Ten Observations from Last Week

1. There are valuable lessons from the Sony hack for everyone. To recap, under threat of terrorism (no matter how improbable), major movie chains announced they would not show the flick. Their cowardice left Sony with one choice: delay the film’s release. However, rumors broke Sunday that Sony would release the film for free. Ultimately, this may end up benefiting Sony – the movie will be more popular than before, while also promoting Crackle, a Sony streaming service that few have heard of before (could do for Crackle what Lazy Sunday did for YouTube).

2. In Chicago this week, big news surrounding the benching of the highest paid NFL player in the league, Jay Cutler. Stephen A. Smith said a decision to keep Cutler past this year is criminal. Meanwhile, we are excited for potential pickle references that Jimmy Clausen’s start brings. Can’t wait for the headline: “Clausen Puts Bears in a Pickle.”

3. Next month is CES in Vegas – meaning that reporters are being inundated with CES pitches. Inc.’s Ed Zitron asked some PR professionals to pitch him on Updog. What’s updog, you ask? Exactly.

We get it; he thought the pitches were canned – a no-no in PR world, yet a practice that apparently can’t be killed. Seems like the punishment fit the crime.

4. Star Cunningham, the founder of Chicago-based 4D Healthware (a client), is the definition of resilient. Built in Chicago profiles her and the company, which translates data from health and fitness devices into actionable health information. 2015 will be a huge year for healthcare startups, so we’re excited to help propel 4D Healthware’s growth.

5. We love 2015 outlooks and predictions. Our client OptionsCity’s CEO, Hazem Dawani, talks about the financial technology industry in 2014 and 2015 in a Markets Media Q&A. He sees higher trading volatility and volumes, suggesting it will be a good year for professional traders.

6. First Round Capital always has an entertaining digital holiday card. This year, it parodies Shake It Off, Chandelier, Happy and It’s All About the Bass. Favorite line: “Hockey stick lines in all the right places.”

7. Let’s talk about social media. Every week, there’s another story about someone saying something dumb that ends up getting them fired. This week, it’s about the pilots of Instagram. It’s against U.S. and European regulations for pilots to operate personal electronic devices in the cockpit – particularly during takeoff and landing. Yet, it seems that the view is so beautiful that they want to capture it with GoPro and cell phone cameras.

We get it: technology trends are unstoppable forces. But, is it too much to ask that pilots keep their hands and attention on controls and free of a cell phone during takeoff and landing? We hope not. The FAA needs to impose huge fines on companies for violations. Or we’ll have to replace them with this guy.

8. Is the on-demand economy a result of wealth inequality? Leo Mirani from Quartz makes that argument, pretty convincingly. Not that we completely agree, but the idea is worth reading. Mirani argues, “There are only two requirements for an on-demand service economy to work, and neither is an iPhone. First, the market being addressed needs to be big enough to scale—food, laundry, taxi rides. […] Second, and perhaps more importantly, there needs to be a large enough labor class willing to work at wages that customers consider affordable and that the middlemen consider worthwhile for their profit margins.”

9. We’ve long said that there is perhaps the startup media places too much emphasis on raising money. We understand why – it provides a quantifiable and objective measure to compare startups against each other, and getting a VC round suggests a startup’s idea has been validated by at least one supposed expert. However, if a startup can be successful based on actual sales, isn’t that at least as impressive as raising money?

And what of the personal costs? Does raising money remove some of the true meaning of entrepreneur?

10. This app is awesome. Perhaps it’s from our days working at financial companies, but two screens are better than one. Now, with Duet (not a client) there’s a way to turn the iPad into another monitor. But, we also love that the app was created by a son for his father and in 30 days – that’s innovation at its best.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday this week.

The Propllr Team