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Gillmor Gang: Full stream ahead

Steve Gillmor
·5-min read

Twitter is shutting down Periscope, the video app it acquired several years ago when Facebook Live threatened to lap the field. When we stream the Gillmor Gang sessions, we send them to Facebook, Twitter and an unlisted embed on YouTube. At one point, we planned to stream the sessions live on TechCrunch, but for now we’re posting the edited version there.

In the weeks leading up to January 20th, the live Telegram feed at https://t.me/Gillmorgang has been dominated by the Trump focus on overturning the election results. Each failed attempt to alter the outcome dilutes Trump’s leverage as his Republican allies struggle with his threats and Twitter rage. In just a few weeks of this, the mechanics of vaccine distribution has overwhelmed the political story as people start calculating the number of days to getting access to the medicine. What Trump does in 2024? Who cares.

Pardons are also losing traction as White House staff jockey for access to the vaccine. With a couple of weeks to the New Year and then a sprint to Biden’s installation, the cable networks are retooling for ratings fodder in the new normal. Tech companies are rejiggering their real estate and tax implications of where the home office is located in a Work from Anywhere environment.

Handicapping the Georgia special elections will fill most of the cable news schedule until January 6th, but no matter what happens in the Senate, the real action shifts to corporate and economic imperatives to control the pandemic through behavior around masks, distancing, real testing and contact tracing to isolate the pockets of virus resistance to herd immunity. While government mandates are difficult to install at a national level, corporate requirements are more likely to succeed.

Week two of the streaming realignment features some talent lashback from big movie directors. It’s reminiscent of last year’s brief Spielberg attack on Netflix and Oscar politics. This year it’s the Oscars that are losing credibility. It’s still a ways to go before the Best Picture category is all streaming, but the audience out there is in no hurry to see "Dune" on the big screen. As with the election, facts are a trailing indicator. The move to streaming is not if but when.

Less certain is when I upgrade to the next iPhone. Part of the problem is the competition for mindshare with the M1 MacBooks. Instead of one device I don’t need there are two. It’s clearly a 1% mental crisis on the surface, but beneath lurks a serious debate on what we do as the twin viruses recede. The phone is the new MTV, the Star Trek communicator and the Get SmartShoe rolled into one. The laptop is a different story, a bold harmonizing of the suite of services across the desktop and mobile platforms.

The new phone offers iterative advances — a better camera, 5G support, a bigger battery. M1 jumpstarts a software surge across all Apple devices, pushing professional video editing and post-production tools to a prosumer customer base that seriously threatens Windows and Intel as the dominant platform for a post pandemic economy. Those still amortizing the last generation of the MacBook Pro 16 will hold out, but resistance will fade. The move to Apple Silicon is not if but when.

Still I don’t have a rationale for buying one. I’ll just have to do it anyway.

By the way, I’ll pretend to fund the M1 by cutting back on my newsletter subscriptions. Smart writers like the Ben’s Stratechery and Evans are caught behind the paywall of their shiny new newsletters, which trade reach for revenue. Then the very special long-form pieces they used to justify the subscription cost start showing up a few weeks later in the clear. It’s the newsletter version of the Hollywood windowing system that Jason Kilar and WarnerMedia are blowing up with HBO Max.

This piece by Ben Thompson is a hybrid of the form. It’s got plenty of quotes from his Daily pay newsletter mixed with a less methodical but more supple set of semi-ideas that actually make me want to subscribe. Like this:

On the flipside, to the extent that v2 social networking allows people to be themselves in all the different ways they wish to be, the more likely it is they become close to people who see other parts of the world in ways that differ from their own. Critically, though, unlike Facebook or Twitter, that exposure happens in an environment of trust that encourages understanding, not posturing.

This is M1 fodder, I’ll call it. Lost in the social network lockdown miasma but somehow potentially transcendent of the big fish in a small pond quandary where the newsletter eco system derails. Ten bucks a month times three or four adds up to real money I won’t be funneling to Cupertino, or Disney + or Whatever+ for that matter. But a bundle of cooperating newsletters that promote a certain type of work that aggregates useful data about a strategic influential audience — you betcha.

from the Gillmor Gang Newsletter

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The Gillmor Gang — Frank Radice, Michael Markman, Keith Teare, Denis Pombriant, Brent Leary, and Steve Gillmor. Recorded live Friday, December 11, 2020.

Produced and directed by Tina Chase Gillmor @tinagillmor

@fradice, @mickeleh, @denispombriant, @kteare, @brentleary, @stevegillmor, @gillmorgang

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