Om Malik

April 6, 2022

Fast Forward To Nowhere.

Fast, an online commerce-focused company, yesterday announced that it would shut down. The company, which employed 450, raised $120 million (at a valuation of over $500 million) from Stripe, Index Ventures, and Addition. While the news is what it is, a more interesting piece to read is about Fast Founder Domm Holland, who, to put it mi...
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April 4, 2022

Any day is good day to take your privacy seriously.

Just because Facebook, Google, and everyone else has managed to erode our privacy and hoard our data doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take our privacy seriously. Why? Because data is personal and social. And like us humans, it ages with time, gets stale, and becomes pretty worthless. Any day is a good day to fight back for control of your pri...
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March 29, 2022

Happy Piano Day

Did you know that the 88th day of the year is International Piano Day? Why? Because there are 88 keys on a piano. Today, March 29, is the Piano Day. On the day's occasion, there is a special playlist you can check out on Spotify. It is also available on other streaming platforms, but ideally, you should buy it on Bandcamp. It is worth ...
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March 27, 2022

Are Oscars Over

Today is the day of the Oscars -- Academy Awards that celebrate excellence in the art of movie-making. There was a time when this was a red-letter day on my calendar. I have not paid much attention to this made-for-TV spectacle since I cut the cord. I am not the only one who has become disinterested in the Oscars and its television bro...
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March 26, 2022

Cursed by Information Overload

Nicholas Carr, one of my favorite writers, penned an excellent rumination on the perils of information overload in his must-read book, The Shallows. “The stress that Google and other Internet companies place on the efficiency of information exchange as the key to intellectual progress is nothing new. It’s been, at least since the start...
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March 25, 2022

What the Webb Space Telescope can do.

If it works, the Webb Space Telescope can and will rewrite cosmic history. I didn't know much about the telescope, and this article gave me all the context and information I needed. Have a great weekend, everyone. And tell your friends about this "one good read" daily email from me!
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March 24, 2022

The Joy of Physical Media

The Joy of Physical Media David Mitchell, a British comedian, points to the growing sales of physical media formats (including books) as a sign that digital (streaming) lacks a loving feeling. I am sadly in the “streaming is convenient” camp, though I tend to buy my music from Bandcamp to support the artists, not because I want a downl...
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June 28, 2021

Tech History: How Lotus championed gay rights during the AIDS crisis.

I wonder how many people think about Lotus these days. I was a seminal company, and not just for making software. Lotus started by Mitch Kapor championed gay rights during the AIDS crisis. IEEE Spectrum has a great read https://buff.ly/3gAFBQy
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April 29, 2021

The Civil War of Haircuts

You might have noticed that it has been awfully quiet around here. I have found myself reading more books than the Internet these days — and as a result, I didn’t have much to share. A good habit I picked up during the pandemic — after watching Max Joseph’s video on reading — is that I read 45 pages of a book (at the very least) every ...
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April 22, 2021

Can Stem Cells Save Food?

Okay, I admit that is a bit sensationalistic subject line, but I wanted to have something catchy to get your attention for this story about the future of food. A group of researchers is working on new technologies that will use a "special kind of stem cells, known as pluripotent stem cells" with a "trick of genetic engineering" to help...
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April 19, 2021

The Great Pretender(s)

An anonymous technology industry shares her feelings about suddenly becoming a millionaire, thanks to the potential public offering of her company. She often asks herself: do I deserve the wealth that is coming her way? She writes: “My job, it’s all narrative. I don’t build anything. I don’t do any math equations. I’m corralling a bunc...
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April 9, 2021

Abandoned Disasters:

Abandoned Disasters: The unseen climate disaster in plain sight — that is how I would describe the growing problem of abandoned oil and gas wells. The Girst has conducted a wide-ranging investigation and found that, led by Texas and New Mexico, these abandoned wells are accelerating the release of dangerous methane into the environment...
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April 9, 2021

The unexpected history and miraculous success of vaccines

The unexpected history and miraculous success of vaccines is a great read from Matt Ridley, one of my favorite writers. It is also a great reminder that humans have always resisted vaccination, and through history, have greeted them with scorn and suspicion.
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April 6, 2021

Are you procrastinating more these day?

Lately, I have started to notice that I procrastinate more? I save things to my Pocket to read them later, but I don't. And that's not the only time I find myself procrastinating. Apparently, I should (and can) blame it on the pandemic, according to National Geographic. It is not about being, but it is more of a coping mechanism. The l...
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April 5, 2021

Bandcamp vs Streaming

Today's Recommendation(s): 1. Bandcamp's impact on the music business/Billboard. 2. A conversation with Bandcamp CEO/NPR. What do Nils Frahm, Anne Mueller, Jeannie Schulz, Mary Lattimore and Atli Örvarsson have in common? They are among three dozen artists whose albums I bought last year from Bandcamp, an Oakland, CA-based music servic...
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April 2, 2021

Data Stealers (not named Facebook)

We think Google and Facebook do shitty things with data. But let’s not forget about unnamed abusers of our data and privacy, like this company, which is spending big bucks lobbying the politicians. The Markup has a good report on this. (Not really a long read, but a worthy read.)
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April 1, 2021

The Voice of wrongness

Derek Thompson, a writer for The Atlantic, took the time and old-fashioned gumshoe reporting to prove that former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson is the Voice of wrongness when it comes to the COVID-19 Pandemic. His lies and half-truths are enabled and abetted by traditional media outlets. Social media platforms only spread this ...
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March 31, 2021

The story that is the Internet

We take the Internet for granted. We take the commercial internet for granted. What we don't appreciate is how far we have come from where it all started. Today instead of sharing a long read, here is a long watch -- a video that captures the Internet's journey and how it got to today. Trust me; this is the coffee break you need. Watch...
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March 29, 2021

Not the first Suez crisis

We all are hooked to the saga of Ever Green, the supersized container ship that is stuck in the Suez Canal. It is causing havoc on global trade. Supply chains are grinding to a halt. But this isn’t the first time we have had Suez crisis. And neither is this the longest one, as this article from the AP News explains. Interesting tidbit ...
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March 27, 2021

The gangster, the general, and the prime minister of Bangladesh

One of the most jaw-dropping articles you can read today is about how Bangladesh's prime minister, the army chief, and a couple of gangsters are all in cahoots. Political corruption, crime, and gangland are part of the inconvenient truth in South Asia. When reading this investigative report, I couldn't help but notice similarities betw...
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March 25, 2021

The secret life of a luxury hotel

Given how many people subscribe to the New Yorker magazine, it makes little sense to share an article from the magazine. However, I loved Jennifer Gonnerman's Behind the scenes at a five-star hotel so much that I can't help but recommend this to all of you. Beautifully written, deeply reported, and infinitely human-- the feature that c...
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March 24, 2021

How plastic destroys the oceans

Sometimes, visuals are more powerful than words, like this short animation film, The Beauty. Swiss director Pascal Schelbli gives us a glimpse of ocean life and the impact of plastic. Oceans that are beautiful but increasingly filthy, thanks to our constant dumping of garbage and plastic. Schelbi has captured the "mysterious depth of t...
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March 22, 2021

The Battle of Thacker Pass

The EVs — electric vehicles are everywhere. More SPACs are touting their fantastic future where they sell millions of vehicles. Elon Musk is the wealthiest guy in the world. Everything is so lit, except no one wants to talk about the elephant in the room — rare earth metals and the pollution that comes with mining them. And nothing is ...
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March 19, 2021

A chat with Nitin Sawhney. Who is he anyway?

Today is a bit self-serving as I am sharing something I published this morning: a new conversation with Nitin Sawhney, a British musician whose music has been the soundtrack of my life. The interview comes on the eve of the release of his new album, Immigrants, which celebrates the role immigrants play in any society. The album is the ...
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March 18, 2021

Substack: Platform or Publisher or a Scam?

"Substack’s business is a scam," writes Annalee Newitz (formerly of io9) on (where else but) Substack. "They claim to offer writers a level playing field for making a living, and instead, they pay an elite, secret group of writers to be on the platform and make newsletter writing appear to be more lucrative than it is. They claim to be...
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March 17, 2021

Facebook is behavior modification system

Maria Ressa, formerly of CNN, is a well-known media entrepreneur from the Philippines. Her news website Rappler is a major news source in the Philippines. It'sIt's investigative journalism, which is critical of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, has earned her his ire, and they are gunning for her head. In a short but solid intervie...
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March 16, 2021

How Apple Watch Got Its Faces

As you might (or might not know), I have a particular predilection for mechanical watches. I have always been fascinated by watch faces and the design philosophies behind those dials. And that is why I was pretty thrilled to read this deep dive into iconic watch faces that found their way into the Apple Watch. Arun Venkatesan, co-found...
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March 15, 2021

The State of Cloud 2021

Did you know that during 2020, the growth of cloud and access to capital hit all-time highs? Average Cloud 100 company grew 80 percent YoY, and $186 billion was invested in private cloud companies in 2020 alone. And we are only just getting started if you believe the State of the Cloud 2021 report published by Bessemer Venture Partners...
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March 14, 2021

The cassette tape creator is dead

In time, what was a disruptive technology becomes a part of our life that we don't even notice. One hundred billion units later, cassette tape is one of those technologies. It kicked off the ability to personalize the curation of music. You can draw a straight line between those tapes and Spotify playlists. Lou Ottens, the engineer who...
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March 13, 2021

The End of Silicon Valley (or not.)

Tim O’Reilly, a long-time observer this week, published an essay, The End of Silicon Valley As We Know It. If you can overlook the clickbait title, perhaps one of the most important things you can read is to understand our present and think about our future with a mix of trepidation and excitement.
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