Word Stock Market: Magic

The Word Stock Market is an occasional feature on SellingOut.com, where I will tell you whether to buy, sell or hold a certain word based on whether that word has a strong future or has seen better days. For example, if you’d bought the word “hybrid” 10 years ago (when it meant a cross between a horse and a donkey, not an eco-friendly car), you’d be rich today. On the other hand, if you’d bought “digital camera,” you’d be broke.

Today’s Word Stock is Magic.

magic hat and wand with clipping pathWhen the iPad came out a few years ago, Apple described it as “magical.” I scoffed, mostly because the idea of calling your own product — that you built — magical just seemed too egotistical even for them.

But as the fastest adopted tech innovation in history, I guess they had a point. Tablets just dazzle and delight people, and they respond in kind.

Magic is a word that I’ve heard a lot lately. At TEDxBroadway, we counted seven or eight speakers who mentioned the word “magic” in one context or another, and one of the highlights of the day was hearing the questions that middle shoolers had asked to the cast and crew of a Cinderella: “How do you make the magic?”

Arthur C. Clarke famously said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” and that’s true, but don’t hold a narrow view of technology. Technology just means “knowing how to do something.”

I believe strongly that the success stories of the coming decade (and beyond) will be based on who can conceal the inner workings of the technology of what they’re doing while dazzling people with something they love.

In other words, making magic.

RATING: STRONG BUY. In a world where there are fewer and fewer mysteries every day, magic is something people can’t get enough of.

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