Spark invests in Overtime

Last fall, Dan Porter and I met up for coffee near the Manhattan Bridge, just a few blocks away from his office. I was anxious to hear how things were going at his company, Overtime. I always love catching up Dan (we worked together at OMGPOP several years ago).

We were interrupted a few times as various tourists asked me to take their photograph (Dan had fun taking snaps of me during all of this).

After catching up on our respective kids+family life, Dan told me what was going on with the business. I knew there was something special happening as my 12 year old son James was showing me their cool sports videos on YouTube and Snapchat. James was also following their Fortnite team. He even had Overtime sticker on his laptop.

Founded by Dan and Zack Weiner in Brooklyn, Overtime is a sports network that began with a focus on emerging high school sports stars and rapidly expanded to 25 original shows, all built for Generation Z. Dan was telling me about their recent initiatives and some of their crazy stats (eg. in two years they grew from 1million video views to more than 550million monthly views)

They have quietly built a very important community that is super passionate about the brand. You can see kids’ “shoutouts to Overtime” all over Twitter.

A month or so later, we made Dan and Zack an offer to invest in their company. Which brings us to today: my partners and I are thrilled to announce our investment in their business. It feels really good to get the band back together. 

There are so many exciting things happening at Overtime right now. A new round of capital. So many new creative shows in the works, including a new show in sneaker culture and an expansion into fashion and merchandise. They are expanding in Brooklyn, opening a LA content production office and plans to go global. The team has this wonderful, diverse combination of creative talent and technologists. Dan shared his thoughts in a post today about the new round and where they are headed.

The sports media industry is going through massive changes. The next generation wants something made by them and for them. That is the opportunity and why we made this investment.

I’ll end this post with an amazing Overtime video. Check this out.

ps: Overtime is hiring!

 

Weekend in Vermont

Last month, Lauren and I spent the weekend in Vermont to celebrate our anniversary.

With each visit, we are reminded how much we adore Vermont. The wide open spaces, beautiful mountains and disconnected from city life. The perfect place to get outside and explore, or just sit by the fire with a book and a hot cup of coffee.

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(Color photographs made with a Hasselblad 503cw and Kodak Portra 400. Black and white photographs made with a Leica M3 and Kodak Tri-X 400. Developed and scanned by Richard Photo Lab). 

Jack Dorsey’s thoughtful discussion with Sam Harris

Jack Dorsey was recently interviewed on Sam Harris podcast.

Now in full disclosure, I like Jack a lot personally and professionally. And I was on the Twitter board of directors and remain a shareholder. But I have very difficult and mixed feelings about Sam Harris.

I enjoyed Sam’s insightful & provocative book Waking Up a great deal. But while his intellect and insight are remarkable on many topics, his views on guns (written shortly after the Sandy Hook massacre) and Islam are really tough for me to handle. I personally know a number of folks that like Sam so I’m trying to look past my serious discomfort and yet coming up short.

Okay with all of those disclaimers/disclosures out of the way, what I really want to talk about was Jack’s discussion with Sam.

The conversation was really excellent. Sam pushed Jack to explain their policy and why they ban certain behaviors and certain individuals.

Without addressing any specific individuals, Jack made it clear that Twitter doesn’t ban people based on a given tweet. They ban based on behavior (publicly and privately on the platform). I’m not sure that will ease tension amongst the alt-right paranoia but it does attempt to demonstrate that these banned users are doing more than what meets the eye. Furthermore, I believe, while Twitter makes mistakes, they deserve the benefit of the doubt based on their track record.

Other items Jack shared that I thought were interesting:

-Twitter increased the character count from 140 to 280. It turns out most tweets are under 140 characters but the replies often can require 280 for more nuance and context. That sounds like a very healthy thing.

-There was a lengthy part of the discussion that centered around the making conversations on Twitter healthier. Jack was super focused on this.

-Jack discussed his desire to do things out in the open and the benefits of learning in public

-Jack feels that the “like” button is empty and would rather see something else.

I’ll end this post with my favorite Jack line from the interview.

“I want to get to a world where people are walking away from Twitter feeling like they learned something new that benefits them”

Well said. Great discussion. Highly recommend it.

Why tag film photographs?

Last week this tweet by Alex Boyd hit my feed a few times by a number of photographers that I respect greatly.

Controversial photography opinion: I honestly don’t care if you shot your images on film. It doesn’t make you or the work you’ve made special unless maybe you made the film yourself. It also doesn’t make you work slower. You make you work slower.

This opinion is fair — but I think it misses the reason why those of us choose to include the name of film and/or analog camera in our photographs on social media.

For me, it’s about community and inspiration.

There is a vibrant and friendly community of film photographers on Instagram and Twitter. It’s been there for years and I am very grateful for it. It has led to real friendships around the world. I wouldn’t have made these connections if they didn’t tag their photographs.

Photographs made with film aren’t necessarily better but they can be beautiful and meaningful. I think tagging exposes the merits of film and encourages people to try it. And the more we shoot with film, the longer it will be around.

And that is a very good thing.

(ps: i love film)

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver died yesterday. My meditation teacher ended class yesterday with her poem, The Summer Day.

Beautiful and haunting.

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
—Mary Oliver