To set the record straight… 

Every so often I get emails from folks emailing me about an event Gigaom is hosting or pitching me a story. Others hit me up on Twitter and Facebook for same reasons. And while it would be nice to help, but unfortunately I don’t have any relationship with the current iteration of Gigaom and the people behind the brand. I have had no involvement with the company since it went out of business in March 2015 and had been acquired by a group of investors. I left Gigaom in December 2013 ans became a fulltine partner at True Ventures and have been actively investing since. I also write for The New Yorker and here on my own blog. And no I don’t need to be contacted by PR professionals. 

The brand, Gigaom, as it stands today, the publications and the events are an antithesis of my thinking and approach to media, and events. I am sorry — but it would be great if folks would direct their emails and inquiries to the current owners of Gigaom and their team. 

January 6, 2017. San Francisco. 

Photo courtesy of Stationery Shop via the Over App

Hasselblad and its missed opportunities 

The Chinese Drone maker DJI is taking over Hasselblad, the iconic camera maker, according to a report. I have heard the rumors as well. Hasselblad is a brand that has deep and rich history — it was the camera that went to the moon. (My friend Cole Rise is recreating these moon cameras in his workshop.) However the company has managed to bungle many opportunities it had so it has devalued over the years, thanks to some terrible ideas such as adding wood grips and ugly knobs and rebadging Sony cameras. 

The company has been an afterthought in the minds of modern camera buyers. However this changed in the middle of 2016 when the company announced a sleek mirrorless medium format camera with two highly competitive lenses. For the first time, they had attention, even from Leica lovers like me. It is sleek, and very modern. Smaller than my Leica SL, it had a great touchscreen and was very intuitive — at least in the video. It was worth taking a closer look — a consensus amongst all my camera needs friends. A few months later Fuji announced its own medium format camera, which they said would be much cheaper than Hasselblad. 

Hasselblad’ videos and hype created by their chief executive didn’t tell us that the company’s software was far from complete. It didn’t really have a handle on its production. In other words, Hasselblad was all bark no bite. Fuji, is going to start selling their new camera soon, perhaps as early as January 19, if you believe the camera rumor websites. To me it seems there is a direct correlation between the X1-D delays and sale to DJI. If you can’t execute, you shouldn’t really exist as a standalone company. 

I really hope that DJI figures out a way to make the company do what it is supposed to do: make and sell cameras that people want. In there meantime I am going to check out the new Fuji medium-format, and see how that stacks up against my Leica(s)! 

January 6, 2017. San Francisco 

This is Iceland

I am one of the many people who are in love with the sparse, hypnotic and majestic landscape of Iceland and its wonderful people. In case, you need more convincing, check out this website and some stunning photographs. Then pack your bags and go visit. It might be cold in winters, but still stark and amazing. Iceland haunts me!

Why Medium’s layoffs coverage reflects media’s skewed barometer of news

Technology media, like media in general, in more recent times has always been happy to jump on the populist news bandwagon. The more consumer news is easy to cover, especially if it involves a billionaire founder, a sizzling platform and lots of venture capital. It generates a lot of attention. A perfect example is the recent story around the Medium layoffs and the company’s strategy shift, which if I were to bet, I would say will probably be centered around subscriptions.

From Tech’s Empathy Vacuum to Zuck’s 2017 Challenge

Late November last year, I wrote a piece about Silicon Valley’s Empathy Vacuum for The New Yorker. It seemed to have struck a chord with a lot of people, especially in our industry. I am glad we started to talk about the issues we don’t normally talk about — the human consequence of disruption and what (if any role) technology industry should be playing during this period of whiplash inducing change.

From a local radio station in Los Angeles to Twit to Marketplace on NPR and the BBC — I was asked: what should we be doing? We can do a lot, and let’s start by having a conversation with those being disrupted. The change is hard, and it is harder for many who don’t live in the bubble of Silicon Valley. How about we #listenbetter and try and visit places we normally don’t go — rest of the country that isn’t Silicon Valley or New York.

Today, on the first work day of the new year, I was heartened to see Facebook co-founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has taken it as a personal challenge  to meet and talk to people in all states of the Union. (Mark’s previous challenges include running 365 miles, building a simple AI for his home, reading 25 books and learning Mandarin.)

Here is what he writes on Facebook:

My personal challenge for 2017 is to have visited and met people in every state in the US by the end of the year. I’ve spent significant time in many states already, so I’ll need to travel to about 30 states this year to complete this challenge. After a tumultuous last year, my hope for this challenge is to get out and talk to more people about how they’re living, working and thinking about the future. Going into this challenge, it seems we are at a turning point in history. For decades, technology and globalization have made us more productive and connected. This has created many benefits, but for a lot of people it has also made life more challenging. This has contributed to a greater sense of division than I have felt in my lifetime. We need to find a way to change the game so it works for everyone.

From my standpoint, I think this is a positive step forward and perhaps more folks in our industry will follow Mark’s lead and find a way to learn about the country and society outside of the proverbial Seahaven Island. I am personally looking forward to visiting as many places within the country and understanding what can be done.

January 3rd, 2017. San Francisco!