George Mason in the News

Posted: February 9, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Following are highlights of national news coverage George Mason recently received.

January, Wells Fargo Small Business Journal

Reducing Customer Acquisition Costs

“The issue of controlling and reducing customer acquisition costs can be a tricky one, especially for small business. Some feel that any cost associated with a customer should be considered. Others fall in the camp that those expenditures are geared specifically to what it takes to bring people in the door. Nalin Jain, director of the Arlington Small Business Development Center at George Mason University, subscribes to the former view. ‘Isn’t the whole purpose of a business to have customers?’ he asks. ‘So, from this perspective, all business operating and financing costs can be termed customer acquisition costs. Even when you give to charity, it is usually with the deeper purpose of ‘buying’ social goodwill, which, in turn, helps acquire customers.’ Jain also suggests offloading tasks unrelated to customer development. ‘There are a number of things that aren’t core to your business that may be done more efficiently and, given the time it takes, more cost-effectively. Think about the time you spend on payroll, especially if you use a lot of contractors, as many small businesses do. Outsourcing tasks like that free you up.’”

Wednesday, Jan. 31, USA Today

FCC Ruling Changed Phone Industry in 1968

“Maybe U.S. consumers need another Carterfone to bust open the cell phone industry. No, this is not referring to some hotline on Jimmy Carter’s White House desk. The landmark 1968 Carterfone Decision is a ‘neat historical analogy’ to a couple of current conflagrations in technology, says J.P. Auffret, professor at George Mason University’s business school. One should alter cable TV this year. The other might result in cell phones that work with any wireless carrier – the way any telephone works no matter what company you use for landline service.”

Friday, Feb. 2, Associated Press Newswires

Professor Wins $1 Million Prize for Arsenic Filter Innovation

“A professor who developed an inexpensive, easy-to-make system for filtering arsenic from well water has won a $1 million engineering prize – and he plans to use most of the money to distribute the filters to needy communities around the world. The National Academy of Engineering announced Thursday that the 2007 Grainger Challenge Prize for Sustainability would go to Abul Hussam, a chemistry professor at George Mason University in Fairfax. Hussam’s invention is already in use today, preventing serious health problems in residents of the professor’s native Bangladesh. Hussam said he will use 70 percent of his winnings to distribute his SONO filters to needy communities with the help of nongovernmental organizations, including one he created with his brother, a doctor in Bangladesh. He said 25 percent will go toward further research and development, and 5 percent will be donated to George Mason University.”

Sunday, Feb. 4, New York Times

In Elder Care, Signing on Becomes a Way to Drop By

“Starting in 2010, the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers will require all its members to hold one of four specific certifications in care management or social work. Geriatric care managers usually charge $80 to $200 an hour, depending on the services provided. The managers can have vastly differing backgrounds, typically in nursing or social work. ‘If your mother has complex medical problems, you probably want a nurse,’ said Andrew Carle, assistant professor and director of the program in assisted living/senior housing administration at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. ‘If she’s lonely or has social issues, a social worker might be a better fit.’”

Sunday, Feb. 4, Star-Ledger (New Jersey)

Ballet Troupe Unveils a New Quartet

“The American Repertory Ballet’s artistic director, Graham Lustig, is a choreographer himself at the New Brunswick-based company. Yet he refuses to allow his own works to dominate the repertoire. Instead, Lustig prefers to award commissions to other choreographers who are willing to risk a leap into the future. In selecting these choreographers, Lustig drew from his connections as a freelance choreographer and from professional activities, like serving on panels at the National Endowment for the Arts. Susan Shields’ ballet was the exception: a reverse commission. George Mason University in Virginia, where the choreographer is a faculty member, invited American Repertory Ballet to work with her and to perform in an ‘All-Shields’ program there in April.”

Sunday, Feb. 4, Miami Herald

Candidates Show They Can Take the Heat on Humor Circuit

“Candidates subjecting themselves to the biting wit and ribbing of faux newsmen and comedians seems like a modern-day version of cruel and unusual punishment – and an oddity when much of politics has become heavily scripted. Robert Lichter, [director] of the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., calls the phenomenon the ‘piñata circuit’ – candidates have to show they can take a bashing without bursting. ‘You’ve got to show you can take being the butt of a joke,’ Lichter said. ‘Being good-humored about yourself is considered a positive quality. But more important is that people watch these things.’”

Tuesday, Feb. 6, Hawaii Reporter

U.S. Elections Decided by Know-Nothings?

“Is the average American voter well enough informed to vote intelligently? In the recent campaign we heard the slogans ‘count every vote’ and ‘every vote counts’ ad nauseam, but did most of those casting ballots know who or what they were voting for? Not according to George Mason University law professor Ilya Somin who recently wrote ‘The sheer depth of most individual voter’s ignorance is shocking to observers not familiar with the research.’ Professor Somin points out that making the effort required to become a more informed voter is not a particularly rational thing to do: because each citizen knows that his or her vote has a minuscule chance of affecting the outcome of an election, he or she has little or no incentive to make the necessary effort to be better informed.”

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