Signs of the Times - December 2013 - (Page 16)
Darek Johnson is ST's Senior Technology Editor/Analyst.
Email him at email@example.com
By Darek Johnson
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."
You shouldn't say ummm?
I say it all the time.
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
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
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, Forbes.com
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
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
One researcher said FOMO
was most common in those with
unsatisfied psychological needs.
Commonly, the FOMO condition
is associated with social networks,
because, the experts say, they provide
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 / www.signweb.com
discount sales racks and created
separate brand venues. If you
wanted jeans, you visited several
different realms, just like the uptown,
Dailyfinance.com 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.
CNNMoney.com said JCP's sales
collapsed, and company shares
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.
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
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
Technology Review - Universal Laser’s ILS9.75 and ILS12.75 platform lasers
Technology Review - CET Color’s 500K X-Press flatbed, UV-cure printer
The Hands Have It
Digital Print Update
The First Neon Sign in America
The USSC Design Awards
Signs of the Times - December 2013