Hello from Tennessee where it’s — checks weather app… checks weather app again — 61 degrees and sunny? Where tomorrow, it will be 65 degrees and sunny. On Thanksgiving Day. That sounds great because it is great. But it’s also weird. I just came from Northeast Ohio where it was about 15 degrees and we barely missed a snowstorm which dumped several feet of snow on Buffalo. So much snow that they had to relocate an NFL game. Here, just a few hundred miles south, it’s warmer than it is in San Francisco.
Hope everyone (in the U.S. at least) has a good Turkey Day. I’m planning to settle in for some great sporting events — watching, not playing, of course. Beyond the NFL games on Thanksgiving, the U.S. is playing England in the World Cup on Friday. And then, of course, Michigan is playing Ohio State on Saturday. With #3 vs. #2 with both teams 11-0…
Normally, I’d be watching these by a fire. Not this year. #GoBlue 〽️🏈⚽️🦃
The Good Stuff
📺 Inside the Merger That Could Have Ended HBO
Fun to look back at the June 2018 HBO internal townhall conversation between AT&T’s John Stankey and HBO’s Richard Plepler. I wrote a few posts about it at the time, as it was clearly more indicative of a looming storm of shit than anyone was letting on. But there’s also nuance to how it ultimately played out. While Plepler unsurprisingly left, HBO was able to regain its footing — seemingly thanks to a combination of Plepler lieutenant Casey Bloys stepping up and AT&T stepping away (selling all of Warner to Discovery).
🪙 The Coin that Could Wreck Crypto
With everyone scrambling to figure out the next shoe to drop after the FTX implosion, seems like people are overlooking the situation with Tether. I’m not quite versed enough in the world to know something one way or another, but I’ll leave you with this tidbit from an article last June:
Even by crypto’s often-surreal standards, Tether has a peculiar history. The company was founded in 2014 by Brock Pierce, a cryptocurrency evangelist who, as a child actor, starred in the “Mighty Ducks” movies. He and his partner, Reeve Collins, later handed control of the firm to a former plastic surgeon named Giancarlo Devasini, who has stored some of Tether’s assets in a bank in the Bahamas run by one of the creators of the “Inspector Gadget” cartoon.
💊 What Happened at Alameda Research
Speaking of FTX, this is a fascinating read — albeit one with more leaps than standard reporting — on what might have been happening behind the scenes at Alameda Research, the firm whose close — to say the least — ties to SBF and FTX ultimately doomed the exchange itself.
📨 Newsletter Economics in 2022
There’s a lot of good stuff in here about the current state of the business of newsletters by Byrne Hobart. A couple things that stood out to me is his correlation between the economy and subscription growth — not too surprising, but fascinating that it plays out on such a micro level. And also the call out for how many funds started out as newsletters — which makes sense in that you’re directly giving people an entry point into how you think about various topics, including investments. Some of those people may wish to give you money if they agree with those thoughts and assessments…
🐭 Somehow, Iger Returned
With the stunning — well, not so stunning to some of us — return of Bob Iger to lead Disney after retiring and putting in place his handpicked successor, Bob Chapek, to run the show, there are no shortage of behind the scenes tick-tocks of what happened. From the reporting thus far, clearly bad quarterly results played a role while key executives losing faith played perhaps a larger one. But it’s wild that Chapek was just a few months ago given a new contract by the board. You might say they had to in order to stop the swirling speculation about his contract and tenure, but it was a very costly mistake, clearly. Sports teams do this all the time — “he’s our coach” — but this is such a wild self-own for corporate America. Iger is now seemingly acting fast to reverse a lot of the Chapek changes. And then it’s on to find who is next — again. (Also, the title refers to maybe my favorite meme — perfect here.)
“Getting some of those longer-term positions, pivots, big bets, people in the roles, breaking ties—those are the things to me that are a lot more productive than the fact that I sent 50 or 100 emails in a day.”
— Google CEO Sundar Pichai, talking about productivity in our new world work environments. (Disclosure: he’s also the CEO of the LP in the fund where I’m a partner. I also link to almost anything which takes a shot at email.)
The Quick Stuff
The leap second is set to die (in 2035), it’s fascinating why it exists and what it takes to make it go away. 🕰️
Artemis, the new space program which will eventually take us back to the moon, is now officially underway. While this first stage is unmanned, the next phase, likely in 2024, will take people around the moon. And then the plan is to land people back on the moon in 2025. Finally. 🌝
40 Awesomely Weird 1980s Horror Movie Trailers? Sure, allow yourself to be sucked down this YouTube rabbit hole. (Thx Hunter) 🎬
After a three year shutdown for repairs, the Large Hadron Collider is up and running again. What will it be looking for post Higgs boson? Maybe the Muon g-2 anomaly, leptoquarks, the W boson mass… Standard stuff — or actually, stuff that might break the Standard stuff. ⚛️
Trent Reznor is quitting Twitter, but just as interesting is how he’s now constantly framed as the famous film score composer rather than the Nine Inch Nails frontman. Quite the reinvention — and undoubtedly a smart one given how hard it is to hold on to music in changing times. 💅
Anyone want to hear me talk about the 2000 Christopher Nolan film Memento for 90 minutes or so? Now is your chance. 🗣️
E. Bryant Crutchfield passed away a few months ago at 85. He invented the Trapper Keeper, but also immediately recognized the importance of the external design element of the contraption. Neon unicorns, dancing dolphins, puppies holding flower baskets in their mouths, etc. It’s wild the percentage of kids that had them in the 1980s and 90s. Just full of fun anecdotes, such as:
He found the name during a martini-fueled lunch with Jon Wyant, his research and development director. They had already decided to call the folders trappers. “What are we going to call the notebook?” Mr. Crutchfield recalled saying. “The Trapper Keeper,” Mr. Wyant replied. “Bang!” Mr. Crutchfield recalled. “It made sense!” 🍸
All of these are great, but Modern Napoleon-as-Phil Collins is too much.
📱 An iPhone Just Like Any Other
Which is a great thing. Some thoughts on the iPhone 14 Pro.
📝 Amazon’s Read/Write Kindle
The newest Kindle is the first truly new Kindle in years.
📢 Apple to Start Injecting More Ads Into Your iPhone
Some thoughts on Apple’s expanding use of advertising…
⌚️ The Apple Watch “Ultra”
Very much in quotes, which is a great thing…
😎 The Petal to the Meta
At Meta Connect, Mark Zuckerberg makes one last case to steer XR before Apple arrives…
👁️ Apple’s Mixed Reality Headset to Offer Iris Scanning
Something Apple seems uniquely suited for…
This Is the Meme You’re Looking For…
Somehow, higher stakes than last year! And we all remember what happened then…
I love how all your links or something I want to read. Enjoy your Thanksgiving!