Cold Takes

To Plus or Not to Plus…

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

Four days into using the iPhone 7. Not the Plus, the 7. The Black one. Not Jet Black, Black. Long story short, apparently placing an order at 12:07am on pre-order day wasn’t fast enough to get a 7 Plus Jet Black. It’s coming later this week, but I opted to try out the other Black and the smaller size (available on day one) just to see if I’ve changed my mind. (Yes, I’m crazy in this way — but I can return the one I don’t want!)

It’s early, but my quick (hot) take.

After two years using the Plus-sized iPhones, the “regular” one feels tiny. In a good way, I think. But still, almost comically small compared to the Plus. (So I can’t even imagine what the SE is like…) It has both great weight and feel in the hand, but I miss the larger screen, mainly when reading. Battery hasn’t been an issue so far. But again, it’s early…

On the flip side, I’m pretty certain I’m going to like the “regular” Black as opposed to the Jet Black. I’ve seen both in person now, and while I don’t really care about the scratches (sorry, micro-abrasions), I do care about the smudges. They drive me crazy on the front of the phone as well. I really like the way the matte Black looks. And feels. But I’ll give Jet Black a few days…

…then I may end up returning both of them for a (matte) Black iPhone 7 Plus…

5ish Links

The long and short of it is: sort of scary but also like the future. The scary bit shouldn’t be surprising, it’s new. It’s hard to know what to expect. The fact that they’re testing this in Pittsburgh (given its geographic peculiarities) strikes me as both insane and insanely brilliant.

Sidenote: I saw one driving around downtown San Francisco yesterday as well…

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Not so subtle…

Speaking of Uber, fascinating quote from Don Walker, CEO of Magna International, the world’s biggest contract manufacturer of cars:

“For the most part, vehicles are going to look pretty similar in 10 years to how they do today. To be assuming that new entrants are going to come in and dominate this industry in five years is craziness.”

Fair point, let’s ask former Palm CEO Ed Colligan for his thoughts:

“We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.”

That was a decade ago, which is crazy (both in that it was not that long ago, but also seemingly so long ago). But I’d say five years in, those PC guys were doing pretty well…

Some good thoughts in here. My own take: I watched it on both my iPhone (in transit) and in my living room (via the new Twitter app on Apple TV). It was interesting. (Which is always a decidedly uninteresting thing to say.) But the oddest thing about it was just how “normal” it felt.

Of course, on the Apple TV version, when you swiped to the left, you got a feed of tweets alongside the video. It was sort of fun, but got old very quickly — mainly because while they were curated to remove hate speech and the like, they weren’t very tailored. Imagine if they were football experts — or your buddies, also watching from somewhere in the world… That could actually be fun. Baby steps.

Tom Randall:

“Tesla just won a bid to supply grid-scale power in Southern California to help prevent electricity shortages following the biggest natural gas leak in U.S. history. The Powerpacks, worth tens of millions of dollars, will be operational in record time — by the end of this year.”

The press coverage of Tesla is fascinating. One minute, they can do no wrong. The next, they can do no right. This is the press narrative for many companies, mind you (you only build them up to knock them down). But it happens with Tesla in such a condensed time frame.

The stance I’ll stick with (hopefully for the foreseeable future): it seems folly to think Tesla and Elon Musk aren’t always thinking one step ahead of whatever it is you’re currently thinking about the company.

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Not the car…

I don’t know how many times I’ve entered my credit card number in a web form over the years, but it’s hundreds, if not thousands. And it’s tedious each time. Others have tried to solve this pain point in the past, but you really need to be a browser-maker to do this right. But it’s even better if you have a second layer that already has those credit cards on file…

Werth It


Grammar Snob on the App Store

This is an absolutely brilliant usage of the new iMessage App Store. You can overlay a sticker on any message to fix the grammar. So good. Well worth the $0.99.

(Not affiliated with this in any way. Just find it to be genius.)


Hi there. Thanks for getting to the end of this. As you may have noticed (“Issue #8”), I’ve been playing around with this for a bit. And now I think I’m finally ready to open this up to a few more folks. So if you’re interested, feel free to subscribe. No promises where this will go. Perhaps nowhere. But as some of you may know, I’ve been thinking about the inbox as a hot-again distribution method and am intrigued by how it creates a bond…

I plan to post this regularly. And I plan for this to be very informal.

(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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