CES 2020: Videos ONLY!!!

Oh wow, what a journey the 2nd week of January. CES 2020 started and ended with a bang. A conference that lasts 4 straight days, takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada, and brings in more than 170K participants, from 160+ countries, displaying 4,400+ exhibits/booths.

This is the 4th time I have attended in a row and it never gets old. Here are 5 of the top themes I saw across the board:

1. Robotic dogs/machines/toys to help in whatever aspect a human needs or wants

2. Autonomous driving, including a hover aircraft that looked sort of like a helicopter

3. Sensors for health & sports

4. Smart appliances to make your home that much cooler

5. Connectivity between everything we touch (computers, laptops, tablets, cell phones, lights, cameras, stoves, refrigerators, and so much more)

Please enjoy the videos below!

CES 2020: Pictures ONLY!!!

Oh wow, what a journey the 2nd week of January. CES 2020 started and ended with a bang. A conference that lasts 4 straight days, takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada, and brings in more than 170K participants, from 160+ countries, displaying 4,400+ exhibits/booths.

This is the 4th time I have attended in a row and it never gets old. Here are 5 of the top themes I saw across the board:

1. Robotic dogs/machines/toys to help in whatever aspect a human needs or wants

2. Autonomous driving, including a hover aircraft that looked sort of like a helicopter

3. Sensors for health & sports

4. Smart appliances to make your home that much cooler

5. Connectivity between everything we touch (computers, laptops, tablets, cell phones, lights, cameras, stoves, refrigerators, and so much more)

Please enjoy the pictures below!

CES 2019 #CESReady (Videos ONLY)

It’s a three-peat for me! Wow, it feels amazing to join CES once again this new year. CES stands for Consumer Electronics Show and occurs in January each year. Please enjoy the below videos. They will show you what occurs at the event more than words can describe here.

Any questions or thoughts? Please reach out on LinkedIn (Xander Ricketts) or Facebook (XFactorPhotographyAZ).

FAFSA Loans No More! #freedom


The day has finally come: FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) STUDENT LOANS ARE NO MORE. The milestone of debt-freeness (I might have just made up that word, oh well) is one which words cannot express how satisfied I am. It is like winning a championship in your favorite sport or achieving a perfect 4.0 in school: not many people do it as quickly and easily as I did. Conquering something that has had so much weight on your shoulders is gratifying; so much weight that you don’t even need a gym membership because you’re “that” in shape.

The 6 total loans spread from 2011 to 2015. Each year you have to fill out the FSA application to determine how much money you will be granted. All of these funds have to be paid back if you do not qualify for Pell Grants (which are basically free money). Some of the loans are subsidized, while others are unsubsidized. The former equates to no interest being accrued while you are in school. The latter has interest while you are in school. By the time I graduated in 2016 with my MBA, I had just under $10K in interest that had been accumulating.

I am beyond humbled and grateful for the support and motivation my family and friends have provided. My family loaned me 2 lump sum amounts of $5K each. One loan I paid off within 2 weeks. The other loan I will be repaying within the next 4 weeks. Most people do not have this luxury of cash liquidity. I call this type of financing “bootlegging”, or straight-up using the resources you have right in front of you. Borrowing low-dollar amounts (okay, $5K can be “high” depending on how you look at it) and paying them off quickly, can give reason to the creditor (my parents in this case) to not charge interest. Not having that money for 2-4 weeks isn’t that big of a deal, right?

While paying off the FSA loans, I did help others in need when they came knocking at my door. I planned appropriately and trusted them. That trust was never lost (thankfully!). However, I do understand that you cannot trust everyone and caution is warranted when loaning dollar-dollar bills y’all.

The overall journey was tough, sacrifices were made, and lessons were learned. I am here to openly discuss and provide bad and good advice (for free of course) to anyone who would like or need it. Contact me on my cell phone, email, or DM. Best of luck to those of you that are still grinding.

The screenshots below are a summary of my total principal. I started repaying my student loans in October of 2016, and finished paying them at the beginning of November 2018 (roughly 2 years). Total principal debt from my undergrad and grad was $61,500 for all FSA loans. The servicer was FedLoan Servicing.

As a side note, I still have over $5K to pay off to the University of Utah. The loan is separate from FAFSA and will come to an end briefly. Stay tuned for that execution, my friends and family.

My questions I pose to you all are: How do we fix this? Who is the “we”? When will tuition stop increasing more than inflation? When will more colleges like ASU offer free tuition (e.g., full-time MBA program)? Will there be a student debt “bubble” that will burst and lead to the ultimate downfall of the American economy?

As promised…



*Never accepted this loan, hence the $0 Original Balance.






Fun Fact of the Day: The Ever-Dying iPhone Battery

Fun fact of the day:

This one is for all of you Apple (and other “smart” phone) lovers. I recently took a trip into the much-illuminated Apple store to get my brand new battery checked out (and by recent I mean last night, lol). These are the findings associated with prolonging your tiny battery (in terms of mAh, of course):

1. Do not constantly plug in your phone throughout the day. Allow your battery to fully cycle. Let it reach 0%, then charge it thoroughly to 100%.

2. Do not use your phone while it is charging. This equates to double the work for the phone by having it perform output and input tasks simultaneously.

3. Do not put your Night Shift on for long. This actually sucks up more battery than your normal screen brightness. (Settings–>Display & Brightness–>Night Shift–>Choose time range)

4. Turn off most of your location-finding apps; they do not truly need to know your location often, or ever. (Settings–>Privacy–>Location Services–>Choose which apps you would like to have your location…and how often)

5. Turn off most of your Background Refresh on apps; they do not truly need to be refreshed every second. (Settings–>General–>Background App Refresh–>Choose which apps you would like to have refreshed)

6. Make sure your latest iOS is updated

7. Make sure all of your apps are downloaded to their latest updates

Are you going to change your habits? I know I will because a new battery cost was $85 w/ tax, out the door. [Tr]ump change, right?

Citibank Mastercard Double Your Cash- THE BEST


Fun fact of the day: I usually do not post “opinions,” but let’s try this out. Citigroup has a Mastercard (generally accepted everywhere) credit card titled Double Cash. If you do not use a points card, I HIGHLY recommend this cash card. Individuals earn 1% as they spend, and another 1% as they pay.

Like all other credit cards, it allows users to send text alerts when the card racks up so many dollars (reaches a sum threshold), or when a specific purchase is over a certain threshold (i.e., > $100…or if you are that big spender, always call me before you go shopping, and set your notification limit to $1,000).

The threat detection program works great. I just received a text asking me if I had made a purchase in Austin, TX, to which I called and had my card cancelled straight away (yes, Irish people use this expression) and a new card sent my way.

One of the unparalleled features is the direct deposit for your rewards. You heard that correctly; this credit card allows you to shove your earnings into that huge bank account you have (checking or savings)! Of course, there is always that 1-2 day delay before it is actually liquid “cash.” Another note is that the rewards amount has to reach a total of $25 BEFORE you can redeem any dollar amount. Other options include a check being sent to your residence, a gift card, or a statement credit (which I personally do most often).

One last alteration is the number is on the back (allowing for easier readability and security).

Any questions, let me know!

10th Annual Governor’s Utah Economic Summit 2016

I had the incredible experience of attending the Economic Summit at the Grand America Hotel in downtown SLC, Utah. I sat in on a panel, representing Simply Mac, Steals.com, and Jamberry Nails. All entrepreneurs start with a problem they want to solve. Eventually they create a solution out of these problems.

It is awesome to see how far Utah has come in the entrepreneur space, and what companies have come to fruition because of the top-talent pool in the Valley. Utah’s economy is booming, housing prices are rising, labor is cheap, and the mountains are 20 minutes away. Who wouldn’t want to start a company here?

And yes, that is my classmate and I “riding” in a Tesla!

20160415_152934 20160415_151724 20160415_151708

Get Motivated Seminar Utah

Get Motivated Seminar

I had the privilege to attend an event that only happens so often. In April, Get Motivated came to Sandy, Utah at the South Towne Expo Center off of State Street and 9400 South. This event was from 8am to 5pm, and yes I stuck through the whole thing. But, it was well worth it.

Some of the speakers included: Dr. Keith Jonson, Dr. Willie Jolley, Bob Kittell, and the famous Les Brown. Les chose to be last on the speaker order, in order to see if people actually stayed for the entire seminar.

Speaker topics included: motivation, confidence, real estate, publishing a book, investing, and competitiveness. My favorite topics were confidence and real estate. Right now, the real estate market is doing great. A house offers so many benefits, including tax advantages and an asset that can be sold for a monetary gain.

One of my favorite sayings by a few of the speakers, was that a person needs to know when to let others go. Friends, family members, and acquaintances might not have the same vision you do. If they are constantly telling you “no,” then you will start to believe in the “no.” Therefore, it is best to leave them behind and follow your vision by setting goals. Goals are how you get to your long-term vision. Without goals, a vision seems impossible. But…we all know what impossible really stands for, “I’m Possible!” Just Do It -Nike

SLC FB Event v2_zpslxtpdqy9

VillageCapital- Rebuilding the American Dream: The Future of Entrepreneurship

I had the tremendous opportunity to attend an entrepreneurship get-together at the Impact Hub in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The VillageCapital Event featured a keynote speaker who is world renowned. Steve Case was the co-founder of America Online (AOL). He is now an avid promoter of entrepreneurship and technology. He recently wrote a book titled The Third Wave, which is set to release April 5, 2016. It can be found on Amazon.com here.

Other speakers included Jim Sorenson, Founder of the Sorenson Impact Center, Wendy Guillies, President and CEO of The Kauffman Foundation, and Ross Baird, Executive Director of Village Capital.

The last half of the event was devoted to leaders from across the United States, telling their story about how they are going to change the way entrepreneurship is thought of, used, and recreating in the capitalist society we live in. It will be interesting to see these cities evolve and help solve some of the world’s biggest problems.










Full-Time MBA Rankings 2015


Since it is a new year, I find it apropos to post where the University of Utah is currently sitting in the Bloomberg Business MBA Rankings. I will be graduating from this University in May 2016 and am excited to see where the program goes in years to come.

My favorite part of the program are the people I work with, day in and day out. They are professional and “get stuff done!” Working with teams gives me tremendous experience for when I start a job following my graduation. People are what make up organizations. People drive sales and lead an organization to success. People keep other people wanting to go to work everyday in this corporate society we live in.

I am proud to call myself a Ute and will be helping out in any way in the near future, after I graduate from the David Eccles School of Business!

Here is the list of the top business schools in the United States:

Rank School Employer survey rank (35%) Alumni survey rank (30%) Student survey rank (15%) Salary rank (10%) Job placement rank (10%) Ranking index score
1 Harvard 4 2 19 2 35 100
2 Chicago (Booth) 1 29 10 6 1 98.47
3 Northwestern (Kellogg) 2 11 6 5 34 98.24
4 MIT (Sloan) 5 15 18 3 16 96.05
5 Pennsylvania (Wharton) 6 14 27 4 7 95.92
6 Columbia 3 19 16 9 25 95.61
7 Stanford 14 1 14 1 21 94.66
8 Duke (Fuqua) 7 7 12 11 51 94.07
9 UC Berkeley (Haas) 11 4 4 7 49 91.83
10 Michigan (Ross) 8 28 5 10 32 91.74
11 Yale 9 9 23 14 37 88.07
12 Virginia (Darden) 10 18 9 13 13 87.8
13 UCLA (Anderson) 19 6 3 16 40 87.28
14 Dartmouth (Tuck) 21 8 17 8 11 85.96
15 Emory (Goizueta) 29 5 13 17 9 82.24
16 Cornell (Johnson) 18 10 35 15 30 82.07
17 North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler) 17 22 11 23 36 81.82
18 Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) 13 31 25 12 42 80.48
19 Rice (Jones) 40 3 2 30 46 80.31
20 Washington (Foster) 12 34 41 19 5 79.74
21 Texas at Austin (McCombs) 22 13 37 21 24 79.68
22 Texas A&M (Mays) 24 16 33 37 4 79.56
23 Georgia Tech (Scheller) 28 30 8 25 10 76.78
24 NYU (Stern) 23 35 26 18 27 76.06
25 USC (Marshall) 16 40 22 34 48 75.38
26 Georgetown (McDonough) 25 26 32 27 41 75.27
27 Brigham Young (Marriott) 31 24 21 36 23 74.17
28 Indiana (Kelley) 34 27 15 22 44 72.06
29 North Carolina State (Jenkins) 20 25 38 59 59 71.67
30 Michigan State (Broad) 39 39 7 41 6 71.41
31 Notre Dame (Mendoza) 32 21 42 24 45 71.05
32 Southern Methodist (Cox) 35 33 28 35 20 70.67
33 Maryland (Smith) 42 47 1 40 39 69.74
34 Vanderbilt (Owen) 49 23 30 26 26 69.08
35 Washington in St. Louis (Olin) 48 17 53 32 2 67.54
36 Rochester (Simon) 38 43 43 44 8 65.16
37 William & Mary (Mason) 15 56 44 56 61 65.16
38 Texas Christian (Neeley) 56 20 34 47 22 64.81
39 Ohio State (Fisher) 37 51 46 29 17 63.65
40 George Washington 26 46 59 50 53 63.01
41 Florida (Hough) 55 45 31 45 19 62.29
42 Texas at Dallas (Jindal) 36 57 36 55 18 61.82
43 Penn State (Smeal) 30 54 66 20 52 60.4
44 Pittsburgh (Katz) 52 48 39 53 3 60.27
45 Minnesota (Carlson) 33 68 24 28 56 60.24
46 Wisconsin 57 36 40 39 43 60.08
47 Miami 27 53 47 60 62 58.87
48 Boston University (Questrom) 64 37 48 33 31 57.87
49 Arizona State (W.P. Carey) 41 62 61 31 28 56.53
50 Howard 59 38 58 43 38 55.81
51 Georgia (Terry) 58 59 20 52 63 53.68
52 Oklahoma (Price) 66 12 72 65 33 52.91
53 Purdue (Krannert) 50 52 56 38 67 52.87
54 UC Irvine (Merage) 73 50 29 48 58 52.41
55 Iowa (Tippie) 60 64 45 46 15 52.27
56 Babson 69 32 54 54 55 51.94
57 Illinois 65 49 57 42 64 50.18
58 American (Kogod) 43 41 62 63 70 50.11
59 Utah (Eccles) 70 42 60 62 29 49.54
60 Buffalo 46 58 50 69 65 49.53
61 Northeastern (D’Amore-McKim) 67 55 63 58 12 48.85
62 Hult 54 61 64 49 60 48.2
63 Cincinnati (Lindner) 68 44 65 72 14 47.65
64 Tennessee (Haslam) 45 65 71 51 57 46.62
65 UC San Diego (Rady) 72 60 49 64 50 45.88
66 Missouri (Trulaske) 51 71 55 71 69 39.97
67 Syracuse (Whitman) 47 63 68 67 71 39.22
68 Chapman (Argyros) 44 74 67 68 47 38.54
69 Mississippi 71 70 51 74 54 38.2
70 Willamette (Atkinson) 61 66 73 73 66 34.84
71 Colorado (Leeds) 74 67 69 61 72 31.95
72 Fordham (Gabelli) 53 69 70 66 73 30.84
73 Kentucky (Gatton) 63 72 74 70 68 28.66
74 Pepperdine (Graziadio) 62 73 52 57 74 27.02

Top 10 Resume Rules


  1. Resume should be geared towards the job that you want.
  2. Lose the objective statement. It is no longer about what you are looking for. It is about what you can do for the employer. Start with a profile/summary.
  3. Bullets should be action oriented and results focused. Provide specific examples of your experience. Why is it important?
  4. Use bullets, not paragraphs.
  5. Lose irrelevant content. i.e., leave off past industry certifications.
  6. Make sure it is error free.
  7. Keep it to an appropriate length. 1 page for every 10 years of experience. Think about content and formatting. Do not put only a few lines on the second page.
  8. Formatting should be clear and legible
  9. Ensure you can elaborate on anything you have listed.
  10. If you have questions, seek help from mentors, classmates, professors, coworkers, etc!

*Provided by Forward Thinking Resumes Webinar

Eccles School of Accounting Top 25 Best Programs


The David Eccles School of Accounting was ranked 21 for the Master of Accounting (MAcc) program and 22 for the undergraduate program, this year.

It is an honor to have been and currently be a part of  such an amazing program at the University of Utah. I graduated from the David Eccles School of Business in 2014, having attained my Accounting degree.

What made, and constantly makes, this program one of the top in the nation was, and is, the high level of teacher talent, academic rigor, and ethical conduct. To say the least, an accounting degree is not “a walk in the park!” Furthermore, the connections with the public accounting firms, as well as the relationships with industrial firms, are extremely strong. Networking opportunities are endless.


Snowbird Site Visit

Cover Photo

October 23, 2015- It is always nice to get out of the valley and take a trip into the woods. Snowbird is located 30 minutes from the SLC International Airport. It is a destination resort and isn’t meant for “newbs.” Experienced skiers and snowboarders ride this resort because of the variety of terrain and the 500″ of fresh snow each year. In 2011, the resort experienced its largest snowfall, 776″.

The Eccles Outdoor Industry Club had the chance to visit Snowbird and talk with Jim Powell, the Director of Marketing. One cool thing they changed this year is RFID ticketing. Now, skiers can ride around with an RFID card, instead of using the traditional paper tickets. With this new system, parents can load $200 on the their child’s card and let them go off on their own.




UofU Executive MBA Ranked 22 in the Nation, According to Financial Times


Wow, what an amazing feat. The David Eccles School of Business just keeps moving up in the ranks, year after year. I am proud to be a part of such a great program, and cannot wait to give back once I leave my mark in the Full-Time MBA program.

“The program ranked No. 22 nationally and No. 83 globally, moving up 8 and 12 spots respectively. The Eccles School’s program also ranked No. 4 in the West.”


50th Anniversary School of Medicine Celebration



A beautiful evening spent at Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah. Bridging the past with the present and soon to be future, October 9, 2015 was a special night for the School of Medicine. Alumni from the University of Utah were recognized for their contributions, honors, and past service.

The Distinguished Alumni Award went to Val G. Hemming, MD 1966. The Distinguished Service Award fell upon James R. Scott, MD. Finally, the Distinguished Humanitarian Award was granted to Catherine R. deVries, MD, FACS, FAAP. These three individuals have helped the University in the past, now in the present, and will continue in the future.

Oh, and the best part about the future, a brand-new School of Medicine building, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, to be built in the next few years!


Wasatch Touring Site Visit (EOIC)


On Wednesday, October 7, 2015, the Eccles Outdoor Industry Club visited Wasatch Touring in Salt Lake City, Utah. Riley Cutler gave us the site tour and told us all about the operations. One interesting fact is that small outdoor retail stores actually get new products in their doors quicker than larger outdoor retail stores, like Dicks Sporting Goods or REI. The reason for this is because Wasatch Touring can test out a small quantity of new products, without having to buy a large bulk of the product. Therefore, Wasatch is always up-to-date with products, well in advance of the product’s official release year.


TEDxSaltLakeCity 2015


This was my first TEDx event, and it was absolutely amazing. I heard from speakers in various industries, including bicycling, skiing, and medical. A complete list of the speakers is below.

One key takeaway was people need to transfer knowledge to other people and help one another succeed. An example given was the computer mouse. Not one person can make and sell the computer mouse, starting from raw materials, all the way to selling it to a customer. Our World has become so complex that relationships are pertinent for success. Helping one another allows for resources to be distributed properly and efficiently. Maximizing resource utilization leads to less waste (Six Sigma) and better improvements in all aspects of business (Kaizen).

Thank you Salt Lake City, for providing such an intriguing event and I hope to attend in the years to come as well.

Speakers (in alphabetical order by last name):

  1. Austen Allred
  2. Nate Bagley
  3. Erik Brunvand
  4. David Eyer Davis
  5. Ivy Estabrooke
  6. Ken Grover
  7. Thea Holcomb
  8. Kevin Jones
  9. Nalini Nadkarni
  10. Ben Rollins
  11. Nicole Roundy
  12. Hala Saleh
  13. David York

Eccles School of Business


About Eccles School of Business

Founded in 1917 in Salt Lake City, the David Eccles School of Business educates nearly 3,500 students a year and boasts more than 31,000 alumni. Students manage a university venture fund of $18.3 million, the largest of its kind in the nation. In January 2012, the school opened its new $72 million Spencer F. Eccles Business Building, offering students a cutting-edge learning environment packed with state-of-the-art technology. Its entrepreneurship program is consistently ranked as among the best in the nation by the Princeton Review, and its Full-Time MBA program made the biggest jump up the rankings of U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 rankings of graduate schools. For more information, visit www.business.utah.edu.


Young Entrepreneurs Strut Their Stuff in Bid For $40,000 Grand Prize

40,000 dollars grand prize


SALT LAKE CITY — Tired of the stodgy tie collection from the department store rack?

Accidental Gentleman can hook you up with the most daring or unique of screen printed tie designs limited only by your imagination.

Heck, if you’re really that fond of yourself, you can put your own mug on that tie you drape around your neck.

If you’re hungry, The Menu lets you punch in the specific food you’ve got a hankering for and presto, a list of the best customer-rated ham sandwiches or burgers will pop up on your smart phone.

Twenty teams of young, bright-eyed, well-dressed entrepreneurs trotted out their sales pitches, demonstrations and business cards in a fierce competition called the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge.

The final round of the 2015 competition was held Saturday at the University of Utah’s Spencer Fox Eccles Building, where the public had a chance to pick their favorites.

The spoils for the top finisher was $40,000 — a tidy little jumpstart to get a budding business off the ground.

Jeremy Garcia is co-founder and chief executive officer of Accidental Gentleman.

The Dixie State University student said his twin brother, Garrett Garcia, is the “original gentleman” helping to inspire the business, which he described as a “no brainer” for them.

“I must have 60 ties in my collection and I have been screen printing since I was 16.”

Screen printing allows those with the most discerning eye for detail the ability to put one’s brand, logo, photo or even drawing to fabric.

“We just need some more backing,” Jeremy Garcia said.

Across the way, Urban Yield wants to become Utah’s first vertical hydroponic farm. The practice has not yet widely caught on in the United States, but Japan has the world’s largest indoor hydroponic farm that produces lettuce nearly three times as quickly with just 1 percent of the water.

Zeppelin Zeerip from Westminster College wants to demonstrate and prove the practice in Salt Lake City, growing lettuce, mint and basil in a state he says produces just 2 percent of the vegetables its residents consume. With drought a challenge and most of the nation’s food produce supply coming from Mexico or California, Zeerip said he believes it is well past time for the efficiencies of year-round vertical farming.

Hosted by the Lassonde Institute, a division of the David Eccles School of Business, the challenge attracted 180 teams from colleges and universities from throughout the state.

Institute director Tony D’Ambrosio said each year, the challenge becomes tougher.

“The level of sophistication continues to go up every year.”

Ultimately, a student startup providing an online service to help people secure green cards won first place and the $40,000 grand prize.

Sam Stoddard, a team member of SimpleCitizen and a student at Brigham Young University, said the money will help his team launch its website by this summer.

The University of Utah is ranked the No. 2 school in the nation for cash awarded to student entrepreneurs, according to the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine. Last year, the university awarded $744,550 to students.

In fall 2016, the university will launch Lassonde Studios, designed to house the nation’s top 400 entrepreneurial students from any field of study who want to “live, create and launch.”