Cold Takes

Super Issue XLII

(First published on 2/4/17 on Cold Takes, my newsletter — more)

Tomorrow is Super Bowl LI, or ‘51’ if you’re not Roman (aside: weren’t they going to stop using the Roman numerals past 49?). Most of the years, the game is total crap — the insane Patriots win over the Seahawks two years ago being a notable exception — and that would be especially fitting this year in which almost every week and the playoffs featured games that were crap (the Green Bay win over Dallas a few weeks ago being a notable exception).

Still, even as television ratings drop across the board, that undoubtedly will not be the case with the Super Bowl. First and foremost because the beloved/hated New England Patriots and Tom Brady/Bill Belichick are in the game. But also because it’s an event that transcends the sport, with just as many people watching to see the commercials. Which is crazy when you stop to think about it. Why wouldn’t advertisers just make such great and affecting commercials the other 364 days of the year?

The answer, of course, is cost and reach. It would be far too expensive to produce special commercials for each day (though the advertisers wouldn’t have to pay the same ridiculous fee to air the ad in the Super Bowl slot). And because television viewing is becoming so fragmented, not nearly enough people would see it to justify the cost of the ad itself.

This is why the Super Bowl remains unique. It’s the perfect storm of a great television sport (again, even if the game itself sucks) mixed with sheer numbers and demographics you simply can’t reach all at once anywhere else anymore. But will this always be the case? What if football declines in stature, as I think it will? What if television continues to fragment and the networks have to start thinking about if it make sense to pay for all the super expensive sports rights? Would the Super Bowl ever move to cable or even as crazy as it may sound, Netflix/Amazon/etc? Direct-to-fans in some newfangled pay-per-view scheme? Hard to see that now (I think football will decline before that happens). But the world is changing quickly

BTW, I only tend to bet on sports if I happen to be in Las Vegas when games are on. But if I were betting, I’d bet on the Patriots here to cover.

The Sexting-1

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03db snap1 facebookjumbo

Snapchat Parent Showcases Its Strength in Preparation for I.P.O.

Michael J. de la Merced and Katie Benner digging through Snapchat’s S-1:

“When we were just getting started, many people didn’t understand what Snapchat was and said it was just for sexting, even when we knew it was being used for so much more,” the company said, employing what is surely one of the few uses of the word “sexting” in a regulatory filing.


Intel No Longer Inside?

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Apple Said to Work on Mac Chip That Would Lessen Intel Role

Mark Gurman and Ian King on a new chip Apple is working on apparently bound for the Mac lineup:

The chip, which went into development last year, is similar to one already used in the latest MacBook Pro to power the keyboard’s Touch Bar feature, the people said. The updated part, internally codenamed T310, would handle some of the computer’s low-power mode functionality, they said. The people asked not to be identified talking about private product development. It’s built using ARM Holdings Plc. technology and will work alongside an Intel processor.


Apple engineers are planning to offload the Mac’s low-power mode, a feature marketed as “Power Nap,” to the next-generation ARM-based chip. This function allows Mac laptops to retrieve e-mails, install software updates, and synchronize calendar appointments with the display shut and not in use. The feature currently uses little battery life while run on the Intel chip, but the move to ARM would conserve even more power, according to one of the people.

Baby steps towards a world in which Apple more fully controls what’s inside the Mac. Intel may not be going away anytime soon, but it will happen eventually. Given the success Apple has had with the iPhone/iPad chips, how important battery life is to them, and most crucially, how important setting their own release cadence is to them, this is inevitable.

Yes, Another Trump-Related Link

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Image for post
Man of the people.

In Venezuela, we couldn’t stop Chávez. Don’t make the same mistakes we did.

Andrés Miguel Rondón:

Don’t waste your time trying to prove that this grand idea is better than that one. Ditch all the big words. The problem, remember, is not the message but the messenger. It’s not that Trump supporters are too stupid to see right from wrong, it’s that you’re more valuable to them as an enemy than as a compatriot. Your challenge is to prove that you belong in the same tribe as them — that you are American in exactly the same way they are.

Worth a read for the perspective.

Remains of the Week


Microsoft’s market value tops $500 billion again after 17 years

As I quipped on Twitter, it’s almost as if there was someone else running the company in between these two peaks…

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30tennis web3 facebookjumbo

Roger Federer, Defying Age, Tops Rafael Nadal in Australian Open Final

“Well look, my body is hurting, like Rafa’s as well, I’m sure. It’s my third fifth set after six months, being 35 years old. I don’t like to say it. But it’s true. I’m so old.”


Dr. Fei Fei Li of Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence Lab

Great talk by Dr. Fei Fei Li, Director of Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence Lab, about AI and the explosion of computer vision. (via @johnnie)

500ish Words


Computing in Concert

It’s not about voice-only or even voice-first computing. It’s an orchestra.

(First published on 2/4/17 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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