I recently revisited The Wright Brothers, the biography of Orville and Wilbur trying to become the first humans to crack powered-flight.
Prior to their flight experiments, the Wright brothers opened a bike shop in 1893 to capitalize on the growing trend of cycling in America.
And bikes becoming popular is a good thing, right?
“The bicycle was proclaimed a boon to all mankind, a thing of beauty, good for the spirits, good for health and vitality, indeed one’s whole outlook on life.”
But of course, it doesn’t matter what anybody does, people are going to complain or “concern-troll” whatever happens to be popular:
“Voices were raised in protest. Bicycles were proclaimed morally hazardous. Until now children and youth were unable to stray very far from home on foot. Now, one magazine warned, fifteen minutes could put them miles away.
Because of bicycles, it was said, young people were not spending the time they should with books, and more seriously that suburban and country tours on bicycles were “not infrequently accompanied by seductions.”
No matter how moral our cause, nor how positive our products or services might be, somebody somewhere will be probably a stick in the mud about it.
Because humans are the worst.
Might as well just do the thing.
Steve Nerds Out: Blatant Product Placement That Actually Inspires.
I’ve recently watched three origin story movies about specific products and consumerism, and they were all surprisingly entertaining:
- Air (Amazon Prime): The story of the employees at Nike, then a running shoe company (a distant 3rd to Converse and Adidas in the basketball market), and their risky moves to acquire Michael Jordan as a client. Ben Affleck does a great job as the pseudo-sen master Phil Knight. Plus, it’s Affleck and Damon back together.
- Blackberry (rental): The rise and fall of Blackberry. This serves as both an entertaining and enjoyable origin story (think The Social Network), and also a cautionary tale about corporate hubris. Glen Howerton of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia fame does an amazing job as Blackberry’s unhinged CEO, Jim Balsillie.
- Flamin’ Hot (Disney+): A fun, lighthearted origin story of Richard Montañez, the janitor at Frito-Lay who created the famous Flamin’ Hot flavor (inspired by his Mexican heritage), which helps save the company during the recession of the early 90s. This is the most light-hearted of the three, and really enjoyable.
Question of the Week:
Is there something you’re not doing because you’re worried about how others will react?
As Seth Godin says, “Be judged, or be ignored.”
Those are the only two options.
PS: “The Watch” (a Ringer podcast) just concluded their 4-part discussion/lovefest of season 2 of The Bear. If you watched the show and need to nerd out about it, this is a great listen.