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A Game of Thrones Movie-A-Week

(First published on 7/5/17 on 5ish Links, my newsletter)

We’re now just 11 days away from the premier of season 7 of Game of Thrones. Leading up to it, Megan and I had been talking about re-watching season 6 again, as so much happened that it’s easy to forget a lot of the details and plot points still on-going.

Then I realized this would take almost 10 hours — including a season finale that was 69 minutes long. So instead, I think time constraints will have us watching just the last few episodes of last season before the new one begins.

Then came the news that while season 7 will technically have fewer episodes than any of the previous seasons (seven episodes versus ten for the first six seasons), a few of them are going to be over an hour — with the penultimate episode over 70 minutes and the season 7 finale clocking in at 81 minutes long.

And this led to the revelation that while season 8 — the final season — will only have six episodes, each could be closer to that 80-minute length of the 7 finale. If that’s true, we’re going to be pretty close content-wise to the earlier seasons of Game of Thrones (many episodes have been ~50 minutes, so ~500 minutes of action per season — 6 episodes of 80 minutes would be 480 minutes)

Thought of another way, the season 7 finale will be roughly the length of a (short) feature film. And season 8 could be the equivalent of six feature films.

This is also what shows such as Sherlock ended up doing as time went on. And as long as the content is great, it’s an amazing experience. A Game of Thrones movie a week for six weeks!

5ish Links

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What could have been….

Steve Jobs and the Missing ‘Intel Inside’ Sticker

Ken Segall:

Apple’s internal testing showed that the newest PowerPC processor was faster than Intel’s fastest chip. With a real competitive advantage to work with, we did what any feisty agency would do: we declared war on Intel.

Suddenly, it was to our advantage that Intel had become the unifying, driving force in PCs. We didn’t have to attack any PC maker by name — we could take on the entire PC industry simply by attacking Intel.

In a similar vein to “Mac vs. PC” — Apple didn’t have to go after Dell, HP, and, most importantly, Microsoft, individually. They could go after all of them all at once. Also, regarding the Intel ads:

(Pause for interesting fact: the voice on all three of these commercials was Richard Dreyfus — who debuted with Apple as the voice of the Crazy Ones launch commercial for Think different. We upgraded to Jeff Goldblum in subsequent ads.)

Not sure that’s an “upgrade” but it is an interesting move!


I approached him with my biggest concern: “Please tell me we won’t have to put the Intel Inside logo on our Macs.”

With a big grin, Steve looked me in the eye and said, “Trust me, I made sure that’s in the contract.”

Easy to forget now, but the lack of carrier branding on the iPhone can be tied back directly to the decision not to go with the tacky “Intel Inside” stickers.

P 1 fords new ceo wants to use design to tackle the future of mobility
P 1 fords new ceo wants to use design to tackle the future of mobility

How Ford’s New CEO Plans To Beat Tesla, Uber, And Google

Katharine Schwab sat down with new Ford CEO Jim Hackett:

“This is part of the puzzle, which is trying to step back and say, how much of the nature of vehicles and transportation is mired in a past that was able to stay persistent for more than a few decades,” he says. “A past where what guided your vehicle was a driver, a past where what gave you a sense of rules and controls were traffic lights and stop signs and lines painted on streets. Those have lasted for a long, long time. That’s all going to change.”

He imagines a self-regulating city where cars may only be allowed in at certain times of the day, where the numbers of vehicles are limited because of congestion or carbon standards, where half-full delivery trucks will be turned away because the city can’t afford to give up the capacity on the road to a vehicle that isn’t entirely used. “The design of how that city wants to behave cannot be done in the analog system of painted lines on streets and stop signs,” Hackett says. “It’s not smart enough to regulate the equilibrium of what the city needs. Ford Motor Company has got a bright future in this because we build vehicles that will work in that system.”

While the move was abrupt, I think history will show the CEO change atop Ford to be a good one. Hackett has an unconventional background, but he’s brilliant. I saw that up-close when he basically single-handedly turned around Michigan’s football program as interim AD a few years back. It may seem unrelated, but I would not bet against this person.

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Bn ua004 295qu top 20170624135229

Facebook Is Going Hollywood, Seeking Scripted TV Programming

Joe Flint and Deepa Seetharaman:

Facebook enters a bustling TV scene where old and new players are creating a staggering amount of original programming, making it hard for even good shows to break through. Last year there were more than 455 scripted shows on TV.

Compared with digital players such as Netflix Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Hulu, which have been in TV for years now and have well-stocked pipelines of original programming, Facebook is late to the game. Apple Inc. is also hunting for original TV programming and just hired two top executives from Sony Corp.’s TV studio.

455 scripted shows. Just as with “app inundation” (or, six years ago, the “app wall”) we’re at the point where the limiting factor is not the quality of television, but simply the time to watch all the great content.

In another move that will distinguish it from Netflix and Amazon, Facebook is also telling Hollywood it will share viewership data with them.

“Facebook is saying, ‘We’re going to be completely transparent,’ ” one agent said. “ ‘You’ll share in our ad dollars, our profits will be your profits, you will get all the data.’ It’s a humongously different mind-set.”

Sure, just trust Facebook. This always works well. Also, they of course have to do this, being so late to the game. Still, it’s shocking they’re reported to be okay with shows costing as much as $3 million an episode.


This iPhone Designer Says No More Screens

Max Chafkin sat down with Tony Fadell on the anniversary of the iPhone:

My hope is that in the future, when you walk in the door of your home, you’ll take off your shoes, drop off your backpack, and leave your phone near the front door. You’ll be able to be one-on-one with everybody, but you’ll still have the capability, through connected devices, to be able to call up information if you need it. No more screens. We don’t need more screens.

Easy to scoff at this notion now, but it does feel like the backlash against screens is not only very real, but growing… They’re not going to go away, but we need different types of tech to augment them.

Do you share Elon Musk’s concerns about the dangers of artificial intelligence?

My biggest worry is not AI. It’s f — -ing fake news. I’m worried about these technologies that allow you to program people with information viruses. You don’t need AI to do that.

“Information viruses” is a very interesting way to put it…

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20170617 stp003

Conserve elephants. They hold a scientific mirror up to humans

So much to love in this Economist deep dive into saving elephants:

The question, then, is whether elephants and people can ever co-exist peacefully. And many of those who worry that the answer may be “no” fear the loss of more than just another species of charismatic megafauna. Elephants, about as unrelated to human beings as any mammal can be, seem nevertheless to have evolved intelligence, and possibly even consciousness. Though they may not be alone in this (similar claims are made for certain whales, social carnivores and a few birds), they are certainly part of a small and select group. Losing even one example of how intelligence comes about and makes its living in the wild would not only be a shame in its own right, it would also diminish the ability of biologists of the future to understand the process, and thus how it happened to human beings.


Dealing with so many peers, and remembering details of such large ranges, means elephants require enormous memories. Details of how their brains work are, beyond matters of basic anatomy, rather sketchy. But one thing which is known is that they have big hippocampuses. These structures, one in each cerebral hemisphere, are involved in the formation of long-term memories. Compared with the size of its brain, an elephant’s hippocampuses are about 40% larger than those of a human being, suggesting that the old proverb about an elephant never forgetting may have a grain of truth in it.


Bees are the only animals apart from humans that elephants seem truly afraid of. Anecdotally, this has been known for a long time. But the matter has now been studied scientifically by Lucy King, a researcher at Oxford University who is also part of STE. Dr King proved the anecdotes correct by playing the sound of a swarm of angry bees to wild elephants, and videoing the instant, panicked flight it provoked. The reason for this panic is that, although a bee’s sting cannot penetrate most parts of an elephant’s hide, swarms of bees tend to go for the eyes and the tip of the trunk, a pachyderm’s most vulnerable parts. Bees are enemies that no amount of collective defence can discourage.

Giphy Break

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Quickish Hits

The history of cold-brew coffee

I will never, ever, ever, ever understand people who drink hot coffee when it’s hot outside. Especially during European summers when it’s 90 degrees-plus and you ask for an iced coffee and they look at you like you’re a goddamn alien.

A Guide to Saving the Clippers

I 100% agree with Bill Simmons here, but especially on the point that Ballmer should move the team to Seattle, resurrected as the SuperSonics.

Mahershala Ali to Star in “True Detective” Season 3

Yes, season 2 sucked. But season 1 was so good to the point where they obviously deserve another shot. And this would be a great second step — this was the first — to that shot.

500ish Words

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The New iPad Pro Before It Goes To 11

Some thoughts on the 10.5" iPad Pro…

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Writer turned investor turned investor who writes. General Partner at GV. Writer at 500ish. I write to think. 🍻

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