How about a little background to get acquainted before you read my first column, shall we?

My name is Alex Lawrence and I am a faculty member at Weber State University in the Professional Sales Program. Our department is a part of the College of Engineering, Applied Science and Technology. I have the distinct pleasure of teaching courses to our students about current software and internet tools as they relate to sales, customers and growing e-commerce trends. I pride myself on teaching cutting-edge technologies with a very hands-on style.

Prior to my teaching role at Weber State, I started and invested in a number of technology companies. I have also been the technology expert on KSL Channel Five for almost seven years, appearing on television to “talk tech” over 150 times. My hope is to share new and interesting technologies in a quarterly column here that you can use, try and learn more about for your daily lives. This is my first attempt! You can let me know how I did via the contact information at the bottom. I would love your suggestions and questions for future columns.

Now, onto the reason I am here. Sharing about interesting and fun new tech! Picking my first article topic was not easy. There are so many cool things happening in the world of technology today. Apps, hardware, software and more. For this first go around, I decided to go with apps that I think every iPhone and Android user should have.

The statistics around phone usage can be both impressive and depressing. We have never used a device more than the smartphone you may be reading this on. And that trend will only accelerate. So, in the spirit of "if you cannot beat them, join them," here are four apps I think everyone should have on their phones (in no particular order).

Otter Voice Notes

Transcribing your voice into text can be really frustrating. Phones have this feature, but it can be really hit or miss — which is too bad, because the concept of speaking and having it turned into 100 percent accurate text is a game changer when using a phone. Otter Voice Notes uses artificial intelligence (AI) to learn your voice and creates nearly perfect text transcriptions. In addition to text, you can add photos and notes so all of your thoughts, meetings and conversations are accurately recorded.

Cake Web Browser For Mobile

Looking up things on your phone can be frustrating. Mobile search can be anything but mobile device friendly, too. Enter Utah-based company Cake and its amazing mobile browser with search. No more going back and forth between your search results page and the result links. In Cake, you search and swipe forward through your results. So simple you will wonder why Safari, Chrome and other browsers you have previously used do not do the same. Cake also lets you choose your favorite search engine — Google, Bing, Yahoo or DuckDuckGo. Cake provides such a noticeably fluid experience and you will appreciate the difference.

MasterClass

The MasterClass app has more than 45 classes taught by the top minds in their fields, thus allowing you an expert look at philosophies, processes and techniques for everything from writing to game design. You can learn to cook with Gordon Ramsay or take pictures with Annie Leibovitz on the app. There is a topic and subject for every major topic you may want to learn, and it is a modern miracle that you can access this information anytime and anywhere you have your phone handy.

Pocket Casts

If you have not found your phone to be a beautiful podcast player, then you really aren’t using one of its best features! Discovering great podcasts and easily managing the ones you want to listen to can be a time suck. Pocket Casts organizes podcasts by charts, networks and categories, then makes it easy for you to add the ones you like. The app checks for new episodes so you always have access to the latest shows and uses automatic downloading and custom filters to keep them organized. You can also personalize your listening experience with an “up next” option, a silence trimmer, chapters, playback skipper and more.

Dr. Alex Lawrence spent his first 20 years in business as a startup entrepreneur that led and sold multiple companies across software, consumer internet, commercial real estate, venture capital and franchising. Alex raised over $25 million in capital and had one partnership reach No. 34 nationally on the Inc. 500 list. Dr. Lawrence transitioned to a full-time faculty position at Weber State in 2016 and now teaches internet sales, e-commerce, sales technology and other courses in the College of Engineering, Applied Science and Technology. You can also see Dr. Lawrence on KSL Channel 5 as their technology expert or join his 100,000-plus followers on Twitter (@_AlexLawrence) and Facebook (@AlexLawrence).

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