainbows

Posted By Betty Capestany, Monday, April 3, 2017

A recent rain storm revealed a magnificent rainbow that ended in Bellevue. It made me reflect on the “pot of golden entrepreneurs” that we are blessed to have in our community. It’s time to celebrate the great companies and the talent they have on their teams. With this in mind, 27 years ago, Bellevue Chamber leaders launched the Eastside Business Awards.


Looking at a sampling of logos from past winners shows we
have impressive companies in our region!

This year’s program continued this theme of success! Judges recognized 40 amazing companies on criteria for four awards. Strategy and focus were key drivers of all of the applicants. Finding niches and opportunities to excel, either in new market opportunities or traditional markets; aligning great talent on their leadership teams and core values that resonated throughout the organization made for an impressive slate of candidates. 

You might ask – how did we get so lucky to have so many local companies that have a global footprint? The answer was simple…the CEOs live here. was the winner of the Innovative Service of the Year. They operate in the $65 billion dollar TV advertising arena. When the judges asked “Why Bellevue? We would have thought you’d start your company in New York or LA.” They heard the founder lives here. Their new product offers attention analytics that measure viewer retention and tune-out while ads are playing on the screen.

 2017 Eastside Business Award Winners

Giving back to the community was also a key element among the finalists. Eastside Business of the Year winner Point Inside’s CEO Josh Marti believes in giving back, not only time but also financially to help make a difference in the community. Launched in 2009, Point Inside has grown and moved three times and each time continued to make Bellevue their home. When launched, they were the first company to do indoor mapping and location-based services. Company leaders stay on top of retail trends and pain points and work to provide retailers with a cloud-based solution to engage the consumer with tailored personalized mobile technology to find items in large retail “box” stores.

Understanding the diversity of the community was essential even for Small Business of the Year Award winner WiggleWorks Kids Bellevue. They build community partnerships to help serve youth and families. They have strong company core values: Be Humble, Think Clean, Stay Safe, Have Fun, Take Initiative. In addition they have high staff retention rates and their staff is rich in language fluency that reflects the community they serve: Hindi, Japanese, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish and other less common dialects.

Leveraging emerging markets: the Start Up of the Year Award winner was RBC Signals. They launched due to the rapidly emerging space marketplace. They also saw a niche with the tremendous growth that has taken place in the SaaS (software as a service) marketplace to define and be a leader in a new marketplace IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service). Their company provides real time access to satellites via their global ground station network.
I encourage you to check out all of the Eastside Business Award companies profiled in the 2017 Eastside Entrepreneurial Magazine. Then put on your creative hat to see how you can engage some of these strategies to grow your team, market niches and seize opportunities. Set a goal to be recognized in 2018 at the Bellevue Chamber Eastside Business Awards!


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Overcoming the Confusion: Marketing Your Business Made Easier

Posted By Betty Capestany, Monday, January 30, 2017

The Challenge
: The business landscape of today is exploding with an ever growing and almost overwhelming variety of marketing mechanisms, technologies and customer touch points. Businesses need help finding and engaging prospects and converting them into customers/clients. This is especially overwhelming to small and medium sized companies that don’t always have dedicated staff to focus on which marketing channels and mechanisms are most effective for growing your company. 

The Solution: The Bellevue Chamber has partnered with IntellaSphere to help small and mid-size businesses save time and increase sales and customer retention using a “turn-key” DIY (Do It Yourself) digital marketing platform. You also have the option of having the pros do it for you.

What is it? Integrated Marketing is a strategic marketing process that integrates all outbound marketing communications, messages and promotional mechanisms. Then helps you deliver them in a cohesive way across channels to your targeted customer/client. Focusing on growing your business and optimizing sales results! The Bellevue Chamber’s partnership with IntellaSphere helps you accelerate your business by creating great web content, effective promotions and email campaigns, improving your SEO to retain and attract customers.

 Here are a few quick benefits of this members only offering:

  • Promotional Offers
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Lead Generation
  • SEO
  • Reputation Building
  • CRM/Connects Management
  • Comprehensive Reporting

As a Bellevue Chamber Member we encourage your to seize this opportunity and incorporate this platform into your marketing plan for 2017 business results!

Ready for a Deeper Dive? Consider these business reasons for an integrated digital marketing platform:

1. Integrated Marketing is inherently cross channel: Integrated Marketing uses a combination of communication tools and media channels to spread your message. By combining these various tools and strategies, integrated marketing ensures that the target audience is reached quickly and effectively. Integrated Marketing can draw upon the power of traditional media tactics, such as advertising and public relations, but also combines these with newer digital marketing tactics, such as social media, content marketing, and online promotions. Today, rather than relying on just one approach, astute companies use a combination of marketing mechanisms and channels to attain optimal results.

2. Integrated Marketing focuses on the customer: Successful Integrated Marketing starts and ends with the customer. It starts with having a clear target customer, thoroughly understanding your customer and crafting your key messaging to your target audience.

3. Integrated Marketing focuses on both new and existing customers: While many businesses concentrate only on garnering new customers, the growth and longevity of a business depends on satisfied returning customers. Using integrated marketing ensures a pipeline of new prospects and customers, as well as ongoing interaction, engagement and optimizing the experience of existing customers.

4. Integrated Marketing helps provide consistent messaging across customer touch points: A key marketing success factor is that your customers see and expect a consistent message and experience across all their touch points with the company’s products and services. This is where integrated marketing shines.

5. Integrated Marketing has checks and balances: Each marketing channel has its strengths and weaknesses. Integrated marketing helps to leverage the strengths of one to offset the weaknesses of another, thereby improving overall marketing effectiveness and reducing costs.

6. Integrated Marketing helps clarify and focus on key business objectives: Businesses can use integrated marketing to track and improve key business drivers such as reach, engagement, awareness, traffic, sales customer satisfaction and referrals. While businesses can and should track performance against all these key performance metrics, Integrated Marketing helps you focus on your primary objective for your business, i.e., sales or leads or awareness.

7. Integrated Marketing helps save you time and money: By using a good Integrated Marketing System, you can often get more done in an hour than many people accomplish in a day. Speeding up the learning process, and finding with works for your business, saves both time and money. If you choose to work with external communication suppliers, you can work with only one integrated marketing firm, rather than separate solution providers.

8. Integrated Marketing provides creative and intellectual property consistency: With Integrated Marketing, a comprehensive, integrated toolset helps you leverage your creative treatment. You can maintain consistency of headlines, logo treatments, key phrases and images in each communication, to ensure that prospects and customers receive consistent messages each and every time. You can also utilize the same images and the copy across different channels, media and different marketing mechanisms. Thereby reducing, copy writing, design and photography costs.

9. Integrated Marketing provides tracking, reporting and helps ensure continuous improvement across channels: Integrated Marketing ensures that all marketing elements are monitored, tracked and reported across marketing channels and mechanisms. It ensures that the data meshes across marketing mechanisms, and is displayed in centralized dashboard. Thereby enabling continuous business performance improvement.

So, now you know more a bit more about Integrated Marketing and how it can be critical to the success of your business. In the Digital Age, the need for Integrated Marketing and its many benefits is greater than ever before.

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A Few Bellevue Fun Facts for Your Holiday Gatherings

Posted By Betty Nokes Capestany, Tuesday, December 13, 2016


As we move into the December holiday season I would like to thank you for your support of the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce! We appreciate you using the Chamber to help accelerate your business no matter what business lifecycle you are in. As I think back through this last year I am so motivated by the amazing companies and people we have in our community. The vibrancy ranges from start-ups to companies with over 50 rich business years of history. The common thread is an entrepreneurial spirit for a unique market niche and proving extraordinary customer service! Bellevue continues to grow jobs, investments and residents.

I’ve gleaned a few fun nuggets so you have a fun fact to toss out at your holiday gatherings:
  • Bellevue is the largest majority-minority city in the State of Washington.
  • Information Technology companies are the largest concentration of jobs in the city.
  • It is also the fastest growing sector.
  • The City has more jobs than residents and over the next 20 years is projected to add 25,000 residents and 63,000 new jobs.
  • Bellevue is now home to approximately 70 foreign-owned companies from 15 countries.
  • Bellevue is also home to forty-five corporate headquarters. Many of whom have continued to grow and expand in Bellevue.
  • In August of 2016 Bellevue was named the Best Quality of Life City in the U.S.
  • Bellevue is well-known for having a highly educated and well trained workforce. The percentage of Bellevue’s residents 25 years and older with a Bachelor’s degree or higher has continued to increase from 54% in 2000, 59% in 2010, to nearly 66% in 2015 - one of the highest percentages not only in the State, but also nationally.
  • The Bellevue School District reported that 99 other first languages were being spoken by children enrolled in the district during the 2015-2016 school year.
  • The Bellevue School District has over 20,000 students and a 94.9% graduation rate (adjusted 5 year cohort graduation rate 2014).
  • In addition, the City has a vast network of trails and nearly 100 parks.
  • Bellevue College is the 3rd largest college in the state with an annual enrollment of over 37,000 students.
  • The Bellevue Collection attracts over 22 million visitors each year and provides Snowflake Lane holiday magic with a family friendly free entertainment nightly (7pm in December).
Wishing you the magic of the season and a tremendous 2017!

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