Signs of the Times - December 2013 - (Page 16)

TECHNOLOGY UPDATE Darek Johnson is ST's Senior Technology Editor/Analyst. Email him at By Darek Johnson FOMO What did he say? Forbes' website recently announced 10 cautions that everyone should know. Expectedly, such promises trigger our fear-of-missing-out switch, so, we take action. To gain Forbes' pearls of wisdom, you must click through 10 web pages, which permits the site's unapologetic marketers to present even more advertising. Forbes' cautions? The 10 web pages reveal words businesspeople should never say. The first word was "Um." Um? You shouldn't say ummm? Damn. I say it all the time. "Ummm." But wait - I'm a writer, not a business guy, so it's okay. The second word was "Can't." I zapped that damn website. We Youknow the survivalminutes all rule of three: can't live three without air, three days without water and thirty days without food. The life-extension experts, however, may have missed one: life without information. In the extreme, it's based upon, and called, the "fear of missing out," meaning the fear of not knowing, missing some news or, worse, not being included. Some observers say it can trigger within three seconds - "What did she say?" In text lingo, it's written as "FOMO." An over-zealous FOMO person isn't necessarily dangerous, but the affliction can cause catastrophic results in both business and creative endeavors, because, such an attitude can figuratively lead to jumping off a cliff. Ask the guy who designed the 2013 Jeep Cherokee, the one with the streamlined nose that looks like a speeding housecat. A surprisingly polite Telegraph. com storywriter said the Cherokee design challenges conventional notions of beauty. Truth is, to be super modern, the design group went too far. FOMO-design inspirations abound. For example, on page one of another 10-page web outing, said the 2013 Toyota Prius V rates first in 2013 vehicle unattractiveness. It features a Star Wars retro look. Forbes said the hybrid is successful despite its looks, not because of them. Because of FOMO, designers often rush ahead or, worse, copy what appears trendy, so car, sign, billboard, graphic and vehicle-wrap designers sometimes fall off a design cliff; they disappointingly add the "latest" look. Wikipedia, the contemporary world's source of all knowledge, says FOMO is a form of social anxiety. It's a compulsive concern for those who fear missing "an opportunity for social interaction, a novel experience, profitable investment or other satisfying event." One researcher said FOMO was most common in those with unsatisfied psychological needs. Lasting effects Commonly, the FOMO condition is associated with social networks, because, the experts say, they provide status-comparison opportunities. One writer said social media is gasoline on FOMO's fire. It can have good, bad, ugly and long-lasting effects. Ask JCPenney. That firm's 2012 modernization plan, fueled by prime stockholder William Ackman's hiring and supporting the ideas of ex-Apple executive Ron Johnson, backfired. Ackman owns Pershing Square Capital Management, which then owned 18% of J.C. Penney. FOMO-inspired Johnson remodeled JCPenney. He renamed it "JCP" and redesigned the corporate image to meet super-modern standards. For example, he removed the 16 SIGNS OF THE TIMES / DECEMBER 2013 / discount sales racks and created separate brand venues. If you wanted jeans, you visited several different realms, just like the uptown, youth-market stores. said JCP's strategy was unpopular. It said Johnson eliminated JCPenney's favored brands and basic apparel. The site said these actions alienated the retailer's older customers. said JCP's sales collapsed, and company shares tumbled 50%. It lost $427 million in the 4th quarter of 2012. JCPenney (no longer JCP) fired Johnson and, in 2013, ran a series of apology ads on national TV and and YouTube. The ad text said, "It's no secret, JCPenney changed. Some changes you liked, and some you didn't. But, what matters with mistakes is what we learn." The ad ended by asking customers to come back. It said, "We heard you; now we'd love to see you." JCPenney also borrowed $1.75 billion from Goldman Sachs Group, for working capital. Ackman sold his shares and, following this, The New York Times said, George Soros bought 9% of JCPenney. Today, JCPenney is breathing, but barely. It's hovering under rule four, FOMO, of the survival rules of three. No FOMO Oppositely, on November 4, bbc. com's business news reported a third-quarter, 26% profit jump for Samsung Electronics. The BBC said the firm's success was due to its offering both the top- and lowerend smartphones, which gave it an edge over Apple, which makes only top-end phones. Lower-end smartphones? No FOMO there. How do business people and creatives avoid the FOMO syndrome? The first step is to become more

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - December 2013

Signs of the Times - December 2013
ST Update
Technology Update
Vinyl Apps
Strictly Electric
LED Update
Software Update
Technology Review - Universal Laser’s ILS9.75 and ILS12.75 platform lasers
Technology Review - CET Color’s 500K X-Press flatbed, UV-cure printer
New Products
The Hands Have It
Digital Print Update
The First Neon Sign in America
The USSC Design Awards
Advertising index
Editorially speaking

Signs of the Times - December 2013