Blog Archives

Zero Degrees of Innovation?

Patterns only become patterns if something is repeated enough times.

And the following blog post will highlight impressive alumni.

Elon Musk is best known for his innovative work on Tesla cars and SpaceX. Tesla focuses on electric cars, which includes the Model 3 (starting at $35,000 before any tax breaks). SpaceX focuses on technology built and imagined for space ventures. Mr. Musk is viewed by many as a Steve Jobs-like thinker who is changing the game of transportation on Earth and in the stars. Part of the attraction to Mr. Musk’s way of thinking is that he breaks from conventional wisdom. Norms do not appear to impress Elon Musk.

For instance, listen to what he thinks of college degrees within the space of creativity, innovation and potential.

While it’s not quite as simple to declare a high school or college degree inconsequential, Mr. Musk’s point does raise valid concerns in attempting to view the potential of applicants. If a firm wants conventional results, then a conventional approach works. But if a firm wants unconventional results, then past ways of determining skill and potential demand revision and a procedural overhaul.

If only Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Larry Ellison had track records of success…

A Writer, Director and Duct Tape

Nostalgia continues its successful run of being the vision of the future, specifically drawing from the totally awesome ’80s.

“Based on the Richard Dean Anderson starrer that ran for seven seasons on ABC, the CBS take is described as a reimagining of the television series of the same name, following a 20-something MacGyver as he gets recruited into a clandestine organization where he uses his knack for solving problems in unconventional ways to help prevent disasters from happening”
–Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter

Anderson’s Macgyver was the ultimate problem-solver involving things we take for granted, like an ordinary #2 pencil, a gum wrapper and a sponge. Not to mention his trademark haircut that (just a guess) may remain in the hair stylist’s portfolio from the original series.

(ABC)

(ABC)

Will this reboot live up to its high expectations, honoring the spirit and creativity of the original?

As successful shows, reboots, continuations and movie sequels have demonstrated in the past, there are countless alleyways and dead ends to drive into. Still, there is a right way to do these types of projects well, so as to escape the critics who are anxious to pin their targets in an uncomfortable corner.

Luckily for Macgyver, this is the scenario where he’s always thrived…

with a belt, some Twizzlers and a single shoe lace.

“Coming Soon” Redefined

2015: Welcome back dinosaurs and the epic battle of good vs. evil.

Reflecting on last week’s treasure trove (however small) of movie trailers slated for mid-late 2015 release dates, it’s clear that audience engagement and connectivity is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Jurassic World and Stars Wars: The Force Awakens are already two of the must-see movies of next year. Not this year, but next year. In fact, the soonest one of the aforementioned films will be released is in seven months.

Why mention this marketing strategy now?

Because movie studios and directors are continuing to forge relationships with their fans during the speculation phase of their projects right through the development of the plot, filming in the various settings/locations and character leaks and special social media reveals several months and even a year before its theatrical premiere (ie – Interstellar’s first teaser was last November). And let’s not forget about the DC Comics Universe announcing that seemingly endless list of future superhero movies that give fans years upon years of movies to look forward to. Marvel also does its part as well in this department. This modern, evolving dynamic in the film industry is fascinating because it connects movie makers with its fans on a surprisingly constant basis. Some in Hollywood, understanding the incredible interest in amazingly sublime and complex stories with popular actors, actresses, writers, producers and directors, have created an investment in cinema.

Are the days of going to see a movie as a spontaneous weekend fling going away?

No. However, for the most ambitious and popular movies/stories (live action and animated), the trend is moving towards more involvement/persistent awareness between movie producer and fan. This can be viewed as good because the interest and connection is voluntary and exciting to its willing participants (sans spoilers). But this can also be viewed as bad because of intrigue fatigue. We live in a minute-to-minute and even second-to-second world. Few secrets are held for very long these days. Eventually, widespread speculation or new information will be released to the public. With that in mind, how many seconds and/or minutes are in seven months? One year?

While the movie going experience is becoming, well, more of an experience, it does work. Interstellar was undeniably worth the wait (I saw it twice in IMAX), as was The Dark Knight Rises and Man of Steel, serving as just a few examples. It’s likely that Jurassic World and Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be as well. It should be noted that the films that are promoted with such surreal longevity are films that reward its dedicated fans with an unforgettably rich movie experience.

In the age of information, driven through the lightning fast digital medium, the questions are whether this epic marketing strategy of teaser trailers and perfectly placed clues/special reveals can continue to sustain and produce epic results without the eventual exhaustion of an epic journey before making it the theater? Is too much being revealed in the trailers?

For now, I’m entranced by the new lightsaber, in awe and suspense of a genetically modified dinosaur (and story 22 years in the making) and delightfully eager to witness James Bond’s 24th cinematic adventure in a finely tailored suit.

2015 is setting up to be legen-wait for it…

A 2-2 Tie Just Doesn’t Sound Right

(Important Disclosure: Since yesterday was not a FIFA-sanctioned day of friendlies, USMNT head coach Jürgen Klinsmann may not have been able to call-up a couple European-based players from their clubs)

A plain golf shirt. Human bomb pops. An MLS-based American team. An international-based American team.

What do you get when you add all these together?

A trip to Brazil this June without a clear travel itinerary or cool clothes to wear.

Last night’s United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) soccer friendly with arch-rival Mexico in front of a pro-U.S. crowd (in Arizona?) fittingly ended in a clouded 2-2 tie. They were up 2-nil at halftime, but conceded two second half goals to a more energized and fluid Mexican squad.

Quick fact: It’s only Dos-a-Cero in Columbus, Ohio. True story.

It was a prototypical tale of two halves and a mixed result that could have used the energetic and offensively dynamic Mix Diskerud (23) of Norway’s Rosenborg BK managing the middle of the pitch with likely Brazil 2014 partner Michael Bradley. Why wasn’t this the case? Because there are, apparently, two U.S. teams. One consists of players based in Europe and elsewhere around the world and the other team includes the best talent of Major League Soccer (MLS). Yesterday’s American lineup versus Mexico was made up of the best MLS players (except for newly American certified Julian Green).

It’s one thing to experiment with such an open tryout during off-peak years, but two months from the biggest soccer tournament in the world?

At this point, words like continuity and confidence should emanate from Jürgen Klinsmann’s USMNT. Yet, words like scattered and phrases like lack of chemistry and static creativity are defining a team that is producing juxtaposing results month-to-month, half-to-half and position-to-position.

Here is a quote from Jürgen Klinsmann after the 2-2 draw regarding the coveted spots in the starting lineup, as reported by Andrew Wiebe on MLS Soccer online.

“Naturally, it’s open,” Klinsmann said. “How much it’s difficult to say.”

A valid question to ask and ponder in April 2014 is this: why isn’t there one cohesive USMNT (a combination of the best players of MLS and abroad) with a select number of players vying for starting spots instead of an open tryout for seemingly every position? Or, more realistically, competing for a nod on the bench as a super sub?

Julian Green (18) did well last night as a substitute, demonstrating his raw speed, energy and his anxiousness to impress.

But what about Aron Jóhannsson (23), who has a relentless attacking mindset? Why isn’t he, who is a forward that could provide much needed excitement and creativity up front, getting more consistent time and experience?

Teams like Germany may use young players or undefined players at the national team level for a friendly, like they did versus the United States in 2013. However, Germany’s A-squad has been all but set for quite some time with only variable changes here and there. And the best (or right) players get their minutes because they are viewed as valuable assets.

As a glass half-full believer, it’s quite possible that Klinsmann’s strategy will pay-off tremendous dividends in ways that have not yet been revealed or imagined on the pitch.

Still, the World Cup is played on a pitch…in 2 months.