August 14, 2018

The Week in BIG Ideas Volume 2

 

By Beverley Hammond
Founder & CEO

 

In a week where:

Actual drone assassins made their debut in Venezuela;

Elon Musk may have catalyzed a total disruption of corporate governance (and SEC) rules using Twitter to release market moving information about Tesla in the same way the President does to release market moving public policy, and;

The US government announced a Space Force and launched a national contest to brand the new force. **eye roll**

Note for anyone who has been living under a moon rock: Space Force is an elite group of American interstellar war fighters that will make up the sixth arm of the United States Military.

I am struggling with what constitutes the kind of BIG idea that I should tackle here.

That’s all pretty BIG stuff.  But should BIG in the context of this blog necessarily be good or ‘for good’? Does it qualify if it’s possibly illegal, obviously bad? It’s only Volume Two and The Week in BIG Ideas is already experiencing an existential crisis. Perhaps, given the week that was, it is more an “extraterrestrial crisis.”

For starters, I’ve always imagined the Flat Earth Society as a fantastic group of conspiracy theorists led by a skinny, villainous character dreamed up by the screenwriter on a Dwayne Johnson movie. Then, of course, there are those great Flat Earth Society tee shirts and coffee mugs that admittedly I believed were just left over ‘80s swag from Thomas Dolby’s fan club. Suffice it to say, in my naïveté, The Flat Earth Society has always been the stuff of fiction.  I guess that’s kind of like…well…a Space Force.  Just as Space Force is real (or, sort of real), The Flat Earth Society isn’t fictional at all.  And those folks have had a busy week.

It goes without saying that anybody who thinks we live on a frisbee would have a hard time supporting the Pentagon’s new multi-billion-dollar initiative. 

But that wasn't even their biggest battle in the last few days.

 

BIG Idea #1: First to Touch the Sun, Wins   

 

“Following the light of the sun, we left the old world.” - Christopher Columbus

A lot of people missed this one, which was relegated to a post script of the much-hyped Space Force announcement. Shocking really, since there can be no question that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launch of the fastest object ever made, designed to unlock the mysteries of the solar system is a really, really BIG idea, and exciting, even for those of us who struggle to differentiate the Little Dipper on a clear night.

In the words of NASA Ground Control, the Parker Solar Probe is a “daring mission” to “shed light on the mysteries of our closest star." After a false start on Saturday, the probe successfully lifted off early Sunday morning from Cape Canaveral, on one of the world's most powerful rockets because according to the designer of the mission trajectory, "the launch energy to reach the Sun is 55 times that required to get to Mars.”

In about six years, the Parker Probe will orbit less than four million miles from the sun's surface. Sure, four million seems like a long way, but in ‘layman’s terms’, apparently it is akin to the probe sitting on the four-yard line of a football field with the sun in the end zone.

Wow! No wonder it is considered by scientists to be “the coolest, hottest mission under the sun.”

What one might wonder however, is why – only two days before the scheduled launch of this unprecedented American space program [Just a refresher – the Parker Probe is the fastest object ever made and it’s going to the SUN] - the Trump administration chose topublicly dangle the shiny bobble of a not-yet-created Space Force, stealing the airwaves, a lot of column inches and commentator chatter from NASA’s extraordinary feat?   In our business that is called “stepping on your message”.    Instead of celebrating this major space milestone, why would the President choose this moment to tout his own? Perhaps that's a rhetorical question.  Because, Trump.

 

BIG Idea #2: The World According to Google

 

Notwithstanding Space Force and the Parker Solar Probe, perhaps the biggest clash for the Flat Earthers this week was the toe-to-toe standoff, not with NASA or the Pentagon but with Google.

Yup, Google - around the introduction of Google 3D Globe mode for all desktop Google Maps. 

With 3D Globe Mode, when you zoom out on Google Maps on your desktop, instead of viewing a flat “Mercator Projection” map of the earth, you will get the view of the earth from space.  A cylindrical ball.  This would seem obvious to all but the “pancake planet people” right?  But it is actually a big deal, making Google the first to implement this dramatic change and setting the company apart from Apple (and the Flat Earth Society, clearly) in the race to own the worldwide education market.

When announcing the modification, Google tweeted “With 3D Globe Mode on Google Maps desktop, Greenland’s projection is no longer the size of Africa”, citing a terrific example of the disproportion created by a flat map, a symptom of the stretching that occurs when you make something flat, that isn’t.  In reality Africa is 14 times larger than Greenland but until now they looked the same size.

So now that we know Google really does make the world go ‘round, it should not come as a surprise that even if you have turned off the Location History on your mobile phone, Google still knows where you are – whether you are in Greenland, Africa or anywhere in between.

 

BIG Idea #3:  Paparazzi the Question

 

Zooming back in, there is a new craze for those taking a different kind of giant leap. [That's a moon walk joke]

Let me take you back to when my husband proposed marriage to me on the banks of the Arno River overlooking the city of Florence Italy.  It was magical: the picturesque setting and breathtaking view; the ring; our happiness, all captured forever in photographs…that someone else got to enjoy, since we left the camera in the taxi on the way back to our hotel.

Today, in the age of selfies, Instagram and Snap, it’s crucially important that EVERY moment is photographed for the world and our social networks to witness and envy.

With weddings, of course, photos are a given.  Not a clinking champagne flute nor a ‘dad dance’ escapes the camera lens.  But the proposal, because it is traditionally a ‘surprise’, has been harder to capture.  Not anymore.

Under the category of “damn, I wish I had thought of that”, now you can hire a cameraman to hide in the bush or behind the fence or in the restaurant to capture this most important moment, like Paparazzi.  Literally. Proposal Paparazzi.

This new breed of engagement planners will help you choreograph everything about the big moment and then plant the photographers to record all of it, unbeknownst to the recipient.

There are some obvious risks here and perhaps one caution for those who want that moment perfectly captured in a beautiful image for all to see – to cite the lyrics of a well-known Carrie Underwood song, “no you can’t cry pretty”.

 

So ends a pretty stellar week in BIG ideas [Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one].  Please share any ideas you would like included here with me at bev@republicstory.com, and until next week,

 

Think BIG!

 

BH