5ish Links

More Or Less Brevity

(First published on 7/28/17 on 5ish Links, my newsletter)

Almost a year into my little newsletter “experiment” and I still haven’t exactly figured out what to do with this area. I thought it would be good for just writing some quick thoughts on something timely. But as time has gone on, such thoughts have quickly spiraled into 500-ish words-esque posts. So I should probably just post such things there.

Ideally, I would still like this to be a less formal and more direct form of writing/communication. But try as I might, things tend to formalize over time. Which may be fine, but not exactly what I started out with.

In general, I worry that this newsletter is getting too long. A number of you have written in to let me know the few times when the newsletter was so long that Gmail actually clipped it at the bottom. Obviously would prefer to avoid that…

Curious for some feedback from you, the readers of this! What would you all like to see here? Do you agree that the newsletter is getting too long in general? You can leave a response below…

Thanks in advance. And happy Friday! Lots of links below :)

5ish Links

Bn uj639 vinyl0 top 20170721144541
Bn uj639 vinyl0 top 20170721144541

Why Vinyl’s Boom Is Over

Neil Shah:

As more consumers discover this disconnect, vinyl sales are starting to slow. In the first half of 2015, sales of vinyl records jumped 38% compared to the same period the prior year, to 5.6 million units, Nielsen Music data show. A year later, growth slowed to 12%. This year, sales rose a modest 2%. “It’s flattening out,” says Steve Sheldon, president of Los Angeles pressing plant Rainbo Records. While he doesn’t see a bubble bursting — plants are busy — he believes vinyl is “getting close to plateauing.”

I feel like we’re a little spoiled here. It’s 2017 and vinyl record sales are still growing — yes, more slowly, but growing! — think about that for a minute.

It took five years to get their record-cutting equipment up and running. Once they bought their lathe, they found a tech who gave up his job at a particle accelerator for the new job. “The scientists who developed how to cut good stereo were the brightest people in our country at that time,” Mr. Rawlings says. With their trusted mastering engineer Stephen Marcussen, the team customized the lathe for Ms. Welch and Mr. Rawlings’ sparse, haunting acoustic music.

From a particle accelerator to a record-press. Who says this isn’t high tech?

A cutting lathe, like this one, is a rare, arcane piece of equipment. It makes a ‘lacquer,’ or original copy of a record, which is sent to a pressing plant to be duplicated. Only a few technicians still know how to fix cutting lathes. Most of them have died.

Mic drop.

George r.r.martin hp 187707819
George r.r.martin hp 187707819

George R. R. Martin Doesn’t Need to Finish Writing the Game of Thrones Books

Emily Dreyfuss:

There’s no reason Game of Thrones can’t be like The Godfather or The Shining or Blade Runner or even Jaws. None of these offerings ruined the source material. None of them ruined the stories that came before.

There’s this notion that whatever came first — a book, a film, a TV show — has to be the sacred writ of any major pop culture property. That’s simply not true, especially in the case of Game of Thrones, where the global phenomenon has largely been about HBO’s series.

I agree with this take. A Song of Ice and Fire will always be George R. R. Martin’s, but Game of Thrones has grown beyond him. And that’s okay. James Bond is now long beyond Ian Fleming. All those superhero films everyone loves are far beyond their original comic book creators. Etc.

25bond item1 facebookjumbo
25bond item1 facebookjumbo

Daniel Craig Never Says Never Again

Speaking of Bond, guess who’s back… Brooks Barnes with the scoop around “Bond 25” due on November 8, 2019:

The companies said in a statement that details about a distribution partner, international release dates and the film’s cast and director would be announced “at a later date.” But Mr. Craig’s return is a done deal, according to two people briefed on the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid conflicts with Eon and MGM.

After a grueling shoot for the last Bond movie, “Spectre,” Mr. Craig expressed a strong desire to move on from the role, which he took over in 2006 with “Casino Royale.” “I’d rather break this glass and slash my wrists,” he told a British magazine in October. He later said that he had been overtired during that interview and that he would consider returning.

Great news. Daniel Craig has been a fantastic Bond, even in sub-par Bond films like Quantum of Solace. His best is still his first, Casino Royale — which is definitely one of the best Bond films, period. Let’s see if he can top it with what will undoubtedly be his last one (he’ll be 51 when Bond 25 is released — not Roger Moore-Bond old yet, but close).

This news also may now officially rule out Idris Elba as the next Bond, as he’ll also be 46 when the next Bond is released, and presuming it’s at least two years before “Bond 26”, that would put him awfully close to 50 as well… Tom Hiddleston would still be the right side of 40 though… (Tom Hardy would not be…)

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Bn uh750 2agvh top 20170717093640

Gameday for Disney to Boost ESPN Growth

Miriam Gottfried:

Assuming Disney already increases the prices it charges cable and satellite companies for ESPN by 5% a year, bumping that up to 6% as it signs new deals would boost fee revenue by 4% a year to $12.56 billion from 2016 to 2022, MoffettNathanson estimates. This assumes its subscriber base declines at a compound annual rate of 2%. If Disney can use minimum penetration guarantees to add back 2.5 million of the subscribers it lost to skinny bundles, it could get an additional $400 million in fee revenue over the period, the firm says.

I mean, if ESPN is really looking for “growth” by boosting fees and putting in more penetration clauses, good luck with that. Literally short-term gain for long-term pain. So of course that’s exactly what they’ll do.

28bezos facebookjumbo
28bezos facebookjumbo

Move Over, Gates. Jeff Bezos Gets a Turn as World’s Richest Person.

Nick Wingfield:

Mr. Gates has been at the top of the Forbes list of billionaires for 18 out of the last 23 years.

Most of Mr. Gates’s wealth originates from Microsoft, which has seen its stock rise to new highs lately. A Microsoft filing from last October said he held nearly 191 million shares of Microsoft — about 2.46 percent of its stock — which are currently worth about $14.1 billion.

Putting aside the fact that the milestone was short-lived (Amazon’s stock fluctuations after earnings pushed Bezos back to number two), there’s little question that long-term, Bezos will firmly hold the top spot eventually. Partially because Amazon is an amazing company, but partially because:

Mr. Gates has spent years diversifying his investments.

Kerry Dolan, an assistant managing editor for Forbes, said the publication also considers extensive assets Mr. Gates holds through his Cascade Investments, which has stakes in private equity, real estate and public companies. Forbes does not include his more than $31 billion in contributions to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in its wealth calculations.

If Gates had not given away that $30+ billion, he’d obviously still have a sizable lead. Bezos is still figuring out his philanthropic goals — though he’s also pouring money into space rockets, amongst other things.

I’m more surprised that Microsoft stock accounts for “only” $14.1B of Gates’ wealth. Hell of a diversifier.

Giphy Break

Image for post
Image for post
Never Say Never Again.

Quickish Hits

‘Dunkirk’: Why Didn’t Hitler Go in For the Kill?

Great, short historical read after you see Dunkirk, which you should! (via MediaREDEF)

Imax Posts Second-Quarter Loss, Revenue Falls

Hardly shocking when you’ve transitioned your business to reside on top of a hits-driven one. Dunkirk should help this quarter, but they need to figure out a better long-term game plan.

The Plan to Make Chip Credit Cards Less Annoying

The chip card roll out in the US has basically been a disaster — which is surprising because the blueprint was long-ago laid out in Europe and other parts of the world…

Misophonia: Why Noisy Eating Can be so Anger-Inducing

Yes. This.


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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