Thursday, April 30, 2009

Profile: Professor Joe Valacich

WSU Professor Joe Valacich discusses Internet auctions, “cloud” computing, and his dream trip to Croatia.

Q. How do Internet sites encourage impulse purchases?
A. When shopping online, there is a tug of war in your brain between the pleasurable response (I like how that looks, I would love to see my friends’ faces if I had that) and the rational side (do I really need it? how will I pay for it?).
If the Web site is slow or unattractive or raises security questions, that makes you pause, giving you more time to think and reducing the chances of an impulse purchase. Internet auction sites, on the other hand, use a countdown clock to make you feel like you don’t have time to stop and think, which increases the odds of an impulse purchase.

Q. What is the next big shift in technology? More...
A. There will be continued innovation on the Web and all technologies. Mobile devices like iPhones will continue to evolve in terms of capabilities. Laptops will continue to get smaller and lighter; more of your information and applications will be stored online (“cloud” computing), so the current trend with “net books” (small, limited capability-type notebooks) will become mainstream and provide more than enough capabilities for most people.

Q. You can spend a month anywhere in the world. Where do you go?
A. Croatia. That is where my heritage roots are. … I have visited once and found the grandson of my grandfather’s younger brother (my grandfather was born in Croatia and came to the U.S. in 1902). We didn’t know each other existed and it was quite an exciting time to find each other. I plan to get back as often as I can to explore the country, people, and language. In fact, I have a short, three-day trip there in June, between teaching in Norway and Latvia this summer.

Q. What’s the last music you bought?
A. Linkin Park, Chili Peppers, Nickleback, Lifehouse, Daughtry, Maroon 5, Matchbox 20.

Q. Do you have pets? What are their names?
A. We have two dogs, white tea-cup Pomeranians named Lou and Vinny. We also have four horses and an ever-changing number of barn cats.

Q. Where were you born?
A. Great Falls, Montana.

Q. Favorite motto?
A. Publish and prosper!

Joe Valacich is the George & Carolyn Hubman Distinguished Professor in Management Information Systems. He has a B.S. in computer science and MBA from the University of Montana, a doctorate from the University of Arizona, and has taught in Norway, Latvia, Hong Kong, Finland, Indiana, Arizona. He’s written five books, and over 70 articles on information systems. He lives in Moscow, Idaho, with his wife and two children.
More information on Valacich is online.

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