Since Sir Winston Churchill was half-American (technically, half-Brooklyn), had American Revolutionary heritage, and honorary U.S. citizenship was bestowed upon him, it doesn’t feel all that odd to call him a Great American. Or to quote him him on our Independence Day. Especially when you think about so much of what he stood for and said.
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
“The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”
“The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.”
“It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”
“The whole history of the world is summed up in the fact that, when nations are strong, they are not always just, and when they wish to be just, they are no longer strong.”
“You can always count on Americans to do the right thing—after [we’ve] tried everything else.”
I’m just finishing I Want My MTV, an oral history of the how music television was born and I’m struck by the parallels with These Guys Have All The Fun, last year’s brilliant oral history of ESPN.
Each book is two-in-one — fascinating business case studies and riveting (occasionally salacious) back stories of how these forces came to revolutionize the way we consume music and sports not just in the United States, but around the world.
If you’re interested in how businesses can dominate and reinvent culture, think about reading both — and, notwithstanding their length, think about doing so back-to-back.
Change can happen to you. Or you can make the change.
In the 1950s it cost $2 million to store a megabyte of data. Now, it costs one penny.
In 2002, Netflix was worth $160 million and Blockbuster was worth $4.5 billion. Today, Blockbuster is essentially worthless and Netflix is valued at $4.5 billion.
In 1997, Apple was worth $1.65 billion and Sony was worth $34 billion. Today, Apple is worth $554 billion and Sony’s value has dropped to $16 billion.
I’ve been wearing a Nike Fuel Band for two weeks and I’m hooked.
The “Fuel” gauge may be imperfect - as are the calorie and step counters — but they’re close enough proxies to tell me two important things:
1. There’s a reason I eat more on the weekends — my kids help me burn on average 50% more energy than I do during the week; and,
2. I need to move more — a lot more — when I’m in the office.
With reports that prolonged sitting is as bad for your heart as smoking cigarettes, that’s an important reminder. As the technology evolves and the quantified self comes into clearer view, it’s easy to see how these devices will contribute to better health. In the meantime, the elegant design plus the nudge to pace while on calls are more than enough to keep the black band on my wrist.