Paris in the fall

Last month, I made a return trip to Paris. I am not sure there is a more beautiful place than Paris in the fall. The air was crisp, the leaves were turning and seemingly everyone was outside.

This trip was brief like my summer visit and also work related. More on that subject in a future post. But I did manage to get out a few hours each day to make some photographs.

One highlight was randomly bumping into my friend Joe and Andre Wagner in the Marais. palace .jpgchess.jpgwalkers.jpgRiver.jpgsmoker.jpgseat.jpgBread.jpgboyz.jpgDiag.jpgrest.jpgTower.jpgEvening.jpg

(All color photographs made with a Mamiya 7ii and Kodak Portra 400. Black & white photographs were made with a Leica MA and Kodak Tri-X 400 film. Developed and scanned at Richard Photo Lab)

Regulating tech, continued

I wrote down some thoughts back in 2011 about government regulation of technology. And looking back, I stand by that post.

But I wanted to spend a few extra words due to the recent Access Act proposed by Senator Warner and others.

My friend Fred has an interesting post on this topic as usual. Fred likes the approach outlined and has some suggestions on how to make it stronger.

I do like the idea of portability and data ownership. For example, I should have the ability to easily take my photos from Facebook or IG and move on. I know Flickr made this task nearly impossible and always bummed me out. It’s wrong.

But believe there is a distinction between data ownership and everything else. I need to consider topic some more — but my initial thinking is regulating how these service work with each other is not useful or even necessary. In fact, it may be harmful to consumers.

Take Senator Warners example about AOL AIM. First, I just don’t believe AIM would have remained dominant if the government didn’t act. Just look at AOL’s track record for innovation, even in those days. Also consider MySpace for yet another example. A walled garden that was massive but didn’t innovate, declined and died.

Further interoperability doesn’t necessarily always help the smaller company either. Facebook is cloning Snapchat every chance they can get. Snaps only chance is to keep creating and making Snapchat a more compelling experience on their own (it seems to be working btw). Can you imagine if the government forced Snap to interoperate with Facebook Messenger. First, it would be a horrible user experience and second, it would hurt Snapchat more than it would hurt FB.

(Related point. I deleted my Facebook account earlier this year and haven’t looked back. I’m so happy that Facebook can’t find a way to message me elsewhere)

But ultimately I believe in software innovation and remain optimistic that startups can out innovate. It happened in operating systems, it happened in the browser wars and it will happen in social media.

The beat goes on.

Heavenly Father, Bon Iver

Lauren and I went to see Bon Iver earlier this week in Boston. It was absolutely magical.

Some thoughts on the Impeachment inquiry

Yesterday was historic.

Just two American Presidents have been impeached and one resigned before impeachment. It’s a heavy and somber moment for sure.

I listened to the Daily podcast this morning and it is clear a recent Washington Post op ed by seven moderate freshman Democrats (from purple districts) was a powerful influence on the Speaker’s decision to launch an Impeachment Inquiry.

The article’s opening paragraph demonstrates this is about country not politics

Our lives have been defined by national service. We are not career politicians. We are veterans of the military and of the nation’s defense and intelligence agencies. Our service is rooted in the defense of our country on the front lines of national security.

It’s a well written piece and a highly recommend reading it.

There is a great deal of talk about how this impeachment inquiry is going to energize the Trump base. This has always been true but the press is forgetting to mention a critical issue. Namely, Democrats took over the house with a an energized blue wave of moderate and progressive voters demanding checks and balance on a rogue President.

Finally, I would like to encourage all of us not to lose interest and energy while some in the press and Republicans make a circus out of all of this. It is extremely serious and important. And we all have a role to play. Call your elected official. Educate your family members. Talk to people in your community. Use your voice and be heard. Donate and volunteer.

This is our country. It’s time to be a mother fucking patriot.

Hopeful about the future of Tumblr

Eight months ago, I made the switch to WordPress. I couldn’t bear it anymore. And honestly I was bracing myself for a possible shutdown of the service by Verizon given their lack of interest or understanding of Tumblr.

WordPress has been great. It’s a rock solid platform and I control my little part of the web over here.

But I miss the Tumblr. I miss the simplicity and elegance. I miss the ease of adding multiple photographs to a single post. Or finding great music. But mostly, I miss the community.

Last week, something very exciting happened to the world of Tumblr. The company behind WordPress acquired Tumblr.

As I wrote on Twitter the day the news broke, I am really happy about this news and hopeful about the future of Tumblr.

Perhaps I will switch back soon.

Love you Tumblr.

A new episode of Hallway Chat

Nabeel and I started our little podcast when we were both working out of the same office at Spark and would spend time in between meetings in the hallway chatting about things on our mind. We hit the record button and made our first podcast seven years ago.

Our recording schedule has been ad hoc to say the least but I’m happy we still do it from time to time. Yesterday we sat down and recorded our 31st episode of Hallway Chat. As usual we started talking and just hit the record button. Sorry about the audio quality, I didn’t have my good microphone with me. Anyway, here is the two of us talking about things on our minds lately including:

-is VC pattern recognition actually valuable
-what does the decline of the iPhone mean to Apple’s future
-the potential for single purpose electronics
-challenging the dogma of “winner takes all” markets in startups.

Hope you like it and please send us tweets (@bijan or @nabeel) with suggestions for a future episode :)