David Ingram has written a thoughtful piece about technology’s role in 2020 — both the good and the bad. He asked me about Zoom and its long term impact on how we live online. I enjoyed the conversation about our collective behavioral shift towards video as the primary communication mode in the future. “We are returning to a model of work-home life that would have been unfamiliar to our parents but completely familiar to our great grandparents,” said Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, an author. The final piece is worth a read.
Given that nearly “half of the media jobs lost this year were in digital, print and broadcast newsrooms,” it is no surprise that many media personalities are running into the arms of Substack. As I told Vanity Fair’s Joe Pompeo, “They are the great white hope of media right now.”
The upcoming launch of a Substack reader app will make them a direct threat to the always in two minds platisher, Medium. On Twitter, @nickcicero said it best: “Email newsletters are just community-driven blogs with a specific distribution model, meaning platforms need better ways to deliver reliable reach for their creators.”
To be clear, I am rooting for the folks over at Substack — it’s not as if any of the people still in legacy media are doing anything other than complain while they wait for the guillotine. Whatever the future of the media industry is, it is going to be found by startups experimenting with the new and the bold. “As a former media guy,” I told Pompeo, “I would like my industry peers to survive and thrive and do well, and I think Substack shows them the way.”
December 8, 2020. San Francisco
Kai Brach, who once interviewed me for his wonderful OffScreen magazine, recently asked me what five things I think are worthy of our time and attention. This feature is part of his wonderful newsletter, Dense Discovery. My answers are in issue number 115. They involve photography, food, video, writing, and work—all my favorite things. Have a look.
I have been fortunate enough to have been invited to the Hodinkee podcast twice in the past. We usually talk about my love of Grand Seiko’s mechanical watches, technology, and photography. They asked me back to the show to talk about the Apple Watch Series 6. Apple’s Vice President of Human Interface Design Alan Dye and Apple writer John Gruber were other guests. Not to be self-serving, I think this is a great episode, and you should listen to us talk about the Apple Watch.
As I mention in the podcast, with Series 6, the watch feels complete and polished. As I have written before, Series 6 gives us a good view of the future of technology and how it coexists with us, humans. I like the new Series 6. I wear it often. It is now a useful health device. I love using voice to reply to text messages. I listen to podcasts and use the watch for contactless payments. However, for me, that is the extent of utility. I wish there were an app-ecosystem that made the watch more useful and fun.
The present shift to “work from home” should have a moment for Skype to shine. Instead, it is an afterthought for many of us, who have turned to Zoom (warts and all) at a time when the video has become a crucial part of our daily communication. Microsoft has bungled the Skype acquisition, and on its watch ruined what was clearly a simple, effective, and a beloved product. Instead, it is foisting Teams on to former Skype-lovers. And it is not just Microsoft – other big technology companies video collaboration products are a bit meh as well. In this wonderful article, the Wired UK has covered the rise of Zoom and the fall of Skype. And given my long history with Skype, they asked me to explain why?