Author Archives: Stephen Pickering

Individual Brands are the Key Story in Media

The whole “streaming wars” story is constantly debated. Netflix is my biggest holding and up to about three months ago, I thought it was going to take over the world! I even think there was a Barry Diller quote from that Allen & Co. conference where he said Netflix had already won.

But then BAM! Overnight everything changes, and I sorely wish I’d sold my $NFLX at 350.

Now suddenly everyone is producing good content and even the Death Star has seen the light and has a very good product in ATT TV. When I use ATT TV on my iPad it feels just like the Netflix experience (I don’t have to constantly re-login with my cable credentials for instance) and the interface looks and feels exactly like Netflix except with the different channels being like the different movies.

Then I see something like this on Twitter:

Look I think Disney and Netflix are going to have great brands and businesses for years to come. Who else could write the check for “The Irishman” and or the rights to College and Professional broadcasts.

But aren’t individual brands as in the case of Bill Simmons above in sports “broadcasting” the biggest, most exciting thing happening in media? Someone on the other side of the media spectrum is Bob Lefsetz in music. People like this are the top, but right behind them are hundreds of others, and behind that are thousands and so on.

So, from an investment perspective how does one capitalize on this trend. Well, for one, Bill’s twitter post prompted this blogpost. So Social Media obviously. I have Twitter and Facebook. But should definitely consider Snapchat and if only TikTok weren’t a Chinese company! Even Cramer said a while back when SNAP was re-awakening from the dead that there were “just not enough of them” meaning to me that the different social media channels, Twitter, FB, Insta, Snap, Youtube, Tiktok are simply what cable channels were in 1980.

Also if this is about the personal brand then it’s hard to go wrong with the web hosting companies like Godaddy, Wix, Weebly, Squarespace. The growth of money flows into these entities over the coming years should be enormous. Etsy as well.

Creativity

Creativity brings the true self to the surface. It evokes the true self. I think that might be the symbology of the Al-addin’s magical genie. Not only is he stuck in a bottle for some thousand years, but then the bottle is in a deep underground cave. I need to go back and read it again, but it would be interesting to see what in Aladdin’s character evoked the adventure itself, and what about his character itself we could learn from to bring at least metaphorically speaking that same kind of magic into our own lives.
I remember Aladdin being pretty obstreperous but not in a greedy entitled kind of way. He had enough innocence and curiosity in him to let the adventure happen, to let it unfold. One can have too much cunning (and maybe that’s simply called cynicism) where you just don’t trust anyone enough, especially a stranger, to ever let any adventure happen. On the other hand, you can be such a fool that anything you attract out of the ordinary is at best going to be simply more foolishness. “The adventure you get is the one of that you are ready for,” Joseph Campbell. And that readiness has to do with your psychological character, a character made it seems of this perfect balance of “striving for” and “acceptance with.” Every hero seems to have that little magical balance in their character.

The Message of Myth

The message of myth is this:
You as you know yourself are not the final term of your own being. 

The great way has no gate.
There are a thousand pathways to it.
He who crosses the threshold
walks the universe alone. 

Wu Wei

Art frees the spirit, but imprisons the psyche. Philosophy frees the psyche, but imprisons the spirit. 

What you want seems to come from a complete acceptance of what you don’t want. The story of “Gawain and Dame Ragnell” seems to exemplify that point to the utter bone. Gawain goes further than anyone would and then even a step further with no expectation and then it’s that utter, utter, utter acceptance, which I don’t how any human being can evoke in himself at will, that completely unlocks the door of bliss.

Attempting an Explication of the Second Coming by W.B. Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre   

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere   

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst   

Are full of passionate intensity.



Surely some revelation is at hand;

Surely the Second Coming is at hand.   

The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out   

When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi

Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert   

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,   

A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,   

Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it   

Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.   

The darkness drops again; but now I know   

That twenty centuries of stony sleep

Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,   

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,   

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Some rough beast, a gaze as blank and pitiless as the sun is slouching towards Bethlehem to be born. Maybe the biggest question of this poem is why is the thing slouching? It’s a huge monster with a lion body. We think of lion bodies as being fierce, muscular, solar king-like, even devine in their beautiful symmetry (“What immortal hand or eye/ dare frame thy fearful symmetry?”) not slouchy! Lions are proud. People who slouch are ashamed and or dejected with being. For someone about to become Jesus 2.0, the next savior of the world, he’s not too excited about taking the job, that’s for sure!

And why go back to the original place? London, Paris, or New York would seem a more appropriate place for a new savior of this day and age to be born. With going back to the Levant, I sense its a metaphor that the ideals of the pagan West, namely that of the ideal of the individual, which is what the sense of the Grail romances, the pagan myths and fairy-tales, the Renaissance, and the Enlightenment are all about, have now been thoroughly overthrown, for the ideals of the Levant which are that of the group. If you’ve ever experienced a mob mentality break out, you definitely have seen gazes that are blank, pitiless, and soulless. That’s the equivalent of falling to all three temptations of the Buddha (Lust, Fear, Social Duty) in one fell swoop.

But why use “the Sun” as a simile? That definitely catches your attention. The sun is usually a metaphor and simile used for bright and hopeful sentiments. But not if your walking across the desert, right? Also, if you think of the sun only in its scientific definition, if you leave out the romance, mythological dimension of life, and only understand it as a function of physics, groveling as it were before shear fact, then the sun is indeed dead, a ruthless fireball fusing hydrogen into helium, that cares not a wit about life.

Some part of us knows something is wrong, but….

We are vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle.

Say what? Here’s my shot: A “rocking” cradle suggests instability, an unknowingness in an instinctual way, of whose side the MOTHER is on. Is she Athena or Circe? Does she want to kill us or for us to be the savior of the universe? Or in a way, as only Greek Mythology can intimate, be both? Or in another sense, the ground of our own being, of life’s being. Is it an inherently good thing, evil thing, or indifferent? I.e. “Something that should not have been,” as Schopenhauer suggests. Is nature, this thing that our consciousness rests on, inherently nasty, disgusting, and evil? If one has that sense, you will certainly be vexed to nightmare all the way back to birth.

This is when it gets exciting, the adventure. Because this is the entire sense of the burning point what is uniquely you that wants, that must be expressed, that has never been expressed before. Becoming imminent, and yet in a gesture to the East, most likely spontaneously, as the eminence of transcendence, completely without ego.