With this weekend being the opening of ski season, many are wondering whether or not such a recreation-based business will survive these tough economic times.

However, an article on MSNBC.com says that ski enthusiasts have nothing to fear: Reports anticipate a good winter sporting season.

Jennifer Rudolph, communications director with Denver-based Colorado Ski Country USA, was quoted in the article saying that last year was the ski industry’s second best year on record. This year, many resorts are already reporting pre-sold season passes and early bookings.

However, it could be just the lowered room rates rather than an increased love of skiing. But who’s counting?

According to the article, U.S. ski facilities typically are large forces within their local economies. A recent report by First Intelligence says the “industry has about 400 companies that operate around 450 ski areas — with combined annual revenue estimated at $2 billion.” About two-thirds of the industry’s revenue is directly related to facility entrance and usage fees. The rest of the profits come from sales in merchandise, food and beverages, equipment rentals, and skiing or snowboarding lessons.

Still, where there are optimists, others are not so positive on their predictions for this coming ski season. Dr. Gordon Von Stroh is one of those people.

Professor of management at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business, Von Stroh said more and more people are tightening their wallets when it comes to luxuries like recreation. His biggest worry? The target demographic for skiing are people in their twenties. He said that among those who are hit by unemployment or struggling financially, it is the group of newly graduated students who tend to be low in cash.

As a fellow twenty-something, I can agree. I definitely won’t be emptying my wallet on the slopes. But who knows? Things seem to be looking up. Besides, the ski season will go extra long this year as Easter falls on the end of April.

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Front pages

Posted: November 15, 2010 in Uncategorized

So in class we had to compare front pages of different newspapers.  My assigned section was Kanasas.

The newspapers I compared in class were Garden City Telegarm, The Hutchinson News, and The Daily Union. Since I presented more about The Daily Union, I’ll be blogging about the other two.

** Unfortunately my computer is being weird and not letting me post the pictures**

The Garden City seemed like a smaller newspaper circulation due to the focus on the locality of stories. All three newspapers had something about the oil spill, but only the Daily Union gave the story a central focus on it’s front page.

The Hutchinson News, like The Garden City, also ran more local-focused stories. Both papers only ran a small bit of the oil spill on the side. Only the Daily Union ran the story above the fold.

Other than that, all layouts were very clean with very minimal white space. I liked the size of pictures in The Garden City, although the pictures were more featuresque.

All in all, the newspapers had layouts that I found pretty good.

With social media and everything Internet taking the world by storm, a new type of competitiveness has evolved among companies: the fight to keep the best and brightest of innovative minds.

In an article by CNN today, competitors such as Facebook and Youtube are snatching up Google employees left and right.

Of the roughly 2,000 Facebook employees  around 15 percent list Google as a past employer.

Google has lost some of it’s most prized employees recently, including YouTube co-founder and CEO Chad Hurley, AdMob co-founder Omar Hamoui, and Google Maps and Wave creator Lars Rasmussen.

How is Google combating this? In a time where most employers are cutting costs, decreasing raises and minimizing bonuses, Google is actually doing the opposite. In fact, all employees received a 10 percent pay raise.

Maybe this will keep their workers happy enough to not leave for the other like-minded companies in cyberspace.

Moving on up!

Posted: November 4, 2010 in Uncategorized
A lot of people are getting promoted in the business world today.
Rev. Dr. William Schulz was named the new president and CEO of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee is an international human-rights organization based in Cambridge.
William Henning was recently elected by East Cambridge Savings Banks as the bank’s new vice president of commercial lending and business development.
Karen Boudreau was promoted to director by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services. She is now the director for regulatory analysis for its Insurance Compliance Solutions business, the branch which provides research, forms and tools that help insurance companies manage regulatory changes.

Interesting article in the USA TODAY this afternoon.

A Michigan inventor is suing Heinz ketchup for stealing his innovative new design for ketchup packets. Yes. Ketchup packets. Those little bothersome, intolerable plastic annoyances are the center of this fight.

David Wawrzynski said he had come with the dippable packet design long ago. In fact, it was patented in 1997, over 10 years before he even pitched it to Heinz in 2008.

Wawrzynski even met with executives over at Heinz about his decision and was asked to create 100 sample packs for testing in a focus group.

Unfortunately, the company backed out before he got to make the 100 samples. But when Heinz released their new design, Wawrzynski was enraged because they had copied his entire concept.

Heinz declines any wrongdoing, but I’d be interested to see how this one turns out. I mean, if Taco Bell can lose a lawsuit in 1998 over a company saying the fast food joint copied their idea of a talking Chihuahua, then anything is possible, right? Besides, it seems to me that this clearly was Wawrzynski’s original idea. The proof is in the packet.

Following up on Twitter

Posted: October 10, 2010 in Uncategorized

So just last week, there was a bit of a position shift over at Twitter Headquarters and a hint at the future of advertising on Twitter. Well, now this hint is a reality, according to the New York Times.

In the article, Twitter has been busy over the past two weeks. The  company has introduced several advertising plans and courted Madison Avenue at Advertising Week. This is the biggest financial effort Twitter has had since April when it introduced a much loved (not) means of advertising. Oh yes, the Promoted Tweet.

I think I just got chills.

I thought it was interesting how the article compared Twitter to Google and Facebook. At first I was a bit skeptical. I mean, Google is a big search engine must-have phenomena and Facebook is also a can’t-live-without type of social tool for the younger crowd. Sure, Twitter is social media but compared to Facebook?

Both “google it” and “facebook me” have become household sayings. People can’t even say “I’ll tweet this later” correctly 100 percent of the time. I was in class the other day and professor said “Twitted.” I don’t blame him. All the twits and tweets and twats….It can be a bit confusing.

But still, the numbers are solid. In the past two years, Twitter has grown to 160 million users from three million. That’s a lot. Maybe it is similar to Facebook.

Well, at least Twitter now has advertisers, including Starbucks and Microsoft. Keep an eye out for Promoted Accounts. This is a new method also being implemented on Twitter to advertise to people like you and me. What is it exactly? I guess you can now follow a Twitter account for Xbox, which will just keep tweeting advertisements about…well Xbox and Xbox-like things.

I wonder if that’ll work. If it does, bravo. Nothing like getting the sheep to come to you. Well played, Twitter. Well played.

 

Wood pulp = the doorway to free, unbiased news.

At least, that’s what NPR said in an interesting interview.

The beginning was interesting. It started out as an argument between the two hosts on how much one would pay for a pizza. Apparently there is a pizza show nearby that sells a pie for 30 bucks! That sounds crazy to me too. But according to their guest economist, University of Chicago economist, Matthew Gentzkow, he’d pay that much for a really good piece of pizza.

But of course, that’s not what the podcast was really about (although, I must say it was a catchy opener that made me hungry for pizza). But basically the interview was about our rapidly changing global economic growth. Gentzkow said we’ve progressed because of good intentions. But it’s not just that. We’ve progressed as a society because of implementation of basic economics principles.

Gentzkow explains in the podcast how advances in printing helped newspapers expand their audience beyond just one political party. Since the early 1800s, newspapers would print what certain candidates wanted based on funding from that party’s advertisement purchases. But of course this couldn’t go on forever. Newspapers had to do a cross-benefit analysis. What content would provide them with the most readers? Does that outweigh the benefit of pleasing one particular party?

But when printing rates went down because of increased innovations in newspaper printing (ie. wood pulp vs. linen based paper and the invention of the telegraph), newspapers were freed by the need to have funding by outside parties.

My favorite quote from the podcast: “We owe our independent press to cheap wood pulp.”

 

The New York Times ran an interesting article today regarding a shift in power over at Twitter Headquarters.

Evan Williams, the co-founder and chief executive of Twitter, stepped down to take a lower level position. He’ll be leading product strategy for the company. His replacement? Dick Costolo, former chief operating officer and first chief executive of Twitter to not be an original founder.

The power shift was unexpected, but apparently mutual. I guess Williams just needed a change of scenery. The result? The new Twitter homepage which is currently in transition has been springing up all over the cyber world. They’re also looking into including more ads/sponsored tweets.

Oh, Joy. First Pandora, now this? I guess we really can’t escape the world of advertisement.

The new business model for news

Posted: October 1, 2010 in Uncategorized

It’s been discussed, tossed aroundand dwelled on. How will newspapers make money in this day and age where digital is more than just the “in thing” and folding pieces of black and white just seem so yesterday?

The Boston Globe will be taking the leap halfway through 2011, trying out a new kind of business model: paid subscribers.

Now, many newspapers have toyed around with this idea, and some have even stuck their toes in the water to see what it’s like. However, consumers who are used to the free nature of the Internet just don’t like paying for what they once had.

Still, The Boston Glob will take the plunge. Apparently the online version will have even more than what is contained in the daily paper.

It was estimated that about 10 percent of Boston.com users might be willing to pay for Globe content online. Boston.com attracts an average of 5 million unique visitors a month, according to Nielsen NetRatings.

So I guess we’ll see. What do you think the outcome will be for newspapers in the future?

The Screen Invasion

Posted: September 24, 2010 in Uncategorized

Today I listened to an interesting interview with Matt Richtel, technology journalist for The New York Times, on the NPR program Fresh Air.

He coined a phrase called “screen invasion.” Any guess as to what this term refers to? If you guessed our highly over-wired digital age, you’re completely right. In the interview, Richtel mentions some interesting stats.

  • Apparently, we consume three times more information than we consumed in 1960.
  • Sitting at a desk, we can go to an average of 40 websites a day.
  • Also sitting at a desk, we can change programs 36 times an hour.

That’s a lot of info, people. Apparently there are neuroscientists even studying how all this overloading of our brains affects us, our stress levels, and our overall interaction with other people.

Personally, I know that technology is not only my lifeline but also the bane of my existence. My stress levels are through the roof, and I’ve already come to terms with the fact that I’m a prime candidate for some crazy stress-induced disease when I’m older.

However, I’m not as plugged in as other people.

I refused to do that stupid thing where people walk around with earbuds on constantly. I’m sorry, but life has a sound track all of its own and it’s not “Tonight’s going to be a good night” by the Black Eyed Peas.

While I was in D.C., I got tired of always having to turn off my phone in between events. Eventually, I just silenced the thing. When I realized how peaceful it was not to have to feel compelled to answer my phone everytime it rang, I decided to keep it. My cell is always silenced, and I will get to people’s calls when I get to it.

Sure, some days I wish I had a blackberry so I can have my email sent to me very own pocket.  But I realize that would only make me crazier (after all, everyone I know with a blackberry is definitely crazy). According to Women’s Health, it takes about 50 emails a day to stress out a person. I currently have 70 unread ones (and no…they are not spam).

The interview continues to go on with how some study with rats found that down time helped memorization and brain function. Well, Good GOD! No wonder my brain is fried. I work 30 hours a week, plus full-time classes, plus homework. Downtime doesn’t exist for me.

The verdict? We’re all going to be brain-dead burnouts in the future. Nah, that’s not exactly what they said. But still, I feel like this interview was very interesting and made me reconsider how wired in I actually am.