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Ben Helstad
Works at Studios LLC.
Attended University of Utah
Lives in Salt Lake City
4,045 followers|1,070,052 views


Ben Helstad

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Why is vanilla so expensive? Bees.

Specifically, it's all about the Melipona bee. The vanilla orchids have developed a membrane between their female (ovary) and male (pollen) gametes. It's a good move for the plant, because self-fertilization results in sterile seeds which cannot grow up to be new little baby vanilla orchids. The Melipona bee can crawl right up in there to pierce the membrane and deliver fertile pollen.

Small problem about this small bee: it only lives in Mexico. If you want to cultivate vanilla somewhere else with appropriate climate, like Madagascar, you have to replace this bee with another animal. We replace the bee with a human. A person takes a little toothpick and pokes pollen through the membrane of every single flower. To make this even harder, the flower is only fertile for the 8-12 hours after it blooms.

Frankly, it's shocking that vanilla isn't more expensive.
Life History & Reproduction. Vanilla planifolia flower and vine. [Taken by Wikipedia User Bouba]. Growing vanilla is very labor intensive, and it can take up to 5 years for a vine to mature and produce vanilla pods. After being planted and reaching the third year of growth, ...
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Ben Helstad

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My new Hangouts wishlist

I've been thinking about the app for the last couple days and wanted to share my new wishlist for Hangouts.

* The ability to record short sound snippets (5 - 10 seconds) and send them 
* The ability to manipulate or draw my own pictures (Needs mobile)
* The ability to send short video snippets (gifs) and send them
* The ability to name my group hangouts if necessary
* The ability to rejoin perpetual Hangouts from the same link instead of creating a whole new one 
* The ability to share my location (may already be in)
* Consolidating all of my Hangout pictures/stuff into one Folder on Google+ Albums
* The ability to see all of my texts + hangouts on any machine, so long as I'm signed in

I guess when it comes down to it, I really like a lot of work Apple put into their new iMessages and I hope Google does the same and MORE with Hangouts! 
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I think it'd also be an incredible asset for Google if they leveraged an adapatation of Hangouts to work similar to Google Wave or Lync. Some wishful thinking on my part. :) 
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Rise and Shine folks!

I haven't been able to get my run in for the past few days, sadly. 

On the upside though, I've managed to get a Starcraft game in this morning! 

I don't think I'll be posting pictures though. Not yet.

How are you and what's on your agenda today?
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Rise & Shine folks!

A late start to the day but that's alright. It's my Saturday. 

Plenty of work to do on the studio, as well as some home chores that need to be done. 

Perhaps I'll finish my resume today or tomorrow as well! 

How are you and what's on your agenda today?
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Color Me Rad Story

Google+ created a story from my color me rad photos!
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Caturday Share | Winston

I've never really participated in Caturday before. Luckily, since I married +Heidi Maddern,  she came packaged with this little bundle of cute! His name is Winston, and while he's an older cat, he's absolutely adorable!

Let me know what you think of our lovable feline in the comments! 
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New Hangouts Feature

Not sure if this has been discussed yet but it looks like SMS integration across all devices and platforms has finally happened! I can respond to an SMS text from my computer, iPod Touch, phone, or tablet. Pretty stoked about this!!!
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Don't Starve...

I've managed to hook +Heidi Maddern on a game I love called Don't Starve. She's been kicking some major booty and surviving for a really long time! If you have't already, check out +Klei Entertainment's Don't Starve and have a great time!
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Share My Fears

Fear. We're all familiar with it. Many of us wrap it around ourselves like a comforting blanket, letting it restrict our minds, and potential. 

I've struggled with an inordinate amount of fear. Fear of loss. Fear of ridicule. Fear of being too successful. Fear of arrogance. 

All our fears can be boiled down into an essence: A core belief or challenge that we have experienced. This essence generates our fear response, causing paralysis, neglect, stagnation. It. Shuts. You. Down.

I'm still struggling with my fear, but I'm willing to talk about them, to share them with strangers like you so I can finally wake up. I hope you'll do the same. Don't let fear hold you back or constrain you. That's not the kind of life our species was meant to live.

What kind of fears do you have? Have you conquered them? How do you manage your fear?
Findtitle Loan's profile photoSean Benton's profile photo
Great post Ben, thanks!
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Weave some silk

Here's a beautiful creation I've weaved this morning. Check out the site and have some fun this morning! 
Silk was made by Yuri Vishnevsky, with music and sound crafted by Mat Jarvis. Art shared with Silk is licensed under Creative Commons. If you enjoyed Silk, please let me know! Hide thumbnail. Note — Silk has sound. Muted. Mute? Press Space to start anew. Press Z to undo.
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Rise & Shine folks!
This morning should be more relaxing. 

I still have work this evening, but that's been going well, so no complaints here. 

Unfortunately... I've been craving chocolate. Guess it's time for a food run!

How are you and what's on your agenda today?
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Color Me Rad 5k!

I ran my first ever 5k this past June. While I've never been much for running, I was incredibly surprised at how much I enjoyed running with so many other people and having pixie dust thrown in my face. 

Stats for the race: 3 miles @ 10.5 minutes per mile for a total of 31.5 minutes. That's a PR for me! I ran faster than normal, and had an absolute blast doing it! 

Please share some of your 5k/running experiences!
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Have him in circles
4,045 people
FunGalaxie by Karl Heinz's profile photo
Pawan Thapa's profile photo
Pujiaman nyo's profile photo
Anton Zalli's profile photo
Pyro MoverHD's profile photo
Gioele's profile photo
suneesh lal's profile photo
Kom Singkrut's profile photo
lynn helstad's profile photo
iOS Tech Support | Chief Executive Officer
  • Studios LLC.
    Founder, Lead Writer, 2013 - present
  • RiverView Vineyard & Winery LLC.
    Chief Marketing Officer, 2013 - present
  • Apple Inc.
    iOS Advisor, 2013 - present
  • University of Utah: Commuter Services
    Campus Shuttle Driver, 2010 - 2013
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City, UT - Centerville, OH - Ottumwa, IA
Contributor to
Exploring the world with childlike curiosity
Hey there stranger. Have a seat and stay awhile! I'm sure we'll have plenty to chat about.

Tell us a story...

Let's start with something interesting then. Let's begin with the essence of who I am. 

Stories. Emotions. Relationships.

Passions are universal. Everyone has them, pursues them relentlessly. My passionate pursuit is those of stories. I crave the emotional stories that make you feel something deep inside your soul: A story that stirs your mind and body with such an exquisite feeling that you cannot ignore the sensation. I seek the tears. The smiles. The laughs. And the anger. I hunt for these stories, stalk them even. I search for them in the tiny nooks and crannies that no one thinks to look in. 

Sometimes, I get lucky. Sometimes, I find one...

Why should we care?

Stories drive everything. We tell stories about our day during dinner. We tell stories of how we feel and how we got there when we're in a fight.

Pay quiet attention though... 


You'll scare the question away if you aren't careful... 

What drives the stories? 

Emotions. Real, raw emotions drive our stories. Every moment that we feel creates a story that should be captured and shared. Some of these moments are deeply personal, unbelievably painful. Their sheer magnitude is greater than the energy needed to create the universe. I get that. I get that you don't want to share that raw pain, be open to that vulnerability. Don't worry. We'll get there together. 

Together, we'll craft relationships that are beautiful and messy. Together, we'll share the deepest stories we've buried. We'll resurrect what it means to connect with people around you. We'll revive what it means to be truly human. 

So come friend. Let's start something wonderful. Together. 

………..•*¨`*•. ☆ .•*¨`*•………….

A walk in my life

I live in Utah with my wife and psuedo son: Winston the cat. Come this September, we'll be celebrating another anniversary, wondering at home time has gone both so slowly, and so fast. 

I currently work for Apple Inc. as an iOS Phone Advisor, a job I enjoy with a company I respect. I'm also working to start a video game studio and helping with the winery that my family owns. 

Recently graduated from the University of Utah with a BS in Communication, I realize that the world is my canvas. Nothing is impossible to achieve with a light sprinkling of dedication and a whole helping of love and support. I have both my wife and family to thank. 

Most days, you'll find me working from home on either my studio, or for Apple. Occasionally, I'll get out and be with friends at a bar, or explore the lovely solitude of canyon nature with my wife. I've always wanted a little more adventure in my life so I seek those opportunities to get out and experience life. 

My Curiosities
Curiosities are the topics I'm interested in learning and discussing with other people. If any of these strike your fancy, circle me, and send a hangout my way! And please, don't censor yourself. 
  • Honey Bees
  • Stories
  • Writing
  • Blogging
  • Politics
  • Video Games
  • Relationships
  • Branding
  • Marketing
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Language
  • People
  • Business
  • Gender Equality
  • History
  • Programming
  • Design
  • Web Design
  • Technology
  • Anything worth knowing

Which circle should I put YOU in? 
If you decide to follow me, send me a PM (personal messageand let me know. 
I circle back people who are engaged and active, so let me know what you think of my posts (comment, share), and I'll do the same for you :) 

I'm looking for quality in my stream and meaningful relationships. So if you're a real person, let's really get to know each other. And...
Welcome to my stream!

………..•*¨`*•. ☆ .•*¨`*•………….
Bragging rights
First generation Google+ User | Recent U of U Alumni | Eagle Scout | Black Belt in Karate
  • University of Utah
    Communication | Information Systems, 2008 - 2014
Basic Information
Looking for
Friends, Networking
Other names
Ben Helstad's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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Working with this Men's Warehouse has been interesting. I originally went in looking for a suit for my wedding and some folks helped me out. I thought I'd gotten everything I needed so I was just waiting for my fiancée. Turns our nothing fit properly and the clerks, while doing their job, didn't put any effort into helping me look good until my fiancée came in. The first visit, while incredibly long, turned out to be a fun bonding moment for my fiancée and I. The section was good and after much trial and error, we found exactly what we were looking for. Likewise, when the staff was given a specific direction to go in, they were incredibly helpful and turned out to be a great asset. Subsequent visits have been short for alterations but the staff has been quick to respond and have always managed to be a great help. I also want to add that while the suits may be expensive to buy, they often have great deals going on (I saved almost $800 on my visit) and they do an excellent job with tailoring your suits to fit. Overall, I'd recommend taking a quick gander if you're looking to buy a new suit. Just be sure you know exactly what you want and how you want it or the staff won't be much help. Otherwise, they're great!
• • •
Quality: Very GoodAppeal: ExcellentService: Good
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
1 review