With the holidays fast approaching, I thought I’d use this opportunity to clear out a bunch of links I had saved over the past year-ish. I’ll be heading off on an adventure next week — somewhere far, far away (more on that in the links below). And I look forward to catching up on a lot of reading.1 Sort of like what I used to do with Pocket (though these days on Matter, a GV portfolio company). To reset, as it were, for 2023.
Speaking of, I clearly made the right call about a month ago to bring this newsletter back around these parts as sure enough, Revue was formally killed off today by Twitter. RIP, old friend. At least Twitter itself is still alive and kicking… us all in the head (or worse) on a seemingly daily basis. I’m honestly very, very excited for this news cycle to end. But it doesn’t seem like it will anytime soon, sadly.
Meanwhile, what did end was the second season of White Lotus. Still wrapping my head around it to distill thoughts. But mainly I’m impressed by how short the season was — just seven episodes. And I remain firmly in the camp that Netflix is shooting themselves in the foot with certain shows (not all of them) by sticking with the binge strategy. Part of the power of White Lotus is being able to talk about it for a week afterwards. The watercooler.
We’re currently watching the new season of The Crown on Netflix and there’s absolutely none of that — at least within my social graph. While they’re reconsidering almost everything, Netflix should consider at the very least a hybrid approach, where they release maybe the first season of a show in full binge mode to get people hooked and then if the show is a success, move to a more traditional weekly model to let natural buzz do its thing. Then again, I’ve been saying this nonstop for six and a half years at this point.
Just in case this is my last dispatch of the year (quite likely), Happy Holidays and New Year, all. 🎉🥳🍾
The Good Stuff
This is from back in August, but worth the read if you missed it because it feels like all of this is going to come to some kind of head in 2023. The reporting doesn’t put either Facebook or Apple in a particularly good light, but it’s more damning of Apple because it suggests just how far the company is pushing to not only keep their 30% cut from the App Store, but to milk companies, even and maybe especially the largest to get more, more, more.
A comprehensive dive into what the history of other wars may point to for the end of this conflict, eventually. The range is from the literal bang to the whimper, but the most likely outcome is somewhere in between, and that will take a long time, even from now. Also, this quote by Hein Goemans is just fantastic: “Sometimes war generates its own causes of war.”
A completely dispiriting look into why we can’t have nice things here in California — and really, likely the entire US, at least when it comes to infrastructure of this scale. Unsurprisingly, dreams are quickly crushed by political bullshit. “Then came the decision to start building a train between Los Angeles and San Francisco that reached neither city.” The current estimates for when this project will actually be done range from: will “not be completed in this century” to “it will never be operable.”
Speaking of, here’s a great Ezra Klein op-ed on why we suck so much at building things like high speed rail in the US. And, provocatively, why Democrats are worse still. One thought: too many of the leaders in the party are or were lawyers.
A fun interview with Dril, talking about the past and present of Twitter, as well as the other networks that are attempting to take the crown. “Dril is a community member, he was born of the internet, Elon merely adopted it.”
With the latest Fed rate hike today, it seemed like a good time to share this piece by Matthew Yglesias. A good overview on the hikes, but I also appreciated his take on the VC vs. Journalist debate, which continues to rage.
On the flip side, here’s Paul Krugman with some historical context for the 2 percent inflation target. Which, of course, seems to be largely based on bullshit political dynamics forgotten to time and now are just taken as gospel. (Yes, I just used both “political bullshit” and “bullshit political” in one section.)
“Nobody’s going to sign up to take cold showers. Nobody’s going to sign up for not using their washing machine.”
— Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe on why the company has focused on quality and beauty for their electric vehicles (which do look amazing).
The Quick Stuff
When I was a kid, I loved the movie Mr. Baseball, in which an aging American slugger (Tom Selleck) gets sent to Japan to play the game. Turns out, 30 years later, I wasn’t alone. ⚾️
Steven Levy dives into Tony Faddell’s attempt to make the “iPod of crypto” — a digital, secure wallet — in France.
When Julian Robertson, the founder of Tiger Management, passed away in August, there were a number of great obits written. Here are two filled with fun backstories on his life. One such tidbit: the name of his hedge fund sprung out of his habit of calling people “Tiger” if he couldn’t remember their name. “I didn’t want my obituary to be, ‘He died getting a quote on the yen,’” Robertson said in 2013… Indeed. 🐅
One likely casualty of the move to electric cars? AM radio. And interestingly, largely for technical interference issues. Though they may need to be worked around as some 47 million Americans still listen… 📻
If anyone needs me on February 17, I’ll be at Universal Studios Hollywood — the first US outpost of Super Nintendo World opens that day. It won’t be as cool as the Japanese variety — it will have one ride to start, Mario Kart — but they got it up and running pretty quickly. 🍄
Speaking of nerd fantasies, apparently there was a tiny window in which you could book a hobbit hole to spend the night in Hobbiton — it was yesterday, as a promotion through Airbnb, and it undoubtedly sold out immediately. It would have if the stay was $6,500 a night, but it was $6.50 a night. That’s not a joke. The good news is that I’ll be there in a few weeks regardless on a trip to New Zealand. 💍
Has Generative AI Already Peaked?
I mean, this will be hard to top…
The fall from $1 trillion…
Monetizing consumer apps in 2022 and beyond…
Some thoughts on turning 41…
The utter frustration of trying to use HBO Max in Airplane Mode
Because I like to quickly point out when I was right about something and never mention when I was wong…
Apple is closer than ever to a gaming console in the living room…
I mean, just look at this beauty…
[images via Untapped]
Though, as anyone with toddlers will know well, “vacations” are now very much in quotes. And often far more work than just staying at home. Still, it’s aspirational.