Sunday, September 26, 2021

Truth, Justice, and the American Way

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

Truth, Justice, and the American Way is a catch-phrase of the comic book character Superman.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time on the history of Superman, because - well - you already know most of it. But I do want to spend some time on the creators - writer Jerry Siegal and artist Joe Shuster. 

In a contract dated March 1st, 1938, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster gave away the copyright to Superman to their employer, DC Comics (then known as Detective Comics, Inc.) prior to Super man's first publication in April. Contrary to popular perception, the $130 that DC Comics paid them was for their first Superman story, not the copyright to the character - that, they gave away for free. This was normal practice in the comics magazine industry at the time. 

In 1965, Siegel and Shuster attempted to regain rights to Superman using the renewal option in the Copyright Act of 1909, but the court ruled that Siegel and Shuster had transferred the renewal right to DC Comics in 1938. 

Under current US copyright law, Superman is due to enter the public domain in 2033. 

Shuster died in 1992. DC Comics offered Shuster's heirs a stipend in exchange for never challenging ownership of Superman, which they accepted.

Siegel died in 1996. His heirs attempted to take the rights to Superman using the termination provision of the Copyright Act of 1976. DC Comics negotiated an agreement wherein it would pay the Siegel heirs several million dollars and a yearly stipend of $500,000 in exchange for permanently granting DC Comics the rights to Superman. 

Truth, Justice, and the American Way. At the time, $130 seemed like a good deal. In 1938, who would have known that Superman would become - well - SUPER! Who knew that the copyright of Superman would be such a big deal?  

And now I fast-forward to 2021. Who would have known that "The Facebook" would become Facebook, Inc. with 2.9 billion monthly users as of 2021? Or that near bankrupt Apple would become the world's most valuable company since January 2021?

Truth, Justice, and the American Way reminds me of the quote:

Speed, Quality, Price. 

You can pick any two. 

"My" Superman from childhood.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Lend me your ear

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

What does lend me your ear mean?

The phrase "lend me your ear" is interpreted to metaphorically mean that the speaker wants the listener to grant the speaker temporary control over what the listener hears. 

To ask for someone's full attention. To listen to someone carefully. To pay attention to what someone is saying or teaching. To listen to someone with concentration or understanding. 

The Van Gogh Immersive Experiences are real-life or virtual reality (VR) exhibits of Vincent Van Gogh's paintings. The for-profit events range across venues, cities and organizers, though the majority are being held in North America in 2021 and 2022. 

The events are typically set up in large gallery spaces. Images or videos of the artist's works are projected onto walls, ceilings, and floors. Sometimes accompanied by animations, narrations, music or fragrances. 

This past Friday was my first time using Virtual Reality (VR) for an extended period of time. VR, a simulated experience that can be similar or completely different from the real world is pretty amazing. But is truly nuts when used for more than a few minutes. Kids today (damn, I'm old) think this is totally normal. Anyone near my age realize how game-changing this is, and how THE FUTURE is right around the corner. 

Just like anything else, things happen slowly, then all at once. Over the years, applications of virtual reality included entertainment (e.g. video games), education, (e.g. medical or military training) and business (e.g. virtual meetings). 

I remember playing video games with my brother-in-law in the 80's. We had a blast (there was beer involved) but the quality of the graphics then vs. today is like comparing a chalkboard to an 80" HD SAMSUNG. 

Launched in 2012, Oculus was bought by data-hungry tech giant Facebook for $2.3 billion in 2014. At the time, Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey said you would not need a Facebook account to use Oculus. And now, Oculus for Business eliminates physical barriers and provides powerful new ways to connect, collaborate, and learn.

Slowly, then all at once. Gradually, then suddenly. But all change happens only when something is experienced DEEPLY enough to make a difference. 

I could have bought an Oculus years ago, but did not. If I did not experience the Van Gogh Immersive last week, I would have probably started using Oculus in the next 12 to 24 months, due to my partnership with Workplace from Facebook. I would have "had" to do it, just so that I know what I am talking about for my job.

Today, now, I WANT to do it. I want to use Oculus, all the time. Daily. Friday was this tipping point. The "Ah Ha" moment where I was thrown in to the deep end of the pool and had to swim. Now, today, I want to be deeply involved in the new technology. Because we are all living, learning, working, playing - in the new cloud (VR) economy. 

Gradually, then suddenly. I have now arrived at Suddenly Station. 

You can learn more about how VR is transforming business here. Don't be surprised if you see Oculus for Business in page one of next month. Slowly, then all at once. 

"Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears" - VR is transforming business. 

Now. Today. Every day, the Internet is getting FASTER, and of course, VR headsets will continue to become smaller, lighter, less expensive and as popular as a smartphone in your pocket. 

I wonder if Vincent Van Gogh ever said that. 

You know, "Lend me your Ear" 

Sunday, September 12, 2021

The Greatest Bar On Earth

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

I think that the day after an event is always more important than the actual event. Any event. All events. When you wake up the day after, and think to yourself - did that really happen? 

July 4th 2000 was the last time we had an event at Windows on the World. We would have our monthly BoD meetings there, I became very friendly with the staff of both the restaurant and the bar. The July 4th celebration in NYC that year was a big deal for me, for our company. We rented out the restaurant, and the bar that day. We invited our VIP clients and vendors to come to The Big Apple, to come to the 107th floor to celebrate with us. My boys were young, but they were old enough to realize that this event, this holiday was something special. During the day, we watched the "Tall Ships" coming into the harbor. At night, we watched the fireworks, by looking DOWN at them from The Greatest Bar On Earth. We all sang patriotic songs - words and music was supplied. 

We learned later, that the 9/11 attack was supposed to be during July 4th, 2000. It was supposed to be while we were all in NYC. They just could not pull it off, so it was "rescheduled" to 9/11/2001. 

I once asked a very good friend and mentor - what would he have done different. He is a little older than me, and very successful. Suffice it to say, he wants for nothing. I asked "what would have done different, what do you wish you said yes (or no) to in your past? He did not answer right away, he said he wanted to think about it.

For me, 20 years feels like 20 days. NYC was my playpen, or so it felt. I was selling car phones since the 80's but there were no smartphones. Monthly phone bills could be hundreds - even thousands of dollars. NO ONE used Skype, because the quality was poor. No tablets, laptops were heavy and very expensive. 

20 years ago, the Internet was very young. No podcasts, no YouTube, no TikTok. Audio conference was still around $0.10 per minute per person - and videoconferencing was for the Fortune 1000. There was no alternative currencies. 

The day after 09/11/2021 - today - is just like any other day. Every other day over the past 20 years. 

If my mother did not have cancer, I would have never met my wife - my mother's nurse. If COVID did not happen, or if COVID was only discovered earlier, quarantined earlier, if COVID did not leave China. What if we (still) had NO vaccine yet for COVID? What if our only defense was masks and social distancing, as of today? One recent vaccine used a new technology surrounding mRNA (basically gene therapy) that was completely science fiction 20 years ago. Now, today, we are using mRNA to shrink cancer tumors. 

Today, El Salvador decided to use BTC as a currency because their national currency had been massively manipulated, and they wanted something more stable, more measurable and meaningful. And now artists are using NFTs, which are creating a whole new way of collectibles for people to trade or share. 

Today, Zoom is a verb, allowing people to stay in touch with family and friends and work during a global pandemic. For years, technology was changing the way that we live, learn, work and play. But it took a global pandemic to force the entire world to rethink - well, to rethink just about everything

It is really easy to go down the rabbit hole of what ifs. What if Al Gore won, and not George Bush? What if COVID was crushed and contained? We shall have many questions about Climate Change, and AI, and Internet of Things. What if Trump was still POTUS - or what if Trump was NEVER POTUS? 

My friend and mentor did get back to me with an answer, about what he would have done differently. He said - nothing

Because changing anything would have changed everything. It is like the ultimate Butterfly Effect, that even the smallest change is actually the biggest change possible. 

Me: So, there is NOTHING that you would have done differently - nothing at all?

He: Nope. I would have made all the same decisions again. Because changing anything would change everything. Well, maybe one thing. Even though I would have done it all the same way - I might have been a little nicer while doing it. 

If my mother never got cancer, I would have never met Dianne. If my mother never got cancer, I would have stayed at PURDUE, and probably have gone to medical school, as planned. If my mother never got cancer, there would be no Tommy and Bobby Capone. 

The only lesson that I think worth teaching is this: you never know what the future holds. There are no small decisions. But kindness and empathy will always be the best way. You might not always get it right, but you can always be nice along the way. Be nice, and enjoy the journey. 

"Living in dreams of yesterday, we find
ourselves still dreaming of impossible
future conquests." ~ Charles Lindbergh

Sunday, September 5, 2021

I'll give you three guesses

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

What's up with things of three?

Three strikes. The Three Stooges. A trio of friends. Three: ring circus, coins in a fountain, feet in a yard, wise men, goals in a hat trick. Three: legs on a stool, minute egg. Paper, Rock, Scissors. The good, the bad and the ugly. The three wishes from a genie. 

The three wishes joke (or genie joke) is a joke format in which a character is given three wishes by a supernatural being, and fails to use the best of them. Common scenarios include releasing a genie from a lamp, catching and agreeing to release a mermaid or magical fish, or crossing paths with the devil.

Such as: Three men stranded on a desert island, when a bottle washes up on the shore. When they uncork the bottle, a genie appears and offers three wishes. The first guy wishes to be taken to Paris. Poof! Done! The second guy wants to be in Hollywood. Poof! He is now standing on a movie set in Tinsel Town. The third guy, now all alone on the island, looks around and says, "I wish my friends were back."

This would be a good place to stop, look, and listen. 

Tomorrow, is Labor Day here in the USA. So, today is Day Two of a Three Day Weekend. 

Is there anything that sparks more joy than a three day weekend???

Something is a little off about this Labor Day Weekend. Not having to physically "go to work" tomorrow (as in, GO TO the office) is not the same in COVID world. Long before the pandemic, remote work and the ability to work from anywhere was already a movement. Zoom became "a verb" long before the pandemic. 

"I'll give you three guesses" is used when someone is trying to guess something, because you will not tell them, often because the answer is so very obvious. "I'll give you three guesses, and the first two don't count" means the person believes you know the answer but may not realize you know it. 

Are you working tomorrow?  "I'll give you three guesses....." Well, now I really don't know....ARE YOU WORKING TOMORROW or not???

Labor Day of a few years ago, no work really meant NO (none, zip, nada) WORK that day. Banks: closed, the Post Office: closed. Most true BUSINESS OFFICES were closed, please call back tomorrow. 

Now, because of COVID the difference between "I'm not working tomorrow" and "I'm not going to BE at work tomorrow" could not be more evident. I think the future will be: "I'm not going to be online tomorrow" will be the new normal. Being "off the grid" is going to become the new "I'm not at work" phrase. 

Will you check emails tomorrow? Will you do ANYTHING work related tomorrow? Will you do anything to prepare for work on Tuesday? What does "working" even mean anymore? 

And now, back to things of three.

The charter boat The Minnow, got caught in a storm during a three-hour sightseeing tour around Hawaii. And "Professor" Roy Hinkley Jr. with his three degrees could not figure out how to repair the damn boat and get off Gilligan's Island. They were OFF THE GRID. Working, but not AT WORK. 

HOW could a three-hour sightseeing tour around Hawaii get lost at sea? At the time, Thurston Howell, III brought $300,000 in cash with him, on what was supposed to be a sightseeing tour around the Big Island. You know, close to the shoreline. On the show, Thurston was worth $3 billion. A billionaire on three-hour tour on a tiny boat. Don't even get me started about the Movie Star. What a crazy plot that was so full of holes - for 3 SEASONS. 

And so, if you made it this far, you probably are wishing to have the last three minutes of your life back. For me, I'll be working (on something) tomorrow, probably for around three hours. Because I work from home, and I am owner, I work seven days a week. 

Just not in a row. 

I guess there were 3 Shopping Malls 
on the Island