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.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Peer to Peer

The peer to peer marketplace has been taking off and seems to have a solid future with more and more people using these different services. The peer to peer marketplace offers different services that are cheap and convenient to the consumer but at the same time they are cutting out the middle man in the process. You can find these different services in transportation, renting, housing, skilled trades, and eventually just about anything. I am curious to see where this new marketplace will go. Will we eventually see businesses struggling due to the fact that they are trying to compete with these freelancers that don't have as high of overhead costs. Possibly, but at the same time i don't see them out preforming the cheap work/services that are being offered. It will be interesting to see where these new start up peer to peer businesses will be down the road. Do more choices make us better off? I will revisit this idea in blog posts to come.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Old v. New Designs

This past weekend i replaced the head gaskets on my truck. I would not say that i am mechanically
inclined but i do know how to figure things out with time and research. The reason i decided to do it myself was because the shop wanted $1200 to do it. There was no way i was going to pay that much for something that's worth $2400. So i went to the auto store grabbed a shop manual and a gasket kit for a 2000 ford ranger which in total costed me $260. The 2000 ranger has a very basic engine bay and most of everything is in plain site after popping open the hood. It has a very basic push rod motor design that has been used for a long time due to its reliability. After 2004 or so a lot of car manufactures started cramming a larger overhead cam designed engine into cars making it much more difficult to do work on it yourself. The whole process took me around 30 hours to do. The designs that new cars have now a days are cheaper and probably have a better use of materials but older designs are proven and allow the average person to figure them out and work on them. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Buzzfeed page

5 quality hunting rifles for UNDER $400. MUST SEE

1.)  Marlin X7                                                                                              

The Marlin x7 is a fantastic hunting rifle that has the kind of quality and reliability you would expect from a $700+ rifle. You cant go wrong.

2.)  Savage Axis

The Savage Axis is a great entry level hunting rifle. It has a new modern feel and bolt design that won’t disappoint.

3.)  Ruger American

The Ruger American. One of the most popular hunting rifles out there and for a good reason.  

4.)  Remington 783

Remington is the leader in top of the line bolt-action technology. You get this proven design on a beautifully built affordable rifle. 

5.)  Mossberg 100ATR

ATR stands for All Terrain Rifle. Weighing in at just over 6.5 pounds, the 100atr makes for a great mountain rifle. With the many different caliber options and stock with iron sites, the 100atr does it all.

Monday, April 6, 2015

JJCB Building

As a class, we took a tour of the new JJCB building that is getting close to completion and will be open for classes for the 2015 fall semester. Fall semester will be my last so i am excited to be able to have a few classes in their before im done. The outside of the building looks very nice with most of the south facing side consisting of glass. The outside landscape is starting to take shape and seems like there will be lots of new trees around the building as well as some over the very large older trees that they were able to build around. When first walking into the building you enter a large common area with a fire place and cool looking staircase in the middle of the room leading up to class rooms and offices with large glass windows. The class rooms have sliding collapsible glass walls that allow each room to fully open up. Having lots of common areas as well as the collapsible walls and glass will allows for more contact with everyone in the building. I think this is a great building for the college of business because it will promote more creativity and cohesiveness within everyone in the building.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The idea that never materialized

Three summers ago i was taking my lunch break on a patio that we were working on. For lunch i had a turkey sandwich with plain chips and some Frito Lay con caso chip dip. As i was nearing the bottom of the dip jar i was getting frustrated with the amount of cheese i kept getting on my knuckles every time i would go in for more. After finishing lunch i got back to work. About an hour later i had one of those eureka moments. For some reason at that point of time i cam up with idea of having a threaded jar that would allow you to twist the bottom of the jar and push the contents inside the jar to the top. I thought this was a genius idea. When i got home i did a little research and found nothing like it. A weekend later i started doing research on how to thread the inside of a glass jar. This turned out to be a difficult process without having the necessary tools to do so. I wanted to make a prototype of the twist-able jar so that i could take the necessary steps at introducing my idea after getting it patented. With working 50 hours a week and taking a summer class my whole twisted jar idea put off to a later time and forgot about. This past fall i started thinking about it again and found out that someone had just patented a very similar idea. The product is called "Jar with a twist". Im still mad at myself for not getting on it sooner because this could have turned out to be a great opportunity. Next time i have another, eureka moment, i wont sit on it.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cause v. Purpose

What is the difference between cause and purpose marketing? Never really gave much thought to this until it was brought up in class and it is important to be able to distinguish between the two. Cause marketing is more of a company deciding out of the blue to donate to a charity for whatever reason to help boost sales. Purpose marketing deals with a cause that is already "baked in" to what the company is all about. In the article Cause v. Purpose by Max Lenderman, Traction found that a majority of people support brands with a cause attached. Those same people are realizing that everybody is starting to do it which raises the question of the authenticity of it. Are those companies supporting different causes just to push their product? Or do they truly support something for the long run. As a consumer, it is always important to be aware of the different tactics businesses may use to draw you in.

Here is a different view point of a cause v. purpose related example. Steven Rinella is an avid outdoorsmen who hunts and fishes for a living by producing a television show on the sportsmens channel called meat eater and is also a writer who has published a number of books. Rinella is an advocate for raising the awareness of hunting and its importance to conservation and is a strong supporter of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP). The TRCP is a powerful group whose main purpose is to protect critial habitat and our public lands. Although Rinella is not a brand, he is in some regards a spokesman for the hunting community who believes in a cause that is directly related to everything he does in his show and writings.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Cost of Social Norms

Chapter 4 in the book predictably irrational is an interesting topic and is very true in my everyday life. We all operate under certain norms weather they are social or market (financially) oriented. Norms are what give us order and direction but both social and market norms can be taken very differently depending on the situation. Social norms have to do with what we personally believe is the right thing to do that is based on our values. Market norms are basically what you are willing to do for a certain amount of money.

The other day i helped a friend move from gateway to Bozeman. It was in the later afternoon and i had nothing going on so i was more than happy to help him out. The move only took us one trip and had all of his stuff moved into the new house. When we finished with the move he treated us to pizza and beer which is more than i could ask for in such a small task that took only took an hour or so. If he would of told me before hand that he was going to pay me $12 an hour, or whatever the rate, i would have immediately been thrown off by the money offer because i am acting under a social norm rather than a market norm and changes the whole reason of why i am helping him in the first place. The gesture of feeding me pizza and beer far outweighed the value of cash i could have made in this scenario.

Our perceptions can change dramatically depending on the situation at hand. If this were someone i was helping move on Craigslist my mind set would be totally different. I would be taking it as more of a "work" job rather than a "fun" job. When you are acting under a social norm you are less likely to consider it work and receiving things like dinner or a simple thank you are sufficient.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Ride snowboards has been around for over 20 years. They have seen it all when it comes to the many different trends snowboarding has gone over the years. One of the main reason Ride has been able to stick around unlike many other companies that began around that time was their ability to adapt to changing times. When i say trends in snowboarding im talking about the technologies in snowboards, graphics, and the overall team that represents their brand. Ride has recently gone through a major re brand in their company. They are now taking on a whole new look to their brand. They have incorporated a whole new team of young street riders that are up and coming and well known by the snowboard community. This has been successful so far with Ride. More people are talking about how they can't believe so and so switched from one company to Ride snowboards. They are really pushing to get themselves back out on top in the snowboard industry and are taking the right steps in doing so. With this years videos coming out in the spring and next fall, i believe Ride will see a great return on their investment.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Its in the Flies

If you have ever walked into a fly fishing shop and looked around for at least 5 minutes, its not hard to see that everything they sell is expensive. Weather it is fly rods, waders, boots, fly tying materials, nets, packs, and so on. If i had to take a guess i would say that most of their monthly sales comes from rods and reels but that is not the case and it actually only makes up about 10-20% of total monthly sales. If you think about a printer, most of the money that is made is not from selling the actual printer, the money is in the ink cartridges. Just like fly shops, the money is not in the fishing rod, it is in the flies. The flies are what keeps the money coming in as well as the customers. Today the price of your most basic fly pattern is about $2.50. Some of those fly's consist of a piece of string tied to a hook. It is expensive and adds up quick and i have yet to meet anyone that has been out all day fishing and hasn't lost at least 3 or more to a tree or the bottom of the river. 

Which leads up to my next topic of online sales of flies.Who wouldn't want to save money for basic fly patterns like the San Juan worm or simple bead headed nymphs which consist of minimal material and skill to make. Those are the types of flies i would be buying online but still buying the more sophisticated flies at my local shop that i know are of high quality, design, and will stand to last. Although it is a matter of time before someone steps in and starts selling flies online and becomes a reputable seller. As soon as word gets around that you can buy well made fly's online at half the price, people are going to react. This will eventually bring more competitive pricing to all areas as well as more innovation in the design of flies. With more competition, fly shops (who actually know what the fishing industry wants) will have a first mover advantage over their online competitors. Shops might have to lower their margins when it comes to flies but will be able to make up for that with their "specialty" flies that aren't available online. People will still be buying rods, reels, and everything else from the shops because most people still like to touch and feel those types of products before they buy (at least i do). Not too many people are very concerned about seeing a fly in person before buying because they know exactly what they are getting. As time goes on i feel like it will be harder for shops to compete with online fly sellers and that is a scary fact because without those shops we have nothing. You can't replace the feeling of walking into a shop and talking to friendly people that work there about fishing and hearing their own opinion about a product. When it comes down to it, a fly is just a fly, but a fly purchased at a local shop comes with an experience and advice that an online retailer will never be able to knock off.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


The book Nudge by Thaler and Sunstein was an interesting read. The whole idea of the book was about the choices people make and how we are led in different ways to make better ones. This book doesn't just tell you that if you are eating unhealthy you should quit doing that and eat healthier foods. Instead it simply exposes people to what is called choice architecture to help boost a certain response to something. Choice architecture basically means the different ways choices can be presented to somebody. A very basic example of choice architecture would be the design of a 4 burner stove top as described in the book. The oven at my house has the nobs in one row above the burners and as dumb as it sounds it always makes me double check to see what electric burner got turned on. Having the nobs positioned in a way that represents burners on the stove top indirectly influences my decision which therefore is an example of choice architecture. Thaler tries to find a common ground between libertarians and paternalists. This works because you can give people the freedom of choice and at the same time structure those choices in a manner that will help them. Thaler states that the golder rule of libertarian paternalism is offer nudges that are most likely to help and least likely to inflict harm.

An example of a clever Nudge i noticed was this past Christmas when i was skiing with my family at a hill in Minnesota called Afton Alps. I grew up snowboarding at this place and always remembered their being cans everywhere while going up the lift. There was a trash at the top but that didn't seem to help much. Since the last time i had been there, which was about 4 years ago, they had put a big trash can under the last lift pole. Instead of people throwing their cans off the lift they would hold on to them and try to make the basket.
This was an easy answer to their on hill trash problem and people enjoyed it at the same time. This is the kind of stuff that nudges are all about.