Adam McLane http://adammclane.com changing the world one blog post at a time since 2004 Thu, 26 Mar 2015 16:12:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 From Monica to Snapchat http://adammclane.com/2015/03/26/from-monica-to-snapchat/ http://adammclane.com/2015/03/26/from-monica-to-snapchat/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 16:12:59 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=16254 Whipser, Secret, Yik Yak, Snapchat, Burnbook, et al.  These are apps low on the “get it” list for adults. We look at them and wonder… “Why would I want that?” And it goes back to a fundamental difference between why teenagers use social media and why adults use social media. Adults use social media to […]

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Whipser, Secret, Yik Yak, Snapchat, Burnbook, et al. 

These are apps low on the “get it” list for adults. We look at them and wonder… “Why would I want that?” And it goes back to a fundamental difference between why teenagers use social media and why adults use social media.

  • Adults use social media to network. Public benefits that effort.
  • Teenagers use social media to hang out with friends. Public inhibits that effort.

Remember Monica?

We all remember Monica Lewinsky, the butt of every late night television and shock jock radio joke for a year. But, as she points out in the video below, along the way we forgot that she was a real person. No matter what she does in life she’ll always have an asterisk next to her name. 

Last week, Ms. Lewinsky had the opportunity to talk about the impact of her public shaming and offered some challenges for what needs to change in our society when it comes to public shaming people online.

Literally, she isn’t saying anything new. The reason she’s on that stage is because nothing is changing.

In 2007, I wrote a post about an emerging Economy of Hate gaining steam via ad revenue online. In January 2014, I wrote about Reaction Porn, revisiting this concept to talk about the actual economics at play.

Without the economy of hate and reaction porn you wouldn’t have things like TMZ or Buzzfeed, two entities who proclaim their worth as bastions of free speech when in fact they are merely the Larry Flint and Hugh Heffner of the shame business.

Let’s be clear: These aren’t bastions of free speech, they are purveyors of shame. They profit by dehumanizing. And your enjoyment of them, those minor indiscretions of keeping up with the latest gossip, aren’t all that different than looking at pornography. (Not sure if that’s true? Both sell dehumanizing, damaging, and false views of real life. One is about sex while the other is about gossip. Both are highly profitable forms of exploitation.)

Why Snapchat?

The “why” of ephemeral apps is simple.

What happened to Monica on a national stage happens on a small scale at middle schools, high schools, and colleges every single day.

Here’s how: A person makes a mistake… let’s say getting drunk at a party and throwing up. Someone takes a picture of it and it gets spread around the school.

Now, all of a sudden, the only thing anyone knows about that person is that they are the drunken girl who pukes. She’s a slut, whore, idiot. She’s not a human anymore. She’s a character in a narrative. Forget the fact that 25 other people were at that party… she just got labeled. (see The Scarlet Letter from 1850. This isn’t new. Heck, it’s in the Bible, right? How did things turn out for Bathsheba?)

But what is new is that social media moves fast and lasts forever. And most apps offer so little control of privacy, that teenagers actually need methods of privacy.

Literally, to see how ephemeral apps took off watch the video below from social scientist danah boyd, author of the groundbreaking work It’s Complicated, and take note of solutions teenagers were creating pre-2011 to this problem.

So why Snapchat (and Whipser, Secret, Yik Yak, Burnbook, et al.)?

The technology followed the actions of teenagers. They needed a way to say things anonymously or have things they did (from silly to mistakes) disappear… and so these things emerged.

This is exactly the utility (function) that Snapchat’s creators were describing as they created the app, as Picaboo messenger.

snapchat-email-1

“I’m so glad social media didn’t exist when I was a teenager…”

I hear that line all the time. Teachers say it, parents say it, youth workers say it.

Why do we say it? Because we did stupid stuff when we were 16 and it isn’t following us today. 

But today’s teenagers do live in a world with social media and they are fully aware that stupid stuff they do, even if it’s exactly the same stuff their parents or grandparents did, will follow them.

So that’s why even the perception of privacy is often times enough.

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Our Fictional Lives http://adammclane.com/2015/03/25/our-fictional-lives/ http://adammclane.com/2015/03/25/our-fictional-lives/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 16:10:50 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=16241 Airports are libraries. Sitting at a table eating overpriced Chili’s chips and making small talk. Walking from gate to gate with coworkers. Starting a shift at the TSA. Sorting bags. Each day thousands of stories check-in and checkout from the airport. But unlike your neighborhood library all of the books on the shelves at the airport are fiction. […]

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Airports are libraries.

Sitting at a table eating overpriced Chili’s chips and making small talk. Walking from gate to gate with coworkers. Starting a shift at the TSA. Sorting bags.

Each day thousands of stories check-in and checkout from the airport.

But unlike your neighborhood library all of the books on the shelves at the airport are fiction.

With Each Heartbeat

human-heartbeatWe each serve as the narrator in an unwritten best selling novel in which we’re both the protagonist and the antagonist.

Unfulfilled.

Arrogant.

Proud.

Satisfied.

Humble.

Meek.

Kind.

Cruel.

We are monsters.

We are kings.

We are champions.

We overcome.

We stumble.

We despair.

We are desperate.

We are fat.

We are an athlete.

We’re buffoons.

We are savage.

We are superhero.

We are a moment away from being a millionaire.

We are a moment away from being on the streets.

We are loved.

We are lonely.

7 Inch Novel

A Metal RulerWe live the fiction of our lives, a narrative in our heads, pursuing what we want, neglecting things in pursuit of what we want, utterly blind of dimension for the things we miss or our impact. And it all plays out in the 7 inches between our ears.

We see what we want to see.

We filter the days events to fit our storyline.

That’s the point.

It’s easy to label. It’s easy to presuppose. It’s easy to look at each person as a supporting character in your own narrative.

But to do that is to misconstrue reality to fit your own needs. To do that is monstrous.

The Human Form

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Because we are all human. We are all the narrators of the greatest story ever told, our own.

I’m the main character in my story. And you are the main character in your story.

Other people are not extras.

Each is a story.

Each is the greatest fiction tale never published.

We are whole. We are unfinished. We are published. We are unpublished. We are known. We are unknown.

But we are all fully human.

We all have equal worth.

And, while we are largely unseen by one another.

We are seen.

Cover photo credit: At the airport by Andreas Schalk via Flickr (Creative Commons)

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What’s the deal with Burnbook? http://adammclane.com/2015/03/24/whats-the-deal-with-burnbook/ http://adammclane.com/2015/03/24/whats-the-deal-with-burnbook/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 17:08:13 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=16227 Last week, San Diego county schools went coo coo for cocoa puffs about the social media app Burnbook. Megan, our 8th grader, missed school on Monday. When she came home on Tuesday she said the joke on campus was an assembly she missed on Monday. “No one had the app or had even heard of Burnbook. […]

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Last week, San Diego county schools went coo coo for cocoa puffs about the social media app Burnbook.

Megan, our 8th grader, missed school on Monday. When she came home on Tuesday she said the joke on campus was an assembly she missed on Monday. “No one had the app or had even heard of Burnbook. What is it?

Yeah, this is what I mean when I say… “Don’t educate 99% of students about something 1% or less are doing.

Face meet palm. Seriously. 

I see schools do this all the time. And it’s why my social media talks are based in principles instead of a single app… let’s educate the 99% about good, healthy habits, and deal with the 1% of problematic students in the counseling office.

So what’s Burnbook?

burnbook-homepage

Basically, Burnbook is Yik Yak for middle and high school students with a couple plot twists.

Plot Twist #1

You opt into a community whereas Yik Yak merely implies a community based on your geolocation.

So when you open the app, you create an account and you pick your community. (Most users would pick their school)

burnbook-nearby-communities

The plot twist is that you can pick a different school…

Just go to the menu, click on Communities, and you can move from one high school to another, or a college or whatever.

I think this is a problem. Particularly for high schools. You don’t even have to be part of the school to talk about it or be in that community? Moreover, you can just hop from rival school to rival school and post whatever you want?

Meh, not a fan of that. I’d rather you picked a community and the app made it hard to switch to another one. Maybe only allow you to do that weekly? Seems like the current model allows for and encourages trolling.

burnbook-menu

Plot Twist #2

App administrators are unashamed about monitoring communities.

Don’t get me wrong, every app does this to some extent. But the Burnbook crew is intentional about trying to moderate things by being visible, correcting bad behavior, highlighting the behavior they want to see on their other social channels, etc.

For an anonymous and ephemeral app… this is unique. I like that idea. It’s a little old school but in a good way.

Don’t be fooled. All of the other anonymous apps do this one way or the other. For instance, Yik Yak has paid community people on college campuses which make sure the “Yik Yak game is on point”. But Burnbook seems to have a rather old school mindset of community management from the forum days. They are around and real people. It’ll be interesting to see if this can scale up as the app takes off. But I’m sure that’s something Team Burnbook would see as a good problem to solve.

Plot Twist #3

They aren’t interested in geofencing off schools. 

Last year, Yik Yak very clearly made the decision to target their app at college students by geofencing off every high school and middle school campus in the United States.

I had a brief chat with Burnbook’s creator Jonathan Lucas about his app last week. Flat out, his philosophy is that school campuses are in need of a way for people to say what’s on their mind. He feels like they can help moderate and sell the idea that this is possible… that teenagers won’t just melt down into being a community that bullies or harasses people online… but that anonymity can and will lead to something positive.

So when I asked him if he had plans to geofence schools based on pressure from school administrators… he didn’t have any interest in doing that. Instead, he said that they are doing anything they can do to work with schools/law enforcement to rat out the bad stuff in an effort to highlight the good stuff.

“The majority of people are good,” said Lucas, but you have to “design the app with the most sinister person in mind.”

To that end, Lucas has implemented several key tools for Burnbook. The first, and most effictive, is a simple down vote system wherein five down votes (perhaps 3 soon!) automatically removes a post. 2-4% of posts are destroyed this way.

He also has a “blur” option for every photo to protect people’s identities.

Source

How big is it?

This launched in September 2014. It’s really small. That’s part of why it was so odd that San Diego county schools freaked out about it. I mean, compared to Snapchat it’s tiny. (And Snapchat is tiny compared to Facebook… even among teenagers who say they don’t use it.)

As of right now they are reporting 400,000 users. (.9% of teenagers in America) Snapchat is about 5.4 million teenage users according to Pew. (13% of teenagers in America) Facebook is well over 50%.

What do I need to know?

There’s a few little side stories which I think are interesting.

First, I got clued into Jonathan Lucas’s faith before I spoke to him… he has an Oswald Chambers quote on the homepage of his app. (see screenshot above) He grew up in a Christian home, in many ways he’s a typical student from any of our youth groups. All of that helps me view what he’s trying to do with Burnbook through a certain lens. He’s a newbie to the development world, he taught himself to code, he’s built a small but very interesting little company. All of these are endearing qualities to me. Maybe it shouldn’t– but it makes me a little less judgmental about the whole thing.

Second, Burnbook is a sapling in a forest of ephemeral, anonymous apps. I’m not saying it won’t make it but I’m not sure it should really be on anyone’s radar at this point, while gaining steam it’s also tiny. What I see in the app and the organization is still beta. But who knows? It could be the next big thing and Jonathan might be on next years Forbes list like Snapchat’s co-founder, Evan Speigel?

Acquisition seems far more likely than it becoming a big thing. (Whisper, Secret, After School, on and on) That’s a fine exit plan for a first time developer.

Third, I’m not sure the idea itself is realistic or helpful or developmentally possible. I’m on the fence about it.

The name Burn Book is a Mean Girls reference. It strikes me as weird that the app has an idea that good can come from anonymously sharing things on a school campus when the app is named after something that happened in Mean Girls.

It’s kind of an obvious clash of narratives. According to Wikipedia (the collector of all truth… ha!) the Burn Book is “a notebook filled with rumors, secrets, and gossip about the other girls and some teachers.

Geez, I wonder why this would make administrators nervous?

What do I do?

This is the easy part. 

Keep reminding the teenagers in your life that there is no such thing as anonymity, only perceived anonymity.

In the end, Burnbook is no different than all of the other ephemeral and/or anonymous apps out there. I like to tell teenagers, “The only one that thinks it’s anonymous is the users.

Burnbook does a better-than-average job at telling students that their posting are linked back to them via their phone number and that they will absolutely cooperate with law enforcment if you do something dumb, like post a bomb threat. [You click OK to several acknowledgements when you create an account with your phone number, there are reminders… maybe too often.]

But, in the heat of the moment, it’s easy for anyone to forget that that tiny bit of gossip or bragging about an indiscretion ultimately points directly back to you.

There’s no such thing as privacy online.

There’s not such thing as anonymity online.

There’s only the perception of anonymity or privacy.

Repeat that. Often.

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Kristen and the LA Marathon http://adammclane.com/2015/03/17/kristen-and-the-la-marathon/ http://adammclane.com/2015/03/17/kristen-and-the-la-marathon/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 15:17:45 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=16216 On Sunday, I had the chance to witness Kristen in run the LA Marathon. It. was. awesome.  The Road to LA After completing her 5th Half Marathon last spring she started thinking about LA. A marathon is intimidating. A 5k or half had become pretty manageable for her. One builds on the next, you know […]

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On Sunday, I had the chance to witness Kristen in run the LA Marathon.

It. was. awesome. 

The Road to LA

After completing her 5th Half Marathon last spring she started thinking about LA.

A marathon is intimidating. A 5k or half had become pretty manageable for her. One builds on the next, you know what to expect, and lots of people are happy there… just improve on the last one to better your time.

She spent a month or so toying with the idea. When you consider the length of time it takes to prepare for the marathon– in her case about 6 months of training– and all the things that have to go just right– a few runs during the week, a long run on the weekend, three kids, a husband who travels for work, nutrition, injuries, illnesses, and all the normal stuff– it’s a huge undertaking just to train.

The last several weeks has been a series of longer and longer training runs. We’d wake up early on a Saturday and I’d drop her off, track her for 3-4 hours using Find My Phone, drop off water every few miles, then pick her up at the end.

One week she circumnavigated most of San Diego Bay from the Coronado Bridge all the way down to Imperial Beach then up through Chula Vista and National City to San Diego.

Instagram Photo

Another Saturday we drove up to Oceanside and she ran all the way to Solana Beach along the Pacific Ocean

Instagram Photo

Marathon Day

In the week leading up to the race all of the talk was about the heat. An early Spring heat wave pushed temperatures to the mid-90s with 15% humidity on Saturday. That kind of heat and 27,000 runners going 26 miles just don’t mix. The last 24 hours of wondering about the impact of the heat were no good. You wanted to get it out of your mind, but dang– that’s too hot to run that far.

Kristen barely slept on Saturday night. Nerves and excitement and all of that. When my alarm went off at 3:45 am, she was already up and just about ready to go.

I dropped her off at her Santa Monica shuttle at 4:30 am and went back to bed. Our friend April crashed at the beach house, too… I took her over to the same shuttle stop at a pedestrian 6:30 am before heading back to the house one more time to check on our kids. When the race started at 7, I packed up my stuff– a cooler full of frozen towels, my camera, and my phone to meet her along the way.

11 Miles In

My first stopping point was about 11 miles into the race in the business district of Hollywood. My experience in LA is so limited (Despite living just 2 hours south, we avoid LA like new moms avoid sleep.)

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A legacy runner, someone who has competed in each of the past 30 years in the background and a high school student, part of a “Students Run LA” initiative, in the foreground. And some dude carrying a cross for 26 miles. This is the LA Marathon.

The first thing you need to know about the LA Marathon is it’s very diverse. Usually, the races Kristen has run in have been predominately 30-something year old white people. But that just wasn’t the case in LA. There were people of every walk of life, every age… middle schoolers and elderly… every ethnicity, and every cause.

But, more importantly, Kristen was in great spirits.

In LA, you get to run with all kinds of people... even guys who run in full Native American head dress for 26.2 miles.

In LA, you get to run with all kinds of people… even guys who run in full Native American head dress for 26.2 miles.

I asked her how she was doing… GREAT!

Instagram Photo

From here, I made my way south from the race course to start navigating through the side streets, grabbed some coffee at Starbucks, and made my way to West Hollywood to try to see her 45 minutes to an hour later.

15 Miles

When I found the race course at exactly the 15 mile marker, Kristen was still a mile or so down the course, so I took a while to stand there, people watch, and cheer folks on.

Here’s something awesome about big races. Everyone comes out to cheer people on, even if they don’t know a single runner in the race. They show up, they cheer, they encourage, and lots of people even bring things to give to runners out of their own pockets… fruit, water bottles, and er– hot dogs and pizza slices, too.

Marathons are full of interesting things... like men with hip length dreadlocks peaking at TV motorbikes.

Marathons are full of interesting things… like men with hip length dreadlocks peaking at TV motorbikes.

And when I finally spotted Kristen, she was still having a blast FIFTEEN MILES into her day.

Instagram Photo

22 Miles

From West Hollywood, I went back to our minivan and started to work my way across town more to get to the next spot on the course, 22 miles, in Brentwood– most famous for being the home of O.J. Simpson. To get there… I had to wind my way through neighborhoods like Beverly Hills… where my minivan made me feel like I was on the cast of Beverly Hillbillies.

From there parking was a real problem. I ended up finally finding a spot about 5 blocks from the race course. And in my rush, I forgot to take notes on where I parked… more on that later.

By this time the heat had kicked in. Racers were super fortunate that an unexpected, un-forcasted cloud base made it pretty pleasant most of the morning, high temperatures in the mid-80s. But that started to burn off late in the race. And it started to get really, really hot. 

In this last set of pictures I want to point out some of the lasting impressions I had on the marathon.

The marathon is a community effort. Tons of official and unofficial volunteers make it a GIANT 26 mile long celebration.

The marathon is a community effort. Tons of official and unofficial volunteers make it a GIANT 26 mile long celebration. The family to my right knew a couple runners, but their endless supply of orange slices and ice made hundreds of runners smile.

And don’t forget about causes. I’d say a quarter of the runners were running to raise money for something.

Team World Vision had more than 600 runners, raising money for clean water in Africa.

Team World Vision had more than 600 runners, raising money for clean water in Africa.

And– oh yeah– this smiling lady.

At 22 miles, Kristen had never run this far. Notice that she's smiling and having a great time while runners around her aren't quite looking so fabulous.

At 22 miles, Kristen had never run this far. Notice that she’s smiling and having a great time while runners around her aren’t quite looking so fabulous.

By this time, she was starting to get tired and hot, so she accepted my invitation to take 2 minutes off to cool down… bring on the frozen towels!

Instagram Photo

Having just come through a non-shady part of the race with 4 miles left in the blazing sun, 2 minutes of cooling off really seemed to help.

And at this point… it’s just a victory lap. Six months of training and it was abundantly clear she’d finish her first marathon!

26.2 Miles

After this pit stop I got a text from April, she was at the finish line and looking for a ride back to the beach house.

The problem was that I was 4 miles away… cell service was jacked up with so many people trying to post selfies… and I HAD NO IDEA WHERE I’D PARKED!!!

Seriously. I was so pumped to go see Kristen at 22 miles that I forgot where I parked. 15 minutes later I finally found my way and was back in the car.

From there, I got lucky and guessed a side street that went all the way to Santa Monica, Colorado Street. And I took that all the way to where I could see the finish line… but then got stuck in traffic. I picked up a very tired April and then we spent the next two hours trying to find Kristen and make our way back to Venice Beach.

Success!

Huge congratulations to Kristen. She made it look easy… if 26.2 miles can be easy.

And I don’t know what her next challenge will be. But I think it’ll involve a bike and swimming. 

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Saturday Soccer http://adammclane.com/2015/03/15/saturday-soccer/ http://adammclane.com/2015/03/15/saturday-soccer/#comments Sun, 15 Mar 2015 14:18:54 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=16204 This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

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John Oliver on Daylight Saving Time http://adammclane.com/2015/03/11/john-oliver-on-daylight-saving-time/ http://adammclane.com/2015/03/11/john-oliver-on-daylight-saving-time/#comments Wed, 11 Mar 2015 16:14:09 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=16201  

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Wearable Technology and the Internet of Everything http://adammclane.com/2015/03/10/wearable-technology-and-the-internet-of-everything/ http://adammclane.com/2015/03/10/wearable-technology-and-the-internet-of-everything/#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2015 16:54:23 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=16197 What’s Wrong with Apple’s Watch? Yesterday was the big keynote for Apple, announcing the sale date and prices for their new product, Apple Watch. I’m being more cautious about the watch than I was about the iPad. I thought the iPad was a joke but it turns out to have been a great idea. They created […]

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What’s Wrong with Apple’s Watch?

Yesterday was the big keynote for Apple, announcing the sale date and prices for their new product, Apple Watch.

I’m being more cautious about the watch than I was about the iPad. I thought the iPad was a joke but it turns out to have been a great idea. They created a desire where there was none and now everyone has one.

Personally, I just have zero desire to wear a watch. It wasn’t the technology I ditched, it was that I didn’t like having something on my arm all the time. Even now, when I dress up sometimes I’ll slip on my old fancy watch, and it just bugs me. I can’t imaging having something on my arm that might get hot because it’s connecting to things or having to remember to charge it.

But that’s not what worries me about the watch. I’m convinced that people will buy it, especially next year when they release a $99 version. (That’s their habit.) What concerns me about the watch, for Apple, is that they have a monster inventory issue that will eventually kill them.

Think about it like this: They used to have one phone, the iPhone. And in the United States it worked only with AT&T. Great… it’s easy to make and inventory something. This is the Henry Ford model of mass production. (A model that is driving the growth/success of Southwest Airlines, by the way.)  But the iPhone 6 has tons of models and options. You can chose different colors, different storage sizes, and different mobile carriers. It’s confusing for customers because they can’t just walk into a store and ask for the latest iPhone… now they have to make a lot of choices. And it is incredibly expensive to stock. Imagine being a retailer… to sell the iPhone 6 you have to stock tens of thousands of dollars in iPhone’s in all of your stores. Think about that from a global perspective and you’ll see that Apple must have BILLIONS of dollars in inventory for products that their own system is constantly making obsolete. (People only want the latest phones.) As an investor this huge shift in business model in the post-Steve Jobs Apple keeps me away from buying their stock. It’s popular. But boy is it risky. 

Into that comes the Apple Watch. There are 25 different models currently available, with nearly unlimited options.

Take the case of Best Buy

Best-Buy-follows-Yahoo-and-cancels-working-from-home-programImagine the risk as the buyer at Best Buy? You have 1050 stores and your customers are going to expect each store to have all 25 models on day one. So let’s say you place and order for all 25 models, starting with 50 units of each of the 25 models at an average wholesale cost of $175. Each store will be starting with $218,750 in inventory on the Apple Watch. That’s an initial order of $229 million to cover just U.S. stores. Sure, that’s the potential for $500 million or more in sales. But that’s a ton of risk for Best Buy because they just have to take a guess at which models will be most popular to customers.

For a retailer, even one as large as Best Buy, putting $229 million on the line for the potential of $500 million in sales is a lot of risk. In 2015, they’ll do about $40 billion in sales… a $229 million risk on just one of their products in their store is a big, big risk.

And that’s just one retailer. 

Now imagine you are Apple worldwide? You have to manufacture for orders to sell to thousands of retailers like Best Buy while also serving your own retail Apple Stores and your online customers.

All of that means that they are paying to build billions of dollars in Apple Watch’s various models without ever really knowing if customers are going to buy them. If it works, the world’s largest company just got bigger. If it doesn’t? You’ll have to account for that loss to stockholders.

In my opinion, even for a company that seems bulletproof like Apple, it’s a very risky step.

I’ve had Apple in my personal portfolio in the past. But right now? That’s too much risk for me as an investor.

The Internet of Everything

Maybe you’ve heard this term, the Internet of Everything? It’s kind of a buzz word and the unofficial theme of this years Consumer Electronics Show. Essentially, the trend is to get everything in your home to connect to the internet so that you can monitor it and control it with your phone. There are funny examples… like a device that let’s you know how many eggs you have in the fridge to more serious devices that control the thermostat or your home security system.

The Apple Watch is part of a movement of “wearables.” Companies like Garmin, FitBit, and JawBone have been making devices that people wear for fitness purposes or to talk on a cell phone. It’s big business and no one is blaming Apple for getting into it, even if they are a little late.

The simple reality is that our phone and these devices are starting to track all of our movements, our purchases, or plans, our calendars, and now that we’re connecting our homes and bodies to them… it’s getting to be a lot of data. You, as a user, are literally a network of everything.

How Much is Too Much?

Last week, I listened to a fascinating conversation on NPR about wearables and the data they collect called, “Sure you can track your health data, but can your doctor use it?

The quick answer is… “No.” Your doctor doesn’t want that data as they aren’t trained to use it, don’t know if it’s accurate, and if you are transmitting data to them they somehow become liable for that data legally.

But it brings up a larger, more important question: Where is all of this data going?

I don’t mean literally. Literally, the data is going to servers and it won’t be long before advertisers and marketers are able to purchase all sorts of data about you that you willingly share so that they can hit you with an ad on iTunes Radio just at the time of day you normally take a break and walk over to Starbucks. That’s literally what is happening.

But, more figuratively, what are you doing with that data yourself? And if we’ve gone from desktops to laptops to mobile phones/tablets to wearables… it won’t be much longer until we’re talking about Apple’s new device, an edible / embeddable device charged by the electrolytes in Gatorade that lives in your large intestine.

I mean, neuroscientists are already perfecting technology that can read your thoughts! It won’t be too much longer until the internet of everything is literally, the internet of everything. Won’t it be interesting to have your phone play a song embedded with an ad for your favorite taco shop because your stomach is starting to tell your brain that you’re hungry for lunch?

I don’t know. All of this is starting to feel like too much. And, as I’m out talking to teenagers around the country, they are getting tired of all of it. I am not saying that the technology won’t be there and I’m not saying that I don’t think people will adopt wearables or even ingestibles… I’m just saying there’s going to emerge some questions about how much data is too much data?

Is This Good or Bad?

I don’t know. But I do know the whole thing is interesting.

And as much as I can’t imagine why I’d need the Apple Watch. Apple has proven, over time, to speak my language and market things to me I don’t really need but eventually want.

Something tells me I’ll be standing in line for a watch sometime in the not-so-distant future.

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

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Clothes Don’t Make the Man http://adammclane.com/2015/03/09/clothes-dont-make-the-man/ http://adammclane.com/2015/03/09/clothes-dont-make-the-man/#comments Mon, 09 Mar 2015 16:03:46 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=16191 Peessshhheeeewwww. The air brakes release on the rental car shuttle at the Phoenix airport last Thursday and a packed bus starts to make its way to the terminal. Peessshhheeeewwww. I roll my head back and let out a deep, silent sigh. A great day of training youth workers and talking to people about the Student Justice […]

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Peessshhheeeewwww.

The air brakes release on the rental car shuttle at the Phoenix airport last Thursday and a packed bus starts to make its way to the terminal.

Peessshhheeeewwww.

I roll my head back and let out a deep, silent sigh. A great day of training youth workers and talking to people about the Student Justice Conference. In just a few hours I’ll be home.

Sandals versus Gators

Business travel is generally a solo activity. People make small talk on shuttles or over a meal at an airport bar. But, largely, I find it’s an insular activity often distracted by keeping up with email, texting, looking at your travel details on Tripit, and stuff like that.

As I tip my head back and let out my end-of-day sigh I noticed something: Everyone in the front of the bus  is in a suit. These are men in business suits, with leather bags, expensive watches, and nice shoes. The guy standing directly across from me is wearing high-end shoes made from alligator hide.

I look at my own feet. I’m wearing TevasMy “business suit” includes casual shorts and an untucked polo. I don’t have a $500 leather briefcase. I have a $50 backpack that a friend gave to me a couple years ago.

Instantly, I feel inferior.

Actually, I feel stupid.

These guys are serious business people. They probably look at me as some schmuck in town to watch Spring Training.

In that moment I felt…. illegitimate.

That Suit Doesn’t Mean Success

This little pity party lasted about a block. That’s when I remembered a couple quick facts.

  • They are dressed appropriately for the work they do, but so am I.
  • Based on national averages they bought those fancy clothes on credit. That watch? Credit card. The Lexus waiting for them at the airport back home? It’s financed. I might not have anything from Brooks Brothers. But everything I have is paid for. And I think credit is for suckers.
  • Based on the same math, many of them are poorer today than yesterday. I made a profit, facts are facts.
  • The men they are repping probably wears a suit, too. The man I’m repping didn’t ever own a suit and  wore sandals to work every day. (Solid Jesus Juke, right there. Adam takes a bow.)

The Scorecard

I don’t have to feel inferior. Despite how I felt in that moment I do, indeed– and to the amazement of my parents– have a “real job.”

In fact, I think I have something a lot better than a “real job.” I have a life’s work that I’m fully invested in, that’s fulfilling and fun and provides a decent living for my family.

And yes, there are moments where I look at big houses on Zillow or look at AutoTrader, and yes… I wish I had more and bigger and fancier and whatever.

I wish I had a boat and a vacation house and… and… and…

But I don’t have anything to complain about. I made my own choices about the kind of life I want to live and the calling I want to pursue. 

If I wanted that life it was there for me 15 years ago. I didn’t get kicked out. I quit.

I was there, in the land of suits and gators and big fancy meetings with big fancy people. And you know what? It wasn’t for me.

And just like I had this moment where I felt inferior to the group of men in their fancy business suits… there’s a high likelihood that one of those dudes was looking at me and thinking, “One day I’d like to live a life where I can wear sandals, shorts, a polo, and carry a backpack to work.” Why? Because we all want what we don’t have.

Satisfaction isn’t found in stuff or position or $700 gators.

Satisfaction comes from something far more simple.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

Exodus 20:17

Photo credit: Romano Martegani Shoes by Robert Sheie via Flickr (Creative Commons)

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Is that message private? (Infographic) http://adammclane.com/2015/03/03/is-that-message-private-infographic/ http://adammclane.com/2015/03/03/is-that-message-private-infographic/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 16:07:24 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=16187 Social Media Principle #2 There’s no such thing as internet privacy, only perceived internet privacy. Sources ACLU – U.S. Surveillance Law May Poorly Protect New Text Messaging Services Electronic Frontier Foundation – New Ninth Circuit Case Protects Text Message Privacy From Police and Employers

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

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Social Media Principle #2

There’s no such thing as internet privacy, only perceived internet privacy.

Sources

ACLU – U.S. Surveillance Law May Poorly Protect New Text Messaging Services

Electronic Frontier Foundation – New Ninth Circuit Case Protects Text Message Privacy From Police and Employers

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

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Bidin’ My Time http://adammclane.com/2015/03/02/bidin-my-time/ http://adammclane.com/2015/03/02/bidin-my-time/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 16:35:00 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=16181 Ever had one of those 3 o’clock in the morning moments of illumination? Well, this is one of those.  I’ve probably heard 20 sermons on John 15 about the vines and the branches. Maybe more. I’ve probably taught on it myself. There are whole books built on this, I’ve read a bunch of commentaries. It’s […]

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Ever had one of those 3 o’clock in the morning moments of illumination? Well, this is one of those. 

I’ve probably heard 20 sermons on John 15 about the vines and the branches. Maybe more. I’ve probably taught on it myself.

There are whole books built on this, I’ve read a bunch of commentaries. It’s one of those core things people refer to.

And, since I don’t know much about grapevines, I tend to get hung up on the idea. Even though we have grapes in our backyard I’ll be the first to admit that the whole illustration Jesus was using is a little lost on me.

A lot in understanding this passage hinges on the word “abide” and that’s not really a word we use in English very often. It’s not even a word I can define off  the top of my head.

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.

John 15:4

Other translations translate that word differently. The Message uses “Live in me.” The NIV, “Remain in me.” But most translations use this antiquated word, “Abide.

But I woke up with this old Gershwin song on my mind. (Don’t judge me, apparently I dream about show tunes.) If you want to trip out a bit, listen to this Pink Floyd cover of the same song.

The two, the song and the Bible verse, connected for the first time.

Abide… biding my time… Jesus is talking about chilling out on the vine— when the time is right— he’ll pick you. Your job is to chill on the vine until just the right time, when you’re ripe, at just the right time, you’ll get picked.

We live in a RIGHT NOW culture. We want to change the world RIGHT NOW. We want everything to improve RIGHT NOW. We want to see change in ourselves RIGHT NOW. We want to see our enemies cry RIGHT NOW.

Our culture says RIGHT NOW.

Being totally transparent, I’m anxious about sitting on the sidelines at church. It’s totally weird to go to church on a Sunday morning with absolutely nothing to do but sit. And as much as I like my role as a high school small group co-leader… we’re talking about a role pretty tiny in comparison to what I’ve done in the past.

There’s a giant gap between my capabilities in our local ministry and the involvement I can handle with my other roles in life. This is disorienting.

I feel like I’m sitting there, just chilling, because that’s exactly what it happening. It’s weird to know that you could have a different role but your actual role is best compared to darned-near-nothing.

And Jesus says… “Chill. When the time is right I’ll come back and pick you.” (John 15:4, Adam’s 3:00 AM translation)

Until then? Just bide your time on the vine. Get nourished. Push past cultural-induced anxiety. Hang out in the sun with your grape-y friends. And chill.

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

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