there are 3 posts from October 2014

October 10, 2014

If Cocktails Were Tech Companies

After all, this whole thing’s a party.

The tech imperative, expressed at Chambers in San Francisco.

This week, Steven Levy’s excellent new publication Backchannel posted a very entertaining story by Adam Pittenger, “If NFL Teams Were Tech Companies.” I loved it. Twitter as the 49ers? Facebook as the Seattle Seahawks? Microsoft as the Dallas Cowboys? Perfect! Each of the team pairings made sense…except for some of the weird AFC teams but eh, does anyone actually care about the AFC?

The day after the story came out a few of us were at Chambers, a bar in San Francisco known for its well lit imperative to BE AMAZING. So directed, conversation drifted toward the post about about team / company pairings and one of us said “Well, this is really just about branding and perception. We could match tech companies against any list of arbitrary things and make it make sense.” So we grabbed the list of arbitrary things closest at hand—the bar menu—and matched each of the ten cocktails on it to tech companies. Here are the results.

vodka drink = Facebook
tito’s vodka, st. germaine elderflower, basil, lime
Basic drink at the top of the list, easy to pick, easy to drink, no decision making required. The elderflower makes it feel a little bit special, like birthday greetings do on Facebook.

gin drink = Slack
distillery 209 gin, aperol, lemon, angostura
Lately it seems that everyone is into gin, just like everyone is into Slack. Gin gets you talking, Slack gets you talking. It’s mostly a basic drink (like Slack is basically chat), but the aperol and angostura add that perfect dash of hipster vibe…just like Slack’s API integrations, their promo video, and their brand made of plaid.

rum drink = Airbnb
brugal anejo rum, pineapple gum, green chartreuse, lime, angostura, ginger beer, mint
Rum! Pineapple gum! Green Chartreuse! It’s like a vacation party in your mouth! A vacation party that leaves you feeling queasy the next morning when you wake up and wonder where the hell you are, how the hell you got there and why the hell you can’t order room service.

rye drink = Pinterest
dickle rye, rosato vermouth, benedictine, cold-pressed nectarine syrup
It’s like they assembled this drink from a precious Pinterest board. A rye bottle with an old-timey label, a slender bottle of pink vermouth and a couple of nectarines in soft focus. That touch of benedictine just screams “Pin it!”

tequila drink = Uber
suerte reposado, agave nectar, lime, cucumber, raspberry, mint
The Suerte says “strong.” The agave says “raw.” The lime, cucumber, raspberry and mint say “air freshener hanging from the rear view mirror masking the uncomfortable odor of aggressive business practices, intense lobbying and not terribly well-considered blog posts.”

mezcal drink = Snapchat
vida mezcal, ginger tamarind syrup, lime, grapefruit bitters
Here, drink this. It’s good, right? Have another. And another. Don’t worry, you won’t remember a thing in the morning.

classic drink #1 = IBM
st. george terroir gin, cointreau, herb infused lillet blanc, lemon, absinthe rinse
Duh. The integration consultants in gray flannel slacks don’t want to be seen drinking their fathers’ G&Ts, and they keep talking about Watson like it’s some sort of absinthe rinse.

classic drink #2 = HP
buffalo trace bourbon, carpano antica, luxardo, orange bitters
In the split, Meg Whitman and HP Enterprise keep the bourbon; Patricia Russo and the consumer business get the bitters.

byrrh drink = Twitter
byrrh grande, fruitlab orange liquer, leopolds blackberry, lemon, lagavulin rinse
It has an issue with vowels, a clown car of flavors and no one knows exactly what it is when they order it. But once you drink it you like it, and you’ll probably order it again.

lucky #13 = YO!
bartender’s special
Because no one knows what the hell’s in it.

Our cocktail menu.

Huge thanks to @pandemona, @reyner, @thepaulbooth, @_jordan and @sandofsky for buying drinks the other night. Good times.

October 07, 2014

Why I returned my iPhone 6

After two weeks of using it non-stop.

It was too big.

October 03, 2014

filtered, week of sep 29 2014

Friday! It’s going to be 87° this afternoon here in San Francisco; perfect weather for this week’s top ten plus a kicker.

  1. Pablo Sandoval.
  2. ESPN’s longread on Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper’s friendship. “Watching baseball with Kruk and Kuip is like sitting at a neighborhood bar with two best friends who happen to be hilarious ex-players and want nothing more than for you to enjoy the experience as much as they do.” I was traveling this summer when the news hit about Kruk’s illness, and somehow completely missed it. Kruk and Kuip (along with Jon Miller and Dave Fleming on the radio) make it that much more fun to be a Giants fan, and now I’m preemptively dreading the loss of Krukow.
  3. David Mitchell on How to Write: “Neglect Everything Else.” I’m still making my way through The Bone Clocks, which I think needs to be done slowly because holy shit, it’s David fucking Mitchell. I haven’t reached the point where he jumps forward to 2040, but in a recent interview with The Atlantic, he talks about his process for writing things set in the future: “What’s the difference between you and your great great great-grandfather? What makes you different? I think the answer is this: What you take for granted. What you take for granted about your life, about your rights, about people around you. About ethnicity, gender, sexuality, work, God. Your relationship with the state. The state’s obligations and duties to you: Health care, education, recreation. What you take for granted about all these things is I think what marks one culture from from another, and one generation from another.”
  4. Elizabeth Lopatto’s “greatest angry lady distorted guitar playlist.” Because you obviously need more Veruca Salt, Sleater-Kinney, Metric, PJ Harvey and Joan Jett in your life. This has been on repeat during my morning runs. Speaking of which…
  5. Having a friend keep you honest about running. Having someone ask you in person “did you get out this morning?” is better than the Nike app, better than the Apple Health app, better than Strava. The charts and graphs aren’t motivating me to strap on the shoes at 6am, it’s the wicked combination of pride and shame.
  6. Dan Barber from Blue Hill says farm-to-table isn’t working. The problem? Demand from restaurants for specific ingredients puts economic incentive on the farmers to avoid doing basic things like rotating their crops. “I was treating Klaus’ farm like a grocery store, cherry-picking the ingredient I most wanted for my menu. Yes, it created a market for his local emmer wheat, so I called myself a farm-to-table chef. But I was doing nothing to support the entirety of the system.”
  7. Sam Altman invests (personally) in reddit. The Y Combinator / Hacker News / reddit dynamics are sort of, um, interesting there, but this bit caught my eye. “It’s always bothered me that users create so much of the value of sites like reddit but don’t own any of it. So, the Series B Investors are giving 10% of our shares in this round to the people in the reddit community, and I hope we increase community ownership over time.”
  8. Uber Optics. “Surely, no modern, wealthy society — say, one in which an app-powered ‘your own private driver’ service might thrive — would force professional, full-time teachers to also drive cars in order to make a living, nor would anyone celebrate that it was happening.” Matt Buchanan nails it with this one. That Uber post was completely tone deaf.
  9. “Dollar A Day is a simple new way to discover and support amazing nonprofits. We feature one great organization every day, everyone automatically donates $1.” One of those obvious ideas that makes you slap your head and think “I wish I had thought of that.” I’m glad they thought of it.
  10. The fine art of bullshit, killed by Google. “Are Steven Tyler and Mary Tyler Moore brother and sister?” Of course they aren’t, but man don’t you wish they kind of were?

I’ve been watching The West Wing (again), and have been reminded that one of my favorite television characters of all time was Mary-Louise Parker’s Amy Gardner. There’s a moment in Season 3 that is just brilliant writing, where Amy tells Josh that he’s the kind of guy that needs to be hit over the head. Then a few minutes later, as he’s leaving her office, she throws a water balloon at him. The punchline is amazing…

Hitting hi over the head.

The thing is, if you weren’t paying attention to the prior episode, you’d be asking yourself “who the hell has balloons lying around their office?” Well, Amy does, of course. Because she’s learning to make balloon animals. The writing and acting in this scene couldn’t have been any better…even if they had been pediconferencing.