Jon M. Huntsman School of Business

learn about the latest and greatest from the School of Business

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Work on the new building will require constructive input

We recently met with the contractors who would like to build Huntsman Hall. We plan to follow an approach that is commonly used on the Utah State University campus and throughout the state when new buildings are constructed. It is called the Construction Management General Contractor process. This is a state-approved approach that allows our contractor to work with the architects as the building is designed to help identify ways we can save money.

Ken Snyder
Proposals, including a cost proposal, management plan, references and statements of qualifications, must be submitted by 12:00 noon on Thursday, December 1, 2011. You can view the bid requirements on the DFCM website.

After we get these proposals, we will narrow the field of prospects down to three to six companies and select the final firm by the end of the year.

We will, of course, be looking at each firm’s track record. Companies that have already delivered impressive results and constructed remarkable buildings will have a competitive advantage. We know some of the top firms in the state want to be a part of this project. Once the design work is done, we will determine the final construction cost of the project.

This is an exciting time. We have a new design concept and we are selecting our contractor. I can almost hear the sounds of construction underway already.

- Ken Snyder

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fill your wallet and feed the hungry!

Wouldn’t you like your end-of-the-year holiday card to serve a better purpose than to be temporarily magneted to a fridge alongside a dozen others?

This holiday season, the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University is offering people the chance to donate to a local charity and win as much as $500 in the Huntsman Holiday Card Contest.

The contest will be held on the Huntsman School’s Facebook page. Contestants will submit their best holiday cards to the page, and for the first 300 votes, the School will donate $0.50 to the Cache Community Food Pantry. The contestant(s) who submits the entry with the most likes will win $500. Second prize will win $200 and third prize will win $100. Entries are to be submitted by Dec. 4 at midnight, and voting will go from Dec. 5 to Dec. 9.

To summarize:

  • The contest will be held on the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business Facebook page
  • For the first 300 votes on all contest entries, the Huntsman School will donate $0.50 to the Cache Community Food Pantry
  • Entries are to be submitted by Dec. 4 at midnight, and voting goes from Dec. 5 to Dec. 9
  • 1st prize: $500 2nd prize: $200 3rd prize: $100

For more details, please visit the Huntsman School's Facebook page.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The right way to use social media: timely, relevant, actionable

A new study came out this past week that said 56 percent of chief marketing officers at companies who believe they are "advanced" in the use of social media admit they still don't know how to utilize social media effectively as a marketing tool. Scary. I've been giving this a lot of thought recently and have come to the conclusion that there really is a simple rule for effectively using social media and it's this -- your messages must be TIMELY, RELEVANT, and ACTIONABLE. If they don't meet at least two of the three criteria, don't do it!

Eric D. Schulz
It seems that many companies have invested in having people dedicated to social media, and therefore figure that if they've got this person, they better be posting on Facebook and Twitter 17 times a day! And therein lies the problem. If you are doing this, you’re spamming. Grit your teeth, and hold yourself back. Look at every message -- is it TIMELY, RELEVANT, and ACTIONABLE?

Social media is great for giving things away, but most companies are having a hard time figuring out how to generate sales. There are certain industries that are perfectly positioned to effectively use social media -- restaurants, fast food chains, retail stores and movie theatres. Need to stimulate purchases? Need some customers for dinner tonight? Tweet and post a "today only" special. Timely, Relevant, Actionable. Sports teams can use social media effectively to disseminate information and special offers. TV/Radio stations absolutely can use social media to drive consumers. Watch this show for a chance to win X. Listen at 4 p.m. to win Y. A local TV station here in Utah in fact has used social media so effectively to drive it’s 10 p.m. newscast that it was able to rise from a perennial #2 position to #1 in the market and continues to build their ratings/share advantage on the back of their effective use of social media tied to a "watch and win" contest nightly within their newscast.

Consumer product companies have a problem, however -- what can you say about Tide detergent that's timely, relevant and actionable? Probably not much. So, as my momma always said, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. Save your breath. The same study I referenced also asked consumers how often they wanted to hear marketing messages from companies they "liked" -- the answer? Most only wanted to hear from them once a month or less. A smaller portion said once a week was OK -- none said "everyday" -- let alone 17 times a day!

Social media CAN be a powerful marketing tool if you use it correctly. Unfortunately, most companies are just using it for spamming out useless information. If what you have to say isn't timely, relevant and actionable, stop doing it.

- Eric D. Schulz

Eric D. Schulz is the co-director of strategic marketing and brand management at the Jon M Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University. Prior to joining the University, he spent over 20 years in consumer product marketing with Procter & Gamble, The Walt Disney Company, and The Coca-Cola Company. He can be reached at

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

We hope you have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving break. We look forward to seeing you next week.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A room full of people are smitten by a design

I promised you last week that I’d give you a peek at a new design concept that changed the way we have been envisioning what Huntsman Hall might look like. Hey, you went ahead and looked at the picture already, didn’t you?

Well, what do you think? If you were like those of us who were presented with this preliminary design concept last week, you liked it immediately. Of course, we got to see a three-dimensional model but this image should give you a sense for the unusual, innovative design that we fell in love with. We unanimously voted to go in this direction. We were smitten by this concept.

The new building, Huntsman Hall, as proposed, would be a functional, iconic building that would integrate well with the George S. Eccles Business Building. The first and second floors, which would be mainly classrooms and student meeting rooms, would offer great views of Cache Valley. The third floor will be mainly office space.

The sweeping design will take up where Lund Hall now sits and will extend into the construction staging area on the west side of the business building, and will wrap around the east side of the building to near Moen Hall.

We think it is a phenomenal concept that will look just plain cool. This initial concept includes two large two-story entry ways – one from the side of building that faces Route 89, and one on the northwest side of the building that will offer access to both the George S. Eccles Business Building and Huntsman Hall. It will connect the old to the new buildings in two places and create a nice open courtyard area, which will be sheltered from the wind, between the two buildings.

This is just a preliminary design concept, so the design may change as we work out details. I will share with you more images as the architectural renderings begin to take shape. But isn’t it cool?

- Ken Snyder

Monday, November 21, 2011

Graduating class with brighter outlook

Good news. According to U.S. News and World Report, the class of 2011 has a brighter job outlook than previous years. And salary offers are on the rise in addition to job offers.

That may be the case, but it's still not easy. I read a blog with some tips on what to do between graduation and that first big-boy job.

Paul Lewis Siddoway
The main point I got was essentially "pretend like you have a job." Have a regular schedule, set goals, and spend at least 40 hours a week working toward them. If you have a job, great. If you have time left, spend it looking for a job. If you still have more time left, be working on something else that will help. If you're into marketing, blog about marketing fails (like putting an ad for 5th and 6th graders' ski passes in a college newspaper) and marketing successes you've seen. If nothing else, it shows you are keeping up with your job competition and critically thinking others' marketing strategies. Companies like critical thinkers.

And then be patient and don't stress out.

I think that's good advice for anyone.

- Paul Lewis Siddoway

Friday, November 18, 2011

The best and worst thing about the internet

Sometimes, it’s best to just keep some thoughts to yourself.

Connor Child
Arguably the best and worst thing about the internet is that it gives just about everyone a voice. Once upon a time all you could do was rant about the Raiders’ offense to three of your friends – now, you can get on a message board and say something deeply poignant like “CARSON PALMER SUCKS!!!” and get 15 responses in an hour. The upside is increased feedback, efficient communication and instant responses. The downside is that a phrase like “CARSON PALMER SUCKS!!!” is Shakespearian compared to 90 percent of the drivel you will come across on any open internet forum.

As I said earlier, some thoughts are better off left unsaid. This American Life recently reran one of my all-time favorite episodes, “Right to Remain Silent.” The first segment of the program focuses on Joe Lipari, a man who became infuriated with the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue in New York City and made his anger abundantly clear in a Facebook post later that day. After watching the movie Fight Club, he posted a paraphrased quote from the movie that said, among other things, that he might “walk into an Apple store on Fifth Avenue with an Armalite AR-10 gas powered semi-automatic weapon and pump round after round into one of those smug, fruity little concierges."

One of his Facebook friends saw the post and reported him to the police, and it wasn’t long before he was visited by the police and charged with two felonies. He has spent the last few years in and out of courts fighting the charges. Although the ordeal appears to be over (a judge dismissed the charges in February), he definitely paid a price.

Lipari was obviously being sarcastic. But sarcasm doesn’t come through on the web quite like it does in person. Additionally, it’s probably a good idea to avoid any sort of references to pumping rounds of ammunition into people.

Extreme cases like Lipari’s are the exception and not the rule. The First Amendment is thriving in today’s era of social media, according to an editorial in the Dallas Morning News. In 2006, 45 percent of students surveyed said the First Amendment guaranteed too many rights. That number dropped to 23 percent in the 2011 survey. The increase in use of social media has also led to increased tolerance of opposing views. A group called the Knight Foundation “found a link between social media and tolerance of unpopular opinions; daily users were the most tolerant and infrequent users the least.”

Let’s just hope these people eventually come up with something cleverer than “CARSON PALMER SUCKS!!!”

- Connor Child

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Huntsman Hall - What's in and what's out

After brainstorming, prioritizing and more prioritizing, we’ve made some decisions about what we want to go into Huntsman Hall, our new 85,000-square-foot building. Here is what we are planning for now:

Ken Snyder
• There will be 15 to 20 study rooms for meetings and student group projects.

• We are planning on ten new classrooms in the building.

• There will be a nice student lounge.

• We plan to accommodate our students with a café.

• We will have a “resource library” with a quiet study area.

• There will be two rooms for meetings and VIP receptions. One will be larger than the O.C. Tanner lounge on the ninth floor in our current building, and the other will be an executive board room for 25-30 people.

• We will convert the classrooms that are sometimes called “the caves” in rooms 317 and 319 in the Eccles Building into office space, freeing up more room in the new building for new, state-of-the-art classrooms.

• Most of our faculty offices will remain in the Eccles Business Building. We will probably need to move one department of faculty offices to the new building.

• The Orson A. Christensen Auditorium, Room 215 in our business building now, will remain our largest classroom.

The architects also proposed a really cool idea for what the building might look like, but I’m going to save that information for next week. Here’s a teaser, however. It’s a unique design unlike anything we have discussed or envisioned before. Stay tuned for more information next week.

- Ken Snyder

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NBA players should form their own league

Memo to: All NBA Players (Past & Present)

From: Eric Schulz

Subject: Game Plan for Starting Your OWN League

Congratulations on turning down the latest proposal from the owners. Bold move. Now, here’s something to think about. How about thumbing your nose at the NBA and its owners, and start up your own league – the UBL (Unified Basketball League)?

When the NBA was formed decades ago, it needed rich people to make it work. But it doesn’t anymore. YOU are all rich people. Screw them. They locked YOU out. You don’t need “owners” anyway. It feels so aristocratic. They want a nuclear option? Well here it is. Blow up their entire system and put them all out of business. You want to strike fear in their eyes – this is it. Starting a players-owned league isn’t that hard, and in fact, you can do it much cheaper and streamlined than they can. And if YOU own the league, YOU keep ALL the revenues, not just half. So, here’s your game plan.

Eric D. Schulz
1) Form A League Where All Teams Are 100% League Owned. This gets rid of “the man” (David Stern, league lawyers, and all the “owners") and you are in complete control. Make your own TV / media deals. Sell your own sponsorships. Sell your own tickets. Instead of having 30 different teams operated by 30 different groups all doing 30 different things, you’ll have ONE centralized system for everything managed at the league level. Each city would need a small staff, but nowhere near the size they are now. And the economies of scale you’d have from one ticketing system, one licensing / sponsorship group, one building leasing group, and one media division would slice out a lot of the costs of doing business that currently exist, and give you great negotiating leverage.

2) Pay Each Of Yourselves A Base Salary + Incentives + Cash Shares That Are Divvied Up At The End Of Each Season. There would be three pay components for every player:

a. Set up your league so that everyone on every team makes the same amount of base salary during the regular season.

b. But here’s the twist --everyone on each team earns a $50,000 bonus for each regular season victory, and a $250,000 bonus for each post-season victory. So, you get paid to play, but you get paid more to win!

c. At the end of the season, you divide the remaining league revenues amongst yourselves, based on a statistical model with the players who performed the best and put butts in the seats (Kobe, Dirk, Kevin, Dwight, LeBron, et al) getting more.

So how would this play out? Assume every player in the league is paid a base salary of $2 million. A team that wins 50 regular season games (earning an additional $50,000 per win) would earn bonuses of another $2.5 million each.

Then, for every playoff win, each player on winning teams makes a $250,000 bonus. With 16 post-season victories needed to win the championship, that’s another $4 million for each player on the championship team. Add it all up, and every player on the championship team would earn a total of $8.5 million as their salary, plus a share of the remaining league revenue splits at the end of the season based on the statistical model. Oh, and by the way, with this system, you can all stop paying your agents 3-5 percent of your salaries. No agents needed!

3) Level The Playing Field Every Season For Every Team. We all know that none of you like living in places like Utah or Minnesota during the winter. Miami and LA are the places to be. We get that. So here’s another twist. Let’s make our league work like fantasy sports. Every year, we redraft new teams, done by random draw (to keep teams from trying to tank it at the end of the season). So, the NBA Draft becomes a draft of EVERY PLAYER, not just rookies. Twelve rounds. Pick your your 12 players for this season. So, if the first ping-pong ball goes to Memphis – you want LeBron, OK he’s yours. Second pick to Dallas – you want Kevin Durant, he’s yours. Third pick to Phoenix – Kobe it is. And so on. This would eliminate the current systems problem of having all the top talent purchased by over-cap spending large-market teams, and spread the best players all over the league, making it more competitive, and giving every team the chance to compete for a championship every year. It also gives every team a chance to have LeBron, or Dirk, or Kobe, Kevin, Dwight, D-Wade, D-Will and others play in their city for at least one season of their career. What would this do to league licensing revenues? Think about it. Now I need to buy a new jersey for my team’s favorite player EVERY year, at $125 retail! And for you players, if you are drafted by Minnesota or Utah, it’s not a death sentence – you’re only stuck there for one season, then can get redrafted by somebody else!

That’s it – a pretty simple operating model that would raise the boat for all of you and stick it to the man. So let me know when you want me to get going on this for you. We should be able to have the UBL up and running by next season. I’ll be your first league commissioner – and we’ll put headquarters here in Logan, Utah to keep down costs!

- Eric D. Schulz

Eric D. Schulz is the Co-Director of Strategic Marketing and Brand Management at the Jon M Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University. Prior to joining the University, he spent five years as Vice-President of Marketing for the Utah Jazz (NBA); he previously was VP of Marketing with the XFL Football League, and served as a General Manager in minor league baseball. He can be reached at

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Students invest real money in finance course

Fred Dickson, the Chief Investment Strategist from DA Davidson, spoke at USU tonight. He emphasized the importance of gaining experience in the field before you graduate from college. In fact, one of the big reasons for his visit was to reward the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business as a result of investments by a group of students.

Students in Paul Fjeldsted’s Investing Practicum class have a unique opportunity to invest real money. DA Davidson donated $50,000 for this purpose. When the investments work out, DA Davidson cuts a check to the school. Tonight, Mr. Dickson presented the school with a check for $1,500. Before presenting the check, Mr. Dickson praised the efforts of the school in promoting real-life involvement.  

Monday, November 14, 2011

It never hurts to ask

Recently, I wrote a blog post about an article by Jeff Haden, a blogger for CBS. After reading the article, I was left with a question: "What can I do to get a business to notice me in the sea of other applicants?"

I wrote him and asked the same question. He wrote an article, posted it, and sent me a link.

I can't say he did this just because I asked, but one thing I've learned in life is that it never hurts to write people letters. You often get something for your trouble.

So what did he have to say?

First, determine who you want to work for. Not just what industry, but narrow it down to specific businesses. Then get to know the company and think about what you can offer immediately, then tell them. One of my professors already suggested this to me as a potential job search option, but didn't go quite so far as to have a show-and-tell presentation ready.

Paul Lewis Siddoway
Another thing Haden said that I really liked was, "Don't be afraid to take charge of the interview." Obviously, it's not an ideal thing in every job interview situation. And you should always go into the interview with questions about the company that show you've done some research into what they do, but I would imagine the interviewer would get bored asking the same questions. Engaging in a conversation would probably be nice for them, too.

Haden also gave advice for the people on the other side of the interview. Mainly, employees should show they are willing to work for the company, not just fulfill their job description.

One thing Haden said reminded me of the account of Sir Ernest Shackleton, an Antarctic explorer. If you haven't read the story of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, you need to. At least check out the Wikipedia page. When I think of leadership, I turn to Shackleton first.

When he was outfitting his expedition to the South Pole in 1914, he got more than 5,000 applications for 28 spots. The semi-finalists for the positions were chosen based on skill. The men who ended up going on the expedition were chosen based on personality and how personable they were. Shackleton knew they would be in close quarters for long periods of time. Besides himself, only two of his men had previous experience in the Antarctic.

Haden said it may be more important to hire someone with a little personality that can learn the job than someone who would be a great employee, but a horrible co-worker.

- Paul Lewis Siddoway

Friday, November 11, 2011

"Big Four" CEO, USU graduate to speak on Wednesday

James Quigley
This Wednesday, we will have the opportunity to hear from one of our most distinguished alumni. James Quigley, who graduated from USU in 1974 with a BS in accounting, will speak at a Dean's Convocation on Nov. 16.

Most people have heard people talk about the "Big Four" accounting firms. Well, Mr. Quigley is the global CEO of one of them - Deloitte Touche. He has clearly built a career around the fundamental principles of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business. Students who take the time out of their day to hear Mr. Quigley will undoubtedly walk away with a better understanding of how to succeed in the business world.

Doug Robinson of the Deseret News recently wrote an article about Mr. Quigley. Here is how the article begins:
Jim Quigley is an oddity in the corporate world of high finance. His peers tend to be graduates of leafy old Ivy League schools – Wharton, Yale, Harvard, et al. Then there's Quigley. He grew up in a town of 400 in southern Utah. Graduated with a class of 92. Earned a B.S. degree from – ahem – a state school. And that advanced degree? Didn't get one. 
"Not exactly the credentials you have to have to be CEO of a large company," he likes to say.
Click here to read the rest of the article.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Penn State now "Penance" State

A brand is a living, breathing thing – built over time. Brands, like people, have good days and bad days. Unfortunately, as the stunning revelations coming out of Penn State this week demonstrate, the power of a brand that took years and even decades to build can be destroyed in a matter of days.

Penn State and Joe Paterno are the definition of big-time college football. The image of Paterno – a football professor with a tie, thick glasses and Nike coaching shoes - has stalked the sidelines in Happy Valley since 1950. The success of the football program has driven the reputation of the university for decades. The Nittany Lions won national championships in 1982 and 1986.

Eric D. Schulz
Just how powerful is Joe Paterno? In 2004 the university president demanded his resignation. Paterno ignored him and kept on coaching. He and his wife Sue have donated over $4 million to the university. The school library bears his name, as does an ice cream flavor at the campus creamery.

In the past three days, the reputation and brand of both the school and Paterno have been destroyed as quickly and completely as New York’s Twin Towers. In case you haven’t followed the news, a former defensive coordinator under Paterno, Jerry Sandusky, has been accused of sexually assaulting young boys over a 15-year period. In 2002, a graduate assistant witnessed a sexual assault by Sandusky on a 10-year old boy inside the football locker room showers and reported it to Paterno. Paterno in turn told his superior, school athletic director Tim Curley, who took it to the school’s senior vice president for finance and business, Gary Schultz (no relation to me, thank heaven).

All three decided that protecting the power and prestige of the brands of Penn State and Joe Paterno were more important than doing the right thing. They swept the information under the table and never reported it to police. Curley and Schultz have been charged with perjury and failure to report to authorities what they knew in a Grand Jury investigation, but Paterno has not been charged (yet).

Regardless, the brand reputations of Penn State and Joe Paterno have lost their luster. The school will need to do some serious damage control. Their plight is similar to that which the Miss America pageant faced back in 1984 when nude photos – pics that had been taken back in 1982 -- surfaced of then Miss America Vanessa Williams (yes, THAT Vanessa Williams – the singer and actress, most recently seen on “Ugly Betty”.) The pageant had brushed with scandal before, and responded in 1985 by crowning the most squeaky – clean contestant they could find, Utah’s Sharlene Hawkes.

Penn State will need to sweep out their entire athletic department leadership, as well as their football coaching staff, and start over with a coach and new athletic director above reproach, never tainted or even hinted at by scandal or NCAA violation. If they do – and if the football team excels – they will be able to regain their luster quickly. Winning fixes everything in sports (unfortunately sometimes – as in Kobe Bryant / Ben Rothlesberger / Michael Vick cases). For Joe Pa however, there will be no redemption. The man who spent over 60 years building his reputation will need to slink off into retirement and stay away from Penn State forever. It's a shame, but when he walks away from his resignation press conference, that will be the last we will ever see of the winningest coach in football history.

The moral of this story is something all brands should take note of. No matter how big or powerful a brand you have stewardship over, morality trumps all. Do not try to “protect the brand” by actively doing, or ignoring, immoral acts. Don’t hide negative test results from the FDA or other government agencies in place to protect the public. Don’t – as auto companies are famous for doing – have “statistical” acceptability of product failures. A death due to your product is not acceptable under any circumstance.

When I was at Coke, I was standing alongside the Chief Marketing Officer, Sergio Zyman one day, when an international Coke brand manager approached him and started explaining the idea she had for a Coke brand consumer promotion in her country. His reply was the height of brand arrogance. He said “Let me ask you this. Do you think you have within your power the ability to destroy brand Coca-Cola?” “Of course not”, she replies. “Then do whatever you want”, he said.

Unfortunately, as was the case at Penn State, too many leaders think that way.

- Eric D. Schulz

Eric D. Schulz is the co-director of strategic marketing and brand management at the Jon M Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University. Prior to joining the University, he spent five years as vice president of marketing for the Utah Jazz (NBA); he previously was VP of marketing with the XFL Football League, and served as a General Manager in minor league baseball. He can be reached at

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Apps, apps, and more apps

Apparently, one screen isn’t enough to keep us entertained any more.

recent article on says that numerous studies show that 80 percent of TV viewers of all age incorporate a “second screen” – laptop, smartphone or tablet computer – into their viewing habits.

Connor Child
The most likely reason for this trend is that people like to talk about TV shows and event while they are happening. Zeebox is an app developed to take advantage of this scenario. It “determines what show is currently being viewed and then provides streams from relevant social media, as well as offering targeted links to spin-off products, and background information about the actors, music or writers drawn from online resources.”

I appreciate the concept behind this service as much as anyone. I’m always going to the internet during shows to see what other movies/TV shows such and such actor has been in. During a sporting event, I like to see other people’s responses to the ref’s last call or Coach Jackson’s decision to go for it on fourth down.

But, the old man inside of me worries about whether this type of technology will dumb down TV. For example, my favorite show of all time is Lost. I would turn my phone off while I watched an episode, and if anyone ever tried to talk to me I would pause it. It’s too cerebral of a show to allow yourself to be distracted by apps or any type of second screen. Since Lost went off the air, I have been worried about whether I will ever see a show like it again. Now, as shows try harder to be second screen compatible, I am even more worried.

In addition to being fun and neat, apps can be genuinely useful. Jayne O’Donnell wrote an article for USA Today about how apps can help consumers save money as the Christmas season approaches. eBay has its Red Laser app and Amazon has its Price Check. Both are price comparison apps that quickly tell consumers where else they can get Good A and at what price.

Ms. O’Donnell offers a few other tips on how to use apps to help you shop smartly. One of the coolest apps she highlighted was Lemon, an app that keeps track of receipts. As someone with no organized method of keeping receipts, I can quickly see how that app would make my life easier.

- Connor Child

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It's all about context

Even though the design of our building is the next major step after we complete the programming, there are some design issues that affect spaces in the building, and therefore, are important for us to consider as part of the programming process. So, we have started working on some design concepts with our architects. In short, we need to make sure our building fits the context of the campus.

Ken Snyder
Let me share examples of some of the issues we are considering:

• One of the things we must consider is how our building will fit in with the other buildings and features of the campus. We have a beautiful campus and our building needs to enhance that beauty and not detract from it.

• Another thing we must consider is traffic flow. Our building will be between two parking lots and the rest of campus. We want it to prove inviting so that people will want to walk through it, even if it is only in one door and out the other. It’s important to us that we be connected with the campus community and one way to do that is to design a facility that is welcoming.

• We have to think about how tall the new building should be. We don’t want it to block the view we have from the George S. Eccles Business Building.

• We want to maximize the terrific asset we have of providing views of the south end of Cache Valley. We need to create reasons (classrooms!) that pull people into the south end of the new building where they will be able to enjoy the great views. If our classrooms are all located in or close to the old business building, the part of the new building with the great view of Cache Valley will be underutilized.

• One of the first things that visitors to our campus will see is Huntsman Hall. It will be like a face of the university. We want that face to reflect the campus.

Context counts!

- Ken Snyder

Monday, November 7, 2011

The difficulties of quantifying abstract skills

When I was in high school, my mother, as a joke, gave me a t-shirt that said, "My mommy says I'm special." I don't often wear it in public.

I would wear a shirt that says, "My boss thinks I'm exceptional." Or “outstanding.” Or “dependable,” “smart” and “talented.”

Paul Lewis Siddoway
I would even consider wearing it to an interview. Especially if my boss signed it.

Okay, maybe not.

It seems like getting a job is just one struggle after another. Finding openings is hard enough. Standing out in relation to the crowd and actually getting an interview seems impossible at times.

Jeff Haden, a blogger for BNET, part of CBS's interactive business network, came up with some suggestions on things businesses are looking for. Essentially, Haden says uniqueness, social smarts, adaptability, inquisitiveness, focus, the urge to tinker with the status quo, a desire to prove they (the employee) are right, public praise of others, and complaining only in private are some of the qualities businesses are looking for.

That's great. My question is, "How do I show potential employers that I'm focused?" Or, "How do I show in my résumé that I have social skills?"

Any suggestions?

- Paul Lewis Siddoway

Friday, November 4, 2011

School's namesake featured in SL Trib today

Today, the Salt Lake Tribune published an interview with our school’s namesake, Jon Huntsman Sr., as he was getting ready to dedicate a $100 million expansion at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City. Throughout the interview, Huntsman speaks “candidly about the state of the nation’s economy, the effect the downturn is having on charitable giving and the role he sees private enterprise playing in the battle to help relieve human suffering around the world.”

Some highlights:

• “…When we talk about the (downturn in the) economy, I have to ask myself what does that mean? It means I will have to raise more money. I have to give more money and find more avenues to tap into to keep this facility and others going and productive. “

• “We’ve been building our business for 41 years and now produce 12,000 products. We help make plastics that go into airliners. They replace metal parts so the planes are more fuel efficient and safer. We are one of the world’s largest producers of soaps and detergents to make the world cleaner and people happier and more beautiful.”

• “I’m totally lost as to why people don’t either give their money away like we are trying to do to help those who are suffering, or investing it in something that will create jobs.”

• “My wife and I started contributing to charitable causes when we were first married and only making $300 a month. As we were able to make more money we were able to continue to give to charity, while at the same time keeping our businesses sufficiently supplied with capital for growth and expansion. We’ve been able to give over $1 billion away, and our business is stronger than ever.”

To read the full interview, click here.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Out of the caves

An idea was unearthed last week that may mean that soon our students will never have to go to class in “the caves” ever again.

Ken Snyder
There are two large classrooms on the third floor of the George S. Eccles Business Building that are so big, so deep that students say they can barely hear in the back of the room. Teachers and students alike have taken to calling room 317 and 319 “the caves.” These are flat classrooms furnished with old-fashioned, fixed-arm, hard desks. Teachers don’t like to teach there and students would prefer to be taught anywhere else. Up to 85 students fit in these classrooms.

When we have larger classrooms, we usually use tiered classrooms to facilitate discussion. We can’t convert these classrooms into tiered classrooms because the ceilings are too low. If we were to try to break these classrooms up into smaller classrooms, we’d end up with a lot of wasted space – a luxury we can’t afford.

As we’ve been discussing what we should and shouldn’t put into the new building, we came up with an idea that we had not thought of before. What if we converted these two classrooms into office space? If we make that space into office and meeting space for our centers, for example, we would have that much more room in the new building available for great, new classrooms. Swapping out bad classrooms and replacing them with great, new classrooms is the kind of trade we want to make.

Another advantage of this set-up will be that students who come through the George S. Eccles Business Building would then walk by this area on their way to their nice new classrooms in Huntsman Hall. This will help give more exposure to the work the centers are doing. After all, they won’t do much good if our students don’t know they are there.

This idea will make it so none of our students will ever again be lost in the back of “the caves” straining to hear what the teacher is saying. We think it’s a great idea.

- Ken Snyder

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Should Nintendo skills go on a résumé?

On Halloween, I spend the evening applying for jobs and playing a little 8-bit Nintendo.

I spend 4 hours filling out 5 job applications and 1.25 hours saving the princess. Guess which activity I felt better about when I went to bed?

Paul Lewis Siddoway
Nobody will argue that it's easy to find a job. Especially in this market. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools and plenty of advice on the subject.

One blog I found, "Thoughts on Teaching," comes from the stand point of a professor from the University of Florida.

Julie Dodd, a professor in UF's communications department saw an article in the New York Times about new graduates waiting for their careers to begin, and she suggested a few things to do.

Obviously, while I'm looking for a foot in the door to the big-boy job world I'll keep the job I have, but Dodd also suggested freelancing. One guy I work with got paid $50 for one hour of consultation. Brilliant.

There are other ways to make good use of that 40-hours a week I may not be using, too. And I'm not just talking about traversing the underworld and slaying monsters. I found Dodd's blog because I decided to start my own blog. It may not be about accounting or finance or marketing, but it is about music, because that's one of my passions. And maybe someone else who's into music will read it. And maybe, just maybe, they'll want to talk to me about something else, like a job. It's worth a shot, right? If nothing else, I'm developing another marketable job skill.

I've already talked about networking, but Dodd recommends always carrying business cards, just in case. Even if they aren't that professional, as long as they have a way to contact you, that's enough. Ideally, I'd like to give everyone I meet a copy of my resume, so they can give it to someone else they know and I will be handed a job on a silver platter.

And speaking of resumes, do you think beating a golden action-adventure game from the 80s is resume-worthy? What demonstrates your work ethic better than the infinite amount of hours you’ve spent on problem-solving a single, dedicated task with no form of reward other than the satisfaction of completion?

At least, that's how I justify it to my wife.

- Paul Lewis Siddoway

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The emergence of location-based services

Connor Child
America’s Finest News Source (aka “The Onion”) may have mocked glowing media reports about Foursquare’s entrance into the social media world, but it looks like the tone of those media reports was justified.

This past summer, the number of Foursquare users reached 10 million, a 100 percent increase from December. Shortly after, the privately held company raised $50 in funding at a $600 million value.

Foursquare has established itself as a formidable player in the social media realm, worthy of being mentioned alongside Facebook and Twitter. But, as a June USA Today article reports, success of that magnitude comes with challenges. 

Foursquare is a location-based service (LBS) that lets users win virtual prizes by using their smartphones to “check in” to the places they visit. Many people are weary about having their movements tracked and broadcasted online, and privacy concerns remain a major hindrance to further growth. In response to these concerns, Foursquare lets users decide for themselves whether or not they want to share their locations with a broader audience on Facebook and Twitter. If they want, users can have their locations shared with a small group of trusted friends.

This article brought up some interesting points about Foursquare’s utility. For example, a New York restaurant near Foursquare’s office has used the service to “break down its customer base by gender, age group and check-in time. Knowing when customers visit lets the restaurant plan operations when things are busy and offer specials when business is slow.” 

Facebook, having already been on the winning side of creative destruction once before (see: Myspace), couldn’t just sit around and watch Foursquare get all the accolades. Consequently, it launched “Facebook Places” in August of 2010. 

After a year of less-than-impressive results, reports surfaced that Facebook was killing off its “Places” feature. But, as Steve McClellan reported, Facebook wasn’t conceding the LBS marketing battle to Foursquare: “Agencies say that what Facebook is actually doing…may scale their location-based marketing capability in a way that could motivate a majority of their 500 million global members to add location data when using the site.”

Basically, Facebook just made it possible for users to tag status updates with their locations. They can do this on laptops, phones or any other portable device. Michael Nicholas, chief strategy officer at Aegis Group’s Isobar, described the move as an “embedded tag strategy that's about getting more people to put more location data into Facebook.”

The value of putting “more location data into Facebook” is that it makes the product more attractive to marketers. Marketers are constantly trying to dig up information on potential customers, and finding out what locations they visit and at what time of day gives them valuable consumer insight.

A rapidly increasing number of people are participating in location-based services, making it easier than ever before for businesses to learn about consumers’ daily behavior. It is obvious that consumers value the services provided by Foursquare and the like, but what will ultimately determine LBS’s success is how useful they are to businesses. Foursquare works with hundreds of thousands of merchants to develop incentives for people to check in at their locations, and if these merchants don’t see results, they will find other methods to bring in customers.

- Connor Child