Cold Takes

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

The AirPods have landed! The AirPods have landed! And despite some inkling that they were imminent, I sadly missed them. Megan was up at the crack of dawn and sprung quickly. Alas, I’ll see them in January.

But all is not lost. After I tweeted about trying out the Powerbeats 3, Beats was nice enough to send me a pair of Solo 3 Wireless to try as well. While the Powerbeats 3 are a little bulky for my wireless taste (but I could see how they would be solid for runners — one day, one day), the Solo 3 are fantastic.

Both headphones pair seamlessly and instantly thanks to the new W1 chip — and as someone who has used Bluetooth earpieces over the years, this ease cannot be overstated. But the Solo 3 seem to last basically forever on a charge. Good folding design. And they’re comfortable to wear. They’re not cheap at $299, but if you’re in the market for this type of headphone, I definitely recommend.

This sounds like a sponsored post. That wasn’t intentional. They certainly didn’t ask me to write anything. Then again, they did butter me up with the headphones… You decide :) (But really, they’re good.)

5ish Links

Some choice bits from John Noble Wilford’s (the same person who wrote the NYT front-page story about the moon landing, mind you) tribute to John Glenn, who passed away last week at age 95:

Mr. Glenn was reluctant to talk about himself as a hero. “I figure I’m the same person who grew up in New Concord, Ohio, and went off through the years to participate in a lot of events of importance,” he said in an interview years later. “What got a lot of attention, I think, was the tenuous times we thought we were living in back in the Cold War. I don’t think it was about me. All this would have happened to anyone who happened to be selected for that flight.”


All seven men were eager, competitive and ambitious, but none more so than Mr. Glenn. Tom Miller, a retired Marine general and close friend since they were rookie pilots in World War II, recalled that Mr. Glenn was so determined to be an astronaut that he applied weight to his head to compress his height down to the 5-foot-11-inch maximum for the first astronauts. “He wasn’t going to miss a trick,” Mr. Miller said. “He’d be sitting down reading with a big bunch of books sitting on his head.”


“Right away, I could see flaming chunks flying by the window, and I thought the heat shield might be falling apart,” he wrote after the flight. “This was a bad moment. But I knew that if that was really happening, it would all be over shortly, and there was nothing I could do about it.”

The capsule splashed down in the Atlantic off the Bahamas, where a Navy destroyer was waiting. Mr. Glenn radioed, “My condition is good, but that was a real fireball, boy.”

What a life.

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Longtime New York Times’ tech journalist John Markoff announcing his retirement:

I got into the business as a paper boy. Two of the houses on my route would later be the homes of Steve Jobs and Larry Page. That’s both ironic and odd. I delivered papers to the eventual homes of two people who have done more than anyone in world to change the way the news is delivered.

Joseph Bernstein spoke with Sigeru Miyamoto as he prepares to release Super Mario Run on the iPhone (on December 15):

According to Miyamoto, part of the inspiration for Super Mario Run’s auto-running came from a surprising source: “super players.” Watching online videos of these gamers’ astounding speed runs and other feats of gaming skill, Nintendo employees noticed that the gamers never let up on the D-Pad. Mario always kept running, and all of the skill came down to the incredible precision of the jumping. What if, the Nintendo braintrust reasoned, all players could have that experience? Ironically, the most skilled Super Mario players in the world may be partially responsible for introducing Mario to thousands and thousands of first-time players.

Fascinating little tidbit.

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He lives!

Adam Bryant asks Max Levchin the age-old question: What career and life advice do you give to new college grads?

I tell them to take big risks, because this is the one point in your life when you have nothing to lose. You amass barnacles of good living as you get older, which makes it that much harder to make a big bet.

So I always tell people go to a start-up while you’re young. You might believe that going to a more established company to build up $100,000 in savings is your ticket to go take a big risk. It really isn’t. It just slows you down and makes you feel like you need to get to $200,000.

500ish Words

600 articles. That’s roughly how many unread articles I have in my Pocket. Mind you, this is after declaring “Pocket Zero” about a year ago, realizing I was unlikely to ever get to the articles I had…

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A little late for trimming the verge…

(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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