Weekend Review: November 10-12, 2018

It was a three-day holiday weekend in America, hence no posts yesterday.

Sightings: 1 unidentified eScooter, 1 unidentified electric longboard. It was cold and I didn’t wander about.

The iPad Pro test post will come another day. Today is too filled with other things. I tried the smart keyboard cover for both the 11″ and 12″ models. I could type on neither. Good travel, but the damn keys are too small and are weirdly spaced. And WTF are the keys round? What idiot thought that was a good idea? Didn’t they learn from the round mouse they did? I also tried the new MacBook Air. It’s too damn heavy. I can type on that keyboard but it makes too damn much noise! Why has Apple lost its way with keyboards? Decades later, I still long for the Selectric keyboard I had in the typewriter age. With tech ripping everyone off, why can’t they clone that?

Weekend reading was Who Is Michael Ovitz? by Michael Ovitz. I had to get it done because the library wants it back today. Bob Lefsetz has a review here. He’s right about Ovitz lacking insight. The book lacked drama and all emotion. It was just words. It should have been exciting AF, but wasn’t. I think he wrote it to try to figure himself out — and failed. I give Ovitz credit for something I was thinking he should be doing and wound up on page 335, where he tried it ahead of everyone else:

In 1999, two years after my crash-and-burn at Disney, I formed a new production and management company, Artists Management Group. With my smart, accomplished partners, Rick and Julie Yorn, I intended for us to become the leading provider of mobile content, even as we kept a profitable foot in old media. The idea was that in their downtime after writing a television show, say, our creators would create three-minute comedy episodes for mobile phones; compile seven of those and you’d have a twenty-one-minute episode of a sitcom. We’d push sports scores and restaurant information to your phones (as is now common) and make short-form television you could view on any device (an idea Jeffrey Katzenberg got headlines for in 2017).

Structurally, AMG was designed to be free from CAA’s [Creative Artists Agency] constraints. It could produce content and represent artists simultaneously, without any conflict. Scaling up quickly, we placed a stellar roster of writers under contract to our TV production arm, and in our first six months we sold thirteen TV pilots to the networks. And then, slowly at first but with increasing speed, we did a face-plant.

One big problem was that the smartphone-adoption rate and bandwidth needed for large numbers of people to receive programming on their phones weren’t in place yet. We taped Robin Williams reading the front page of the New York Times and riffing off it — a bit we thought would be a repeatable, snackable way of advertising our wares. But when we tried to upload it to Verizon’s network, it simply didn’t transmit. We intended to be two years ahead of everyone else, but we turned out to be five years ahead not only of everyone else, but of the technology.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

Previously here:

Weekend Review posts

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