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Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), just like its big-screen doppelganger, is all about artistic and technical beauty and anyone holding its stock for the past year definitely appreciates what it feels like to come crashing back to earth as the stock lost about 25 percent of its value by mid-summer. Then again, those who managed to hold and let the debris field pass also know what it's like to once again rocket through the stratosphere.
But in both cases, one key question comes to mind: Now what?
With their charismatic, experienced leaders no longer of this earth, how will those left behind carry on and find the next new thing to inspire us all?
She is the captain now.
After years of aimlessly turning circles out in the middle of the ocean, Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO)might finally have the right person at the helm. It's clear Marissa Mayer isn't shy about shaking things up or reversing course on the fly. She even managed to avoid a mutiny after requiring all hands to actually show up on deck.
High-profile media hires and less-than-universally-loved makeovers of some of its most popular apps might generate some buzz and buy you some time, but until Yahoo can start generating some organic growth – hello ad sales – it will continue to be viewed by some as nothing more than a convenient way to invest in the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.
The Wolf of Wall Street
Facebook's (Nasdaq: FB) Mark Zuckerberg and Leonardo DiCaprio, who portrays a young, brash, conscience-lacking stockbroker who experiences the highest of highs and lowest of lows in his latest role, have lots of things in common beyond the obvious (rich, famous, sort of young).
Both of these icons are facing some new challenges at tender ages (Zuckerberg is 29 and DiCaprio, no longer the fresh-faced kid racing across the bow of Titanic, is 39) as they transition their careers (or company) to the next phase. Leo's no "Tiger Beat" cover boy anymore and Facebook's starting to lose some of its luster with the teens who were responsible for its popularity.
Unlike the pink-sheet penny stocks that first lined the pockets of DiCaprio's Jordan Belfort, Facebook is actually a legitimate company with real revenue, profits and a future. But that future could look much different than its recent (and brief) past.
Consider that, according to iStrategy Labs' 2014 Facebook Demographic Report, more than 3.3 million Americans between 13 and 17 have left Facebook since 2011 and another 3.4 million between 18 and 24 are no longer using the social networking site.
Regardless, Facebook managed to earn $425 million in its latest quarter on sales of $2 billion – and mobile ads accounted for 49 percent of the company's total ad sales in the quarter. With more than 728 million daily active users, it's safe to say Facebook is still doing just fine – at least for now.
And Leo? He's not doing too bad either. He enters his 40s as one of a handful of bankable Hollywood actors who can command $20 million (or more) per film.