The Gillmor Gang recording session is nestled on Friday midday on the East Coast and midmorning out West. Streamed live on Twitter, Facebook Live, and Youtube embed, the show is then edited, sweetened with titles and music, and released on Techcrunch. It's a kind of hybrid between podcast, Zoom collaboration meeting, and work-from-anywhere encounter group. The Gang grew out of the early days of podcasting, now undergoing rescaffolding from social, drop-in, or just plain fast following from a variety of social networks. The latest entry, Live Audio Rooms from Facebook, is "soft-launching" with verified famous people and creators in good standing up first.
Facebook typically waits just long enough to decide what features to copy, and appears ready to aggregate the strategies of the rest of the market behind a Facebook infrastructure if not firewall. This may incorporate not just social audio features like tipping and raising hands to speak but also live video streaming and perhaps screen-sharing tools like ones announced at Apple's WWDC for Facetime. Inevitably, the context returns to Clubhouse and its parallel tech media strategy.
Andreessen Horowitz (A16Z) debuted their publishing site, and the media tried its best to push back without burning any bridges to the high-flying venture firm. Even more interesting than the future.com website was a Clubhouse Launch Party where we met authors and their editors for about two hours of chat. Marc Andreessen sat in at the beginning, and A16Z partner Margit Wennmachers provided context for the launch. The strategy: project trust and insight from a venture firm and go direct from technologists to the tech and investment audience. It's an interesting time in the wake of the Trumpian alternative facts blight, where the cable media seems tied in knots by trying to salvage ratings gold with yet another crisis-to-crisis breaking news schtick.
After that gambit begins to tire, the pitch shifts to the undermining of Democracy by the Autocrats, which although real, is not exactly compelling ratings magic. With vaccinations reaching movie popcorn immunity levels, streaming television is shifting from all out binge releases to the much more familiar weekly cliffhanger model. Working from anywhere is being negotiated based on a hybrid of the best of watching your kids grow up while getting back to a collaborative office when you've seen enough of them or them of you.
On the Gang this time, Keith Teare suggests Netflix may be in a bit of a tough spot, as the easing pandemic puts pressure on new shows slowed down by production lockouts. It's true: the quality seems to be slipping almost imperceptibly, but nothing is accelerating to put pressure on the Big 4 or 5 Flixes including Disney, Amazon Prime, and maybe Hulu. DiscoBros (Frank Radice's catchy rebrand for Discovery/WarnerMedia) can be fun, Apple TV+ should buy in to boost production, and then we need to look to the Creator Economy to hurry up and save us.
Every few days there's another social audio pivot/acquisition/update, the most interesting besides Facebook's if you can call it that being Spotify Greenroom with its auto record and captioning features and inevitable integration with its Anchor podcasting tools. Tip jar resistance is almost a thing, in case you're wondering. The only thing more enervating is speculation on whether Clubhouse is jumping the shark — I don't think so. If the Future.com suggests more copying of The Information's events model, there's plenty of runway ahead. And social audio gold is anything about Clubhouse on Clubhouse.
For those of us who still remember tech news, the Apple announcements almost reach orbit with the mixture of M1 magic and iOS/MacOS/WatchOS/TVOS blurring. My favorite list is of features that don't show up on Intel machines, all the cool ones. For the first time in years, we traded up to M1's on both our Macbooks including a Pro and Air, and in the process enabled Blur mode on Zoom on both essentially for free. The hardware is starting to feel like a subscription service (HaaS) which as Salesforce's trajectory suggests is likely a very big deal. (Disclosure: I work for Salesforce.) For creators, moving from hardware like Newtek's Tricaster and BlackMagic's ATEM Mini to software-based OBS and then NDI5 over the public network is not prime time, but getting there real soon now. Keith thinks so, Brent Leary says maybe. I say, if Apple bundles Apple TV and Apple TV+ with newsletter plugins from Twitter Revue and Substack subscriptions....
from the Gillmor Gang Newsletter
The Gillmor Gang — Frank Radice, Michael Markman, Keith Teare, Denis Pombriant, Brent Leary and Steve Gillmor. Recorded live Friday, June 11, 2021.
Produced and directed by Tina Chase Gillmor @tinagillmor
@fradice, @mickeleh, @denispombriant, @kteare, @brentleary, @stevegillmor, @gillmorgang