The Mix Tape, Vol. 40
The Mix Tape turns 40!
I’m taking the newsletter Corvette shopping this weekend. Until then, on with this week’s edition.
We hear lots of lamentations about the state of American hair, thanks to closed salons.
But what about our pets?
At our house, the dogs are slowly disappearing inside themselves, lost in a endless poof of fuzz and fur.
This is Finn. He applied the silver star himself, somehow.
Pretty sad when the dogs have to resort to their own beauty tactics.
Concerts will return, because we need them
Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters, summing up the state of live music:
Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has reduced today’s live music to unflattering little windows that look like doorbell security footage and sound like Neil Armstrong’s distorted transmissions from the moon, so stuttered and compressed. It’s enough to make Max Headroom seem lifelike.
Grohl writes about how it feels to be on stage—and why he will be onstage again:
And each night when I tell our lighting engineer to “Light ’em up!,” I do so because I need that room to shrink, and to join with you as one under the harsh, fluorescent glow.
In today’s world of fear and unease and social distancing, it's hard to imagine sharing experiences like these ever again. I don’t know when it will be safe to return to singing arm in arm at the top of our lungs, hearts racing, bodies moving, souls bursting with life. But I do know that we will do it again, because we have to.
Can’t wait to get back to the Florida Amphitheatre. Eventually.
COVID-19 accelerates change, rather than creating it
A favorite COVID-19 theory:
The virus isn’t pushing society in new directions. Instead, it’s rapidly accelerating trends that were already underway.
This includes the way we shop, hastening the shift to online purchases:
And Amazon isn’t reaping all the rewards.
Target and Walmart are getting close to matching Amazon’s logistics and delivery prowess—no small feat—and saw explosive growth during the quarantine:
Amazon will squeak by, though. Its online revenues still swamp Target and Walmart combined.
The traditional big-box retailers now match Amazon’s package delivery experience, and their stores are still brand and experience assets Amazon cannot match.
Well, unless Amazon moves in to JC Penney’s:
“There is a dialogue and I’m told it has a lot to do with Amazon eager to expand its apparel business — for sure,” the source told the news outlet. The source also suggested that Amazon has been considering a move into physical retail for some time, where locations could be transformed into “a new tech driven retail model.”
Retail is fascinating, and changing at light speed.
And then there’s air travel—which is mostly grounded.
A friend (thanks Tony!) sent along this TSA page showing daily checkpoint counts vs. same day the prior year.
And the numbers in early April have an even larger variance.
What will “normal” air travel will look like after COVID-19?
Who knows, but I don’t believe business travel will ever return to its previous levels.
Conducting a meeting online—one that would otherwise require flights and hotels and days out of the office—offer gargantuan improvements in productivity and travel costs.
Isn’t it ironic (as Alanis would say): while we’ve all felt stagnant the past couple of months, some business trends took off like a rocket.
An easy way to greatly improve your smartphone security
Publix, after years of screwing around with a proprietary payment service it couldn’t get right, finally enabled Apple Pay in its stores, thanks to the pandemic.
Not great: using iPhone’s Apple Pay with FaceID, while wearing a mask.
The usually reliable FaceID now trips up, asking “who was that masked man—or woman?”
So we’re becoming reacquainted with our phone passcodes. And personally, my passcode is too short and simple to really be secure.
You’re probably in the same boat.
The good news is you can massively improve the security of your phone by using an alpha-numeric passcode:
On average, a 4-digit passcode would take 7 minutes to guess (14 minutes at the maximum, if the last possible combination were the last to be guessed). A 6-digit passcode — the current default — would take on average 11 hours to crack, 22 hours tops.
A 6-character alphanumeric passphrase — A-Z, a-z, 0-9 — would take on average 72 years to guess. That’s just 6 characters. And that’s if it only contains letters and numbers, no punctuation characters or spaces
Criminals (and the FBI, for that matter) have automated guessing software that rapidly moves through passcode options until the phone is unlocked. Making a small change tilts the odds strongly in your favor that your code will never be cracked.
P.S.: iOS 13.5, out now, makes it more convenient to enter a passcode when you’re wearing a mask:
On previous versions of iOS, if you were wearing a face mask and tried to use Face ID to access your phone, you’d have to wait for a couple seconds while your iPhone attempted to identify your face before it would let you enter a passcode.
In iOS 13.5, though, if you swipe up once from the bottom of the screen while you’re wearing a mask, you’ll see the option to enter your passcode right away.
The best solution: bring TouchID back as a complement to FaceID.
And this just might happen next year, with “underscreen” functionality that can read prints off fingers touching any part of the screen.
The psychology of MJ
Starved for sports, I felt a twinge of disappointment when ESPN’s ten-part series “The Last Dance,” about Michael Jordan, came to an end.
It was fun and nostalgic, if overly slanted in Jordan’s favor. No surprise there.
Jordan’s psychology—the way he kept himself motivated—was fascinating. He recharged using pain avoidance—and revenge—far more than aspiration.
Jordan used slights from others—real, perceived, and completely made up—to keep his edge and to keep his foot on his opponents’ collective throats.
The formation of the massive chip on Jordan’s shoulder started in high school. As the legends goes, Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team:
“On the day he didn't make the varsity basketball team as a sophomore, he stood in the school gymnasium that would one day bear his name, and he scrolled down one of two lists hung on the door, and when he didn't see his name but did see the name of his classmate Leroy Smith, he rushed home in a rage.”
It’s a story Jordan has told many times himself, including at his Hall of Fame acceptance speech.
Just one problem: the story is a lie.
Turns out, he wasn't really cut at all. No, he didn't make the team. But according to a famous Sports Illustrated story, that's because the coach recognized his immense talent and put him on junior varsity, where he'd get more minutes a game.
Jordan soared so high, but was propelled by the fear of failure and the fear of judgement.
When he was low on motivational fuel, he just made stuff up.
As marketers know, the fear of failure—or the fear of loss—is a stronger psychological motivator than the feeling of reward. Humans want to avoid a negative feeling more than they want to attain a positive one.
Jordan knew best how to master his own psychology, pushing himself farther than anything else in his reality could.
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