Monday, May 4, 2015

Design Sprint Day 3

So far in our design sprint we have gone through 3 of the 5 phases. We got an understanding of what it is we want to accomplish, we diverged as a group to brainstorm some of our own thoughts and ideas, and than came together as a group and shared our different finding. Through the converging phase, our group saw a lot of similarities in our thought process. We all in different ways conveyed that budgeting money is of importance.

On day 3, we started on phases 4 and 5, prototyping and testing. At this point we had a pretty good idea of what exactly our product wanted to be and look like. We all had agreed on creating an app that will help young teenagers/adults budget their money in a very basic and easy to use way. This app will be called "Budget Buddy". The first step we did on day 3 was creating a story board that described our product. We thought of a common situation that most freshmen or any young adult face daily. We drew a story of someone who is wanting to spend money they don't have and how this simple app could aid them in the process of knowing when and when they shouldn't be spending money. The story board was about 12 slides long and consisted of more detailed pictures than the first time a round. From our final storyboard we were able to work out the finer details of how our app was going to look and function. We drew up a picture of what we thought the home screen of the app should look like. During this process we were able to come up with new ideas for the app. Our "Budget Buddy" budgeting app will allow the user to directly link their bank account to the app for real time information on where you sit financially at a given period of time. This feature we thought was very important because it gives the user a more accurate overview of where their money is being spent and how to save better. Their will be multiple categories on the app that consist of rent, food, books, car payment, phone, gas, entertainment, and miscellaneous. Each category can be weighted different depending on the user and their information that they initially input to the app. Our app offers a fun and easy way for you to keep track of your money and also an effective way to budget your money that wont leave you scratching your head at the end of every month.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Fight of the Century

This past Saturday May the second boxing saw one of this biggest and most anticipated boxing matches of all time in the Welterweight division. Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, two of boxings greatest, stepped into the ring Saturday night after five years of back and forth negotiation for making this fight happen. I have followed closely the past couple years as it has been brought up and every time was a disappointment because they two could never agree to each others terms. I started to think that this was more and more of a marketing ploy by Mayweather every time negotiations stopped and the two moved on to fight other people. Mayweather is one of the smartest and most effective marketers when it comes to promoting his up coming fights. He continually breaks pay per view records and has been the highest paid athlete for years now. This is because he promote and sells himself as good as he does actually boxing. He is succesful with marketing himself by getting people to both like him and hate him. That's exactly where he wants to be in the mindset of his fans. Not only will all of his fans continue to buy his fight but also his enemies want to see the undefeated boxer lose therefor doubling his audience. Although both parties are to blame for the fight taking this long to happen but i believe it was more so of the Mayweather side. He is always thinking about ways to maximize pay per view numbers and this was an excellent opportunity to do so. After much anticipation the past 5 years, the two had finally agreed to fight and brought with it millions of new boxing fans that wanted to be apart of history. This fight generated over 400 million dollars and each fighter was written a check of 100 million dollars for their 12 round 36 minute fight. That's $138,000 a second. Ridiculous. This is the reason why i believe Mayweather waited all these years to fight Pacquiao. It is near the end of both fighters careers and what a better way to leave the sport then to fight each other and make a quick 180 million while your at it. Boxing is a dying sport, but with this fight brought in new viewers and a chance for boxing to get back to where it used to be.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Tree Boss

I have been working landscaping for 4 years now at a place in Big Sky called Wildwood. Each season we plant an average of 160+ balled and burlapped (B&B) trees consisting of a variety of specimen. These trees are delivered to use and have on average 28 inch diameter root balls with some getting as big as 50 inches. There heavy weighing anywhere from 200lbs to 1,000lbs. In the past the processes of unloading trees, getting them into there bunks at the nursery, and eventually to a customers yard takes about 3-4 employees for each task depending on the size of the tree. This year the owner bought an attachment for the skidsteer that will allow the operator of the machine to do the work of 3 people. Being the owner of a small business you are probably seeing time after time that you are at your maximum cost with your employees and are trying to figure out ways to boost efficiency without forfeiting quality. The tree boss was the answer to these problems. Not only can the operator do the job that ounce took 3, but can handle more trees in less time. It incorporates a clever claw design that uses 3 contact points around the root ball to unsure no damage to the tree. The design of the tree boss was well thought out and improves overall safety that didn't exist before. Having this new tool for planting trees will allow us to plant better, faster, and safer. The concept of the tree boss was a great idea and have no doubts that it will live up to its potential.

Design Sprint Day 2

On day 2 of our design sprint, we as a group diverged together to talk about some of the areas we are going to focus in on for our product. During the first 10 minutes of class we talked as a group to kind of go over what we had completed the day before to get us back in the mind set of this design sprint.

For the first activity in phase 3 we started out by folding a piece of paper so that there were 8 separate boxes. From there we were told to draw different pictures in each box that described what we had come up with the day before. For each picture we only had about 30 seconds to draw the picture using stick figures. After all 8 sessions of 30 second drawings we were to chose one picture and make a 7 or 8 slide story board describing that original picture we drew. For this activity we had about 20 minutes to come up with a detailed story board of what our situation looked like. Drawing this story board was hard for me because i feel i couldn't portray onto paper what i really wanted to get across. After the 20 minutes was up, our group all hung up our story board spaced out on the wall for silent voting within the team. Pictures were spaced out several feet apart and the voting process began. We all walked around each storyboard and examined them to try and figure out their meanings and if we liked the idea we put a green sticker onto the poster. After the voting we came together and examined each poster with each other to gain more insight into everybody's thoughts process. Having the person that drew up the storyboard was very helpful in this scenario because what you might interpret could be completely different from the ideas they originally had. During our discussions new ideas came up as well as reinforcing old ideas that we have already talked about. During this phase something interesting happened. Almost our whole group had the same idea of what a product would look like that would help young adults budget their money. This may sound like a bad outcome so soon into the design sprint but i believe it gave our group an edge in the whole processes. If we were all thinking the same way without ever bringing up the idea before we started, it reinforced the idea that budgeting money is one of the most important skills to have for someone moving out for the first time. Tomorrow we will start phases 4 and 5 and hopefully be ready to start coming up with a prototype.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Design Sprint Day 1

Last week we started our group product design sprint. A design sprint is a 5 step process that aids in helping to get new ideas off the ground and pointed in the right direction. The design sprint concept was invented by Google ventures who used this same approach to problem solving by working in teams and following defined goals through the 5 phases which are understand, diverge, coverage, prototype, and test/learn. In our class product design sprint we will be doing these 5 phases in 3 days instead of the regular 5. For our product, we are to come up with something that we wish we had at our disposal after moving out. The possibilities are endless which made for an interesting first day of brainstorming ideas and what problems young people face when living on their own for the first time. We started out individually writing down what we thought were the biggest obstacles to overcome and after that came together as a group and paired up similarities. All of our ideas fell into the categories of social, financial, and home skills. We were told to find photos that described what our first year felt like living on our own and most of the photos our group shared all dealt with the issue of money. As we looked and talked over the different categories we all came to the conclusion that the hardest part about moving out was the financial aspect of it. Finding a job in a new town and managing money is most likely a concern for many people that are moving out of their parents house. We are going to focus on a product that can help young adults budget their money in a way that is easy to understand and use. For out next phase of this design sprint we will converge as a group and start eliminating areas that don't fall into the financial category.

Print Advertising

In my sales class this semester we were selling advertising space in the MSU's Exponent newspaper. We were in groups of 3-4 and were expected to sell at least one ad. I thought this was going to be a breeze even though i had no prior selling experience besides quite a bit of Craigslist sales. As i started talking to potential business's that i thought would love to advertise to college students at an unbeatable price, i kept seeing time after time businesses saying that although its an affordable option for them, they have never really had much success with running print ads weather it be newspaper or magazines. I started thinking to myself that when i pick up a newspaper or magazine i never pay much attention to the ads. Unless the magazine is focused on a hobby of mine, i generally will graze over the ad and not give much thought to it. People have become immune to print advertising and companies are looking for different ways to grab peoples attention. Digital advertising is the preferred way by many companies now because it allows them to target a larger audience and gather valuable data of how successful the advertisement was by getting immediate feedback. Maybe if the exponent were to release an app that allowed people to scroll though the schools daily news on their phones it might look more attractive for businesses to advertise in. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


I just finished reading the book "The paradox of choice". The book is about how we are faced with many decision in our everyday life and how it might change the way we look at them either for good or for worse. All of us know that when we are shopping for things we are bombarded with so many options but never think twice as to how this may be affecting us. Having many options is a good thing because it liberates and gives you control over your needs and wants. But at the same time, with more choices comes more deliberation and this can potentially make you worse off in the long run. When you become overloaded with choices you either waste a lot of time deciding when it really doesn't matter or you might not even follow through with your options. This is what author Barry Schwartz is trying to understand that if you are given too many options people tend to become less productive and satisfied when it comes to the decisions they make. Schwartz talks about how when people are faced with too many options of something, they will sometimes forgo the options all together and not do anything about it. In his book he talks about two decision making strategies called maximizer's and satisficer's. Maximizer's are people who will extensively outweigh all of their options trying to find the best possible one at the expense of a lot of time doing so. A satisficer will look and there options and chose the one that is good enough in a timely matter and don't get so caught up with the alternatives. Throughout the book, Schwartz encourages people to more of the satisficer type when it comes to decision making because it leaves you feeling less anxious and gets rid of the choices that don't really matter.