I’m lucky enough to have grandparents of both Jewish and Christian heritage, which means that I am theoretically positioned to get more presents than most during the holiday season. And for much of my life, I parlayed this great fortune into some of the coolest gadgets that any kid or adult could ever want.
I remember getting the N64 when it came out. I got the first mp3 player in history — the Diamond Rio — and every iPod in the first three generations. There was a period of time when every Christmas could be commemorated by some revolutionary product that I thought would change my daily life. Usually, it did.
The first decade of this century provided me one each and every year. In the year 2000, I got a Sony MiniDV camcorder that connected by Firewire to my computer — suddenly I could edit movies in no time at all. My senior year in high school, that camera never left my side. It changed everything. Ten years later, I got the iPhone4 for Hanukkah, which despite “Antenna-gate” was still the finest and most beautiful consumer product I have ever owned.
But guess what I want for Christmas this year? Absolutely nothing.
And it’s not because I have become less materialistic. Nor have I switched my attention to more meaningful and heartfelt presents. I’m still a typical guy who lives by himself and likes cool shit. But evidently, Santa’s elves have been drunk at their cobbling the last year, because they have not invented or created one goddamn thing I want to own.
A slightly smaller iPad with no retina display? Yawn.
A video game that is a third or fourth sequel to some other video game? Nope.
A TV that is humongous (75”) instead of gigantic (65”)? Not necessary.
How about something made by Microsoft or Hewlett-Packard? Just kidding. That was a joke.
Maybe my brothers will buy me a Groupon to my favorite restaurant or some digital sheep on Farmville? That was also a joke.
How about an iTunes gift card for those few moments when Spotify is inaccessible or I forgot to DVR my favorite show?
Oh, who are we kidding — there’s really nothing exciting to buy right now. This is going to be the lamest Christmas ever. I’ll probably just avoid presents altogether and harken back to the good old days by seeing “The Hobbit” on Christmas Day. Oh wait, it gets lackluster reviews.
So here’s my advice for how we react to the revelation that there is almost nothing new, innovative, or worth buying this Christmas…
- Let’s turn all the Best Buys into homeless shelters. Their shares have been in a death spiral for years. Those stores are huge — they could easily sleep three or four hundred people, and they could watch all the TV and play all the video games they want.
- Let’s boycott every movie studio and every video game developer until they agree to stop with the sequels and remakes. We don’t need a new “Spiderman” series or annual updates to “Assassin’s Creed,” “Halo,” and “Call of Duty” every 12 months. Peter Jackson took some risks that didn’t pay off, but did he really have to retreat back to Middle Earth? Whatever happened to original story telling?
- Let’s start to care about hardware again, and stop acting like only Apple and Samsung are allowed to make things. One of the few physical items that I have purchased in the last few months was a FitBit, and it stays in my pant pocket at all times. It’s actually useful. Founders shouldn’t need to go to Kickstarter in order to fund a cool hardware company.
- It’s time to make new innovative products for babies and old people. If there’s nothing for me to buy my friends, at least let me get something for their kids or parents. How many angel-backed companies are creating products for the 34 percent of Americans who are children or over 65? I assure you that it is far less than 34 percent of angel-backed companies.
Hopefully all the PandoDaily readers enjoy their holiday season. I didn’t mean to sound like a brat or whiner during this column. Seriously, all I want to do is spend money on products that enhance my life, and help our economy by being a good consumer.
But the world needs innovation in order for me to do that. And it appears that corporations can improve their ROI by producing a bunch of backwards-looking, unimaginative, risk-mitigating crap.
So I’ll just listen to Bing Crosby and get drunk.