Cold Takes

(Originally published on Cold Takes, my newsletter — more about it here.)

Well, I tried to send this yesterday. Unfortunately, half of the internet seems to have been out for half of the day. And notably, that included Twitter. Which means we had no way to check what was going on and more importantly, no way to bitch about it.

Seriously though, it had been a while since a major Twitter outage (and this of course wasn’t their fault). And given all the recent talk of Twitter’s potential demise, it’s times like this that showcase just how important it is to many of us.

Without Twitter, many of us could and presumably would try to use Facebook to fill the void. But it would not be the same. Yes, both have small text boxes in which you can write short blurbs (or long ones!). But it’s just not the same at all. And yesterday was a prime example. I went over to Facebook (which stayed up) when Twitter was down and it was all pictures that friends had posted the day before or videos from various media entities and brands. That’s fine at times. But not when I want real time information. A world without Twitter would just be a worse world.

Anyway, that’s why I’m writing to you on a Saturday! (Also I love the notion of writing issue #22 on the 22nd of the month. Like Bon Iver, 22 is my lucky number)

Top of Mind

I think I need more time to digest this massive deal. My gut reaction, of course, is that this doesn’t seem great for consumers. The consolidation happening in the telecom/cable/media world is mildly terrifying. Or maybe this could just end up being another AOL/Time Warner goose egg. For now, I’ll leave you with this chart:

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5ish Links

I had previously linked to the case for why a future iPhone could be ceramic — though, as noted at the time, undoubtedly not any time soon, it would be way too expensive to produce at scale right now — so figured I’d link to this post that elaborates as to why this won’t happen anytime soon.

One part in particular I liked was about Apple’s mastery of aluminum:

This is not a position that happened overnight; it is a capability and scale that could only come about through iterative, strategic, long-term evolution. This started well over a decade ago with the MacBook Air’s unibody and has been relentlessly improved, deep partnerships cultivated, and new CNC machining techniques created to achieve the position Apple is in today. In many ways, Apple is far more dedicated to aluminum machining than the company ever was to the PowerPC and switching away will be far more tricky.

Also, if it were gearing up to launch a ceramic product at iPhone scale, we’d see the telltale signs:

While the sheer scale of that last option might only be fully comprehensible to someone like Horace Dediu, the best argument I can make against it is from The Hunt for Red October. In one of the movie’s best scenes, the US National Security Council is made aware of a new crisis in Russia when the satellite flyover of their major Atlantic port reveals heat blooms in the engineering compartments of every ship in the fleet. For Apple to bring a whole new long-cycle time process online for the next iPhone (now 10 months from launch), they would need warehouses with thousands of machines already in situ, with thousands more in production. Teams of analysts would have been reporting on such a move for months already.

To quote Captain Ramius, “Now they will tremble again — at the sound of our silence.” (via Daring Fireball)

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Will it come in ceramic…

Om Malik talking to John Maeda:

Maeda said that he spent time with designers at Sony and felt their frustration designing a television set “because all you can really do is design the rectangle that the TV sits within. . . . Everything else around that screen really doesn’t matter.” The same problem holds for the iPhone. All that matters is the screen — its size, brightness, and resolution. “Now that we have all those dimensions sated, it’s basically the challenge of designing a TV set all over again,” he added.

An interesting way to think about it. Of course, you don’t hold a TV set. And clearly one of the aspects of the iPhone that Jony Ive and co have been focusing on is how it feels in the hand. It has been stated a lot already, but it really is true that the jet black iPhone feels great in hand. This is not an accident. This is by… design!

And I suspect that as the front of the iPhone design yields to total screen domination, the design of the back (and sides) of the device will matter even more…

Some day I’m going to write a longer post about this, but I also know what a flame war it will stir. I just don’t get DJs — at all. I understand the laws of supply and demand, so in that framing, I know why some of them make a lot of money. But in our current musical era where everything is run through a computer, it just feels like we’re paying people $60 million+ a year to push a fucking button.

Yeah, yeah, yeah and play off the crowd. Blah blah blah. Anyway, Andy Samberg already said it best.

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“This is music.”

I feel like this entire article is throwing shade at the San Francisco Giants for not putting in Madison Bumgarner as their season was destroyed in the ninth inning of an elimination game (a game I happened to be at). But good thoughts regardless…

(Originally published on Cold Takes, my newsletter.)

Written by

General Partner @ GV (née Google Ventures). In past lives I wrote at TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and ParisLemon. A man of few words. Except when writing. 🍻

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