Using the new podcast from my internet friends John Gruber and Ben Thompson as writing prompts to encourage me to write and think about the business of technology.
Apple's recent event showcased a vision of a world where computing is always with you, leading to full-on augmentation and the next evolution of the phone. The use cases shown were compelling, but the potential for shared experiences to suffer is a concern. The future is coming faster than we think, and the resolution of the technology will be key to its success.
June 5, 2023
The Osborne Quest
The author questions whether VR will be the next big thing and expresses concern about its potential impact on humanity. They explore the possibilities of VR, including design and multitasking, but ultimately wonder if it will just lead to people staying in their lazy boys all day and night. The author also notes that smart speakers are an example of something that Apple has not yet figured out.
June 2, 2023
Microsoft declares war on google
Microsoft is declaring war on Google with its search engine Bing, which is seen as more interesting and innovative than Google's search engine. Google's search engine, especially on mobile, has become worse with more ads filling up the results. While the author is still more of a Google fan, they hope that Google can answer Microsoft's challenge and improve their search engine.
February 10, 2023
Adobe buys Figma
Adobe has acquired Figma, with plans to integrate it as the operating system for all of Adobe's design tools. Figma's critical feature of collaboration will connect Adobe's tools and services into a place for community and collaboration. Figma's value for web development is in its ability to facilitate communication between designers and developers, rather than replace developers with code generation.
September 20, 2022
IBM and 69 degrees
The author reflects on an episode about IBM and realizes they don't think about the company often, despite IBM's presence in their business. They wonder how IBM solves problems they themselves struggle with at their own company.
July 16, 2021
Play Store Problems
Google's Play Store is facing legal action for changing the rules mid-flight, specifically regarding in-app purchases. The argument is that Google's monopoly over "licensable mobile operating systems" is being used to force app makers to comply with the new rules, benefiting only Google. Apple has the same rule, but the difference is that Google changed the rules after the fact, causing frustration for product managers and increased scrutiny for the company.
July 13, 2021
Larry David and Instagram
The author discusses changes to their writing schedule and the evolving nature of Instagram. They mention a video featuring Larry David but cannot find it. They note that Instagram has changed since its inception and is now more of an entertainment platform than a utility. The author wonders if there will ever be an Instagram app for TV.
July 9, 2021
Medium Muddling
The author expresses their love for the idea of Medium as a platform for aspiring writers to build an audience, but is hesitant to commit due to controversy surrounding the company and fear of it declining.
March 24, 2021
The Substack controversy
Substack is a tool for publishing newsletters, but it requires a lot of work to build an audience and maintain a regular publishing schedule. It's not a promotional tool like Facebook or Twitter, but more like Shopify or Mailchimp. Substack allows authors to own their customer relationships and payments, but this also means they can easily move to another platform once they've built a large enough audience. Substack aims to be a powerful and flexible tool for writers, but it may not be sustainable for all customers.
March 22, 2021
Intel’s bad ads
The author questions why Intel released ads that appeared to be a response to Apple's move to custom ARM chips, given that Intel's new CEO had just announced radical changes to the business, including a willingness to make ARM chips. The ads seemed to be a plea to PC makers to stick with Intel and not follow Apple down the RISCy path.
March 19, 2021
Google, Apple, and 15%
Google lowered its commission from 30% to 15% on the first $1,000,000 in revenue in the App Store, following Apple's lead. While Apple's small business program charges 15% for businesses with less than $1,000,000 in revenue, going over even by a dollar means reverting to the full 30%. Google's program charges 15% for the first $1,000,000 and 30% for every dollar above that, which is more straightforward and makes more sense. The author suggests that Apple should follow Google's lead and switch to this model.
March 17, 2021
What are NFTs
NFTs are digital trading cards that are unique and stored on a blockchain. The artist creates a unique identifier for their artwork and sells it as an NFT. However, it's unclear how to prevent an artist from minting more IDs for the same artwork. The artwork itself may not be stored on the blockchain, just the unique identifier. The amount of CPU and digital storage required for blockchains is also a concern.
March 15, 2021
Roblox and Apple
The podcast episode discusses Roblox's success on the App Store and its upcoming IPO, questioning how it was able to create an App Store of its own with mini-games and whether it could break apart from Apple's stranglehold on the App Store. The episode also speculates on what Roblox would have to do to get kicked out of the App Store and what moves Apple could make post-IPO.
March 12, 2021
Roblox is a game engine that empowers "regular" people to make games because of its limitations. Parental controls are good, allowing for control and monitoring of kids' accounts and existing filtering systems to prevent sharing of real names or other PII. The lingering issue is that it's not on the Nintendo switch, so it would have to be loaded on an iPad, which is reserved for school.
March 10, 2021
Clubhouse Magic
The author is skeptical of the "magic" of Clubhouse, as live content is not necessarily better than recorded content. While watching a live basketball game is different from watching a recorded game, the author has not yet had a "magic" moment on Clubhouse. They enjoyed listening to people argue about NFTs, but overall, they are not actively seeking out a magical experience on the platform.
March 8, 2021
Googles new tracking
Google is proposing a major change in the way its ad tracking and personalization will work, called the Privacy Sandbox, which claims to increase privacy. The old way was to use third party cookies, but the new way involves machine learning on the user's browser history to assign a flock name that will be sent to every website visited. While this may seem like a step in the right direction, it is really just a clever work around for the rules and is the next step in a growing arms race between tech and government regulators.
March 5, 2021
Email Pixels
Email tracking is often considered a necessary evil, but it doesn't have to be that way. While web browsers have made strides in privacy, email has been left behind. The author tried Hey.com but found the feed and paper trail to be cumbersome, and the lack of an archive feature was a dealbreaker. The new Hey World feature is interesting, but it remains to be seen if it solves the author's problems.
March 3, 2021
Twitter Super Followers
Twitter has announced a new feature called Super Followers, which allows content creators to make money on the platform by charging users to be their super followers and receive exclusive content. This feature is expected to fit well with the current audience of Twitter users and will not affect most casual users. Super Followers is seen as a brilliant idea that provides an additional revenue stream for content creators without disrupting Twitter's existing ad-based revenue model.
February 26, 2021
Spotify Stream On
Spotify's Stream On event discussed topics such as automatic ear detection, SMS codes for login, and their plans to take over podcasting with exclusive and public podcasts and dynamic ad insertion. Clubhouse was also mentioned as a platform for social rooms and group phone calls with friends and coworkers, rather than a replacement for traditional podcasts.
February 24, 2021
Clubhouse and Contacts
Clubhouse is a new social network app that uses the contacts API to bootstrap its network. It is more like talk radio than podcasts and is invite-only. The author is not a fan and does not see it lasting as a standalone app, but thinks it could be a feature rolled into Twitter or Facebook. The author has no issue sharing access to contacts if it helps build networks and there are assurances against spamming.
February 22, 2021
Facebook and Australia
The author discusses the recent conflict between Facebook, Google, and the Australian government over a proposed law that would require tech companies to pay news organizations for their content. While some argue that the media is owed this money, others worry about the potential negative effects on the tech companies and the fairness of the proposed law. The author suggests a new tax on tech companies to build a media fund that could benefit smaller players in the industry.
February 19, 2021
Clubhouse is a new social media app that has been getting a lot of attention lately. The author was able to get an invite and tried it out, joining a random room about wellness. They found the UI to be clear and easy to understand, and liked that they could easily see who was talking and follow them if they wanted to. They also listened to a few shows, including one about AI ethics and explainability, and enjoyed the experience of being able to pop in and out of conversations. The author saw the option to raise their hand to chime in, but was not in a position to do so.
February 17, 2021
Misinformation and the W.H.O.
The author discusses the challenge of determining what is true in a world where people create their own universe of facts. They question how to decide what is true and what is not, and suggest that sharing more information at the right time to the right people is key. The author also suggests that local focus may be needed and that social media companies should acknowledge both sides of the argument and let each side make its case.
February 15, 2021
Apple Silicon Macs
Apple's new Silicon Macs have impressive performance and efficiency improvements, with roughly 2x jumps in both areas. While the design and web cameras remain largely unchanged, the improvements make it possible to treat the MacBook more like an iPad, using it unplugged for extended periods of time.
November 11, 2020
Facebook Gaming
Facebook Gaming's cloud gaming plans are interesting as they target mobile games and build cloud demos of games for users to try out from ads. The approach is similar to Apple's app clips, and the question arises as to why developers should use Facebook's cloud service instead of app clips in Facebook ads, with Android support being a significant benefit.
October 28, 2020
Baseball and the Elam Ending
The rules of sports can dramatically change how the game is played, such as the addition of the three point line to basketball in 1979. The Elam Ending in baseball is another example of a rule change that can enhance the game. Referees also play a crucial role in sports, and Michael Lewis's podcast "Against the Rules" delves into this subject. Sports offer more than just physical attributes and abilities, with basketball having many layers to appreciate and understand.
October 26, 2020
Quibi Justice
No content
October 23, 2020
Reviewing the iPhone 12
In a review of the iPhone 12, the author discusses the sizes of the new phones and compares them to previous models. They note that the new 12 and 12 Pro are the same size and have OLED screens, indicating that this is the right default size for most people. The author, however, is leaning towards the new mini size. They also mention that the new phones are slightly thinner than the old SE, but wider and taller. The author is unsure if there is enough information to buy the mini sight unseen or if they should wait to see it in a store.
October 21, 2020
Twitter’s NYPost Takedown
Twitter's takedown of a New York Post article about Hunter Biden played into Trump supporters' distrust of social media companies. Facebook limited the article's ability to go viral, while Twitter actively blocked it. The debate over censorship and free speech in social media is ongoing, and labeling and trolling may be a better solution than taking down content.
October 19, 2020
More on iPhone
The iPhone 12 has some new features, including Magsafe charging and a smaller mini version. The author is excited about Magsafe charging and the potential for third-party accessories, and is happy to finally have a smaller iPhone option. Other features like 5G and improved camera are less compelling.
October 16, 2020
The iPhone 12 Event
The Apple event was a bit of a disappointment as there was no new Apple TV, but the new iPhone 12's are great upgrades even without 5G. The design is similar to the iPhone 5 and there is a new "mini" size that is top of the line and will hopefully be updated every year. It's not as small as some would like, but it's a good balance.
October 14, 2020
All Out of Rhythm
In this episode of All Out of Rhythm, the hosts discuss the exhaustion of having to make conscious decisions every day, the recent Apple Event and the lack of compelling options for streaming devices. They question why Apple has given up on the home and speculate on whether they will be impressed by Apple's new offerings.
October 12, 2020
Tech and Monopoly
The author discusses the balance of power in big tech and the potential dangers of overregulation. While acknowledging the concerns around Facebook's size and power, the author argues that it is not necessarily antitrust and that new laws are needed. The goal should be to ensure that these companies are additive and expanding what's available, rather than squashing innovation from the outside.
October 9, 2020
The Antitrust report
The Antitrust report discusses the recent hearings and 449-page report on antitrust issues with tech companies, with Google receiving the most scrutiny and producing 1 million pages of documents. The report overlooks the benefits of the company and there is a need for new laws. The DOJ is planning a lawsuit, and the proposed solution of limiting acquisitions by dominant platforms could harm startups and limit innovation. This is an ongoing fight, and any changes proposed should balance limiting innovation with protecting it.
October 7, 2020
The COVID Blackjack Hand
The COVID-19 outbreak is complicated by super-spreaders, and the US is not equipped to handle it. It is unclear if Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis will change anyone's mind about the virus, but the Lincoln Project may be the best hope to convince reasonably smart Republicans to vote against him. The author believes that if Trump loses the election, it will be in a landslide.
October 5, 2020
The Coinbase Debate
The Coinbase CEO's stance on keeping politics out of the workplace has sparked debate, with some arguing that the current political climate requires companies to take a stand. While some believe that companies should remain neutral, others argue that the erosion of democratic norms warrants a response. The article also touches on the controversy surrounding Amazon's use of infrared cameras for vein scanning and the privacy concerns it raises.
October 2, 2020
Amazon One
Amazon is introducing a new hand scanner, Amazon One, to reduce friction in the payment process. While the "just walk out" technology seems inevitable, the privacy issues with storing palm scans in the cloud make the hand scanner less appealing. The article questions whether customers are concerned enough about privacy to care or if they will take any opportunity to save even just a tiny bit of friction.
September 30, 2020
Sports and Widgetsmith
The Miami Heat's success in the NBA playoffs is due to their ability to play "weak link basketball," where every player steps up and leads the team in scoring. This is in contrast to "strong link sports" like soccer, where the team is only as strong as its weakest player. This philosophy is also seen in the show "Ted Lasso," where a soccer team's success is hindered by a star player's showboating. The upcoming NBA finals will test whether strong link basketball (LeBron James and Anthony Davis leading the Lakers) or weak link basketball (the well-rounded Heat) will come out on top.
September 28, 2020
The author discusses their experience with writing on Substack and Medium, and their decision to use Notion as a platform. They express a desire to drive more readership to their writing and plan to publish one post per week on Medium while continuing to write on Notion.
September 25, 2020
An iPhone Bundle?
The episode discusses the possibility of Apple adding the iPhone to the new Apple One bundle, as they already push monthly costs over the flat fee on their website. The author suggests that a bundle ranging from $40 to $70 a month for an iPhone and premium services would be compelling and questions why Apple wouldn't do this.
September 23, 2020
PS5 vs. xBox
The PS5 and xBox have similar strategies with two options, but Sony invests in exclusives while Microsoft focuses on cloud gaming and a subscription pricing option with xBox game pass. Families with pre-teen and teenage kids are faced with the decision of which console to choose, with the PS5 appealing to hardcore gamers and the xBox potentially offering a wider variety of games through its subscription model.
September 21, 2020
Always-on Kevin Systrom
The Always-on Kevin Systrom podcast discusses the possibility of the Instagram founder becoming CEO of TikTok, as well as the Apple Watch Series 6 and the decision to upgrade or not. The podcast also touches on the history of TV and how TikTok is like channel surfing for the internet.
September 18, 2020
Time Flies
Apple's Time Flies event introduced new watches with better always-on screens and new straps, a new iPad Pro, and the Apple One bundle. The bundle offers a family plan for $19.95 that includes TV, Arcade, and iCloud, but not News+. Fitness+ is a new service that is part of the bundle and may compete with Peloton. The author is considering switching to the bundle to save money, but is unsure about the quality of Fitness+ compared to Peloton.
September 16, 2020
The TikTok Circus
The TikTok Circus episode discusses recent changes in the app store, the TikTok saga, and Microsoft's involvement. Trump's business practices are criticized, and Microsoft's business strategy is briefly touched upon.
September 14, 2020
Surface Duo and NG Xbox
Microsoft is promoting paying for Xbox through a monthly subscription instead of upfront, with the online subscription being essential. The Apple angle is interesting, as it raises questions about how many subscribers to Game Pass would also want the Xbox itself, and how Apple would respond to this. The episode also covers Surface Duo reviews and messaging apps like Signal.
September 11, 2020
Ben’s Android Review
In Ben's Android Review, he discusses the mobile OS wars, the latest Android OS on Sony Xperia, the inferiority of Android apps compared to iOS, and the importance of management in committing resources to both platforms. He also advises against letting developers design apps and notes that developers who can do both tend to work on Macs.
September 9, 2020
Australia’s Bad Law
Australia and France are trying to get Google and Facebook to pay publishers for their content on Google News. However, Australia is also trying to force Google to share algorithm changes with publishers with at least 30 days notice. The government should consider setting up a tax on Google and Facebook to give money to publishers instead of creating laws that do not make sense. Governments need to understand the impact of technology on society to be effective.
September 2, 2020
I know it when I see it
The debate over objectionable content on Facebook is a complex issue, with no clear solutions. The article discusses the difficulty of deciding who should be responsible for drawing the line on what is acceptable content, and whether it should be left to Facebook or the government. The article also highlights the importance of Facebook's role in promoting content, and the potential impact of search results on the visibility of certain content.
August 31, 2020
Facebook and iOS 14
Facebook is planning to track users in a different way after Apple's iOS 14 update requires users to agree to be tracked. The IDFA number is used by Facebook to track users across applications, but without it, Facebook will require game makers to type in their email address to play the game. Apple says this is not allowed, but Facebook plans to do it anyway. The change brings the debate over user privacy and advertising into focus, and while Apple wants users to have the option to disagree to tracking, it is unclear if users are equipped to make the right decision.
August 28, 2020
Google and the High-end
Google has given up on selling the Pixel as a high-end phone, leaving Samsung as the main player in the high-end Android market. The episode discusses the history of phone carriers and their control over phones, as well as the potential for cloud gaming and apps to change the market. The author expresses frustration with Apple's lack of innovation and options on the high end, but is hesitant to switch to Android due to the limited options available.
August 26, 2020
The 24-Hour Wordpress Saga
This post discusses the recent controversy between Apple and Wordpress over in-app purchases. While Apple ultimately backed down, the author argues that the issue highlights Apple's perceived greed and the need for changes to the App Store. The author suggests a potential solution of lowering the IAP rate to 15% and offering a lower rate for products with marginal costs, but acknowledges that there is no perfect solution and Apple will likely continue to be seen as a greedy supervillain.
August 24, 2020
Apple does it all
This article discusses the differences between websites, products, and platforms, with examples of each. It also touches on the possibility that the iPhone was originally intended to not allow apps, and the potential benefits and risks of building a platform.
August 21, 2020
Engines and developer accounts
The power of engines and platforms is an interesting topic in technology, as they remove the amount of decisions and work that has to be done to make something. Happy Cog commonly uses a CMS but has been resistant to using front-end frameworks like Bootstrap or Tailwind UI. However, using these tools could help scale the business and allow for more focus on solving novel problems for clients instead of assuming every client needs a bespoke design and solution.
August 19, 2020
HBO Max Go Now
HBO Max is trying to play the aggregator, but it's watering down the brand to a point where it's almost unrecognizable. HBO content alone isn't enough, so they added cartoons and old movies to make it more compelling. The central question is what does HBO want to be? Bundling is inevitable, so the question is how many standalone apps deserve to stand alone and how many will most Americans be willing to manage?
August 17, 2020
Fornite’s Trojan Horse
The author discusses the recent tech drama between Epic and Apple over Fortnite's direct payment option. While Epic is seen as the hero, they are really just looking out for themselves and their desire for more money. The author questions how Epic can make a case for this kind of freedom on the iPhone without requiring game platforms like Xbox to allow it as well. The episode notes include the fact that Epic had the lawsuit ready to go and that it's hard to see a way out of this situation.
August 14, 2020
Apple, Control and WeChat
Apple's rejection of Microsoft's xCloud gaming app is not just about the 30% commission, but about control. xCloud is a threat to Apple's app-based model and could turn mobile operating systems into commodities. xCloud is also its own app store, which threatens Apple's control over what people do with their phones. Apple's history of needing important apps like Office and Photoshop to sell Macs makes them paranoid about losing control. WeChat is an exception to Apple's rules because access to the Chinese market was too important to ignore.
August 12, 2020
The iPhone Console
The legal precedent suggests that Apple can do whatever it wants with the iPhone, and there is no legal basis for compelling Apple to open up the iPhone more to the likes of Microsoft or Epic. The iPhone is more like a game console than a general-purpose computer, and Apple has a specific idea of what the iPhone is and what it isn't. Apple has allowed all kinds of apps that do all kinds of things, but they will be damned if they give up control over its future to another company.
August 10, 2020
John vs Microsoft
The author discusses the issue of Apple not allowing game streaming apps like Microsoft's xCloud and Google's Stadia on iOS devices. The author argues that Apple's concern is that these apps would effectively become a new OS for the phone, making iOS and its user protections useless. However, the author believes that customers should be allowed to do what they want with the hardware they purchase, and that companies will need to custom engineer devices around a smaller set of use cases for them to be successful in the future.
August 7, 2020
On the Go
This episode of "On the Go" covers follow-ups on USB and Microsoft/TikTok, as well as Phill Schiller becoming an Apple Fellow. The author also reflects on the Trump administration's handling of key money and questions whether his supporters would still vote for him if they truly understood his sense of entitlement and disregard for the law.
August 5, 2020
Microsoft and Tik Tok
Microsoft's potential acquisition of TikTok has generated a lot of discussion and opinions, including the business implications, the China angle, and the Trump administration's involvement. The author questions whether the issue would have been as big if Trump wasn't president, and notes that there is much more to say about the topic.
August 3, 2020
Big Tech in Congress
The congressional hearing on Big Tech saw Democrats and Republicans agreeing that something needs to be done, but with different focuses. Republicans were more concerned with censorship of conservative viewpoints on platforms, while Democrats focused on antitrust issues such as Google's "stealing" of content and Amazon's use of customer data to crush third party sellers. Apple received the least amount of questions, with its issues with the App Store being seen as less destructive than the other three companies.
July 31, 2020
Aggrieved Apple
The big anti-trust hearing on Capitol Hill with four big tech companies, Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon, was a 5-hour hearing where lawmakers could only ask questions for 5 minutes at a time. The hearing involved grandstanding by lawmakers who didn't seem to have a clue what they were talking about. While there are issues with each of these companies, the case around each of them is so completely different that it's ridiculous to think anything coherent could come out of a hearing like this. Congress needs to make new laws to address the issues, but it's unclear where to begin. Ben Thompson provided a great list of questions for each of the CEOs, which could be a good starting point.
July 29, 2020
An Antitrust Preview
The upcoming tech antitrust hearings are expected to be interesting, with the big four tech companies facing different anti-trust arguments. The representatives' understanding of the issues they are litigating is also questioned. The main axis on which political parties differ is how and when to let the group overrule the individual.
July 27, 2020
Slack and Apple Relive the 90s
Slack is accusing Microsoft of anti-competitive tactics with their Teams chat/file-sharing tool. Microsoft has always been the enterprise IT department for mid to large size companies, and Teams is their attempt to take back ground from Slack and Zoom. While Slack and Zoom have made a huge dent in the market, Microsoft is bundling Teams for free with their email program, giving them an advantage. Microsoft's Teams is built into their video call platform, calendar program, and email program, making it easier for adoption. Google and Basecamp are also players in the market, but Microsoft is predicted to win the chat and video conference wars, with Google becoming the Mac of the corporate market.
July 24, 2020
Jio and the Indian Internet
This episode of the podcast discusses the potential for the Indian market, particularly in terms of internet access and the role it could play in lifting people out of poverty. Some argue that India needs to first create products that the rest of the world wants to buy before being allowed to participate in the technological revolution, while others believe that the internet can be a tool for the poor to build their way to the middle class and transform lives.
July 22, 2020
Twitter lulz
The author reflects on Twitter's lack of evolution despite constant use, and questions how a company with nearly 5,000 employees can fail to improve its platform. The recent hack, which was carried out by individuals seeking valuable OG usernames, highlights the vulnerability of even large companies to security breaches, with the hackers reportedly obtaining internal system credentials simply by asking for them in a company Slack group.
July 20, 2020
The Twitter Hack
This podcast episode covers the Apple WFH video, the ideological clash between the US and China, and the Twitter hack. The Twitter hack is particularly concerning as it highlights the importance of Twitter in the world and the potential for a tweet to start a war. Despite advancements in security measures like two-factor authentication and Face ID, the security problem has not been fully solved and large targets should remain on alert.
July 17, 2020
Disney, NBA and TikTok
No key conclusions or takeaways found.
July 15, 2020
No content