Things of note for the week ending Friday December 23rd, 2016.
1. THE BUZZFEED ANNUAL MEMO
No, not a list of the top 19 Beano Annuals, but instead a look at the memo that Buzzfeed co-founder Jonah Peretti sends to his entire company every year.
Telling the story of 2016’s digital ups and downs, as well as explaining the drivers of exactly why we are where we are today, Peretti’s take is compelling. Example:
Attention has shifted to the web, but the ad industry still treats it as second rate, not deserving of the the care, attention, and creativity they reserve for other platforms. This creates a drain on the entire system by weakening the economics of digital content, making it even harder to support quality journalism and compelling entertainment. In fact, the ad industry’s slowness to shift to digital is at the root of the problems faced by news and entertainment. Social platforms can only optimize the content uploaded to their services, and when there isn’t a solid business model for content, the void is filled with fake news, cheap entertainment, and deceptive ads.
I do not embolden lightly: This is an excellent read.
Remarkably, there are still people out there that argue or even deny Buzzfeed’s success.
See what they say.
2. SPOTIFY 2016 PLAYLIST
Mine, not yours.
Just in case you like good music.
Here are some numbers about me/mine:
And here is the playlist itself.
Hope you like it.
3. ZUCK’S CONNECTED HOME
You’ve probably already seen the hokey videos of Mark Zuckerberg’s results from his latest yearly challenge (they’re quite PR-y and while give an ideal view of what is possible, they’re not really that demonstrative of how interesting this actually is) however, some of you may not have done the reading.
So first off, this is a pretty good read and both explains exactly how hard it is to have a truly ‘smart’ home in 2016/17 and playfully reveals how much of a geek Mark Zuckerberg [still] is; I loved reading this.
Second, in one blog post, Zuck is at peak nonchalance here, seemingly dropping huge points / ideas / notions without even trying.
Want an example? Here’s a list:
- Zuck says: ‘I’ve seen Iron Man, I want to build JARVIS’. I’ve noted before that, in the movies at least, JARVIS is pretty much a glorified Google Assistant so this made sense to me but to just go ahead and decide he wanted to build one? SO CASUAL.
- Casual suggestions for new product ideas (aka ‘big opportunities’) for AI builders.
- Issues huge burns to all existing smart home attempts (common APIs are needed etc – this should be headline news)
- Casual Facebook messenger bot plug. SO CASUAL.
- Still codes – ‘I haven’t built an iOS app since 2012’ – Yeah, me too Zuck, ME TOO.
- Just happens to reveal global trends re: voice vs text across the world’s biggest messaging apps.
- Highlights how nice it’d be if Amazon Echo had a mobile/away-from-home interface (like JARVIS does, y’know, the one MZ built on his own this year). Bezos wasn’t on it before, I’m sure he is now.
- Plugs entire Facebook Engineering Team (good job).
- Casual self-depreciation re: Grey t-shirt cannon (brilliant)
- Oh, and done all in 100hrs.
Y’know, you could easily forget that he also runs the world’s largest
media internet company.
4. WESTWORLD + GAMING
Tom Bissell is a video game writer and author. He interviewed Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, joint creators-in-chief of the newly redux’d-for-TV, Westworld (if you’re not watching it / haven’t seen it yet etc – then do please fix it now).
With a few minor spoilers within (you have been warned) his is a fantastic read for any one who games, watches Westworld, or both (like me).
5. VINE IS BACK – KINDA
Twitter’s six second video platform that was recently, seemingly, consigned to the dead pool has been given a new lease of life.
Instead of killing the service completely, Twitter will be transitioning the Vine ‘app’ as we know it, to something called ‘Vine Camera’. With the new iteration of the app, you’ll still be able to snap six second videos however you’ll only have two options after that: 1. Save to Camera. 2. Publish to Twitter.
The platform is over but the app’s main product feature remains.
You can read more about this over at the official announcement.
Bonuses this week are as follows:
- Go Denzel
- A Day in the Life of Tom Baker
- How to manage expectations
- Solid List
- The 58 Greatest Finds of the Year (gold in these hills)
And that’s me.
Have a great Christmas, gang.
Bears, Squirrels, all of you.