Is winning TIME's Person of the Year a sign of bad things to come?
German chancellor Angela Merkel speaks with U.S. president Barack Obama at Schloss Elmau hotel near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, southern Germany, Monday June 8, 2015 during the G-7 summit. (Michaek Kappeler/Pool Photo via AP, File)
German designated Chancellor Angela Merkel looks on during a Christian Democrats' faction meeting in Berlin on Monday, Nov. 21, 2005. Merkel will be elected as the new German Chancellor on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2005. (AP Photo/ Jan Bauer)
Angela Merkel casts her ballot as she is to be elected new German chancellor in the parliament in Berlin Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2005. (AP Photo/Fritz Reiss)
Newly appointed German chancellor Angela Merkel takes the oath of office in the parliament in Berlin Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2005. A so-called grand coalition of Christian Democrats and Social Democrats elected Angela Merkel as German chancellor earlier the day. At right is German Parliament President Norbert Lammert. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel listens to the parliamentary debate on the problems of the German labor market, in the Bundestag in Berlin, Germany, Friday, Dec. 2, 2005. (AP Photo/Franka Bruns)
President Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, walk to the East Room of the White House for a press conference on Friday, Jan. 13, 2006 in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a meeting in the Moscow Kremlin, on Monday, Jan. 16, 2006. Merkel stays for an one-day state visit in Russia. (AP Photo/Jan Bauer)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel reacts during a German Bundestag parliamentary budget debate in Berlin on Wednesday, March 29, 2006. (AP Photo/ Jan Bauer)
U.S. President George W. Bush, center, is flanked by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and his wife Laura, left, upon his arrival in Stralsund, Germany, on Thursday, July 13, 2006. Bush is stopping to talk with his newest European ally before heading to the Group of Eight summit to tackle a host of thorny problems including Iran, North Korea, and the Middle East. (AP Photo/Thomas Kienzle)
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel climbs down the ladder into the submarine U 33 of the 212A-class during the visit to the German Navy in Rostock-Warnemuende at the Baltic Sea, northern Germany, Thursday, Aug.31, 2006. (AP Photo/Thomas Haentzschel)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, center front, stands with EU heads of state and government for a group photo at an EU summit in Lahti, Finland, Friday Oct. 20, 2006. Europe's leaders struggle to come up with a united approach on Friday on dealing with Moscow, from securing vital supplies of Russian oil and gas to addressing concerns about human rights and conflict in the Caucasus, before a dinner with Russian President Vladimir Putin that promises to be tense. Second row left to right, Czech Republic's President Vaclav Klaus, and Poland's President Lech Kaczynski. Third row left to right German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Parliament President Josep Borrell. Fourth row left to right Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi and Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip. Fifth row Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Sixth row left to right, Latvia's Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitas and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
German chancellor Angela Merkel gestures while speaking to a German Army soldier who wears heavy explosion protection gear during her visit to the Army Training Center of the German Armed Forces in Letzlingen, eastern Germany, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2006 where she learned about the education program and military training for the German soldiers for missions abroad. (AP Photo/Eckehard Schulz)
U.S. President George Bush, right, meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during the G8 summit in Heiligendamm, northern Germany on Wednesday, June 6, 2007. The leaders of the G8 nations will hold their annual summit in the historic Heiligendamm sea resort on June 6-8, 2007. (AP Photo/Herbert Knosowski)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, welcomes the President of France, Jacques Chirac, right, at the chancellery in Berlin, Thursday, May 3, 2007. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel waves her hand as she arrives to report on the EU Summit at the plenary room at the European Parliament in Brussels, Wednesday, June 27, 2007. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
President Bush talks with reporters while German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, looks over his property after arriving on his ranch located outside of Crawford Texas Friday Nov. 9, 2007. (AP Photo/Rod Aydelotte, Pool)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, helps Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah off a podium after listening to the national anthems in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2007. King Abdullah is on a three-day visit to Germany. (AP Photo/Herbert Knosowski)
Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel verfolgt am Donnerstag, 14. Februar 2008, im Bundestag in Berlin die Debatte ueber die Stammzellenforschung. (AP Photo/Fritz Reiss) --- German Chancellor Angela Merkel listens to the debate on stem cells research in the Berlin parliament Reichstag on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2008. (AP Photo/Fritz Reiss)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's reflection is seen on a display during her opening walk at the Hanover industrial fair in Hanover, Germany, Monday, April 21, 2008. Over 5,000 industrial exhibitors from 60 countries will gather at the fair from April 21 to April 25, 2008. (AP Photo/Kai-Uwe Knoth)
Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel und der franzoesische Staatspraesident Nicolas Sarkozy stehen am Donnerstag, 1. Mai 2008, nach der Verleihung des Karlspreises an Merkel auf einer Buehne in Aachen. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)--- German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy stand on a stage after the Charlemagne Prize awarding ceremony in Aachen, western Germany, Thursday, May 1, 2008. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, welcomes French President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, for the German-French ministers' council in Straubing, southern Germany, on Monday, June 9, 2008. (AP Photo/Christof Stache)
Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel kommt am Donnerstag, 12. Juni 2008, zu einer Festveranstaltung zum 60. Jahrestag der sozialen Marktwirtschaft im Wirtschaftsministerium in Berlin an. (AP Photo/Franka Bruns) ---German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for a ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the social market economy in Berlin, Germany,Thursday, June 12, 2008. (AP Photo/Franka Bruns)
Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel reagiert am Samstag, 21.Juni 2008, bei der Betrachtung des riesigen Typhons, den sie kurz danach bedient, um die "Kieler Woche" in Kiel offiziell zu eroeffnen. Rund 4.500 Segler aus 50 Nationen nehmen an diesem weltgroessten Segelereignis teil. Neben den sportlichen Wettbewerben wird entlang der Foerde ein umfangreiches kulturelles und gastronomisches Programm angeboten. Die Kieler Woche endet am 29.Juni. (AP Photo/Heribert Proepper) ---Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel reacts on the huge signal horn she is about to ring to open the "Kiel Week" at Kiel, northern Germany, on Saturday, June 21, 2008. (AP Photo/Heribert Proepper)
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., left, is welcomed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the chancellery in Berlin Thursday, July 24, 2008. In the background is the the Reichstag that houses the German parliament. (AP Photo/Herbert Knosowski)
Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel spricht am Freitag, 25. Juli 2008, vor dem Festspielhaus vor der Eroeffnung der Richard-Wagner-Festspiele in Bayreuth mit Besuchern. Die diesjaehrigen Festspiele werden mit einer Neuinszenierung der Oper Pasifal eroeffnet. (AP Photo/Eckehard Schulz) --- German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks to visitors prior to the Bayreuth Festival opening in Bayreuth, Germany, Friday, July 25, 2008. The annual Bayreuth Festival presents performances of operas by 19th century German composer Richard Wagner. (AP Photo/Eckehard Schulz)
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, shakes hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during their meeting at his residence in Sochi, a Black sea resort, Friday, Aug. 15, 2008. Merkel arrived in Russia on a one-day working visit. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)
Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel schaut sich in der Hauptschule Loehne am Freitag, 22. August 2008, den Schulgarten an. Merkel macht in diesen Tagen eine Sommerreise zu einigen Schulen und Kitas, um sich ein Ueberblick zum deutschen Bildungswesen zu verschaffen. (AP Photo/Roberto Pfeil) ---German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, holds some potatoes at the school garden during their visit of a school in Loehne, western Germany, Friday, Aug. 22, 2008. Merkel uses the Parlamentary vacations for a journey to schools and Kindergardens to see what is to do in Germany's education system. (AP Photo/Roberto Pfeil)
Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel, Mitte, begruesst am Sonntag, 24. August 2008, beim "Tag der offenen Tuer" der Bundesregierung die Besucher im Bundeskanzleramt in Berlin. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber) - - - German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, welcomes visitors at the "Day of the Open Door" in the Chancellery in Berlin on Sunday, Aug. 24, 2008. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
** WIEDERHOLUNG MIT ALTERNATIVEM BILDAUSSCHNITT ** Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel schaut am Dienstag, 2. September 2008, in der Goetheschule in Ilmenau durch ein Mikroskop. Merkel besuchte das naturwissenschaftlich ausgerichtete Gymnasium im Rahmen ihrer "Bildungsreise". (AP Photo/Jens Meyer) --- German Chancelor Angela Merkel looks through a microscope besides a student of the Goetheschule High School in Ilmenau, central Germany, on Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2008. The visit is one of the events of Merkel's so-called education trip through Germany. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, right, shakes hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during arrivals for an emergency financial summit at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Saturday Oct. 4, 2008. The global financial crisis is forcing the leaders of France, Britain, Germany and Italy to come together for an emergency summit in Paris. But differences on how to respond to the economic turmoil could drive them apart. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel spricht am Samstag, 18. Oktober 2008, im Licht eines Scheinwerfers auf dem Landesparteitag der baden-wuerttembergischen CDU in Karlsruhe. (AP Photo/Thomas Kienzle)------- German Chancellor Angela Merkel is illuminated by a spot light as she delivers her speech on a state party convention of the German Christian Democratic Party CDU in Karlsruhe, Germany, Saturday, Oct. 18, 2008. (AP Photo/Thomas Kienzle)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel reacts at the International Conference on Security Policy, Sicherheitskonferenz, at the hotel "Bayerischer Hof" in Munich, southern Germany, on Saturday, Feb. 7, 2009. Many notable leaders participate in the 45th annual Munich Security Conference until Sunday, Feb. 8, 2009. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein) * EDS note: German spelling of Munich is Muenchen *
German Chancellor Angela Merkel reacts, during a visit to the Siemens booth, at the industrial fair in Hanover, Germany, Monday, April 20, 2009. 6,150 exhibitors from more than 60 countries will participate in the world's largest fair for industrial technology from April 20 to April 24, 2009. South Korea is partner country of this year's fair. (AP Photo/Joerg Sarbach)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, attend a German-French friendship meeting of the Jungen Union, the youth organization of Germany's Christian Democrats, in Berlin on Sunday, May 10, 2009. (AP Photo / Markus Schreiber)
Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel, Mitte, posiert am Freitag, 15. Mai 2009, am Museum Varusschlacht in Kalkriese, Nidersachsen, mit Darstellern in Roemeruniformen. Dort wurde das Ausstellungsprojekt 'Imperium, Konflikt, Mythos - 2000 Jahre Varusschlacht', zu sehen an den Originalschauplaetzen Haltern am See, Kalkriese und Detmold eroeffnet. (AP Photo/Joerg Sarbach) ---German chancellor Angela Merkel, center, poses with actors dressed as Romans at the museum Varusschlacht in Kalkriese, Germany, on Friday, May 15, 2009. From May 16 to October 25, 2009 the exhibition project 'Imperium Conflict Myth' will spot-light different facets of the historical events at the original sites, Haltern am See, Kalkriese and Detmold. (AP Photo/Joerg Sarbach)
US President Barack Obama, right, signs the city's visitor's book in Dresden, Germany, Friday, June 5, 2009, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks on. Obama, en route from Egypt to France, will visit Dresden, the former Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald and the US regional medical center in Landstuhl during his stopover in Germany. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, gestures following her speech at a folk festival near Munich, southern Germany, Monday, Sept. 7, 2009. (AP Photo/Christof Stache)
Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel gestikuliert am Samstag, 26. September 2009, in Berlin waehrend der Abschlussveranstaltung der CDU fuer die Bundestagswahl am 27. September 2009. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn) --- Germann Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures during the final election campaign event of the German Christian Democratic Party (CDU) in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks past ornate ironwork during her visit to the Byzance-era Hagia Sophia Museum, in Istanbul, Turkey, Tuesday, March 30, 2010. Merkel has suggested giving Turkey a "privileged partnership" with the European Union, that falls short of full EU membership but favors strengthening bilateral ties.(AP Photo/Ibrahim Usta)
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, center, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, left, gesture during a joint press conference at the Deauville International Center Tuesday Oct. 19, 2010. French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel and Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, meet for a two-day summit in this French beach resort of Deauville to discuss joint security challenges and the upcoming G-20 summit.(AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)
Two cabinet members shake hands in front of German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, May 25, 2011. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel feeds penguins in the Oceaneum during the "Council of the Baltic Sea States" leader summit in Stralsund, Germany, Thursday, May 31, 2012. (AP Photo/Fabian Bimmer, Pool)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel celebrates during the Euro 2012 soccer championship quarterfinal match between Germany and Greece in Gdansk, Poland, Friday, June 22, 2012. Germany won 4-2. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)
German Chancellor and chairwoman of the German Christian Democrats, CDU, Angela Merkel attends a press conference after the party's weekly executive committee meeting in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. German Chancellor Angela Merkel says a state election loss months before a national vote was painful Ã³ but she's downplaying the implications for her quest for a third term. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, second right, covers Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel warm blanket as they arrived for the Water and Music Show during the G-20 summit at Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia on early Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. British Prime Minister David Cameron is on the right. The threat of missiles over the Mediterranean is weighing on world leaders meeting on the shores of the Baltic this week, and eclipsing economic battles that usually dominate when the G-20 world economies meet. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
The chairwoman of the Christian Democratic Union Party, CDU, German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives at the Social Democratic Party's, SPD, headquarters for coalition talks in Berlin, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013. Following the Sept. 22 national elections Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian parties' bloc are negotiating the second week to form a coalition with the Social Democratic Party. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron greets Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel at Downing Street in London, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
From left, British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel watch as paper poppies fall though the air during a ceremony to mark the Centenary of World War I at the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium on Thursday, June 26, 2014. Where their countrymen once slaughtered each other with machine guns, artillery and poison gas, the leaders of Britain, Germany and the other member states of the European Union gather Thursday to solemnly mark the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I and rededicate themselves to peace and working together. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko, right, welcomes German chancellor Angela Merkel with a bouquet of flowers before their meeting in Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who arrived in Kiev Saturday to meet with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, said Friday âthat the Ukraine/Russia conflict can only be resolved politically and that a cease-fire must be reached as soon as possible,â according to a German government statement. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
U.S. President Barack Obama, fourth from left, is seated at a table with, from left to right: France's President Francois Hollande; Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko; British Prime Minister David Cameron; German Chancellor Angela Merkel; and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi as they meet about Ukraine at the NATO summit at Celtic Manor in Newport, Wales, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is seated at rear left. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a special session of the German parliament to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the wall at the Bundestag in Berlin, Friday, Nov. 7, 2014. On Nov. 9, Germany celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the wall in 1989. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
French President Francois Hollande embraces German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, as she arrives at the Elysee Palace, Paris, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. A rally of defiance and sorrow, protected by an unparalleled level of security, on Sunday will honor the 17 victims of three days of bloodshed in Paris that left France on alert for more violence. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel leads the weekly cabinet meeting of her government at the chancellery on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 in Berlin. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, walks with U.S. President Barack Obama after a group photo at the G-7 summit at Schloss Elmau hotel near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, southern Germany, Sunday, June 7, 2015. The two-day summit will address such issues as climate change, poverty and the situation in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
German chancellor Angela Merkel leaves a joint press conference with Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel after a meeting of the coalition committee about refugees in Europe, Berlin, Germany, Monday, Sept. 7, 2015. Merkel, reflecting on "a moving, in some parts breathtaking weekend behind us," said Monday that all EU countries could help to accommodate the human tide from the Middle East and Africa. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
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The seven contenders for Time's Person of the Year who weren't German Chancellor Angela Merkel may be bummed they blew top billing, but they can still take comfort that they've dodged the cover curse, which warns that landing primo magazine real estate lauding your influence may coincide with a reversal of fortune. A perusal of the list of previous "winners" over the magazine's nearly 90-year history of issuing the designation shows the aftermath of the cover didn't always produce greatness.
Take Rudy Giuliani, whose 2001 cover praised his comforting resolve in a bleak post 9/11 landscape—a "Mayor of the World" who reunited America. It looked like the sky was the limit, but next was a failed 2008 presidential bid described as a "dizzying free fall." Looking back further, things didn't exactly turn out great for Hitler, for instance, who took 1938's Man of the Year as the dictator of Nazi Germany, correctly recognized as one of the democratic world's greatest known enemies (the magazine clarifies often that the distinction is not a popularity contest, but a designation of influence for better or worse). Though they were right about his influence—World War 2 was a mere months away—it's safe to say he didn't achieve the victory he wanted.
1964's winner was General William Westmoreland, commander of American troops in Vietnam. Though he was first considered popular due to his aggressive strategy and initial victories, his difficult mixture of hubris and naiveté about the enemy's guerilla warfare saw history reframe him as the general who lost the Vietnam War, a narrative he fought against until his death until 2005.
It goes on. It was nice of Time to give the "Endangered Earth" the attention she so sorely needed by naming her Planet of the Year in 1988 as climate change concerns escalated (what other planets were contenders?), but things have only gone downhill from there. An analysis of databases from the most recent Earth Summit found that it's now hotter by at least .6 of a degree, the sea is 3 inches more elevated, we're more crowded by 1.7 billion people, and the Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets are short 4.9 trillion tons of ice.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos appeared as Person of the Year in 1999, only to see the dotcom bubble burst a few short months later in March of 2000 and Amazon stock drop 86 percent by the year's end. The Nasdaq lost nearly half its value, while many startups crashed and burned, losing dough at a devastating rush of between $10 and $30 million a quarter. We're still not quite back to 2000-era bubble-level valuation.
An investing principle may shed some light on this phenomenon. In 2007, researchers/professors at the University of Richmond in Virginia—Tom Arnold, John S. Earl and David H. North—issued a paper asking "Are Cover Stories Effective Contrarian Indicators?" The study looked at 549 covers over 20 years of publication from Forbes, Business Week and Fortune, categorizing the coverage as positive, negative, or neutral, then comparing it with how each cover company's shares had performed in the 500 days before or after the profile. As they expected, there were more positive stories overall, and also as expected, the positive companies' stocks had been doing well before the coverage, while the negatively portrayed companies had been doing poorly.
But after? The positions switched—the praised companies suffered, and the dissed companies improved, according to analysis at The Economist. The difference wasn't statistically significant, but that wasn't the point. "What matters is that if news is sufficiently good or bad to catapult a company onto a magazine cover, then it is already reflected in the share price," they wrote. "Or, as the academics put it, 'positive stories generally indicate the end of superior performance and negative news generally indicates the end of poor performance.' "
"What you can extrapolate [from the research] is that the extraordinary performance is capped by the magazine cover," says Arnold by phone, a professor of finance at the Robins School of Business at UVA Richmond. "You've hit your apex. So instead of staying superior, they just became average afterwards."
He was talking about stock performance, but what this translates to into Time cover speak, or any cover speak, is that by the time the media gets around to putting you on a cover, you've probably already done your best work or worst work, as the case may be, meaning there is only one way to go respectively after the fact. It happens with athletes, too.
Sports Illustrated is thought to have a cover jinx. Said to have started in 1954 after Braves third baseman Eddie Matthews got a cover and then broke his hand, various subjects have said to go on to suffer trouble, injuries or untimely accidents. There are also, of course, counterexamples—Michael Jordan was on the cover 50 times, and there are probably no superlatives left for him to collect.
The curse is even said to extend to the athletes who appear on GQ and quickly go from wins to disappointment. ESPN searched decades of GQ covers and found only one athlete who'd been on the cover to have gone on to win a Super Bowl: Troy Aikman. That piece was written in 2012, and its main concern was the future of recent cover Tim Tebow. He has since moved from the Broncos to the Jets to the Patriots and recently, the Eagles, but he still hasn't won a Super Bowl either.
Of course, it's worth noting that athletes, celebrities, politicians, and world leaders, good and bad, also have more visible, risky, volatile lives, leaving them more vulnerable to accidents, injuries, and early death. To bigger successes—the kinds that land you on covers in the first place—but also more epic failures. Which means it's probably not the cover, but the notoriety in the first place, that puts you at risk.
But such is the price of fame. Which is why of all the people Time has ever seen fit to put on the cover, the one we should probably be worried about most is us. Or rather, "You"—the winner of 2006's designation, the Internet content generator. It was supposed to be a comment on the proliferation of user-generated content and its rapid transformation of the Internet we made in our image and now know and love—full of memes, Vines, Wikis, Youtubes, and such.
But how are "we" doing now? Well, "we're" creating a staggering amount of content every single day, often for free. As much as 300 hours of footage is uploaded to Youtube per minute, for instance. Yes, thanks to us, the Internet is a one-stop shop for every weird mundane and awful thing, and anyone can be a star, but we're also competing with every other person out there.
If Arnold had any advice for "us" based on his research, it would be the same thing he tells his students at UVA. "If you actually do something in the market that gets you some extremely great return and you can figure out it's a lock? Double down and write a book about it. Once you're at your peak of your popularity, that's when you cash in, that is what making you newsworthy. After that, you're average."
Of course, only time will tell our true fate, but right now, it's not looking so good.