Tom Bennett

Tom Bennett

237 thoughts; 24 streams
last posted Dec. 13, 2016, 9:03 p.m.
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Software engineer, entrepreneur, filmmaker.

Eldarion co-founder and President. I've been involved with a number of startups since the early 90's. I built my first company in 1997 from scratch and sold it in 1999. I've been fortunate enough to have played around in multiple industries including music, film/TV and of course tech.

James Tauber and I met at a tech startup, but became fast friends over a film project and we've been something of a team on various projects ever since.

Nashua NH
Joined on Sept. 10, 2013, 2:07 p.m.
get recent cards as: atom

Evan Rachel Wood, to me, is proving to be the most impressive actress I've seen in years. The range that she displays in her role as Dolores is nothing short of astounding. I can't wait to see what she does with the role in season 2.

Anthony Hopkins' performance has been one for the ages. I've been a fan for years, and there's not much that he's in that I won't watch. However, this role seems to have been written with him specifically in mind. To watch him perform the role of Ford is to watch a grand master of the art of acting. I can't imagine what working with him on this show must be like, but I'm sure that everyone who does work with him is beyond thrilled to have the opportunity.

I can't say all of the casting decisions were brilliant for the series, but I will say that the vast majority are.

So many of the other performances are so notable that you can tell everyone is bringing their A game to this party, and it's just been amazing.

33 thoughts
updated Dec. 13, 2016, 9:03 p.m.

There's a great college humor video about the basic plot breakdown for every season of Entourage. The video does an excellent job of making fun of the fact that each week the show boiled down to one of two pretty predictable outcomes "we're making the movie!" or "we're not making the movie!". As much as I loved and still love the series (I hated the movie), I've always felt that this assessment was dead on.

Silicon Valley can be broken down similarly, and I think Thomas Middleditch might even agree - he happens to play the Eric Murphy character in the college humor Entourage spoof :-) The basic formula for Silicon Valley seems to work out to either "the company is going to make it/the company isn't going to make it" each week. I'm guessing there's probably a coin toss at the end of the season to decide whether they want to go out on an up or down note, but these are essentially the basic outcomes that each episode revolves around. For this type of show, I'm fine with that because like Entourage, the stuff that happens each episode is what makes it great. The structure and outcome may be simple and somewhat predictable, but great writing and characters make it all work.

Overall, I think the show has improved quite a bit from season one. Like most good shows, this one took a season or two to find its feet. The characters are well drawn, its voice and style is well established and it does a really amazing job of what it always had down out of the gate which is lampooning the hell out of startup and tech culture.

20 thoughts
updated June 24, 2016, 12:55 p.m.

Richie is emerging to be more and more like Walter White, but less evil in many respects. I see him as being in the "empire" business, but I think he's accepted the consequences of his actions and is trying to do his best to deal with them and try to turn himself and his life around. He went through a very interesting arc in this first season and overall I like how he's come out at the end. He has a lot more work to do, but it felt as though things were turning for him if only slightly in the finale with the launch of his Alibi Records label.

The critics are panning the series - saying it's broken or not working. Perhaps there is some truth to some of it. I think that the plot line about Richie and his involvement with the death of "Buck Rodgers" is a little weak and not quite so believable. Overall I don't think there's anything in here that's completely implausible given how the record industry worked back then, and how dangerous and corrupt New York City was in the 70's.

The absence of Richie's wife and kids in the season finale was a little obvious. There was no followup with her at all in fact so that felt like a gaping hole. I don't know if mainlining coke would snap you out of a heroin induced coma the way it did with James Jagger's character. I figured with Mick Jagger as an EP and advisor on the show, he's probably seen crazier things than that in his 6 or so decades in the business so there's probably something to it.

In all, I think that despite some of its weaknesses, the performances are solid and the characters are starting to find their feet.

It's rare that a season one of anything ever really crushes it and this show, while great, didn't really crush it. It was deeply dark, and very depressing for a lot of it. For a while, part of why I felt it was so well done had to do with what I think was a great job of making you feel what Richie was going through for most of the season. I think it also did a really great job with production design and making you feel like you were back in the 1970's.

It does have me hooked in a big way, and while there was a lot of brilliance in it, I don't think that it's for everyone. There are problems to work out sure, but overall, I felt it was very well done and I'm going to follow it into season two.

8 thoughts
updated April 18, 2016, 3:31 p.m.

The film is running long by probably 15 or 20 minutes, so there's work to do in getting it ready for the next screening in Boston.

Thankfully, the hard work is done and what lies ahead is trivial by comparison.

31 thoughts
updated March 15, 2016, 9:19 p.m.

Went to see it again last night. I don't watch a lot of films in IMAX 3D, but after watching the film again last night in just a regular 2D 4k theater, the visual effects felt more real and didn't distract as much from the story. While I still left with some of the same concerns that I'd voiced earlier, I enjoyed the film quite a bit more the second time around. I also left with the feeling that 3D isn't something that I'll seek out much in the future. It seems as though it distracts me too much from the story.

6 thoughts
updated Dec. 22, 2015, 6:20 p.m.

Busy year for sure. Not too busy to though stream though. I need to get back to it!

20 thoughts
updated Dec. 10, 2015, 5:18 a.m.

The move to Premiere so far has been extremely quick. I was not only able to set my layout up to almost exactly mirror my final cut layout, but all of my keyboard shortcuts work the same.

Moving projects from FCP required just a simple XML export. Everything came in just fine, and I was cutting within 10 minutes.

The cool thing about premiere is not only do all my FCP skills translate directly, but I no longer have to transcode source material to ProRes first; I can drop media into the timeline directly, as is.

Loving it so far..

4 thoughts
updated Aug. 10, 2015, 2:23 p.m.

The Wrecking Crew

I remember hearing about this film being produced as early as 2004, and remembering that I couldn't wait to see it. I had, for the most part, forgotten about it, and missed it when it made its festival run in 2008, but interestingly as it turns out, it wasn't until this year that it made a theatrical run, a fact to which I was completely oblivious. It wasn't until a few nights ago when hunting for my next film to watch that the title popped back into my head and I found myself renting it on iTunes.

I've been sucked into a number of documentary films in the past couple of years that deal with music, but more notably, groups of musicians and producers who built empires in far flung places. Most of these people, while excellent musicians and producers in their own right, all seemed to have flown the flag of underdog at one time or another in their careers, but what they managed to achieve in terms of their contributions to pop culture is nothing short of incredible.

One such group, based in Los Angeles was known as "The Wrecking Crew", given the moniker because the established studio musicians at the time felt that the new crop of younger, hipper, rock oriented players would wreck the music industry. They achieved something decidedly contrarian to this prediction. Playing with such producing giants as The Beach Boys Brian Wilson and Phil Specter, this group of musicians played on some of the most memorable tracks of our time. They took music that otherwise would have come off as mundane had it been played as written and turned it into something special with their embellishments.

It really is a pretty fascinating look into the development of the LA music scene and the creation of some of the most recognizable music of an entire generation.

The film itself was, as produced, about average. There was nothing particularly special about its production techniques or shooting; it didn't have some of the flair of Muscle Shoals for example, but the content was well presented, and the revelations at times, at least for me, were striking. I for one had no idea that Glen Campbell got his start as a sessions player in this crew, or that a woman, Carol Kaye, was behind the signature bass lines of "The Beat Goes On" (Sonny and Cher) the "Mission Impossible" TV show theme, and dozens of other notable tracks as well.

Director Denny Tedesco gives the film a feel that comes off as a bit reverential at times of his father, Tommy, but his prominence as part of the crew and Denny's life makes that understandable. I don't think this detracts too much from what I perceive as the films intent of showing the people behind so much great music.

As most eras do however, it came to an end when into the late 60's and early 70's, fans became more aware of groups who actually played the music on the records that they were playing on stage when on tour. With a few notable exceptions, the era of the Wrecking Crew and those that preceded them were mostly working in service of the song, the era that followed was about the personalities of the band and the talents that they brought to bear not only in their live performances, but in their studio performances as well.

3 thoughts
updated July 7, 2015, 2 a.m.

ssg

Was interested to see @charlesjo's card on "recycling startups". This is, in effect, what James suggested back in 2008 as being sort of the basis for Eldarion/Idea to Launch faster; develop a framework where the work that you do on each idea is always salvageable or reusable in a way that allows it to be repurposed easily for other ideas, sites or startups...

1 thought
updated May 28, 2015, 10 p.m.

Beware the Guru

Every tech cycle invariably comes with a new crop of books from a new crop of gurus who have learned their lessons in one or two startups, found examples of others who followed a similar pattern for success and think they're observing something no one else in the world ever has. They give a talk, write an article, or maybe even do some consulting for a couple of "established" companies who seek them out in the off chance that they have something of value. They deliver some results based on their observations or pseudo research, then coin a new phrase that ends up as the business methodology du jour distilled conveniently for you into a best selling book that has to end up on your shelf if you're an entrepreneur.

For me, these books (and in today's world blogs) are in many ways not too dissimilar from the books that espouse some new method for beating the house at blackjack, losing 30 pounds in 30 days, or raising the type of children who would be the envy of everyone in Lake Wobegon.

Can you learn something from these works? Of course. Will the methods and techniques they espouse work for you? Maybe.

I don't have a problem with great books that offer great advice. I don't have a problem with great mentors. I do have a problem with guru worship, but I understand it's an easy trap to fall into. As a rule, I tend to not be too trusting of people peddling advice, but I've been caught up in the hype, promise and message of such books written by gurus of tech cycles past myself. You start reading them, and their logic and observations can seem so inflexible, offer so much promise and in some ways seem so obvious you wonder how you didn't see some of it yourself.

However, I think it's important to realize that while there are many great works out there to help you understand how to make your way as an entrepreneur, the thing you have to ultimately rely on is your instincts and if nothing else, understand that every situation is different; what has worked for one startup may not work well for yours, no matter how similar the circumstances. Such books can help you find your way, there's no question about that. They can provide you with advice and insights you may not have had, but take what they have to offer as advice and insight, not gospel. A blueprint for success at the tables, in the stock market, with your weight, raising your kids or building your startup cannot be found in the pages of a book. They're great tools, but to find the answers you need for your situation means living it and trusting your own insights and vision to react to what you see, not blindly following someone else's plans or advice.

Only you can guide your startup. No one knows it better than you. It's very much like raising a child; you're always overwhelmingly proud of it when it's born, but you have no idea how it will turn out or how unpredictable it may become. You can read books and you can seek advice on how best to raise it and help it grow and you may find a technique or kernel of knowledge here or there that helps you find your way, and there's nothing wrong with that. Ultimately however, it's something that you gave life to, and only your instincts and intimate knowledge of it can help provide it with the compass and guidance that it needs to find its way and realize its full potential in the world.

18 thoughts
updated May 27, 2015, 2:20 a.m.

The advantages of being (mostly) self funded.

While Eldarion has taken a couple of small angel rounds over the years that we are grateful for, we are for the most part, self funded and that gives us a lot of latitude when it comes to how we operate the company.

For example, Gondor.io is a PaaS offering that came from our need to host our apps. We were able to productize a solution that we'd come up with to solve our own problem, and turned that into a revenue stream.

Thought Streams was born out of trying to solve a problem that we had tracking thoughts and ideas over time, and was something we felt that others might want to use as well.

In both cases, we never had any intention of either of these solutions trying to compete with things like Heroku or Twitter.

In both cases, we simply put something together that solved a problem for us and shared it with the world.

The longevity or fate of either platform is not in the hands of investors or board members telling us we need to find our market, pivot or fold. We're doing these things because they worked for us first then found a following in a broader sense. As long as they continue to work for us and the people outside of Eldarion who choose to benefit from them, we'll keep them going, growing and evolving.

It's about the simple notion that if we're having a problem and we've got a solution, let's share it and see if others can benefit from it as well.

We can do this because we find ourselves in the fortunate position of not being slaves to overly demanding investors or a board, to playing the startup game, or clinging to the hope that one of these things may turn into a unicorn.

1 thought
updated May 26, 2015, 2:48 p.m.

Season Finale

It's clear now that season 1 was really just about the birth of Saul. It was a little plodding, meandered at times and left you scratching your head about where it was going. There have been plenty of series that take a season or two to ramp to something interesting, Better Call Saul is one that seems to fall into that category.

Looking back, the dots connect to form the arc of the evolution of a bright guy with a lot of misguided energy trying to step out of the shadow of a successful older brother. When you were in it, things were adding up, but slowly and never really all that clearly. For me, it's really only in the last two episodes that the work of the previous eight come into focus.

Mike's arc, though its progression was not nearly as long and drawn out, paints an interesting picture of a disciplined, almost principled, no nonsense good cop gone bad. We now understand his genesis, we know his demise, it will be interesting to see what goes in between.

While I think the approach the writers took was an interesting one, something about it felt a little self indulgent on the part of the writers and creators. I think this all could have been condensed into the first half or two thirds of the season pretty easily and left plenty of room for more interesting story lines to develop.

That said, the writing, acting and all of the things you've come to love about the crew associated with Breaking Bad keeps it all together, and keeps you watching.. The big question is, will our patence and loyalty truly be rewarded in season 2?

6 thoughts
updated April 9, 2015, 2:34 p.m.

TIL

Robert Altman was fired for his first use of overlapping dialog in a film. The film was "Countdown" from 1968. He felt that it added realism to the scene. The studio head felt he simply "didn't get" how Hollywood films should be made.

1 thought
updated Dec. 26, 2014, 8:12 p.m.

In 2007, a friend of mine and I were doing small sketch comedy videos and posting them on youtube. One concept that he had was for a workout video by Libyan dictator Muamar Gaddafi that tought exercises that other despots might find useful for things like dodging laser designators, cruise missles and other threats modern day dictators might face. Shortly after posting it, the Libyan government protested it as being inappropriate and youtube took it down. While Kevin or myself never experienced serious threats from the Libyan government itself, the message from Youtube was loud and strong; never post this again or you'll face having your account shut off and be permanently banned. So I guess you could say that we were victims of state sponsored terrorist censorship before it was cool.

One part of me is admittedly upset to think that what amounts to an unbalanced, petulant child with a couple of nukes could pull off something on the scale of the Sony hack and actually block the release of a movie. Sony should have, at the very least, just posted the movie on youtube or something for free, or had someone "leak it" as a middle finger to Jung-un. Another part of me is thinking that all that really may have happened here is that we were all just spared the release of another really shitty comedy.

25 thoughts
updated Dec. 19, 2014, 6:45 p.m.

If it wasn't clear before from their recent moves in the DSLR space that Canon has all but left their DSLR video strategy for dead, this article provides pretty compelling evidence that the cries for better quality video and a richer video feature set have fallen on deaf ears.

I get that they're trying to push pros to their higher end, higher margin cinema cameras, but with all of the competition within the price range of their DSLR line, they may find a tougher and tougher time keeping their DSLR lines alive and competitive to a certain extent over the longer haul.

3 thoughts
updated Nov. 24, 2014, 3:47 p.m.

By the time I'd produced and directed the following music video, I'd for the most part stopped supporting Bobby Lee Rodgers directly as a manager, and financing source but I was still, and still am, very much a fan.

It was the first and only time I've had the chance to shoot a music video, and I only had 90 minutes to get the coverage I needed. Because of the short time frame, I had to rely on what little practical lighting there was in the club that it was shot in. Despite it being a little dark, I was happy with the result for the most part.

It's something of a shame that this was the only track from this record ever released on iTunes. There were a ton of great tracks and I had hoped to shoot at least one or two more videos for them.

8 thoughts
updated Oct. 24, 2014, 3:32 p.m.

Michelle McLaren directed some of my favorite episodes from Breaking Bad and has also worked on Game of Thrones as well as The Walking Dead. She held an interactive session at NHFF on Saturday where she would show clips from various episodes of all three that she'd directed and answer questions about them.

Time was running short and she was only able to show and field questions on two clips from Breaking Bad and two from Game of Thrones. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but it was very interesting to hear her talk about the process.

For Breaking Bad, the tight budgets apparently were always presenting challenges, something I'd heard before. The talent of the writing staff I think really saved them and probably made the series better having to work around as many constraints as they had. Seven days of director prep before an episode of Breaking Bad was an interesting revelation, along with the fact that they would have one director shooting while the next was prepping, so there was something shooting every week.

One episode that she'd directed, 4 Days Out, was intended to be what was referred to by the producers as a "bottle episode" or an episode that takes place in a single location with minimal cast. For fans of the show, this was the episode where Jesse and Walt go on an epic four day cook in the desert and can't start the van due to a series of stooge-like screw ups by Jesse. The interesting thing is that while the episode appears to take place in one location, it's actually 3; the desert, a backlot and a sound stage where the interiors for the RV are shot. That was pretty surprising to me because while I suspected the interiors might have been shot in a studio, the episode was edited so seamlessly, that it really does feel like it was shot entirely in the desert.

When she talked about Game of Thrones, there appeared to be a lot less concern over budget as she'd mentioned they were shooting in locations like Morocco and having quite a bit more time to plan, pre-visualize and shoot effects sequences.

Getting an insight from a producer/director on what are arguably three of the hottest shows on TV was a great bonus at the festival this year and a sure sign that it's maturing in a way that I've always hoped that it would.

6 thoughts
updated Oct. 20, 2014, 3:24 p.m.

If you compete with Apple, I think there a plenty of great opportunities to lampoon a range of things about the company; it's products, services, the untucked shirt hipness of their events, their retail experience :-). If you're going to do it though, do it right. When the ads lampooning your competition are as cheesy as your products, there's a problem...

10 thoughts
updated Sept. 12, 2014, 2:29 p.m.

"Make it till you make it."?

Someone posted this on twitter this morning and I'm not sure what the hell it's even supposed to mean.

So real men don't fake it till they make it or something, is that it? I think whoever came up with this is missing the spirit of "Fake it till you make it" entirely, the spirit of which has nothing to do with the notion of being a fraud till you make it or bull shitting till you make it.

Fake it till you make it is about being thrust into a situation or given a job and questioning your worthiness or preparedness for the role and quickly having to learn it while at the same time projecting an air of confidence that you have it covered. It's not saying pretend you're a film director or a CEO if you're given the opportunity, it's simply saying be it. Own it. Act as if you are a CEO or a director and the job will reveal itself to you. Do it and learn as you go, there's a first time for everything and you don't have to know all about something to do it and be incredibly effective at it.

The concept of freeing your mind of the notion that because you've never done it you can't, and the rest will follow is extremely powerful. If we as a species had never embraced the notion of "fake it till you make it", I'm not sure we would have evolved to the level that we have.

The bottom line is that everyone, at one point or another in their lives, whether they like it or not has been in situations where they've had to "fake it till you make it". There's no shame in it. Embrace it. It's an integral part of the human experience.

In thinking about this more, I've realized that this was probably more of a call to action; i.e. "make it" meaning keep creating whatever it is you create until you've "made it". I've always felt that doing the work on the path to making it was assumed in this context. Regardless, I still don't see how this improves upon or creates a more powerful message than the original catchphrase.

2 thoughts
updated July 28, 2014, 6:26 p.m.

ThoughtStreams provides a better means of curating and organizing tweet storm-like posts and the new presentation mode feature provides a much more interesting way to view/flip through them.

6 thoughts
updated July 7, 2014, 1:47 p.m.

Back to it this week. I had two project drives become corrupt this week. I was able to save the data but it was a pretty painful process. In real need of something bigger and more robust.

14 thoughts
updated April 23, 2014, 1:04 p.m.

The thing about UDP jokes is I don't care if you get them or not. -Author Unknown

1 thought
updated March 14, 2014, 7:06 p.m.

The point of this stream was not to ponder some sort of distopian future where our information is used against us, but the way things are headed, it certainly seems a plausible outcome. Information is power. And in the Roger Clarke paper I noted earlier, he stated that "Surveillance is an element of tyranny." I don't think there's any disputing that. The thing I think that I'm concerned with is that the longer we go without bucking the trend, the more likely I think it is that our personal data and the data that's collected about us via our various electronic tethers, will be leveraged in nefarious ways we could never have imagined.

3 thoughts
updated Jan. 31, 2014, 2:03 a.m.

7.0.3 is out today. Apparently addresses both the iMessage bug and the Siri voice quality issues I've been running into.

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updated Oct. 25, 2013, 7:20 p.m.
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ssg

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updated July 7, 2015, 2 a.m.

TIL

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Streams by this user that have been favorited by others.

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updated May 27, 2015, 2:20 a.m.
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updated July 7, 2014, 1:47 p.m.
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updated Aug. 10, 2015, 2:23 p.m.
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Free as in... 141, or 1401 character posts...

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The other night my wife and I were at the barn watching my daughter ride her horse Belle in the indoor ring. Once she was done, we closed all the gates and took the bridal and saddle off Belle and played with her like she was a puppy. We were having an absolute blast. At one point I looked up at the viewing room that overlooks the ring. There were three or four people who had just been riding in the ring looking down at us like we were from another planet; as if they couldn't imagine why we would be running like fools with this 1200 pound animal, letting her chase us and just having a fun time with her.

Belle loves that time with us. It's an opportunity to bond, and have fun with her. Most people just see a horse as something you tack up, ride and put back in the stall when you're done. They can be so much more if you give them the chance.

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Wondering why it is that time for the most part appears to be whizzing by but this winter seems so interminable.

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On being "gifted"

I have a problem with this notion of someone being labeled as having a "gift" just because they're good at something. Whenever I hear this, I get this picture of clouds openening up and a beam of light shining down on the womb of a young mother, infusing her fetus with magical powers.

I think that some people are born with better tools than others.; a better singing voice, a more inquisitive mind, a mind that excels at math, etc.

I feel like people who end up being exceptional at something are simply fortunate enough to have discovered their passion early and had the benefit of getting the support that was needed to indulge in whatever they're passionate about. To a certain extent these things are gifts, but I don't think that's what's implied when people toss the term around.

I also don't think that labeling someone as gifted pays any attention to the amount of work that it takes to really stand out as being exceptional at something. It's the whole "it took ten years to become an overnight success" discussion.

True, there are people who achieve success and a level of excellence sooner than others, but I would argue that ultimately, their excellence is still more about passion, hard work and perserverance than simply being "gifted".

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On Being a Red Sox fan.

A post I made on facebook this morning reflecting on my status as a Red Sox fan in light of the World Series win....

I tend to do very little direct posting on facebook, but after the win last night I re-visited an interesting article this morning reflecting on last year's season which evoked thoughts that would take more than 140 characters to express. The essence of the article resonated with me last year when I came upon it. Reading it again this morning prompted that same examination of my status as a fan but in a decidedly different light. The essence of the article to me was essentially that a sports team is sort of like one of your kids; you may not always agree with the moves that they make, or you may not like how they may perform all the time, but you find a way to love and support them no matter what, sunshine or rain. win or lose. In short, loyalty matters. I've always thought of the Sox as "my team" but the attention they have garnered from me has admittedly waxed and waned over the years. While there were times in my life when I was, I cannot not profess to being a rabid "never miss a game" category fan these days. I do love taking the family to Fenway, I enjoy catching a good game on TV on a lazy Sunday, and have enjoyed hearing about how they turned things completely around from last year. Nothing is sweeter than a one season turnaround story ending in a championship; especially in the aftermath of the marathon tragedy last April. As a lifelong fan, seeing them not only break the curse in the last ten years but also win a series at home, in some sense seems as surreal and improbable as seeing the Old Man slide off the cliff into Franconia Notch in my lifetime. As this article points out more eloquently than I ever could, regardless of the odds and what seemed stacked against them at the end of last season, a fan finds a way to stay invested in their team. A fan believes. A fan never gives up... Just as they all learned something from last season about being a team, so should we have all learned or been reminded of something about being fans. To that loveable band of bearded bums all I can say is thanks for an amazing end to a miraculous season! http://ti.me/QUmCLT

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Bad Epiphany

I'm often slow to pick up on watching good TV shows, mostly because finding the time to devote to TV is such a challenge. I didn't start watching Cheers, Seinfeld or Entourage until they were in syndication and very close to ending their runs.

Add to the list Breaking Bad. After lots of encouragement from friends to check it out and several failed attempts to get into watching on a regular basis, I finally dug in this week, went back to the pilot episode on Netflix and have not looked back. I have been in complete awe of the writing and acting, and I'm avoiding anything online that might clue me into the ending. At this stage I have to say that I'm probably as addicted to the show as Walt's customers are to blue sky.

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Evan Rachel Wood, to me, is proving to be the most impressive actress I've seen in years. The range that she displays in her role as Dolores is nothing short of astounding. I can't wait to see what she does with the role in season 2.

Anthony Hopkins' performance has been one for the ages. I've been a fan for years, and there's not much that he's in that I won't watch. However, this role seems to have been written with him specifically in mind. To watch him perform the role of Ford is to watch a grand master of the art of acting. I can't imagine what working with him on this show must be like, but I'm sure that everyone who does work with him is beyond thrilled to have the opportunity.

I can't say all of the casting decisions were brilliant for the series, but I will say that the vast majority are.

So many of the other performances are so notable that you can tell everyone is bringing their A game to this party, and it's just been amazing.

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Thinking on it more, Dolores may well have killed Arnold but not in the mercy killing/put me out of my misery manner suggested in the finale. I still think what we saw Ford describing may well have been backstory to cover up what really happened. But he was behind whatever happened to Arnold I'm sure.

twbennett liked twbennett's thought #4222
2 months, 2 weeks ago
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I had wondered for a while if Michelle MacLaren, one of the more prolific directors of Breaking Bad, would have been tapped to direct an episode of Westworld. So far it looks like she directed just s1e9 "The Well-Tempered Clavier", which was pretty great.

I think she did just an outstanding job with BB. Some of my favorite episodes were directed by her.

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Charlotte is a mystery. I can't say that I'm crazy about the actress playing her. It feels as though she's over playing the part to be honest. I also wasn't at all a fan of the actress playing Theresa. I think those two roles were terribly cast.

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Another possible clue that the Ford that was killed was a host is that during the scene where Theresa is killed in his secret lab, he refers to an older machine that is there rendering a host. My guess is that it's his double that was shot at the board meeting.

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I'm absolutely convinced at this point that Ford is not dead. Delores killed a host that was meant to look like Ford. I think what I see developing is that Ford is a firm believer in Asimov's three laws;

  • A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

  • A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

  • A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

The only exception here of course to the first law is when said human is interfering with Ford's plans.

It really feels like the central conflict here is that Ford believes in control, whereas Arnold is about sentience and the evolution of machines into independent beings.

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The more I consider it the more I become convinced that Dolores didn't kill Arnold. I really believe that Fords account was simply backstory. His attempt to rewrite history and cover up his evil deeds. Just as he did with Theresa and Elsie.

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Slack conversation snippet from 11/30 where I had a theory that William would murder Logan:

tbennett [9:40 PM]  
Ok so MIB said that his wife thought he was terrible

[9:42]  
Theory; younger William (MIB) murders Logan which is MIBs wife's brother

[9:43]  
But the murder may or may not have been deliberate

[9:43]  
The reason that MIB kept coming back was to understand what could make him do it

So I can put that one in the "got it right" column even though I don't think that he kept coming back to understand what could make him do it. He was coming back to learn something about himself, yes, but more importantly the park. Specifically what the maze meant and whether or not it would take him, not the hosts to the next level.

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Ford did not have himself killed by Dolores. In an earlier episode - and I'll have to re-watch to be sure - but I'm sure he was working on a head or something that I think resembled him. It's all part of his grand illusion. Backstory is everything with him. His explanation of what happened to Arnold was probably meant to confuse the issue with Dolores to make her think that she killed him. It will probably come out in the end that it was him that killed Arnold, not Dolores.

The red wedding style ending was a little confusing. People did appear to get shot and probably did. His way of purging a board that was trying to control him perhaps? The question becomes how many people in the crowd were real and how many were hosts?

The locking down of the control center when things started to fall apart was a subtle homage to the 1973 film, which I thought was a nice touch.

The Ed Harris character gets shot but not killed. Maeve clearly had her code altered by Ford. I really don't think he'd ever let her leave. I don't think that Ford wants to relinquish control over much. I think he likes playing god and being in control. I don't know what the end game is, but I felt like the end was great - raised more questions, answered some, and set up all sorts of opportunities for season 2.

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I had a few things right it seems, but I'll hold off a few days musing on the finale in case there are actually people reading this stream other than me :-)

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Now I'm almost wondering if Logan is related to Ford in some way...?

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So it turns out that I've had little success deciphering things with this series. I think what threw me off the trail of Bernard being a robot was the convincing back story of his son and wife. There were ample clues to support his being a host in hindsight, I just hadn't considered that possibility. The one time that I did think that that this might be true was the way Theresa seemed to treat him like a host or say things to suggest that he was after they'd been in bed together. Not that she knew, it's just that something about it felt like it may have been a clue.

After this week's episode, we now know where the photo Abernathy found came from and I think the theory that William is the younger version of the Man in Black is probably true. We now know that the Man in Black is on the board of Delos, and we know that Logan has ties to the company and that William is set to marry Logan's sister. Perhaps that's how the MIB came to be on the board. I think that's probably the connection. The more remote possibility is that this is exactly what the writers want you to think and that there's something else afoot entirely. The reason I say this is that Dolores' "awakening" seems to be happening in the present; at a time when the reverie was introduced and host sentience is becoming a problem in the park. So the two appear to be happening at the same time, which makes the writing all the more clever. But Dolores' past could be the key to what's happening in the present and showing her past timeline with William at the same time will be key to understanding how everything intersects.

I'm now convinced that the event that happened 30 years ago may be what we're witnessing develop with William and Dolores. I think that Arnold had something to do with making Dolores go off narrative 30 years ago when he was fighting with Ford over making the hosts seem more conscious, and the situation apparently devolved into something ugly resulting in Arnold's death and involving Dolores.

One wilder possibility is this... That Logan and William are hosts that are part of Fords new narrative intended to recreate the events of 30 years ago to try and understand something more completely, or so that he could learn something about himself. Perhaps Ford is struggling with what happened to Arnold, and the narrative is for his benefit only. So I think that the possibility here is that Willam is a younger version of the man in black, but is a host, passing through the same time line as the Man in Black. It will be freaky as hell if those two paths do cross and that turns out to be true. One indication that it's not true f0r me at least, is that when Logan cut into Dolores' abdomen, it was more mechanical looking, suggesting the older technology. The comment that she'd been rebuilt so many times she's practically brand new supports the notion that Logan knifing her happened in the past, not the present. The other thing that burns this theory down is the photo; Abernathy clearly found it AFTER Logan revealed that he had it in the last episode, but that could be a false lead as well, meant to throw us off of the trail. He clearly is trying to understand the past. He mentioned something to Dolores in a previous episode as being "the only one who was there" when referring to Arnold's death.

There is however, another clue to support the theory that William is a host modeled after the MIB's younger persona. There was an episode that appeared to be happening in the present where the the security director was alerted to Dolores having strayed too far from Sweetwater. He then ordered someone from behavior to go out and track her down. When they found her, William vouched for her and said "she's with me". This alone may be the clue that for me says that William is not a guest but a host, modeled after the MIB's younger self, built and prepped by Ford as part of the new narrative he keeps talking about.

One of the things about hosts that I would assume to be possible is that they probably have the ability to record a lot of information about guests and their interactions with them. So it would be nothing for Ford to draw on all the data that had been collected on the MIB over the years and replicate a clone of his younger persona.

Another clue that may support that we're seeing in William, a younger version of the Man in Black in a past timeline is that the very sexy host in white that greeted William when he first arrived at the park appeared with the Man in Black in last episode. I'll have to go back and re-watch to see exactly what she said, but it's her and she's been repurposed in a new, very dark role. But that's not to say that her being repurposed into a narrative couldn't have happened in the present.

The finale I'm sure will be pretty intense. Really looking forward to it. The sticky notes and index cards on the wall of the WW writers room must be pretty interesting to try and follow :-)

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I'm guessing Bernard probably has something to do with the tracking device in the stray that was found. I'll need to watch ep 5 again more closely though. It explains some of his mysterious conversations with Dolores about erasing interactions with him etc. He's clearly keeping something from Ford.

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I haven't figured out the significance of the kid just yet. He appeared in an earlier episode with Ford in the desert and last night at Lawrence's blood letting with the man in the black hat.

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When Dolores talks about hearing voices, the voices that we've heard in previous episodes that supposedly talk to her sound as though they're coming from Bernard. It feels as though there are references that try to make you feel as though they're coming from someone else... Possibly Arnold? They keep saying that he's dead, but he may not be. Perhaps he modeled a host in his image or something crazy like that. No idea. Lots of tantalizing possibilities in Episode 5, but nothing conclusive yet.

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The interplay of the technicians working behind the scenes at West World seems a little overplayed or off somehow, like they're trying to lay down too many inside jokes and references too early. Something about those scenes has a touch of cheesiness to me that's mildly off putting.

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Today I began wondering where the photo that messed up Abernathy came from... A guest? A park employee? It was tough to make out who exactly might have been in it..

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Man in Black theory that William and MIB are the same person 30 years apart seems interesting and some clues are compelling, but the off loop behavior is happening in the present.

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The fact that Ford says he thinks the board would have wanted his latest narrative to be delayed indefinitely probably has to do with some sort of apocalyptic end to the world? Not sure but he does say he's not a sentimental person. So perhaps the narrative he's planning is meant to be a cautionary tale...?

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Should be clear that by connection I mean that he doesn't just know of Arnold and what happened to him, he knew one or both of them.. Personally or through a business relationship.

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Wondering if there is some connection between Ford, The Man in Black and Arnold. Strarting to think there may be.

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The Man in Black appears to be a very rich philanthropist in the outside world, evidenced by another guests comment about his "foundation".

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The Man in Black knows something that Bernard knows or at least he suspects the maze can set hosts "free".

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Starting to think there is a connection between Arnold and Wyatt...

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If finding the center of the maze will set Dolores free, is the game really for the hosts? The guests? Or both? There's at least one guest looking for it too... maybe there's something there for both...

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I don't buy the suggestion that Bernard is a robot as many fan theories suggest. It was pretty clear in one episode that part of his background was that he did experience the loss of a child. My feeling was that one way of his dealing with that grief and loss was throwing himself into understanding what shapes the thoughts and development of a host like Dolores. It's not entirely clear to me what, if anything Bernard has to do with her thinking differently. For now it feels like he's dealing with the effects of a change that Ford made to their programming which allows access to previous memories and the connection of those memories to a new set of gestures - a feature referred to as "the reverie" in the pilot episode.

Bernard seems as though he's on to the fact that this change is resulting in the out of loop behavior that they're now witnessing in hosts, but he seems to be struggling with how to deal with it properly without pissing off his mentor. He's also genuinely interested in this behavior as a scientist, and seems to really want to understand where it's come from and how it might evolve.

The black hat character played by Ed Harris is another mystery in itself. It seems almost as if he's on to what Ford has been talking about with regard to the details and introducing subtleties that lead to clues that bring guests to deeper meaning and potentially deeper levels in the game that Westworld clearly is. The amazingly compelling thing about the series is that it's becoming something of its own game - trying to assign meaning to the myriad of clues that are dropped each week and fit them into the bigger puzzle.

What is becoming clear to me though is that Ford knows that allowing the reverie into the equation has introduced a level of chaos into the system that he almost seems quietly aware would happen. It might be tied to what he's been trying to attain all along; playing god and trying to create truly sentient beings that are indistinguishable from people. What's not clear to me though is the deeper end game for him, because there is something considerably deeper and probably more sinister to him. It wouldn't surprise me at all if all of his years of work have simply driven him mad. His sinister overtones to Theresa in episode 4 of "don't get in my way" could also could be a ruse. He could end up being the only sane one on property and it will later be revealed to us that he knew exactly what he was doing all along. Not sure which it is, but it's one of the many elements that have me glued to the TV each week...

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When you're a kid, you don't always evaluate things the same as you do later in life. I watched the original 1973 film last night and was struck by the cheesiness of some of it, the poor dialog, plot holes and bad explanations for various elements of the story.

What really hit me as I was watching though was that James Cameron must have drawn considerable inspiration for his original Terminator film from the gunfighter character played by Yul Brynner.

What the HBO team has done is taken the seed of a brilliant concept and updated it in ways that not only make it more plausible, but make you think much more deeply about the directions that soft robotics and AI could go and the possible ways in which that technology could get away from us.

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I remember hearing about and reading about research in the field of artificial muscles as far back as the early 90's. Pretty interesting to see the advances that are being made these days in the area of "soft robotics". For the longest time I kept telling myself that true android like robots were probably not going to be possible in my lifetime, but now I'm not so sure that's the case. Will I see Westworld level technology in my lifetime? Probably not, but one never can tell.

https://www.seas.harvard.edu/news/2016/07/artificial-muscle-for-soft-robotics-low-voltage-high-hopes

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Dr. Ford says in episode 2 that the guests return for the details and the subtleties; for the things that they'll see that they didn't notice before. The series itself is like that. I've been obsessively re-watching during the week and picking up new things each time. I read one review that talked about the show being layered and nuanced. They're not kidding. Very impressed so far.

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I kept coming back to asking myself last night the question of, if this was real, and if it was something I could afford to do, would I really want to?

With the nature of simulations going in the direction of more photo realistic and completely immersive experiences, would I even want to go to such a place to experience what ends up being an incredibly complex 3D gaming experience?

The answer I kept coming back to was yes... It seems that having the chance to interact with machines that were for the most part indistinguishable from humans would be incredible.

Something tells me that at the very least, within the next ten years I may be able to do something very close to this within a simulation. Seeing the strides that are being made with robotics and AI though, the whole thing may not be nearly as far off as one might think...

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Other aspects of the show that are really compelling to me is just the technology... I think they've take a really interesting direction in exploring the nature of reality and consciousness with machines, but I think that the notion that the "hosts" and other robots that inhabit the world are these incredibly complex robots which are essentially 3D printed.

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I was huge fan of the original film when it came out in the 70's. I've never read the book, but it's now on my list. The 70's film was something that scared the hell out of me when I was a kid. The thought of a machine that wouldn't give up on trying to kill you seemed terrifying. I'd often wondered if the Yul Brynner character provided any inspiration for James Cameron's original Terminator film.

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I heard so much about HBO's new series Westworld in the months leading up to its release and for me at least, it's lived up to all of the buzz.

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There's a great college humor video about the basic plot breakdown for every season of Entourage. The video does an excellent job of making fun of the fact that each week the show boiled down to one of two pretty predictable outcomes "we're making the movie!" or "we're not making the movie!". As much as I loved and still love the series (I hated the movie), I've always felt that this assessment was dead on.

Silicon Valley can be broken down similarly, and I think Thomas Middleditch might even agree - he happens to play the Eric Murphy character in the college humor Entourage spoof :-) The basic formula for Silicon Valley seems to work out to either "the company is going to make it/the company isn't going to make it" each week. I'm guessing there's probably a coin toss at the end of the season to decide whether they want to go out on an up or down note, but these are essentially the basic outcomes that each episode revolves around. For this type of show, I'm fine with that because like Entourage, the stuff that happens each episode is what makes it great. The structure and outcome may be simple and somewhat predictable, but great writing and characters make it all work.

Overall, I think the show has improved quite a bit from season one. Like most good shows, this one took a season or two to find its feet. The characters are well drawn, its voice and style is well established and it does a really amazing job of what it always had down out of the gate which is lampooning the hell out of startup and tech culture.

twbennett favorited jtauber's stream Kel
9 months, 2 weeks ago
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Richie is emerging to be more and more like Walter White, but less evil in many respects. I see him as being in the "empire" business, but I think he's accepted the consequences of his actions and is trying to do his best to deal with them and try to turn himself and his life around. He went through a very interesting arc in this first season and overall I like how he's come out at the end. He has a lot more work to do, but it felt as though things were turning for him if only slightly in the finale with the launch of his Alibi Records label.

The critics are panning the series - saying it's broken or not working. Perhaps there is some truth to some of it. I think that the plot line about Richie and his involvement with the death of "Buck Rodgers" is a little weak and not quite so believable. Overall I don't think there's anything in here that's completely implausible given how the record industry worked back then, and how dangerous and corrupt New York City was in the 70's.

The absence of Richie's wife and kids in the season finale was a little obvious. There was no followup with her at all in fact so that felt like a gaping hole. I don't know if mainlining coke would snap you out of a heroin induced coma the way it did with James Jagger's character. I figured with Mick Jagger as an EP and advisor on the show, he's probably seen crazier things than that in his 6 or so decades in the business so there's probably something to it.

In all, I think that despite some of its weaknesses, the performances are solid and the characters are starting to find their feet.

It's rare that a season one of anything ever really crushes it and this show, while great, didn't really crush it. It was deeply dark, and very depressing for a lot of it. For a while, part of why I felt it was so well done had to do with what I think was a great job of making you feel what Richie was going through for most of the season. I think it also did a really great job with production design and making you feel like you were back in the 1970's.

It does have me hooked in a big way, and while there was a lot of brilliance in it, I don't think that it's for everyone. There are problems to work out sure, but overall, I felt it was very well done and I'm going to follow it into season two.

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I think the reason I'm so compelled to watch even though it's so depressingly dark at times is because Richie has a quality that you can't help pull for and hope that he'll either catch a break or redeem himself. You get these little glimpses of him and his brilliance and why he made it and you keep wishing that things will turn for him... At the risk of offering up spoilers they never really seem to turn, even though you get the feeling that someday they might.

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I remember watching Breaking Bad and thinking how dark it was.... This is darker in a much more compelling way.

Thoughts by this user that have been liked by others.

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Free as in... 141, or 1401 character posts...

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When I see tweets like this it's hard to not respond that ThoughtStreams has been a "a blogging platform with several unique characteristics" for the past two years. Yet, ThoughStreams is and will be capable of so many more interesting things than being able to handle tweetstorms.

The thing that I can't stand is all the ass kissing and attempts to garner the attention of Andreessen and others on twitter when they start musing on something that could be considered "a thing". Some of the followup tweets are thought provoking and interesting, but others from people claiming to have a solution for the problem being mused about can remind me of Arnold Horshack raising his hand in class.

I have no problem with people pushing their ideas through social media, we do our fair share of it for sure, but there's a balance. You don't want to seem desperate. In the case of ThoughtStreams, you also don't want to pigeonhole it as a solution for a specific problem when it's capable of so much more. You'd prefer to have your site, service or solution speak for itself.

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Silicon Valley: Place or State of Mind?

There was a Fred Wilson blog post the other day that was in response to a Marc Andreessen tweestorm defense of Silicon Valley. In the post, he argues that Silicon Valley is "a mindset that is infecting large swaths of the global economy."

I find that view pretty easy to agree with and accept, but I have to say that I'm much more comfortable with the mindset than I am with the actual place. For me, there are other cities that I think fall into a similar category and that have very similar attributes.

In my nearly 30 years in tech, I've spent a lot of time either working for or with companies in Silicon Valley (SV). While the scale of the fervor around SV has waxed and waned over the years, one immutable perception of it has sort of been etched in my brain about it which is, that it's really no different in many ways to Hollywood, Nasville or any other place that's come to be regarded as a mecca for something.

Having worked to some extent in music and film, and extensively in tech, it's very easy to see the similarities among the three.

The best concentration of talent can be found in these "jeweled cities".

This is universally true in my experience. Thousands of extremely talented people flock to these jeweled cities for a variety of reasons, but not just because they're looking for their pot of gold. I would say that one of the more common reasons is simply because they want to be surrounded by lots of interesting work and other very talented people. Who wouldn't?

A great concentration of talent does not always result in either quality or original product.

In the film and music business, the term "sell out" is very often associated with Hollywood and Nashville. This is because a lot of people who go there feel that they need to sacrifice their artistic integrity to the Gods of Commerce in order to "make it". This sadly, is by and large true. People often find themselves taking jobs that they don't like or producing work that is unfulfilling just to pay the bills, which is understandable. Many more people just spend their time chasing the flock rather than trying to follow their own muse and develop something truly unique.

The unfortunate reality is that investors, whether they be in tech, music or film, have an aversion to risk. If you can convincingly position or pitch yourself as "the next" Taylor Swift, Steven Spielberg or Snapchat, you're probably more likely to get a meeting or even a deal than if you're pitching something that's completely out of the box and disruptive. I'm sure there would be a raft of people that would object to this assertion and claim the opposite it true. I'm not claiming that this mindset and behavior is an absolute, but I feel that it is closer to the norm.

This is not to say that originality can't or doesn't shine in these places. It does, and it often does shine very brightly,, it's just that when a crowd of people are shining mirrors in your face, it can be tough to tell which is the brightest.

Regarding the quality front, I know this one from personal experience in the tech space from at least three separate dealings with SV based companies. Perhaps the biggest example was when my first company was acquired in 1999 by a then SV and Wall Street darling just before its IPO. I was asked to run a portion of the field organization post acqusition and found the quality of the product to be so terrible, that I couldn't even bring myself to stay for the year it would take to vest the remainder of my shares. This is by no means to suggest that the quality of work in general in the Valley is terrible. That's not my point, my point is simply that being there with all that great talent doesn't guarantee a quality product.

You'll find a lot more failures than successes, but successes are almost always bigger.

There's a very simple mathmatical certainty that just comes from the sheer numbers of people flocking to these places; there's just not room for everyone to make it and more people will fail than succeed.

What adds to the buzz, allure and long term success of these jeweled cities is that when they do produce a hit, the effects can be far reaching and the rewards and impact huge. Just look at Google and Apple.

Some of the biggest disruptions and successes come from outsiders.

When Mutt Lang, the long time producer for big name rock acts such as AC/DC and Def Leppard took a little known country artist named Shania Twain under his wing and started producing her, the resulting wave of hits and the new sound he produced turned Nashville completely on its head. Lang's vision and sound paved the way for acts like Faith Hill, The Dixie Chicks and Taylor Swift to name a few. Country music was now no longer just the sound track for a blue collar, middle aged, predominantly male crowd. The revolution that Lang, a complete Nashville outsider started, opened up an entirely new market and demographic. The longevity of this shift was demonstrated to me last year when my production partners in New York revealed to me that the Country Music Channel demographic was now trending predominantly toward teenage girls.

It's important to note that while Twain was originally signed by a Nashville label before she met Lang,, it wasn't until Lang, the outsider, produced The Woman In Me that she began to achieve huge commercial success.

Facebook came from a kid in a dorm room in Cambridge Mass as did Dropbox and a host of others. It's difficult to know if Zuckerberg or Houston could have found the same success had they started in SV, but the fact remains they didn't. There's no question that their moves to SV helped propel them, but their ground breaking ideas were more the product of SV the state of mind vs. the location.

Even when the success comes from an outsider, the jeweled cities usually end up with the credit.

Invariably, through the lens of time, the fact that some of these major successes and disruptions came from outside the walls of the jeweled city becomes lost or murky and the city often end up with the credit. This only serves to fuel their mythic power and allure.

Since both Zuckerberg and Houston moved their efforts to SV so early in their development and took funding from mostly SV based VC's, the vast majority of the credit over time I'm sure will go to SV, even though they both benefited more from suckling the breast of SV than being nurtured in the womb of SV.

Stanley Kubrick, who came from New York and spent very little time in LA and produced the vast majority of his work in London, is to this day still viewed as a "Hollywood" icon.

Once Nashville realized that Mutt Lang wasn't some sort of rabid dog, and the freshness of his innovative approach overwhelmed the industry, the established Nashville crowd had no choice but to embrace, praise, and then start to try and emulate his sound wherever they could.

What's the point?

Someone once told me, "the clothes don't make the man." I think that you could also say in the context of this discussion, that the place doesn't make the artist or entrepreneur.. Certainly these places can and do inspire and influence, and they undoubtedly produce winners. I just think that people should understand that you don't necessarily have to be in one of those places to produce amazing work and achieve brilliant success. For some, they prove to be more of a distraction than the ideal location to hone their craft.

Kubrick was once asked why he chose to work in London as opposed to Hollywood. His reply was:

"Because I direct films, I have to live in a major English-speaking production center. That narrows it down to three places: Los Angeles, New York and London. I like New York, but it's inferior to London as a production center. Hollywood is best, but I don't like living there. You read books or see films that depict people being corrupted by Hollywood, but it isn't that. It's this tremendous sense of insecurity. A lot of destructive competitiveness. In comparison, England seems very remote. I try to keep up, read the trade papers, but it's good to get it on paper and not have to hear it every place you go. I think it's good to just do the work and insulate yourself from that undercurrent of low-level malevolence."

I think that there's more than a kernel of truth and wisdom in this that can also be applied to Nashville, and of course, Silicon Valley and I think it supports the idea that the state of mind for any of these jeweled cities can be an effective and sometimes safer construct than the actual place.

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Music, Film and Eldarion

James Tauber once described his vision for the way team Eldarion comes up with ideas as being analogous to a group of great Jazz musicians improvising over a tune.

He's referred to our joint development ventures as "co-productions" based on the "studio model" of development, which is similar to the way a film studio will work with a writer or director to turn their great idea for a film into an actual film.

Both of us being a musicians and filmmakers, these analogies sit very comfortably with us. I have to say as well that the creative lens through which we look at the company makes it a great deal of fun to be involved with. Perhaps the most fun I think I've ever had with any company.

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You only have to be right once.

Saw a tweet today from someone claiming to be a startup marketer that read "don't worry about failure, you only have to be right once."

That sounds like something a gambler would say. People who achieve lasting success are typically right a hell of a lot more than once.

Failure is about getting a lesson. Success is about how well you apply those lessons.

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By the time I'd produced and directed the following music video, I'd for the most part stopped supporting Bobby Lee Rodgers directly as a manager, and financing source but I was still, and still am, very much a fan.

It was the first and only time I've had the chance to shoot a music video, and I only had 90 minutes to get the coverage I needed. Because of the short time frame, I had to rely on what little practical lighting there was in the club that it was shot in. Despite it being a little dark, I was happy with the result for the most part.

It's something of a shame that this was the only track from this record ever released on iTunes. There were a ton of great tracks and I had hoped to shoot at least one or two more videos for them.

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Robert Altman was fired for his first use of overlapping dialog in a film. The film was "Countdown" from 1968. He felt that it added realism to the scene. The studio head felt he simply "didn't get" how Hollywood films should be made.

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Perhaps my favorite project that I'd backed was the digital bolex. They blew their goal out of the water and their communication was impeccable - exactly what I'd expect. I never did get my 11x17 fine art full color screen print poster of the Bolex storybook, final page, but they built and shipped the camera pretty much as they said they would.

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I don't think the season is over yet. I think I'm at least one episode behind. I did start to feel better about it once Mike got out of his booth in the parking lot.

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News Flash: Radio is not dead.

When we started Eldarion, one of our first clients was a company called Midwest Communications. At the time, they had roughly 40 stations. In the six years since we started working with them, they've grown to over 70 and show little signs of slowing.

Admittedly, there was a time when I fell into this line of thinking myself. Why listen to radio when you can get all of the content you'd want or need on Satellite or one of the now abundant streaming platforms? I'll admit that most of my music comes from my iPhone in the car, but more and more I find myself going back to regular FM radio.

Satellite is nice for some content, but you have to wonder where Sirius would be if Howard Stern never went over to them. He brought more than 20 million listeners to a platform which, to say that it was struggling at the time, is being kind.

For me at least, there really doesn't seem to be an all or nothing platform commitment when it comes to music; I tend to use them all in roughly equal parts. A lot of what I listen to depends on my mood so having multiple platforms works pretty well for me. I'm sure that's true for a lot of other people as well.

This article paints a pretty compelling view of the numbers and research supporting my assertion that radio very much alive, but taking it a step further, I think there are three pretty simple things about radio that make it fairly unlikely that anything will ever take it down completely.

Local content

One thing that streaming and satellite cannot do is offer localized content in the way that terrestrial broadcasting can do. From customizing ads for the local car dealership to events in the community, infusing these distant, digital, faceless technologies with that sort of local comfort programming will be difficult if not impossible to do effectively.

Business model

While streaming services like Pandora and Spotify continue to rake in enormous revenues, they're yet to become profitable. This is due to a large degree to the way performance royalties are structured for interactive/streaming platforms, and there's really no sign of that changing any time soon. Radio has had the business model figured out for at least the past 70 years, and while challenges remain around retention, they're adapting and coming up with their own innovative ways of addressing those problems.

In a real emergency, radio may be the only means of communicating with the public.

Without a broadcast radio network, how would the country or a region function and pass along information when complex networks fall apart due to some catastrophic event?

Radio is just another platform, and a viable one at that which serves a niche nothing else really can. While radio's dominance could be disrupted and dashed to bits by some other medium, there just really doesn't seem to be any evidence that it's happening as people have said or predicted it would. However, it does without question face challenges.

Since working with Midwest, I've lost track of the number of articles I've read that have predicted the death of radio. In those six years, it's done nothing but adapt and grow its audience. Challenges remain with regard to protecting that audience long term, but outside the lens of Silicon Valley, there's really no compelling industry data to support that radio is dead, or is for that matter, dying.

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The advantages of being (mostly) self funded.

While Eldarion has taken a couple of small angel rounds over the years that we are grateful for, we are for the most part, self funded and that gives us a lot of latitude when it comes to how we operate the company.

For example, Gondor.io is a PaaS offering that came from our need to host our apps. We were able to productize a solution that we'd come up with to solve our own problem, and turned that into a revenue stream.

Thought Streams was born out of trying to solve a problem that we had tracking thoughts and ideas over time, and was something we felt that others might want to use as well.

In both cases, we never had any intention of either of these solutions trying to compete with things like Heroku or Twitter.

In both cases, we simply put something together that solved a problem for us and shared it with the world.

The longevity or fate of either platform is not in the hands of investors or board members telling us we need to find our market, pivot or fold. We're doing these things because they worked for us first then found a following in a broader sense. As long as they continue to work for us and the people outside of Eldarion who choose to benefit from them, we'll keep them going, growing and evolving.

It's about the simple notion that if we're having a problem and we've got a solution, let's share it and see if others can benefit from it as well.

We can do this because we find ourselves in the fortunate position of not being slaves to overly demanding investors or a board, to playing the startup game, or clinging to the hope that one of these things may turn into a unicorn.

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Really enjoying so much of the thoughtful and insightful feedback from nyergler and hasterbrot lately. Lots of great thoughts, ideas and suggestions. It's not lost on the team at all - keep it coming!