Antennae Galaxies

Antennae Galaxies are a pair of distorted colliding spiral galaxies about 70 million light-years away, in the constellation of Corvus (The Crow).

Image by ALMA / AP via Buzzfeed

Inside Out

We don’t do this anymore in the music business. We don’t have any blockbuster acts reinventing themselves with every project, garnering stellar reviews and great customer word of mouth which ultimately rains coin and makes everybody happy.

That’s right. After a detour into sequelmania, which generates cash but leaves everybody unsatisfied, Pixar dropped a blockbuster which is setting sales records.

And how did they do this?

By baking cookies and showing up at fans’ doorsteps?

No, that would be Taylor Swift, who was one time an original but is now so busy dashing for cash and fame that she’s sold out her sound. Ignore the hype and the sales records. The media needs something to cheer, and there’s nothing there.

Or maybe Luke Bryan. But despite an endless supply of hit albums, Luke’s sound remains the same, and his appeal stops at the country border. Whereas “Inside Out” is for everybody. Worldwide.

Kind of like Adele.

That’s the last big blockbuster we’ve had in music, Adele’s “21.” And let me remind you, in addition to selling more than ten million copies in America, where the album is dead, she fulfilled none of the supposed requirements. There was no huge social media campaign wherein Adele tweeted her way into your heart, she did not tie up with corporate sponsors, all she did was make great music, what a concept.

That’s what’s been missing.

The young people don’t want to admit they’ve failed.

And the old people are afraid of looking just that, old, so they keep saying today’s music is as good as ever, and that if you’re a naysayer you’re wrong.

But come on, what kind of crazy fucked up world do we live in where Beck creates an Album of the Year that no one hears and no one wants to. It’s not like you can’t check out “Morning Phase” for free, but after all the hoopla no one cared, because Beck doesn’t touch all the bases, he doesn’t appeal to most listeners.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just that the music industry voted for “Morning Phase” instead of something more appealing, which doesn’t exist.

And then we get the endless accolades for Kanye West. Who is anything but universal. Trumpeting Mr. West is kind of like raving about Iron Maiden, he’s an acquired taste. Oh, his appeal is greater than that of Steve Harris and the boys, but it doesn’t penetrate the masses, no matter what you might read.

And the masses are hungry. They want great.

The movie business has been faltering. Grosses are way off. But it turns out if you deliver something fantastic, people want to go.

And I’m not talking about the comic book films. The genre tentpoles. Those are Taylor Swift, made for an audience and ignored by everybody else.

Pixar is like Steely Dan.

No, that’s not good enough, Pixar is like THE BEATLES!

If you lived through the era, not only did you anticipate the four’s work, you were always stunned how each record was different. They kept pushing the envelope, while their contemporaries repeated the formula and their careers fell off a cliff.

There’s never been a movie like “Inside Out” before. You can’t even explain it. The same way you couldn’t explain the second side of “Abbey Road,” you just had to hear it.

Pixar is akin to its sister company Apple. Which has dazzled us so many times that we follow it into new territory. Believe me, if Microsoft had made the Watch it would be dead on arrival.

It’s about careers. It’s about reconstituting building blocks to deliver something new and tantalizing.

It’s about vision and freedom. Two things sorely lacking in the big money music world.

In this crazy fucked up world the businessman is king and the “artist” is secondary. If the businessman was so insightful he’d make the music himself. But no one told Led Zeppelin what to record. All those acts in Warner-Reprise’s heyday… They delivered what they wanted to, the label’s only chore was to sell it.

And we were so excited we talked about music, we lived at the record store, we went to the concert to be taken away by the sound, not dazzled by the special effects. And people knew the new material. It wasn’t an endless supply of greatest hits.

We need a new hero. A whole slew of them, in fact.

The bar is very high.

All the rules go out the window if you reach this artistic pinnacle. Take as long as you want, spend as much as you want, we’re desirous of something to sink our teeth into.

We know it when we hear it.

And we haven’t heard it in a very long time.

“Box office: Disney Pixar feeling joy as ‘Inside Out’ opens big”:


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MiB: Ed Hyman, Evercore ISI

This week, on our Masters in Business radio podcast, we speak with  Evercore ISI’s Ed Hyman.

An engineer by training, he approaches the assembling of economic data very differently than many practitioners of the dismal science do. He was — quite literally — the first strategist to use time share mainframe computers to crunch economic data back in the 1960s. He created a series of surveys of 300-400 private companies across all sectors that provide an unprecedented lo0k at exactly what the economy is doing in real time. He takes technical charts and annotates them in plain English.

For these and many other innovations, he is adored by his client base. Hyman has been voted the #1 economist by Institutional Investors for an 35 years consecutive years. That streak is unprecedented; there is simply no other ranking on Wall Street that is comparable. Hyman may be the most influential strategist the public never heard of.

 Listen to the broadcast portion on Bloomberg radio; the  full podcast is now available on iTunes, SoundCloud and on Bloomberg. Earlier podcasts can be found on iTunes and at (The books discussed during the podcast can be found after the jump)

Be sure to check out our conversation next week with Leon Cooperman of Omega Advisors.

10 Weekend Reads

Welcome to the weekend! Pour yourself a mug of slow brewed iced coffee,  and settle in for our longer form weekend reads:

• The invention that could revolutionize batteries—and maybe American manufacturing too (Quartz)
• The Datafication of Business and Society (Pieria)
• Biotech’s Coming Cancer Cure: Supercharge your immune cells to defeat cancer? Juno Therapeutics believes its treatments can do exactly that. (MIT Technology Review)
• A World Without Work: For centuries, experts have predicted that machines would make workers obsolete. That moment may finally be arriving. Could that be a good thing? (The Atlantic) see also What Makes Work Meaningful? Ask a Zookeeper (JSTOR Daily)
• The Rise of the Compliance Guru—and Banker Ire: The real growth area in U.S. finance is compliance. That’s definitely a bummer for people trying to make money. Is it also bad for the economy? (Bloomberg)
• The $80 Million Fake Bomb-Detector Scam—and the People Behind It (Vanity Fair)
• The Chemistry and Psychology of Turning Water Into Wine (Nautilus) see also A Deep Dive Into The World’s Most Prestigious Water-Tasting Competition (Buzzfeed)
• College athletes at major programs benefit from confluence of factors to sometimes avoid criminal charges (ESPN)
• Documenting Evil: Inside Assad’s Hospitals of Horror (Vanity Fair)
• L.A. to Nepal: America’s first responders, California Task Force Two follows disaster around the world. (California Sunday)

Be sure to check out our Masters in Business interview this weekend with Evercore ISI’s Ed Hyman.

Source: Bloomberg