The Counterintuitive CEO

2015 Ten List

December 30, 2015

Here's my list of the ten things that captured my imagination in 2015. These are my personal views — not derived from Forrester's research or data. Inevitably, the list starts with Apple…

1) The Apple Watch.  Not bad, not great, a solid "Meh." A pain to keep charged, fussy interface, borderline value. I don't like other people wearing what I am wearing.

2) The new iTunes. A miss-guided hash amalgamating Beats, Radio, streaming, and library. A boat/car that leaks on the water and creaks on the road. Prima facie evidence of the company's difficulty reaching zen simplicity in the post-Steve era. 

3) The 6 Plus iPhone. Best phone I've ever owned. No, it's not too big, and yes, it will fit in your pocket.

4) Apple Photos. Fantastic, simple, easy, transparent. As good as iTunes is bad. 

5) The book Mindset This volume has been around for years, but I finally read it after too many people I trust kept referencing it. Carol Dweck describes what it will take to be successful in the future — a "learning mindset" versus a "fixed mindset." I bought it for all of my kids for Christmas. A lot of CIOs (you know who you are) should also read it.

6) The Movie Ex Machina. I love sci-fi and computer fiction — and this movie hit both. The Turing Test gets passed in an unexpected way and the best dance sequence since Pulp Fiction gets thrown in for good measure. A lot of thought-bending talk and philosophy — go see The Force Awakens if you're looking for Cantina scenes.

7) New Zealand. Take two weeks off, get on a plane, and hike the Abel Tasman trail on the southern island. Then keep going — to Mt. Cook, Milford Sound, Queenstown and onward. Wonderful people, mind-blowing scenery — just pay attention to the wrong-side-of-the-road driving. 

8) Sonos. I know it's been around for a while, but I still think this sound system is close to being magical. My music fixation is sated by having a Sonos system wherever I go in my house — I love to brush my teeth to "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed." And now Sonos is starting to work with streaming services.

9) The Book Revolution In The Head. For Beatles nerds only, Every song the Beatles ever recorded is analyzed, deconstructed, and explained. When I'm flying I take a break from work by reading the analysis while I am listening to the track. If you're a musician this is an amazing look into the creative process and the inspriations that drove John and Paul forward. Unlike one trick ponys like Springsteen, the Beatles were always changing and evolving. Remember that only three and a half years separate "She Loves You" from "A Day in A Life."

10) App of the year: Sibley eGuide to the Birds of North America. I have been an amateur birder for years and this app re-energized my interest. It puts maps, pictures, songs, and variations right at your fingertips — and updating your life list is quick and simple. 

I hope that 2015 was a good year for all — and that 2016 will reveal some amazing new discoveries.

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