APPL’s Stock Struggles, NFLX’s Bandersnatch, and Where We Go From Here

Yesterday, Apple’s stock closed at a major deficit, causing the overall market to take a hit. If you want to know more about the stock side of things, check out the NYT or WSJ. They can explain it better than I can. What I’m here to talk about is the trajectory of American business and the role we, as young professionals and creative minds, need to be focused on playing.

Innovation is the name of the game but how do you innovate when everything you thought could be done is being done. Seriously, we just reached Ultima Thule (no, that’s not a car by Nissan) and a manned SpaceX rocket could take off as soon as 2019 (Oh s***! We’re in 2019!). Smartphones (or smartwatches or tablets or whatever other piece of tech you always have with you) are extensions of ourselves, essentially making us cyborgs, minus the inserted chip. It is an amazing time to be alive. But it’s also a confusing one. What is the final frontier? Where do we go from here? What are humans if we’re not continuing to push the society around us forward?

That is an issue that Apple is obviously struggling with. Yes, trade issues between the East and West were pinpointed as the reason for Apple’s terrible finish on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations (yes, I looked up what NASDAQ stood for so you wouldn’t have to). But, Apple users, let’s be honest: the advancements we’ve seen lately are disappointingly underwhelming and increasingly overpriced. Why does a new iPhone XS, at $999, cost 77% of what a Mac Book Pro does? (I intentionally chose the least expensive versions of these items. Bells and whistles cost more, of course.) I know, I know… I can do almost everything with an XS that I can with a MBP but it still doesn’t change the fact that I’m paying so much for cellular phone. And, not to mention, the new features to the phone aren’t that great. I wasn’t inclined to upgrade my phone this time and I probably won’t be unless A) some major changes come out or B) the updates stop working (which usually happens after a few generations).

What does this have to do with Bandersnatch? I’m glad you asked. Bandersnatch is Netflix’s movie version of the extremely popular show “Black Mirror,” a show that didn’t have enough episodes to satisfy my interest but hopefully they’ll bring it back. The good thing is I cannot give anything of substance away about Bandersnatch because I’ve only seen one scene so far but I will say this: even if the movie isn’t good, the concept is simultaneously out of this world and eerily nostalgic. Remember, as a kid, reading books where the ending was up to you? I want to say Goosebumps and Animorphs had some like this but I’m sure a ton of other series did as well. Bandersnatch is that in movie form. I can only imagine the planning and time spent in shooting, editing, and coding that had to go into making this movie work but, once again, Netflix has set a new standard. Only, this time, in order to look forward, it first had to look back.

Innovation is the name of the game but, as Netflix has shown us that the answers are sometimes behind us. Brands like Apple have spent so much time pushing the bar forward that they’re starting to hit a brick wall. So, why not look back at something pre-modern technology that changed an industry and reformat it to improve our modern lives? Just a thought for Apple, General Motors, and any other company that is having a hard time being innovative.

You may have a hard time teaching an old dog new tricks but maybe you can teach a new dog a few old ones.

 

Make innovation a priority.

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Find a Way

Today, I helped one of my friends move and he gave me his card collection which he was going to throw away (no, we’re not 12 years old). He had a ton of baseball cards and, after looking at some and recognizing a few names, I decided I’d take a look at my collection when I got home. I also have some recognizable names.

I was chatting with Vince about it tonight and he said, “If each of your cards is worth $1, that’s $2,000 in your possession.” He’s right (and I know some of them are worth much more).

If you need money to start your business or anything else, before crowdfunding or taking a loan out, find a creative way to scrape the money together.

Make making ends meet a priority.

Make Today the Day

You made it through the day. If no one else says it, I’m proud of you. And yes, I know it’s a holiday. Most of you aren’t working. You deserve a day off. But take some time this evening to do something, anything, that will make every tomorrow easier. Read a book. Start the first page of a book. Purchase that domain name.

For me, that something was starting my Patreon account. It is going to help me monetize my content going forward. Click here to see what comes with a monthly subscription. I hope you’ll invest in my words and photographs for less than the cost of a happy hour drink.

 

Make finding a way to live off your craft a priority.

Timelessness

Yesterday, I was listening to a song and it was titled “MCE (Man Crush Everyday).” It made me think back to “LOL Smiley Face” by Trey Songz, Soulja, and Gucci. I realized that these songs would only be relevant in the time period in which they were written. Artists have two options: either create art for the rest of time, make art that can be appreciated for all eternity, or fade into history. Now, since no one will be alive forever and most people don’t create works that can be appreciated across centuries, most artists will fade into obscurity soon after their careers end.

The same is true with any work you do. If you’re a financial advisor who can only advise in times of a strong economy, your influence will wane during a weak one. If you’re a résumé developer who can only work on corporate résumés, what happens when an aspiring creative director looks to you for help? As young professionals, we need to time-proof ourselves so that we don’t lose the juice, as many of our predecessors have. That means finding staples that can adapt. The résumé should sell you for the period in which you present it. Are you growing with the times or letting the times drag you along?

Make your work timeless. If you write, write something that will always matter. If you paint, paint with eyes that can be appreciated across generations. If you perform, perform content in such a way that even language cannot prevent people from loving what you do.

You have it in you to make something that is timeless. It’s just going to be a lot harder than writing “LOL, Smiley Face.”

 

Make timelessness a priority.

Most of Moments vs. Most Moments

We’re stuck in a tradition that says “You must work 40 hours or more a week.” I emboldened those two words because there is emphasis put on them. We’ve reached a point in American history where, because everyone can be contacted at any time, they often are. But, what if I can effectively complete my work in 25 hours? What if I’m most productive from 8 AM to noon and, the rest of the day, I’m pretty much twiddling my thumbs or checking mindless tasks of my list? Where’s the value in the twiddling of thumbs?

When I come into the office, the synapses in my brain are shooting off at a mile a millisecond. I have ideas and creative juices flowing and am genuinely excited because I haven’t had to think about stuff all night. I took a break. So, I like to knock out everything that is going to take creativity in the morning. That’s me. The afternoon is for the mindless widget construction that many of us have to do at one point or another. The dialing of numbers and repetitive request for support.  The reading of reports. The stuff that doesn’t require me to put out. But the mornings? That’s when I get funky with my writing. That’s when I develop strategies that will make me a better professional. That’s when I really do.

Everyone is different. Structure your day so that you make the most of moments, as opposed to working the most moments possible. Sure, there is time when I do work at home but eight times out of nine, it’s only because I am inspired to.

Time is not to control you. Rather, it is yours to control.

 

Make professional development a priority.

#TrendingThursday Week 83

Good morning!  I hope you’re all having a great week.  We’re halfway through the first month of 2014.  I guess I still haven’t gotten used to that because I’m still typing “2013.”  Anyway, keep pushign toward the mark.  One more day and you’re home free (for those who are working Monday – Friday).  And now it’s time to play catch up on professional development news.  As always, feel free to leave a comment asking for stories on any other types of topics.  Thanks for your continued support.

Interview