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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Nothing Is As It Once Was

You must understand that tradition counts for very little in most industries today. It’s all about innovation and setting yourself apart. People want tailored experiences in everything from education to grocery shopping to banking. If you are not willing to adjust with the times, you will find yourself a fossil in the land of the thriving. That’s not what you want. So be willing to grow and expand.

 

Make professional development a priority.

WOW!!! We HAVE to think differently!

I just saw something pretty phenomenal.  Amazon now offers what they call a “Dash Button.”  Put simply, it is the Staples Easy button on steroids.  So, you get a Dash Button for a given brand and, whenever you’re running low on that brand’s product, you press the button and it sends you a refill.  Automation has reached a new level.

Are we becoming lazy?  Yes.  But isn’t that what technology really is?  Everything from the pulley system to the Dash Button has been created to make life easier for us.  Shoot, if you’re not making things easier, what are you doing?

So, how are you thinking out of the box?  Every great brand has focused on how it can make life easier for its consumers.  Think outside the box.  Build upon someone else’s idea.  No one has created anything from scratch for the past 2 or 3,000 years.  Don’t believe me? Tesla >> Ford >> Carriage >> Chariot >> Horse.  Smartphone >> Telephone/Computer >> Telegraph/Typewriter >> Letter/Book.  Need I say more?  Everything that is built is just an extension on something before with the goal of making a process easier.  Shoot, even Post-It notes make life easier by preventing you from sticking tape on a sheet of paper.

If you want to be great, all you have to do is train yourself to think differently about things that people think clearly about.  300 years ago, if I had explained a computer or a plane (shoot, or a black president), I would have been called a witch or lunatic and killed.  Good thing is, now I can think outside the box freely and say that I’m going to invent a hologram screen that can throw a football back to me and, who knows?  It may happen.

One last thing before I go: I remember my mom saying that one of my cousin’s was crazy when we were younger because he saw our fax machine and said he wishes he could fax himself from there (Manhattan) to LA.  But I’m not so certain that we’re too far off from being able to do that.  Think outside the box.  And patent it.  It’ll take you very far.

 

Make professional deveopment a priority.

#TrendingThursday Week 87

For all of my east coast Americans, I hope you’re staying safe in this icy tundra that we’re  currently experiencing.  I know I’m enjoying these couple days of being snowed in.  It gives me plenty of time to get some reading and writing done.  Here are a few pretty good articles (more than usual actually) to help you pass the time in between your Netflix films and frozen pizzas.  Have a great day off.  And to those still working, thanks for being the fuel that keeps this nation going.