Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Potency of Unpredictable Drama

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Wow, what an exciting NBA Finals playoff series this year! After Tuesday’s game six, superstar LeBron James stated, “It was by far the best game I’ve ever been a part of.”

Consider these dramatic angles on this year’s NBA playoff story…

The teams have alternated wins on every game, often coming from behind and then winning by a large margin.

The Spurs’ Danny Green is a whopping 68% from behind the 3 point line, setting an NBA Finals record of 25 3-pointers in 38 tries even before the end of just the fifth game.

Somehow the Heat have hung in there during this series and won even when their superstars had mediocre games with low personal scores. That’s because the bench came in and got it done.

Spurs “Old-timers” Duncan (Center) and Popovich (Coach) have won four titles together in 16 years–they’ve together longer than any other player and coach in NBA and even NFL history. But Duncan is 38 and not as crisp as he used to be… Except he scored 25 points in just the first half of game six! The Spurs had the Heat down for the count in that game six and were sure to win.

At the end of game six, Miami Heat fans believed they surely lost the game and the series since they were down five points with only 28 seconds left to play. But then an estimated 2,000 Heat fans banged on the doors to get back in when the heat came back and sent the game into overtime.

CBS Sports wrote about game six, “The mistakes by both teams weren’t simple mistakes brought about by carelessness or a lack of effort. They were forced by defense and exhaustion, the constant hammering of each team on the other’s will.”

LeBron stated, “You would never be able to recreate a feeling like I had, we had, the fans had, you guys had, people at home. Never be able to recreate that. I’m just blessed I could be a part of such an unbelievable moment.”

CBS Sports summed it up with salient facts: “Ten lead changes. A thirteen-point lead for the Spurs. And even after things fell apart, a step-back fadeaway three over LeBron Jams by Tony Parker seemed to end it. It should have been done. But not this game, not this series. Miami responded, LeBron James responded. Ray Allen responded. And despite an enormous effort by Parker and Kawhi Leonard, it wasn’t enough. There will be one more game after this rock opera wrapped up in 53 minutes of play.”

Dwyane Wade said “That’s why we love this game. It’s unpredictable. Only thing you can do when everything looks dim and dark, you just have to keep going.”

CBS Sports: “We’re just as boggled as everyone else by the twists in this series.”

After watching game six I realized that I value sports because of their inherent unpredictable drama. I went to graduate film school and have taken writing classes and written several screenplays and teleplays, and consumed a lot of books and other filmed entertainment, so I can usually figure out plots and character choices in fiction and films way before they manifest on the page or screen. But I have no clue how this series will end up. And that makes it fun!

The challenge it’s giving me in my professional life is to try to figure out how to tell stories that maintain enough of the conventions readers and audiences expect while still keeping characters and plots fresh. Maybe I’ll offer up some ideas for that in future posts. In the meantime, I’ve got to figure out how to watch this game at 3 AM in Europe, because I’m traveling for a couple days and it seems the game isn’t working on my Watch ESPN app on my iPad. (Of course the American sport is not playing on any of the channels here in Europe.)

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Form vs Function: Is the New Mac Another G4 Cube?

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I love the aesthetics of this new Mac Pro (desktop) announced at WWDC this week. But I’m mindful of the last time Apple made a non-iMac (pro) computer in an unconventional form factor. That was the G4 Cube. Here’s how that went…

The G4 Cube was only on the market from 2000 to 2001. The cube shape was a throwback to Steve Jobs’ NeXTcube from his company NeXT, which he founded when he was ousted from Apple, and which was acquired by Apple in 1996 when he came back in to rescue the company. Here’s Steve Jobs presenting the gorgeous product at its launch.

The Cube should have been a huge success, as it was designed by Apple designer Sir Jonathan Ive, the design hero/guro that visioneered all those Apple products you currently love. It was even featured at MOMA (Museum of Modern Art). It was sexy and ended up being featured in Curb Your Enthusiasm, Dark Angel, 24, Ab-Fab and a host of feature films.

Where it failed was in function. There was not enough space in the chassis for full-length cards, it lacked any audio inputs, and did not include a display. And, it was too pricey for consumers, priced $200 higher than the comparable Power Mac G4, which was more expandable due to its more traditionally shaped (yet, still beautiful) chassis. There was also a problem with fine cracking in the clear acrylic casing. With the G4 Cube still in its infancy, Apple did a press release saying the G4 Cube would be put “on ice.”

But it taught Apple a lesson. Form could not be elevated above function. When you look at this new Mac Pro’s specs, you can see the inside guts and function are more robust than any other previous product from Apple, so it has taken function to the max.

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And the form is also as stunning as anything else that’s come from Apple. Here’s the keynote presentation from this week that includes the new Mac Pro.

As a side note, even failed products can lead to successes, as the G4 Cube likely led to the development of the Mac Mini and even Apple TV.

What are your thoughts on innovation, form-vs-function, and the new Apple products announced this week?