Have you heard about this Pokémon craze? It has been everywhere over the media but most prolific on social media, accelerating its trending over the past two weeks.
So what is it, exactly?
Pokémon is a Nintendo franchise that launched in the 1990s. In its virtual world, "trainers" travel the world to catch varied monsters called Pokémon — rats, dragons, swordlike creatures, etc — and use these critters to fight one another. The trainer’s goal is to "catch ’em all," as the slogan suggests, and become a Pokémon master.
Unlike previous Pokémon games, it’s not for Nintendo’s handheld consoles; it’s a free download for Android and iOS devices. It also doesn’t play at all like previous Pokémon games: it is an augmented reality game that mixes real-world elements with the game.
The excitement comes to life through your phone’s GPS and clock to decide which Pokémon appear in the game. If you’re at the park, a weird bug may appear. If you’re by a lake, a water creature may appear. If it’s nighttime, a nocturnal ghost may come your way. The element of surprise and suspense is ongoing. It’s also stimulating because it’s the first big augmented reality game and you have to be on constant alert to catch them. But when does the virtual world get in the way of the real world? It has already disrupted human life; in North San Diego County, two men fell off a bluff while trying to catch a creature, while farther north in Anaheim, a player was stabbed by group of men in a park. In Quebec City on Tuesday a driver and passenger playing the game crashed into a police cruiser when they reversed suddenly in the parking lot of a library.
While these instances may seem extreme (and somewhat ridiculous – watch where you are going, people!) -the reality is that our world is changing – fast. This is why it is also a constant theme in our investment decisions – acknowledging that “the average lifespan of a company listed on the S&P 500 has decreased from 67 years in the 1920s to 15 years today” as found by Richard Foster, a lecturer at the Yale School of Management. Foster also found that on average an S&P company is now being replaced every two weeks, and estimates that 75% of the S&P 500 firms will be replaced by new firms by 2027. Read more here.
A study from the John M. Olin School of Business at Washington University estimates that 40% of today's F500 companies on the S&P 500 will no longer exist in 10 years. In the same article, Dr. Peter Diamandis, an MIT aerospace engineer and M.D. from Harvard talks about some very real trends in his book Abundance, "I note some of the broad ones. Robots and AI are replacing people in the workforce; virtual commerce and telecommuting is having an effect on real estate trends. Digital manufacturing, known as 3-D printing, is allowing anyone, anywhere, to create physical items from digital blueprints, and it is ushering in an era of do-it-yourself innovation. People need to understand how exponential technologies are impacting the business landscape. They need to do some future casting and look at how industries are evolving and being transformed”. Read more here.
So, with Pokémon Go’s success, it’s certainly something you can expect more of in the future and it’s a reminder of what’s to come in our very near future. And while the Pokémon Masters are out catching their creatures, my team and I will stay indoors and continue to ensure that we are catching the companies that you want to keep in your portfolio for the long-term as we become Portfolio Wealth Masters in this real world we know as everyday life.
Click here to read more about the Pokémon Go phenomenon, explained by a millennial.