It's been almost a month since the man who established Bright Side of the Sun left us to pursue his dream job at Suns.com. Now that he has been there for a few weeks, he has graciously taken the time to answer a few questions about what it's like to work for the Suns. He also slipped in an announcement that I'm sure a lot of you who have been reading this blog for a while will be excited to hear. So without further ado...
BSotS: How did you find out about this job?
Dan: There was a fellow blogger/writer who let me know his friend was applying for a job with the Suns. I figured the job his friend was applying for wouldn't fit my skill set but when I looked online at http://nbateamjobs.teamworkonline.com/teamwork/jobs/default.cfm I found that the Suns also had a job for a Web Analytics Coordinator. Since I've been doing web analytics for 10 years, I thought I would definitely have a shot at that job.
BSotS: What was the interview like?
Dan: The interview was awesome. I had never had an interview like it. We met for about 2 hours and discussed everything from web analytics to the Phoenix Suns team to the disappointment of ending the season earlier than we had hoped to the NBA in general. This probably sounds weird but to just be interviewing for a job with the Phoenix Suns was amazing in itself. As I was going up the escalator, I saw Steve Kerr coming down and thought, "If I get this job, I'm going to be seeing guys like this every day!" I left the interview knowing I did my best and just hoped that I was the most qualified for the job.
BSotS: How was your first day on the job?
Dan: It was quite an experience to drive into downtown Phoenix, drive into the parking garage and let the security guard know that I was there for my first day of work. I actually can't remember much about that first day. I know I met tons of people, including Dan Majerle (my all-time favorite NBA player) and Al McCoy, and the next day I got a tour of the arena (I guess they figured I should get a tour since I got lost for 10 minutes that morning trying to come into the arena from the parking garage). I was able to go inside the locker room and walk around underneath the stands where they have security, all the locker rooms, the press rooms, etc.
BSotS: Can you tell us about the projects you are working on?
Dan: Right now I'm working on figuring out the web metrics tool (it's the only one of the major analytics tools I haven't used yet) and learning the web site, the blog, the Suns.com Downloadable Toolbar (http://www.nba.com/suns/fans/toolbar_download.html), and how everything like that works. I've also been running ad hoc reports for people and I'm trying to put together some metrics reports that will be going out on a weekly basis. I will also be overseeing the Official Phoenix Suns Blog (located at http://suns.marqui.com/blog/default.aspx) and my first blog post should be up later this week.
BSotS: Have you met any of the Suns players or coaches?
Dan: Everyone is away for the summer so I haven't really met any current players or coaches. I've met Dan Majerle, Al McCoy, Mark West, and Alvan Adams. I am looking forward to meeting Amare Stoudemire on Thursday when he does the ribbon cutting for our new Suns.com newsroom. You can listen to it live on KTAR 620 from 1pm to 6pm on Gambo and Ash. The show will be broadcast live from our newsroom that day. If you're not in the Valley, you can listen to the web cast at http://flashstream.andomedia.com/ktaram/
BSotS: What is a typical day on the job like? How is working for a sports team different from other jobs you have had?
Dan: Right now, it's hard to gauge what a normal day is like on the job. Since we're in the off-season, it is slower than what it will be during the season. I usually get in a little before 8:00 and start my day looking at the site and the analytics program user interface to make sure everything on the site appears to be running properly. We head to lunch around noon and then I try to put together reports, learn more about the analytics tool, read some analytics blogs to learn the new and upcoming trends in the exciting world of numbers and I usually leave around 5:00. Oh, and we talk sports A LOT! It's kind of weird to be sitting at a desk and talking about the NBA and realize that this is what we're expected to do. That's the main difference from other jobs I have had. I've previously worked on web sites that dealt with adoption and the law so to be working in the sports industry where we can talk sports all day long is pretty cool.
BSotS: Has this job changed your perspective of the team as a fan?
Dan: At this point, it really hasn't changed my perspective. If I had to pick a way it has changed my perspective overall, I would have to say that I never realized everything that is put into putting on this game. Everyone here really cares about doing the best they can and making the experience the best it can possibly be for the fans. But regarding my perspective of the team, the Suns are still the best team in the NBA in my opinion.
BSotS: In your farewell post at Bright Side of the Sun, you described the opportunity to work for the Suns as "priceless". Now that you have been at the job for a few weeks, how has it compared with what you expected? What has been the biggest surprise so far?
Dan: I guess the best way to put it is what I experience every evening. As I'm setting my alarm for the next morning, I actually look forward to waking up so I can go back into work. This is an amazing job and I still consider it a priceless opportunity. It is much better than I ever expected it would be. The biggest surprise? That it really is better than I expected.
BSotS: What new and exciting features should fans be looking for on Suns.com in the coming months?
Dan: Watch for a new look on the web site in October and we will be modifying the look and feel of the blog soon after that. Also, later this season we will be launching a social networking portion of the site that should be a great resources to all Suns fans.
BSotS: Any thoughts on the upcoming season?
Dan: My prediction: Suns take the championship in 2007-2008 season. After the experience they got from the playoffs last season, they know what it is going to take to win.