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End of the Line

Issue 100. How time has flown. Speaking of, I'm sending this a little late. Quite late, actually. Wel
First Draught
End of the Line
By M.G. Siegler • Issue #100 • View online
Issue 100. How time has flown. Speaking of, I’m sending this a little late. Quite late, actually. Well past happy hour…
Yesterday, Tom Petty passed away. I didn’t find myself quite as affected by it as say, Scott Weiland or Chris Cornell – which is weird, because Petty is probably a far more important figure from a musical stand point – but he just wasn’t as key of an artist when I was a teenager. 
I’ve written about this before – how strange/fascinating it is that the music that’s popular (or is simply popular with you) when you’re a teenager has such a big impact on you going forward…
Anyway, I still really liked Tom Petty’s music. (Including, by the way, his work with The Traveling Wilburys – more below.) And looking back as one does in such times, I was struck by just how great his Greatest Hits album (the one from 1993) is. Most musicians that release greatest hits albums have to fill it with at least some filler. Some borderline tracks that may be good, but were hardly “greatest hits” worthy. Every single track on Tom Petty’s album was greatest hits-worthy. In fact, there are a few tracks that probably could have been included  (“Even the Losers” – which was included in some versions), but were left off presumably due to space constraints (as well as a few that were released after the Greatest Hits album – “You Don’t Know How It Feels”, “You Wreck Me”, “Walls”…).
As I tweeted yesterday, Petty had at least a half dozen tracks that stand among the best in rock & roll, period. Shame he’s gone so soon. 

Space, Man
Here’s Tim Fernholz on Elon Musk’s recent space-related announcements:
Musk’s new plan envisions sending a cargo mission to Mars without humans on board in 2022—the next window when it is easy to fly from earth to the red planet. Then, in 2024, he hopes to follow up with human colonization. The BFR is designed to carry about 100 passengers, with 40 cabins and several community spaces during a mooted three- to six-month voyage. Such a mission is far more ambitious than anything currently contemplated by space exploration agencies, and for that reason many are skeptical of the timeline described by Musk, who has been a serial over-promiser when it comes to delivery dates.
At the same time, few organizations have SpaceX’s engineering talent, finances, and recent experience in developing new space technology.
Pivoting its business plan to make best use of existing technology has allowed SpaceX to thrive where other rocket start-ups have failed. Musk’s remarks came on the ninth anniversary of the company’s first successful launch. But SpaceX abandoned that vehicle, the Falcon 1, because it could not make enough money from it. It adapted the design for a space capsule to win a series of contracts from NASA that became the foundation of its business.
Pretty easy to be skeptical of all of this – I mean, they’re talking about flying people to Mars in 7 years – but it is impressive to watch the pivots in the plan to make this (or even just a fraction of this) a reality. Remember, SpaceX was going to be paying for all of this with global satellite internet infrastructure. But regulation seems to have killed that
So now it’s super-fast flights to anywhere in the world. Per Adam Baidawi and Kenneth Chang
Even on Earth, the rockets, traveling at up to 18,000 miles per hour, could make long-distance trips short — New York to Shanghai in 39 minutes, for example. Any two points on Earth would be less than an hour apart, Mr. Musk said.
After the presentation, Mr. Musk took to Instagram to elaborate on the price of those round-the-world rocket flights: “Cost per seat should be about the same as full fare economy in an aircraft. Forgot to mention that.”
Again, very easy to be skeptical of this. But in an era where everyone is focusing on making faster planes – the literal extrapolation of Ford’s “faster horse” – why not focus on thinking differently? Sometimes, the shortest path between two points is not a straight line, but a trajectory up and down (using the curvature and movement of the Earth).
Apple Studios
Though Apple isn’t looking to replicate the pace or scale of rival Netflix’s $6 billion annual spend, it is eager to be in the prestige content business in a significant way. Per multiple sources briefed on the company’s plans, its executives are looking for big, smart, splashy dramas, with at least one citing Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad and The Crown as models. And though there are still plenty of questions — first and foremost, how will an Apple show be distributed? — talent is lining up to provide options.
Right, that is the question. If Apple is going to shove these into Apple Music as a way to boost that service, this is a non-starter. If they’re going to inject them into the “TV” app on every iOS device (including Apple TV), now we’re maybe talking. But only maybethere are other issues
Still, the lack of clarity has left at least a few, including ICM Partners managing director Chris Silbermann, asking tough questions. “Jamie and Zack are good guys, and they’ve done business with all of us for decades, and it’s Apple, so everybody will sell there,” he says. “That being said, they need to articulate to the creative community and the industry at large their marketing, release and distribution strategy. Simply, what does it mean to be an Apple show?”
The other question: everyone is interested in doing an Apple show not just for distribution, but for potential marketing. Apple’s marketing for Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke has seemed lackluster to say the least, thus far. If they land one of these big fish, does that change? It will have to…
Also interesting: Apple is in the market but already being outbid by the likes of Netflix. They need to get more… creative. Money isn’t enough.
The Dan Brown Code
Sarah Lyall sat down with author Dan Brown ahead of the release of his new novel, Origin:
Mr. Brown, 53, spent four years writing and researching the book. He is nothing if not disciplined. He rises at 4 a.m. each day and prepares a smoothie comprising “blueberries, spinach, banana, coconut water, chia seeds, hemp seeds and … what’s the other kind of seed?” he asked. “Flax seeds, and this sort of weird protein powder made out of peas.” He also makes so-called bulletproof coffee, with butter and coconut oil, which he says changes “the way your brain processes the caffeine” so as to sharpen your mind.
His computer is programmed to freeze for 60 seconds each hour, during which time Mr. Brown performs push-ups, situps and anything else he needs to do. Though he stops writing at noon, it’s hard for him to get the stories out of his head. “It’s madness,” he said of his characters. “They talk to you all day.”
Dan Brown is one of those authors who is very divisive. His work is so popular that it draws out the literary snobs who deride him as basic. I’ve only read The Da Vinci Code, which I liked – yes, a fast read. But I’m far more interested in the process by which successful people do their craft…
Traveling Wilburys - End Of The Line
Traveling Wilburys - End Of The Line
…and then there were two…
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M.G. Siegler

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