I have no emotional attachment to Pokémon. I was three years into college when the first Nintendo game was released in Japan in 1996. By the time it was unveiled to North America in late 1998, I was settling into my first corporate position and planning out how to propose marriage to my longtime fiancé. I had other things going on. The only thing I knew about Pokémon was that my soon-to-be nephew (a toddler) always wanted to go to McDonalds so he could get a Pikachu thing in his happy meal. That’s what I equate Pokémon to: baby toys. So, if I sound dismissive of the IP, know that it’s only because they might as well have made a Beanie Baby Go for all I care.
For those of us who grew up in a mostly physical world, there are some virtual curiosities that cause us to pause and ponder. One of the most fascinating to me is how people relate to one another through games and social tools. One of my talents in real life is the ability to read nonverbal cues and adjust to the social situation accordingly. Since most virtual worlds are devoid of such cues, I have at times been left in difficult, sometimes even embarrassing situations. Suffice it to say, I’m still learning how to interact with other people through the electronic tools that are now so pervasive in our lives.
Alexa, play Twenty One Pilots.
This is a phrase not heard once in my house prior to June 13, but has been one of the most uttered phrases since. Twenty One Pilots is my 13 year old son’s favorite band, and Alexa is the default name given to Amazon’s Echo….device.
I hesitated typing that last sentence because, what is the Echo, exactly? My wife stumbled across it while looking for my birthday present. She was looking for a quality Bluetooth speaker for me, and the Echo seemed to be coming up a lot in online discussions. Yes, it’s a speaker, and you can pair it to your phone or music device, but calling it a speaker seems to do it a disservice. In fact, the Echo seems to be designed to run more from Amazon’s extensive and continually expanding ecosystem than when any particular personal device, and I think that’s a smart play for both Amazon and consumers.
Father’s Day was this past weekend, and I’ve only recently become aware over the past ten years or so how tricky these types of family holidays have become. In the “good old days”, I used to find a suitable greeting card for my parents, and possibly try and do something nice for them (like pick up my room) in order to show my gratitude and love towards them. That was pretty much as complicated as it got. Then came social media, and it became an even greater expression of appreciation to share your feelings towards your loved ones with your entire sphere of influence and beyond.