Five things on Friday #350

Things of note for the week ending Sunday July 9th, 2023.

Three hundred and fifty editions eh?

Not bad for what started out as a weekly exercise in writing discipline way back in 2011 is now a regular an occasional newsletter with over 4000 subscribers.

Absolutely nuts.

I know I always tend to start these things off with a thank you but I am truly so grateful that literally anyone takes the time out to read this thing.

Cheers to you.

Also, these stats are pretty insane y’all.

So yeah, THANKS. You’re all very beautiful and actually quite lovely.

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What else can I tell you?

Ah yes, in last week’s edition I ‘swapped things’ with of . One of us had to go first and that was me. So a few hours after FTOF #349 went out, Rob published his edition featuring yours truly.

So if you want to read what I said in response to the brief ‘What quote or idea consistently helps you either slow down, or keep going’, then you just need skip over to this edition of Salmon Theory to find out.

More broadly, Rob’s newsletter is great. He is really good at articulating what it means to be a planner/strategist. And if you ever need to feel like you’re not alone in this job, go read Salmon Theory.

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Right. With all that out the way, shall we get to this week’s things?

LET’S.


1. THE INEVITABLE POST THAT EVERY SINGLE NEWSLETTER HAS OPENED WITH THIS WEEK

Yes, I am on Threads.

It’s a sorry state of affairs when your preferred choice of social media* ultimately comes down to which billionaire you despise the least but alas, that seems to be where we are. Better the devil you know (Zuck) vs the devil you don’t also know but is probably actually an all out sociopath (Musk), right? 😬

Rumoured to be dropping for a while now, all hell broke loose earlier this week when the US + UK (and some VPN’d Europeans) had Threads teasers drop in their respective Instagram accounts. So heavy was the draw that I actually put the IG app back on my phone for the first time since 2019.

At the time of writing, Threads user #1 confirmed that the platform had already secured 70 million sign ups. Sign ups are one thing, retaining those sign ups into DAUs and MAUS, therein lies the challenge.

(want to know your user number? Head to your Instagram profile and look for the number under your profile photo. I’m user #56821. Not bad).

So far though, I’m liking it.

The onboarding was simple, the friend-finding algorithm is working well for me (YMMV), and as soon as it launches a few more things such as a decent search, trending topics, and a web interface well, that’s me done with Twitter for good I guess. Oh, I also like the carousel default for photos – (you can/brands will have fun with this). Guess all we need is a embed integration now eh?

For what it’s worth, I thought John Gruber’s take over on Daring Fireball – ‘Threads’, – was v good.

Is Meta's new Threads more than a Twitter copycat? | Technology News | Al  Jazeera

For me personally, I’ve been looking for reasons to give up Twitter for a while now. Not having a ‘home’ was one of the reasons I stuck around.

With the app/service closing in on 100m sign ups in its first week (!!!), I think this might be where I find my people again.

FWIW, given the meta-ownership, I’m also going to remain semi-active on Bluesky (it’s so chaotic, I love it) but for now, me and Threads are tight.

Give me a web interface to Threads and I doubt I’ll ever go back to Twitter again. I’m so done with everything it’s become. Advertisers are leaving/have left in their droves and the biggest man-baby in the world has destroyed everything about it that I loved.

Threads it is then.

See you there?

*where my friends and community are. Bluesky/T2/Mastodon et al, are all great – but the user numbers, and frankly the people I know and have followed for years just aren’t there. FWIW, I’m probably going to keep my Bluesky profile active. The community there is mega chaotic and seemingly just KIND. Again, YMMV.


2. THE BEAUTY OF HUMANITY WHEN WE THINK NOBODY IS LOOKING

rachael-wright-the-wall-pho-itsnicethat08

It’s Nice That, writes:

Rachael Wright views the image as one that demonstrates the pull of the sea. “The sea is such a mysterious, powerful draw and the more I wonder why people stand and stare at it, the more possibilities I come up with.” Other moments that stand out for Rachael are moments of joy – like the image of Buddhists monks jumping into the waves; “a reminder that we all have an inner child who longs to come out to play.”

rachael-wright-the-wall-pho-itsnicethat05

I love these.

They remind me of home.


3. THIS WEEK IN GAMING

Not much to report this week. Honestly. Really. Truly.

Tell you what though, this piece ‘Opening a Cannes of Worms’, from my friend and pal, Jonathan Stringfield, on whether or not the 70th edition of the Cannes Festival of Creativity finally signalled the arrival of gaming in the marketing world is very good.

And I absolutely recommend you read it x

What else?

Oh yeah, I noted that Wimbledon launched a new version of its ‘Wimbleworld’ in Fortnite this year (vs Roblox last year) What with Nike doing the same (opting for Fortnite v Roblox for Airphoria) just last month well… 🎵 Times they are a-changin’… 🎵

UEFN (Unreal Editor for Fortnite) is THE game-changer.

You just don’t know it yet.

(it’d be lovely for UEFN to be on Mac but well, they had quite the falling out)

Speaking of Fortnite, you’re a player of Fortnite – or Fall Guys (or another Epic Game that features an in-game currency) – and you’re in the UK, Canada or Mexico then you may have received an email like this:

That’s right, thanks to our good friend, inflation, the cost of in-game currency is going up. For Fortniters, that looks like this:

Like pretty much everything else right now, even the price of virtual currency is going up. If you’re smart (and have the dollar to spend), stock up on v-bucks now.

The last thing I think that’s worth a mention is, according to this redditor, Valve – makers (among many other things) of the Steam games platform – is not willing to publish games with AI generated content anymore.

reddit.com/r/aigamedev/comments/142j3yt/valve_is_not_willing_to_publish_games_with_ai/

I am pleased about this

PS. Headed to Gamescom this year? Me too! Catch up?


4. WHO KILLED GOOGLE READER?

My heart still weeps.

Can you believe it’s been TEN YEARS since we lost the world’s favourite web app?

It was so perfect. So so so so so perfect. Ach. I miss it.

The Verge has a fantastic if ultimately truly saddening reflection of a service that started off life as a happy accident but was ultimately killed by Google’s relentless obsession on apps that serve billions (vs millions).

If you’ve never even heard of Google Reader before, then I cannot ask you enough to please read this article. It’s a great glimpse into something that was so ahead of its time… us ex-GReaders still mourn for it.


5. THE ENCOURAGEMENT MANIFESTO

Substack is lovely. Last week, after sharing the growth successes of FToF with the Notes community over there, I got into a nice back and forth with . After some friendly exchanges, I inquired after which of their newsletters I should look into and they recommended this:

The manifesto newsletter.

And now I’m recommending it to you 🙂

PS. Why not read how it all started as well?


BONUS SECTION

THIS IS THE BONUS SECTION. BONUS LINKS THAT BUMP US OVER FIVE THINGS BUT DUE TO SUBJECTIVE REASONS ENTIRELY OF MY OWN MAKING ARE REDUCED TO LINKS AND PITH ONLY.


YOU ARE REACHING THE END OF THE NEWSLETTER. MIND THE GAP.

There is still time to sponsor me for August’s Tough Mudder. If you’ve ever found literally any value from this entirely free newsletter. Then please do express that value with real world money to help a real world cause – War Child.

Additionally, if you liked this 350th edition of Five things on Friday, then please do recommend it to a friend, colleague, or department. This thing has grown by word of mouth ALONE so the more people you tell about it, the happier I get.

That’s nice isn’t it? Go on then. Off you pop.

In the meantime, thanks for reading (thanks for donating).

And thanks for being awesome.

Whatley out x

See Ya Goodbye GIF by Walter Mercado

PS. Last thing, promise. If you’re having a bad day, don’t worry. It could be worse. You could be that person on Linkedin that told me Google Maps was the metaverse.

I wish I was making it up.

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Author: James Whatley

Chief Strategy Officer in adland. I got ❤️ for writing, gaming, and figuring stuff out. I'm @whatleydude pretty much everywhere that matters. Nice to meet you x