Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Movie Comparison: Life of Pi & Jobs

I have recently had the opportunity to watch and enjoy two very similar yet completely different movies. The Life of Pi starring Suraz Sharma and Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher.
The two plot summaries by IMDB are as follows:

Life of Pi (2012)

In Canada, a writer visits the Indian storyteller Pi Patel and asks him to tell his life story. Pi tells the story of his childhood in Pondicherry, India, and the origin of his nickname. One day, his father, a zoo owner, explains that the municipality is no longer supporting the zoo and he has hence decided to move to Canada, where the animals the family owns would also be sold. They board on a Japanese cargo ship with the animals and out of the blue, there is a storm, followed by a shipwrecking. Pi survives in a lifeboat with a zebra, an orangutan, a hyena and a male Bengal tiger nicknamed Richard Parker. They are adrift in the Pacific Ocean, with aggressive hyena and Rickard Parker getting hungry. Pi needs to find a way to survive.

Jobs (2013)

While living with his adoptive parents, Jobs is working for 'Atari'. He then, develops a partnership with his friend Steve Wozniak when he sees that Wozniak has built a personal computer (the Apple I). They name their new company 'Apple Computer' and start building Apple I computers. After many failed attempts by Jobs to gain venture capital, Mike Markkula invests in the company which allows them to move forward.

The autobiographical hollywood versions of both mens lives are in stark and vivid contrast and yet parallel messages emerge. The focus on the lives of two young men and their survival in their extreme environments is similar. The extreme environments are capitalism and the pacific ocean. Both outmaneuver the environments with pain, loss and suffering. The two protagonists experience failure and setback but are undaunted in their drive and ambition to succeed. Unlike most people Pi and Jobs are spurred on by their antagonists. They both have an eat or be eaten mindset. Pi literally and Jobs figuratively. They both ultimately succeed with vision, clarity and tenacity. 

While most of us know the story of Steve Jobs and have benefited physically by Apple and all its products, I suggest you watch The Life of Pi and benefit spiritually. I wear an amulet daily that says: I am not afraid I was born to do this. An oft quote from Joan of Arc. I believe after watching these movies that Steve Jobs and PI were not afraid and somehow knew they were born to do what they did.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Silence is Deafening

If you had a chance to just sit for 30 minutes without technology, reading material, friends or family what do you think would happen? I had an opportunity to do this the day before Thanksgiving. At the busiest time of the year I gave myself a 30-minute time out that I thought would be a much-needed respite. I had visions of calm and peace and a Zen like ideal half hour. You know like the Lotus Position yoga pose you see on a scenic mountaintop. Being still seemed like heaven on earth. A gift of 30 minutes of sweet solitude and silence.

Then the ideal and the real collided.  I set my timer and sat on the edge of my bed. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath and waited for the blessed serenity I had envisioned. Then the unthinkable happened. My mind started racing! My mind could not stop thinking of all the upcoming tasks. The thoughts were slow at first and then became rapid fire. Thoughts of the next days Thanksgiving dinner and preparations, Christmas shopping, Christmas decorating, homework, Church, our show and housecleaning. I tried to focus on nothingness to get the noise out of my head. While I wasn’t speaking, listening or doing anything the sounds in my head could not be turned off. I started yelling in my head to myself to stop. It disobeyed the command and became louder. The to- do list in my head became overwhelming. I started just checking the boxes on an imaginary paper in my mind. It was anything but peace and tranquility. I reasoned with myself, surely in 30 minutes it would slow down or I would get to the end of my mental task list. While I was thinking this the timer went off. I was frazzled and not one bit calm and rested. My 30 minute mountain top silent Zen experience became a loud unrestful lesson in futility. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Say Cheese!

I've grown quite fond of my usual social media sites. Each have a different purpose & people group with their own world views & cultures. Here they are in order of importance: Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn & Google +.  In the past few months however I have noticed something interesting. I find myself gravitating towards the stunning visuals of Pinterest & the brief pictorials of Instagram.

While I enjoy microblogging I prefer taking photos and uploading them to my iPhone and letting friends, family & loved ones share in the experience. A great pic and an appropriate hashtag on Instagram & I am off to the races. I have linked my Instagram account to my Twitter and Facebook account so I am still sharing it on those sites, but my go to ap has shifted to Instagram., Instagram is the name of an online photo sharing social Web service that lets you share your life with friends through a series of pictures captured with a mobile device. I love the simplicity of Instagram. I don’t have to think of something to say just something to show. There is a lot of beauty in the world and I notice it more then I want to talk about it. Instagram affords me that.

But late at night when I cannot sleep, I find the visuals and creativity of Pinterest to be fluid and soothing. Pinterest is a web and mobile application company that offers a visual discovery, collection, sharing, and storage tool. Users create and share the collections of visual bookmarks (boards). Boards are created through a user selecting an item, page, website, etc. and pinning it to an existing or newly created board.

Pinterest connects me with the creative world and I am inspired by how talented and brilliant people are. The built in filing system lets me find the things I have pinned and I can revisit them simply and intuitively because I get to create & label them. I even have a board on Pinterest labeled: Brilliant

Each social media site is a platform & comes with a perception these are my personal perceptions of the sites I use. 

Instagram:  Photo Journal
Twitter:       News & Megaphone
Pinterest:    Collective Creative Brain
Facebook:   Neighborhood & Family Diary
LinkedIn:    Executive Happy Hour
Google +:   Exclusive Inclusive Circles 

In each site I am still Jayne but I am aware of my personality in the sites and post accordingly. I see a not to distant future for me, where everything is connected to one site, that site is Pinterest. Pinterest is consumer driven and creative. It is not as cluttered with sales and marketing mavens as the other sites are. Maintaining several sites takes hours of time. If they all flowed out of one that would make life simpler for me. I still believe in the old adage that “a picture is worth a thousand words” and with Twitter I can only use 140 characters. True I can add a photo, but it is a different vibe & feel. I prefer to be a part of a Collective Creative Brain site. If all the above mentioned sites started to charge me for use. I would choose Pinterest. 

Ten years from now there may be a new social media site that I find delight in, but I believe for me, as long as we have mobile devices there will always be a photo involved. Say Cheese!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Netflix from Steam to Stream

I have a vague recollection at being mad at Netflix. It was 2011 and they had the gall to change the way I had been watching movies for years! You see I was a loyal Netflix subscriber. I would exchange DVD's though the mail on a regular basis. I would select a movie watch it when it arrived and return it for my next selection. Imagine my shock when they increased their pricing and added streamlining at an additional fee. I was steaming about the price I would have to pay for streaming! I was not the only one. Netflix customers took to the Internet and social media and voiced their disdain loudly and often. So much so their stock went from 299.00 a share to 53.00 a share. It became a public relations nightmare. It was a company and customer crisis.  

When the company issued an apology I was unmoved. I boycotted Netflix for a year. I however grew uneasy not being able to watch movies from home in the way I had grown accustom to. I capitulated and signed up for the more expensive service. Perhaps I had been unfair. After all the company was changing with the times and they have an overhead and employees to pay. Maybe I should have thought about how much it cost to physically mail DVD’s back and forth. The one thing I had not considered was I have grown very attached to my smart phone and I can now watch anything from anywhere. I also no longer watch live television as I DVR most of my shows. I also now bingewatch shows. Currently I am hooked on "Once Upon A Time." I can't remember the last time I actually have watched a DVD!

I believe many have felt the same way. "Netflix increased at the fastest rate among the Top 100 measured brands over the last two years (2012 to 2014)  Netflix went from zero to hero in just a couple of years. They did it by being patient and winning back support by providing excellent programming. Perhaps in hindsight they now value that people have a voice and presence on social media that cannot be denied.