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.

Advertisements

Less Screen, More Sleep

Last night, as I was in bed watching an Amazon Prime original on my computer and scrolling on Instagram simultaneously, I was determined to do two things: spend less time on the screen and more time sleeping at night. So, what did I do? I took advantage of the features of this expensive @** iPhone, which I’m sure I don’t get my money’s worth from. There is a bedtime feature in the clock application that allows you to set how much sleep you get. How does it know you’re sleep? It probably doesn’t but it reminds you when to go to bed and when to wake up. So, I said I wanted to get 6.5 hours of sleep per night, Monday through Friday (I probably should’ve set it Sunday through Thursday so I’ll adjust that before Friday night comes knocking). At 10:45, it reminded me that I have 15 minutes until it’s time for bed.

After I did that, I restricted screen time with the usual suspects. Actually, I restricted screen time almost all together. Between the hours of 11PM and 7AM, I will only have access to certain apps, such as the Bible application and the Harvard Business Tip, which I read first thing in the morning. That means no e-mails, no calls and text messages*, no Instagram. I also retain access to my fitness applications because I should be using them first thing in the morning.

Finally, the asterisk above is because I can be reached during these times via call and text by a select few people who, in the event of an emergency, I would be expected to respond.

My first night on this was fairly successful. At 10:52, I realized I needed to post to my photography Instagram page, so I was a few minutes late for bed (I am able to override the suggestion to put the addictive device down), but, all in all, I am pretty happy with this new commitment to a healthier schedule.

Oh, and if you don’t have an iPhone but do have a smartphone, search Google Play (or whatever other app stores are called) for iHome. I was using that for sleep regulation before iPhone developed these features.

 

Make taking care of yourself a priority.

Putting Away Childish Things

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” — I Corinthians 13: 11

When I grew up, I didn’t always have the newest gadgets and toys under the Christmas tree or waiting beside my birthday cake. I specifically recall getting a Super Nintendo Entertainment System at the time the first PlayStation was released and, once the PlayStation 2 came out, I got the PlayStation. My little brother and I were always cool with it because the person I was most concerned with beating in games was him anyway and, if I needed to learn the other systems, I could always go play at Sean’s or Dame’s houses (my first cousins). Not to gripe, just to give you all some perspective. Ok, stage set. Moving out of the 1990s and into 2018.

Two weeks ago, I purchased a MacBook Pro. A couple weeks before that, I copped an iPhone X. For me, these are major purchases. The phone, not so much outside of the price tag. I didn’t get a cellphone until I was a senior in high school but I’ve always had a pretty capable mobile device because I rarely had a computer of my own that was reliable. But the laptop thing? I just didn’t see the value associated with spending an obscene amount on a computer when a $300 Microsoft Surface from Best Buy could do the same thing. I grew up thinking that it wasn’t the weapon but the wielder that won the war. And, while that is true in the long run, imagine being a master wielder with subpar weaponry and then securing tools that can enhance your skillset?

I could write on anything. Shoot, I jot down pages for my book on my phone when I’m on the move. But when it comes to designing things for projects and editing webpages and, most importantly for me as relates to this, working on photography, my MacBook adds a level of clarity that I just was not getting on a Lenovo laptop. While my Lenovos have been workhorses and I am grateful for that, at this stage, if nothing but the resolution on the screen, the extra dollars I put into making this decision will pay off tenfold in the long run.

This post isn’t about Mac vs. IBM or PlayStation vs. Nintendo or elevating the perception of where you are financially. If that’s what you got out of it, you may have missed the purpose so I’ll break it down for you. Just because you were raised with a certain mindset or in a particular circumstance doesn’t mean you have to maintain that. And it’s not that there was necessarily a problem with that mindset then. But, when you know better, you do better. I didn’t need a new gaming system every other year so it would’ve been inconsequential at the time had it not been for the impact it had toward my attitude on technology. But, as I see the benefits associated with investing in my streams of income, I’m making those investments for more deeply rooted reasons. And, yes, there is a cost associated as well as a learning curve, but I’m a lifelong learner who, Lord willing, has time to recoup the investment cost. And, if not, I think the money spent on a MacBook will be the least of my thoughts.

 

Make investing in your goals a priority.

#TrendingThursday 2.0 – Num. 15

I’m always working to incorporate more practices into my life that will make me happier, more productive, and more effective. These 29 short tips are certainly worth reading and implementing where you can.
I got this sent to my inbox and had to send it out. And, though it’s written to those of us in our twenties (phew! I can still say that for the next three-ish weeks), it is applicable to those of you in your thirties so don’t fret.
It’s not just about getting more sleep but about getting better sleep. If you’re anything like me, your phone keeps you up later than you’d like it to. Whether scrolling on social media or reading your favorite blog, most of us spend time in bed with a screen in our hands. And, for me, most of that starts with a notification I get from people who aren’t really talking about anything worth losing sleep over. This article will help me (and hopefully you) combat that.
Make professional development a priority.

#TrendingThursday 2.0 – Num. 7

Don’t Overthink, Just Do by Thomas Oppong
I don’t know about you but, more often than not, when I don’t do something, it’s because I spent too much time thinking about everything that could possibly go wrong if the entire universe just happened to mis-align at the same time. But that’s what makes people fail. So I’m always working on, while being mindful, not overthinking. It’s a balancing act and one that no one ever gets just right but you can try, can’t you?

Five (New) iPhone Hacks That Will Save You Time by Jeremy Fischer
How many ways can do you everything you want to do on your iPhone? Probably more than one. Or there might be something you can do that you didn’t know you wanted to do but now that you can, you kind of want to. Either way, this article is pretty cool for those of us who are iPhone users.

Getting a Recruiter to Notice You When You Don’t Have a Traditional Major by Khadejah Stegall
This was ME! I did not have a traditional major and, at times, got very nervous after graduation because I didn’t think anyone would appreciate my college degree. This article is for all of us who aren’t majoring in the field that we’re going to fall in love with one day.

Make professional development a priority.

#TrendingThursday 2.0 – Num. 4

Is Coffee Good for You? New Study Shows the Drink May Help People Live Longer—Even if It's Decaf
If you know me, I'm a coffee drinker. I've cut back this year but I still do at least a cup per work day. But, there's always some study coming out saying "Decrease your coffee intake." Well, this one supports my habit so I decided I'd share it. It's probably the only one I'll see of its kind for a year.

As Paperwork Goes Missing, Private Student Loan Debts May Be Wiped Away
I'm really praying that they lost my paperwork. I'm sure many of you are as well.

Having Your Smartphone Constantly Within Reach Is a Mistake
I'm on my phone too much. Way too much. Most of us are. But it's a part of our lives now. The question is, "Should it be?" This article gives some pretty good reasons for us to start putting our phones down and making an intentional effort to connect to others in-person.

 

Make professional development a priority.

Must Have Apps When You Can’t Connect

I’m the kind of person who loves to journal and read books the entire flight… if that flight is an hour or two. But, over the past week, I’ve taken two 16+ hr flights and that means I need something else to do. Sure, meals are served and I have the option of in-flight entertainment but during the time I’m not eating, sleeping, or watching “Finding Dory,” I’m looking to be intentional, if not productive, with my expenditure of time. Thankfully, my phone or tablet assists me with this. Below, you’ll find a list of seven must have apps that don’t require you be connected to the web. Check them out and, if you have any suggestions for others, please leave them in the comments.
Oh, and don’t forget your headphones. I forgot my wireless ones and it restricted my listening and charging capability since the new iPhone doesn’t allow both at once.
Free of Charge
Instapaper is one of my favorite apps for killing boredom. Whatever device I’m using, be it a desktop, laptop, iPhone, or iPad, I can access Instapaper and read articles I’ve been putting off or save articles for later. And the great thing is, though I input the links on Instapaper, the articles’ images and texts save to the app so that there is no need for an internet connection. On the 12 hour flight from Tokyo to Detroit, I knocked out a good chunk of the articles stashed on my phone. And don’t hit me with the “I don’t like to read” nonsense. You may not like reading what was assigned you in school but everyone hasn’t topic they’re interested in learning more about. Save articles about that.
iBooks is an app I use daily. My morning devotional and other books I’m constantly chipping away at are on there. And, though I pay for some books, many are free in the iBooks library or I find them online in PDF form and save them to iBooks.
Recolor is a pretty engaging adult coloring book application (as you can see from the picture above). When reading gets redundant, as it sometimes does, this is a neat way to exercise a different part of your mind. With all of the blank pictures and numerous color pallets, there are endless amounts of fun to be had. Just make sure you open the app before you lose web connectivity or you won’t have any pictures to color.
TED is a great app for those who like learning about what interesting questions are being posed by thinkers around the world. If you’re familiar with “TED talks,” this is the app that houses those. Though you do have to be connected to wifi to download videos you’re interested in prior to losing connectivity, once you’re thousands of feet in the air, you can become inspired by what your peers across the globe are thinking about and working on.
Chess is another platform I can access on any device at any time anywhere to play games with people around the world. But, when flying, I have only three options: play a person beside me if (s)he is interested, play against myself, or play the computer. Either way, it is a great use of my time and allows me to strengthen my strategic thinking processes.
Subscription Required
Spotify Premium is a must have right now. At a special rate of 3 months for $0.99 with no requirement to continue, you cannot go wrong. You have access to all the music you want with no need to senselessly use up your data or buy albums you only kind of like.
Amazon Prime is super cool because, unlike Netflix, I am able to download films and shows to watch at my leisure. The ONLY detractor is there are download restrictions in certain nations so, if you’re in the United States, I strongly suggest you download your films BEFORE you leave home. And the same applies for Spotify.
Make professional development a priority.